Sonic competes in an alien footrace to fund vital repairs for his spaceship.
To start with, the quality of the writing isn't exactly stellar. For one thing, the opening text box describes the planet as lifeless, and the next one mentions that it contains a domed city "teeming with life." Sonic has some stupid lines like "Be strong, my shattered ego." But I think this is bad in a Star Fox 64 kind of way. It doesn't really hurt anything, and I'm not sure it wasn't done on purpose. It's cheesy enough to be awesome, if you're into that kind of thing.
For some reason, it never dawned on me what the "SW Ep. 1" in the credits actually meant, until I read it online. Between the race on a desert planet, the hero trying to win money to fix a spaceship, and the two-headed commentator, I can't believe I never figured it out.
There is a little continuity error at the beginning: The story justifies its existence by claiming that Sonic's ship was damaged last issue, but while it easily could have been, that damage was never shown. I point it out because I'm a stickler, but it doesn't really bother me.
All things considered, I like this story. While it's silly and cheesy and, to be honest, pretty useless to the overall plot, it's also fun. Fun is an important and often overlooked part of what this comic should be.
While attending the trial of the Bem researcher responsible for deroboticizing the robians of Mobius, Sonic meets Tails' parents, who have been stuck on the Bem homeworld since Robotnik's coup.
First of all, since I brought up the continuity mistake with Sonic's ship in "Space Gamble," I'm honor-bound to point out that E.V.E. didn't actually give Sonic the "exact coordinates" he mentions; she just told him the name of the planet. I'm not losing any sleep over it.
Quibbles aside, I found this story to be pretty engaging. It has a lot of exposition, but to me (your mileage may vary) it didn't feel like an info-dump. I think what makes it work is Sonic's presence, especially when the flashbacks become the subject of a conflict between Sonic and the Bem high council.
I like the art in this story. It has an old-school, almost cute feel to it. The various aliens are are weird and different enough to sell the idea of spectators coming from all over to attend the trial, but never gross. The cityscape is well-rendered enough to get the point across, but it never steals the spotlight—appropriate, since it's not all that important to the plot.
It's not perfect: Sonic's pointy head and Knuckles-like spines could use some work. The Bem forehead skin patterns should have been more consistent since that's the only distinction between them. I like the noise filter for the scenes displayed on viewscreens, but I think it's a bit overdone. Even so, this is a pretty good-looking comic overall.
My only big issue with the story is that Mr. and Mrs. Prower are not really bringing much to the party. They don't show much in terms of personality, and they don't really do anything. At the end of the day, it's really Ceneca-9009's story. Tails' parents could almost have been cut, except for their part in the flashback.
That's not to say they should have been cut. I'd rather their role in the story be expanded so that they were more important to the plot. If nothing else, they do make a difference in the tone: Without them, this might have been a much darker story. Their presence also makes the ending that much more effective.
The bottom line is this: Despite some room for improvement and a few rough edges, this is a reasonably entertaining story.
I'm honestly not thrilled with the cover. For one thing, the composition is extremely boring. The text on the left is irritating and hard to read, between the color and its overlapping the character art. The characters look okay at first glance, but then you start to notice how off the facial expressions are, not to mention Sonic's spines being wrong again. (Seriously, how did the comic survive for so long with nobody being able to draw the title character correctly?)
I like the silly fun at the beginning of this issue followed by the more serious and dramatic cover story. I don't deny that both stories are flawed, but I enjoyed them anyway. Unless you just hate the whole idea of space aliens in your Sonic comic, I recommend giving this issue a look.