“Decoe and Bocoe’s Not-So-Excellent Misadventure”
Writer: Joe Edkin
Artists: James Fry (p), Terry Austin (i), Josh Ray (colors)
Publisher: Archie Comics
Doctor Eggman does his best Donald Trump impersonation in “Deco and Bocoe’s Not-So-Excellent Misadventure” and fires his two bumbling robot assistants. Following the mad scientist’s playbook, he then builds two bigger and badder robots – who have plans of their own. Meanwhile, Decoe and Bocoe take a stab at the honest life.
Provided you’re not a hopelessly jaded reader – and I think there’s some kind of law that jaded readers aren’t allowed anywhere near the vicinity of a Sonic X comic anyway – you’re going to have fun with this episode. Joe Edkin throws together a set of clichés and comes up with an entertaining story filled with action, comedy and word play. Decoe and Bocoe usually serve as Eggman’s Greek chorus, in a Laurel and Hardy sort of way, and it’s rather nice to see them out on their own. Their sincerity and total dedication to whatever job they’re doing – whether it be attacking the military at Eggman’s behest or escorting Sonic to a booth in the ice cream shop – makes their inevitable foul-ups both funnier and more poignant. Even though they’re villains – sort of – you still want them to win. They’re so appealing they even make Sonic take a back seat this issue and readers won’t mind.
Of course, part of the reason we’re rooting for the oddball pair is because James Fry, Terry Austin, and Josh Ray have given them such a charming design. Decoe and Bocoe have very distinctive looks that can express a full range of emotions. Even when in shadow, they stand out.
In fact, all the character designs work very well, because Fry and company use character personality as the basis for them. In the Sonic X universe you look like what you are. Captain Westwood is stiff and angular, because he’s a stubborn, unbending character. Sonic is round but streamlined because he is a character with more than one dimension. Dukow and Bukow, Eggman’s new robots, are Decoe and Bocoe’s designs bulked up into something more malevolent. You know they’re trouble as soon as they appear. In real life it would be called “profiling” and be considered a bad thing. In a comic book aimed for a younger audience, it’s an easy way to get character across without a lot of words.
The issue’s lay-out is also very well-designed. There’s plenty of clearly delineated background detail – and I swear I saw Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen in one panel – but it never obscures the main action.
Sonic X #22 isn’t going to change the life of anyone who reads it. But it is going to entertain them and that’s really what it’s all about.
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