- "Comings & Goings": The countdown to the milestone 175th issue kicks off in royal style. In recent battles, Sonic and the Freedom Fighters have suffered some devastating losses. but how can they possibly withstand much more? As the King lies at death's door, Sonic, Knuckles and Tails go to the farthest reaches of the universe on a mission to save the day. Can anyone prepare them for the surprises they find there? Not to mention the new threat of diabolical tyrant Robotnik and the mysterious Shadow joining forces! Will evil rule the day, or will this new alliance simply pit Shadow and Eggman at each other's throats?! PLUS: "Island of Misfit Badniks": In a story inspired as supplemental to the new "Sonic Archives" paperback reprint series, original series writer Mike Gallagher and artist Dave Manak finally explain what happened to all of Robotnik's old robots and Badniks. and inadvertently re-awaken some of the deadliest villains from Sonic's early days, a mistake that may spell out Sonic's doom!
Comings & Goings
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils: Tracy Yardley
- Inks: Jim Amash
- Letters: John Workman
- Colors: Jason Jensen
- Editor: Mike Pellerito
- Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
- Editor-in-chief: Richard Goldwater
- Special Thanks To: Robert Leffler and Dyna Lopez at Sega Licensing
Sally is shown sitting on the side of her comatose father's bed, mourning his unconscious state and all he has suffered through in his life. She then considers how Dr. Quack and Sir Charles Hedgehog have built a machine that should revive him, but it requires a Chaos Emerald power source. Sonic and Tails then walk in; Sonic offering Sally the comforting news that Rotor and Tails have figured out a way to get them an Emerald, while Tails promises they won't let her down. Activating his hologram projector watch-his only gift from his lost parents-he remarks that he knows what it's like to miss loved ones and not be able to do anything about it. Later, in the Brain Trust Laboratory, Rotor powers up his new Star Posts in order to transport the two to the Zone of Silence. Entering the strange dimension, the two are surprised to find drastically changed from its previous appearance, and question how they might locate the Chaos Emeralds. Tails suggests Knuckles might have been able to sense the jewels, when a booming voice addresses them, its source is revealed as the massive Feist, who is holding the orb they are standing on and announces he is to judge them.
Tails and Sonic are both startled, Sonic recognizing Feist from a memory of King Max's and warning Tails they should be ready to flee. Feist assuages their worries by claiming that he has judged positively, having witnessed their battles with his hated master Ixis Naugus and knowing Tails sent the Chaos Emeralds into the zone, granting him his newfound power. Feist then reveals he has combined the many Chaos Emeralds into seven, one of each color of the originals, and he is able to use their power to reshape the Zone at will. The still off balance heroes then ask if he will give them one, asking in behalf of the comatose Max Acorn. Feist agrees, presenting them with the gray Chaos Emerald, but informing them as well if they should return seeking another Emerald, they will have to face his challenges. The two then head back through the Star Post portal, hurriedly making sure that Rotor closes it behind them.
Not much later, the two heroes join Uncle Chuck, Dr. Quack, and the Acorn royal family in Max's bedchamber, where they use the Chaos Emerald to activate Chuck and Quack's machine. At long last Max awakens, to the joy of his family, and quickly learns to his surprise that Elias has assumed the throne in his absence. As the family reunites, Sonic and Tails leave them to their moment, but are quickly pursued by Sally, who hands them the Chaos Emerald and asks that they take it to Merlin Prower. Sally replies "I'm just returning the favor" in answer to Tails' query, and the two later arrive at Freedom HQ at the same time as Knuckles, who has the Guiding Star Gem with him. The wizard reveals he intends to use the Emerald and the Guiding Star Gem to take them to Argentium so they can rescue Tails' parents. With the jems and Knuckles' and Tails' chaos powers, all four are transported successfully, but arrive to find Argentium in war torn condition, leading a worried Tails to go looking for his parents while Merlin chases after him. Noticing alien ships fighting in orbit, Sonic and Knuckles identify some of them as belonging to the Xorda, but are unaware of the identities of the others.
Amadeus and Rosemary Prower then appear, revealing that the other aliens are a vicious race known as the Black Arms who have been fighting the Xorda for months. Rosemary welcomes Sonic back to Argentium, and the Hedgehog immediately rushes off, bringing back Tails and Merlin. The couple embrace Merlin, glad to see him again and sharing their confidence in his eventually coming to save them, while Merlin is quick to credit Tails for the rescue. Sonic then pushes Tails towards his parents, both Tails and his mother shedding tears at the reunion, and the trio embrace joyfully as the other three look on happily. All six then transport back to Mobius, where the Prowers are received by a thrilled King Elias, who invites Amadeus to join the new Court of Acorn. Amadeus agrees and wishes to take part in Knothole's future, saying his time with the Bem has given him new ideas that he hopes will benefit the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, at the Knothole Cemetery, Sonic is seated by the graves of Sir Connery and Tommy Turtle, and seeing a shadow, he turns expecting Fiona. It turns out to be Knuckles, who questions Fiona's continued absence and then remarks that Sonic picked a bad place for a date. The two banter briefly, but Knuckles then asks why Sonic is out here, the Hedgehog revealing that it still pains him to have lost two of their friends so quickly. Knuckles agrees, gritting his teeth at the apparent loss of the Brotherhood of Guardians while Sonic muses about the rising number of enemies for them to deal with. Knuckles then playfully questions whether Sonic is wanting to quit, which Sonic is quick to deny, saying he doesn't want people to think Knuckles is stronger. The two laugh and then depart, Knuckles promising that their fallen comrades will not have perished for nothing, and that they will defeat Robotnik. Their conversation then turns, surprisingly, to Shadow, whom Sonic considers a friend, though Knuckles reminds him that the black Hedgehog is currently working with Eggman. Sonic then reveals he doesn't believe Shadow to be evil, but simply confused, and that once he comes to grips with his situation he'll make the right choice. Unbeknownst to the duo, Shadow is confronting Robotnik and Snively in New Megaopolis, demanding they hand over Gerald Robotnik's diary.
