The Darkest Storm, Part 1: The Gathering Tempest
- The first of three stories that will rock the world of Sonic to its core! Many of Sonic's worst enemies have been clawing their way out of the rogues gallery lately. Now, not one but two of the biggest villains in Sonic history, Mammoth Mogul and Ixis Naugus return to make Sonic and the Freedom Fighters' lives miserable! And the one to blame for all this is the mysterious nemesis known only as "Anonymous". Will the secret of Anonymous finally be revealed?
Ties That Bind
- Snively has a choice to make that will affect his life: join his "uncle" or stay loyal to the Freedom Fighters.
The Darkest Storm Part One: The Gathering Tempest
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils: James Fry
- Inks: Jim Amash
- Colors: Jason Jensen
- Letters: John Workman
- Editor: Mike Pellerito
- Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
- Editor-in-chief: Richard Goldwater
- Special Thanks To: Robert Leffler and Dyna Lopez at SEGA Licensing
The mysterious entity known as Anonymous muses to himself that he has "learned everything about Sonic the Hedgehog." Having gained knowledge of all his battles, Anonymous determines that the three greatest threats to Sonic have been Dr. Robotnik, Ixis Naugus, and Mammoth Mogul. He then promises to be the one who will destroy all of them and Sonic together, choosing Knothole as the site to enact his plans. In Knothole, Elias informs Sonic that he wishes to restore Sonic's knighthood as Uncle Chuck looks on proudly, though Sonic is reluctant to take on the title. Chuck offers him encouragement, though Sonic points out that the Hedgehog family already has a knight in the form of Chuck. Elias then remarks that during the Great War, his father Max had the Court of Acorn to rely upon, and that as King he believes that he will need a court to help bring peace in the war against Dr. Robotnik. He announces his intentions to start with anyone remaining from the old court, including Uncle Chuck.
Elsewhere, at Tails' workshop, a voice calls asking if Tails is in, prompting the young Fox to question who might be here to see him. Two figures appear standing in the doorway, and the foremost introduces himself as Tails' uncle Merlin Prower. An astonished Tails remarks that Athair had told him about Merlin, though he had never expected to meet him, and an understanding Merlin apologizes for his long absence. As the two embrace, he promises that they will reunite their family, while Tails is just overjoyed to have anyone back. Merlin then informs Tails that he must speak with Elias, and in response to Tails' queries reveals that Elias' help is essential in saving the Ancient Walkers, as well as keeping Mammoth Mogul in his Chaos Emerald, which Merlin then pulls out of concealment. In New Megaopolis, meanwhile, Robotnik is overseeing the Egg Grapes, and is informed by A.D.A.M. that the project is near completion. Eggman is overjoyed by the development, revealing that once the process is completed, he will be able to use the Egg Grapes and their prisoners to process energy from the Zone of Silence, giving him an immense amount of power to work with.
Mecha questions why Robotnik would kill Mobians to provide him with the energy when there would probably be a quicker way, to which Robotnik replies that there likely is, but that this way is more fun. Robotnik then asks A.D.A.M. if he has identified Anonymous yet, and the computer virus reports in the negative. Citing Anonymous' crimes as copying his Roboticization process and unleashing the Nanites, he is determined that nothing will get in his way. Unbeknownst to him, a group of figures-the Arachne-have entered New Megaopolis. Meanwhile, Anonymous contemplates the possible interference of the Ancient Walkers, but feels that they will be easy to deal with. In the Virtual Zone, the dying entities speak with Athair and Aurora, who encourage them to keep fighting. The Walkers remarked that though they have watched over Mobius diligently, their time is coming to an end, and they name the pair and Merlin as their successors in watching over Mobius and the Chaos Force.
Back in Knothole, Tails meets Merlin's companion Sir Connery, who introduces himself as a former Knight of Acorn who was called away by the Ancient Walkers and given a task. He completed it and was then sent to guard Merlin, and Tails' question as to what he was guarding him from is answered by the arrival of the Destructix: Sleuth "Doggy" Dawg, Drago Wolf, and the Fearsome Foursome. As Sergeant Simian seizes Connery, Merlin warns Tails to save the Chaos Emerald while being attacked by Flying Frog, while the Emerald is seized by Lightning Lynx. Predator Hawk attacks Tails, but is warned by Lightning that he can hear backup approaching. Connery overpowers Simian, but is then tripped and held at blade point by Sleuth, while Frog starts using his scarf to choke Merlin and Predator menaces Tails. Sonic then arrives, spin dashing into Predator Hawk and knocking him into Drago. Sonic quickly helps Tails up, while the Freedom Fighters and Knuckles reveal themselves and quickly overpower the Destructix after learning about their new name. Retrieving the Emerald, Merlin informs the group that they must see Elias, and Knuckles stays behind to take care of the Destructix while the Freedom Fighters leave.
