Countdown to the 12th Doctor: #11
As backward as it may sound at first, there is in fact a sect of Eggman variants involved in law enforcement. They’re responsible for seeing to it that order is maintained and, if possible, stopping crimes before they can even happen. However, just because these incarnations share that one very important quality, that in no way means that they’re alike. In fact, this group may be the most varied of all in terms of personality.
First Appearance: June 2011, Sonic Universe #29
Noted Companions: Major Znively
Despite the fact that this is technically a good incarnation of the doctor, he’s still a far cry from the Kintobors. Warden Zobotnik has just as many nasty tendencies as his darker counterparts, but in this case, he’s found a way to make ‘productive’ use of those impulses. Rather than lashing out at the innocent, he’s decided to punish the guilty — or as he calls it, “aggressive rehabilitation.”
Zobotnik relishes the complete power he has over his inmates, taking great delight in breaking their spirits and watching them crumble into submission. He specifically chooses “treatment” plans that will hit the prisoners where it’ll hurt the most, and methods such as humiliation and degradation are fair game as far as he’s concerned. If it gets results (and just happens to give him a power high in the process), it’s in his rulebook. It makes for an interesting juxtaposition, because he’s at least as bad as the criminals he supervises, but he has enough restraint to exercise those desires at an appropriate time and place to keep himself within the law (and effective at his job, albeit with questionable ethics).
Even though I just complained that the fan film Robotnik’s mustache was too small, for some reason it works for Zobotnik. Perhaps it’s the fact that it still manages to be bushy despite its minimal length. I think that in his case, the shorter length silently reinforces the tight grip he keeps on everyone and everything under his command. A wild mustache could reflect badly upon him, so keeping it abnormally short works in his favor here.
In this case, Zobotnik’s companion is perhaps the truest form of an assistant that any of the doctors have. Znively limits his interactions to business matters, and beyond that, they don’t seem to talk much. Zobotnik treats him professionally enough and then lets him be on his way, and Znively doesn’t appear to harbor any particular malice in return. It’s about as strong of a relationship as any Robtonik/Snively pairing will ever see.
First Appearance: 3/15/00, Sonic Underground #26, “Six is a Crowd”
Noted Companions: N/A
HEY LOOK ROBOTNIK JR. GREW UP.
Because the turn of the century was apparently a great time for alternate universes, Sonic Underground also presented its audience with an anti-verse, whereupon Robotnik was the rebel leader against a tyrannical monarchy. He has a very strong sense of justice and understandably has a lot of pent-up anger, but that doesn’t mean he’s a hardass. As a matter of fact, once the confusion was cleared up, his behavior wasn’t unlike that of a Kintobor. He was also visibly offended when Sonic’s old habit of using the name “Ro-BUTT-nik” slipped.
Although it would’ve been easy for the war to harden him, this Robotnik manages to maintain a sense of compassion for his opponents. Rather than blasting the anti-versions of Sonic, Manic, and Sonia into the stratosphere, he instead negotiates an agreement to take the triplets on a tour of their own kingdom. It’s more important to him that they experience the effects of their vicious governing than it is for him to get his revenge.
My only complaint is that they bothered to give him hair, but they didn’t bother to give him some form of a variant outfit. I suppose it might’ve been that they didn’t want to tip off the protagonists that he’s not the same person, but wouldn’t the hair have done that anyway? I think it’s a wasted opportunity for an experiment in character design. Oh well; I’m at least happy that they didn’t automatically make him thin, as tends to be the trend for good Robotniks.
First Appearance: 1/28/95, Sonic the Hedgehog SatAM #17, “Blast from the Past, Part 1”
Noted Companions: Snively with hair
Before Mobotropolis suffered a hostile takeover at the hands of Robotnik, it had once been defended by Julian, its brilliant Minister of War. According to the king, Julian was hailed as a hero among the kingdom’s citizens, and was single-handedly responsible for the nation’s victory in the oft-mentioned Great War. Based on the way he later dominated the planet during his tenure as Robotnik, it’s fair to assume that Julian completely pulverized the opposing party, presumably in ways that had never been seen before. With the need for weaponry behind them, the king mentioned that he was going to make Julian the new Minister of Science instead.
When in the presence of others, Julian is extremely gracious and well-mannered. He’s soft-spoken and his tone is very gentle, not to mention an octave or two higher than when he speaks in private. Julian is also incredibly humble, as he did his best to decline the king’s favors following his war victories. He approaches his tasks with enthusiasm, and his expertise instills the utmost confidence in those around him.
There’s not much more canon information to be gleaned purely from the cartoon, but the comic books speculated with their own canon. According to Sonic the Hedgehog #50, the Great War had been waging between the Acorn Kingdom and the overlanders. Julian Kintobor* double-crossed his people and fled into the forest, where he might’ve died had he not been taken in by Sonic’s father and uncle. Since he knew the enemy more thoroughly than anyone in addition to knowing a great deal about military strategy, King Max appointed Julian as the head of the war department.
Did any of that happen within the cartoon canon? I don’t know. It could have! We’ll never really know for sure since the series never goes into depth on Julian’s background. I personally believe that Julian’s eventual betrayal wasn’t something that arose out of convenience; he’s far too calculating for that. Granted, this is just my own reasoning, but I think he had his plans worked out to the smallest detail long before he was ever in the employment of the king. Between the way he and Snively spoke to each other in private and the way he’d already come up with detailed plans on dismantling the king’s military prior to his strike, I think it’s reasonable to assume that both the end of the Great War and the coup were all part of the same plan. The pieces just fit together too nicely.
The only thing that probably arose unexpectedly was Julian’s involvement with the Void, which he used to dispose of the usurped king. If not for that, I’m sure he had other (less pleasant) intentions in his original plan.
*Surname not confirmed either way by the SatAM episode.
Dr. Robotnik, Dr. Eggman, and whatever other forms of this character I managed to dig up for this thing are all © Sega one way or another, with lesser rights going to companies such as Archie, Fleetway, DiC, and whoever made that fan film. The inferences and summaries written throughout this piece are my own and my not be reproduced without my permission.
Posted on November 23, 2013, in Analysis, Books, Game Characters, Humor, Journalism, TV, Video Games and tagged Archie comics, Doctor Who, Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, Eggman, Robotnik, SatAM, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Underground. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.