In the first Off Panel, Sonic claims that Mike Pellerito told him that with #156, the Sonic series is "the longest running licensed comic book in the modern era". Mike then remarks that while he has passed G.I. Joe, there is still one character who is ahead of him, and a startled Sonic replies that the character in question is heading towards them. Mike is then seized by Conan the Barbarian for threatening his record, while Sonic runs away in terror. In the second story, Sonic gets the opportunity to write his own Off Panel, but spoils it with a lame joke and then attempts to pause, only to smear the fictitious Off Panel "screen."
Mike questions where Sonic has been, and Sonic replies that he went to the drug store for Dave and DJ to get a subscription. Mike thinks he's talking a prescription, but Sonic replies that "the pharmacist doesn't want to miss an issue...and neither should you!", speaking to the reader. In the final story, Victor Gorelick opens Mike's door and warns him to get away while struggling to breathe. Mike then exits his office to find that the Archie Baseball team has been knocked out, and immediately identifies the culprit: Rotor preparing seafood stew in the break room.
The Island of Misfit Badniks
- Writer: Mike Gallagher
- Pencils: Dave Manak
- Inks: Jim Amash
- Letters: John Workman
- Colors: Jason Jensen
Enjoying his day off, Sonic explores an area of the Great Forest where the Knothole Freedom Fighters fought their early battles against the original Dr. Robotnik. He then steps on a wooden panel, which breaks under his weight, dropping him into a dusty installation. Sonic recognizes it as a "Spy-der Hole", a base created by the original Robotnik for his robots to use in their battles against the Freedom Fighters. Looking through the records, Sonic then discovers the existence of the Island of Misfit Badniks, where defeated robots could go for repair or retirement after losing to the Freedom Fighters. Grabbing a plank, he sets off for the sea, determined to learn if the Island still exists. Using the plank as a flotation device, he swims out to the island's coordinates, and finds it waiting for him. Landing, he is surprised to discover that the entire landmass is made out of metal, meaning that there are no real living creatures on the island. He is then hit from behind by a spiked projectile, and awakens later to find himself bound to an upright table and surrounded by a group of Badniks whom he remembers defeating years ago. The robots then promise to terminate him, only for Sonic to start vibrating at super Sonic speed and break free of his restraints.
Sonic quickly decimates his old enemies, but is then caught off guard by a punch from one Badnik he never encountered: Pseudo Sonic. The original robotic replica then reveals to his opponent the story of his creation as the first mechanical Sonic, and then his defeat at the hands of Tails while Sonic was dealing with a reaction to Poison Sumac Blossom. Since then, Pseudo has regretted not having been able to tangle with Sonic, and the two then begin going at it. After trading several punches, the two are halted by Bat Brain, who remarks that the two seem to be evenly matched. He then suggest settling it with a "bighorn challenge", in which the two will charge each other at full speed to determine which is stronger. They agree and collide, the impact knocking Sonic quite some distance from the island to land near his plank from earlier. He then watches as the island vibrates, apparently from the impact, and then watches in shock as it sinks beneath the waves. Thinking the Badniks destroyed, he starts heading home, unaware that he is being observed by his old foes. As it turns out, the island was equipped with technology that allowed it to submerge itself and then reform underwater with a special dome to protect it from the ocean. The Badniks analyze Pseudo Sonic on Caterkiller's orders, and determine that though he has been damaged, he can be rebuilt. The villains then vow that they will see Sonic again soon.
- Tails: Uncle Merlin! Why do we need the Chaos Emerald? What favor is Sally repaying?
- Knuckles: And what do you need me and the Guiding Star Gem for?
- Merlin: Patience, young ones. This old charlatan has one more trick up his sleeve.
- Rosemary: Miles...you're already so big and handsome.
- Tails: E-Everybody calls m-me...Tails.
- Amadeus: Then "Tails" it is.
- Sonic: (to Tommy's grave) Catch ya on the flip side, Tommy.
- Knuckles: We won't let their sacrifices be in vain, Sonic. We'll beat Doctor Eggman. We'll win this.
- Pseudo-Sonic: You don't remember me because we never actually met! But in my day, I was the ultimate creation of Ivo Robotnik... the first mechanized version of you!
- Max refers to Sally as "my little Bean", a reference to the SatAM episode Sonic Boom, in which it is revealed that Bean was her childhood nickname from her father.
- The Black Arms and the Xorda were explained to be at war in this issue. This was done to prevent their return to Mobius Prime, as SEGA limited their allowed appearances in the comics.
- This issue marks the first appearance of Pseudo Sonic in a story since Sonic the Hedgehog #9.
- This issue marks the return of the original Badniks, last seen in the Robo Hobo Jungle in Sonic the Hedgehog #40.
- According to the issues original solicit, the second story was created to promote the release of the Sonic Archives graphic novel series.