Elias is thrilled to see Merlin and Sir Connery back, and questions what has brought them. Sir Connery reveals that he was summoned by the Ancient Walkers and given his Sword of Light so as to rid Mobius of dark magic. He was then sent to protect Merlin and his captive, Mammoth Mogul, whom Merlin reveals has been trapped in his own Chaos Emerald while winking conspiratorially at Sonic and Tails, who were involved in Mogul's defeat. Merlin then launches into a magically enhanced version of Mogul's history, revealing that the Ancient Walkers anticipated the danger Mogul would pose to Mobius. Unwilling to interfere with what was meant to be, they cursed Mogul's Emerald so that in using its power Mogul would always be led to a mistake, eventually leading to his imprisonment. Merlin then reveals that after escaping the Master Emerald, Mogul launched a mortal attack on the Ancient Walkers, leaving them in slowly deteriorating condition. Merlin finishes by revealing that their death would free Mogul from their curse and his Emerald, and then reveals to Elias that the Crown of Acorns and Sword of Acorns are needed to save the Walkers. Sally then arrives and explains how the two artifacts were created from the Source of All, and provide incredible power to any who can wield them. The rest of the Source was destroyed with Robotropolis, and Sally gave the Sword to the Arachne after it attempted to force decisions upon her. Merlin becomes determined to find it, though Elias first gives him the Crown, prompting his thanks and Sonic to boast that he will see them through whatever may happen.
Back in the Egg Grape Chamber, the Arachne are perched atop the chamber roof, and break in just as Robotnik is celebrating the success of his Egg Grapes. At that moment Anonymous makes his first move, powering up the Egg Grapes to both Robotnik and A.D.A.M.'s apparent confusion, prompting Robotnik to flee the chamber and the Arachne with Mecha's assistance. He then has A.D.A.M. lock down the chamber, while Anonymous begins to gloat over his success. Revealing that he has been watching and directing the Arachne, he observes as they activate the Sword of Acorns to set off Anonymous' plan. The resulting energy produced by the Sword and the Egg Grapes produces a dimensional breach that surges into the Virtual Zone, killing the Ancient Walkers to Aurora and Athair's horror. Back in Knothole, Merlin thanks the Freedom Fighters and their allies for their support, but is then thrown back as a surge of energy erupts from Mogul's Chaos Emerald. Mammoth Mogul then appears, informing Merlin that his efforts have failed, while Anonymous remarks that Phase One is now complete.
Ties That Bind
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils: Tracy Yardley
- Inks: Jim Amash
- Colors: Josh & Aimee Ray
- Letters: Teresa Davidson
Snively is working in the Brain Trust Lab, wondering why he is in Knothole, since he usually runs with the villains. He notices Hope in one of his monitors and notes how she has found her place with the “animals” and is happy about it. The screen suddenly shuts off, as well as all of the others. Dr. Eggman suddenly appears and tells Snively that he is giving him one chance to come back and work for him, stating that he is tired of allowing Knothole to exist. Snively asks for a few moments, to which Eggman replies, “Very well.” He runs off to Hope, and notices that she is building her own plane. He then tells her about his idea of flying around the United Federation, trying to see if any of those places worked for her, telling her its “strong advice from your ‘big brother’”. Hope says she will think about it, but that “it sounds like a great idea!” Snively then runs off to Eggman, telling him he is ready to go. He asks, however, how Eggman can trust him since “We’ve tried to do each other in before.” Eggman replies that “You want to rule the world too badly to try to undermine me yet and I’ll be waiting for you the next time you try.” Snively’s response to that is, “Just like old times.”
Snively, now on the Egg Fleet, thinks to himself that he is come full circle since he betrayed his family to work with Robotnik, betraying the Mobians to conquer the world, betraying his uncle to take the world from him and now his betraying the Mobians again to help his uncle. He thanks Sonic and his friends for taking him in, but adds “Such weakness will not be tolerated in Dr. Eggman's empire.” But his last thought is for Hope as he tells her to run.
- This issue's cover is the first part of a three-part image.
- In Ties that Bind, Snively is shown working on a Genesis in the Brain Trust Lab.
- Despite appearing on the cover, Amy does not appear in this issue.