- Sonic and Geoffrey St. John are sent on a perilous mission into the Special Zone. Nothing two heroes can't handle, right? That is, until a shocking twist puts one of our heroes in mortal danger! Then, get a sneak peek into the next great Sonic game with 'Sonic Colors!'
In Service to the King Part One
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils: Jamal Peppers
- Inks: Terry Austin
- Colors: Matt Herms
- Letters: John Workman
- Editor: Paul Kaminski
- Editor-in-Chief: Victor Gorelick
- President: Mike Pellerito
- Special thanks to: Cindy Chau and Jerry Chau at SEGA licensing
In New Mobotropolis, Mina Mongoose is having a nightmare. In it, she relives a twisted version of the Iron Dominion's takeover of NICOLE and the city itself. A traumatized Mina is snatched from her bed by a monstrous Iron NICOLE, who tells her that the heroes have fled while citizens are being Legionized. Mina suddenly wakes up with a cry as a storm rumbles outside. She sits on the edge of her bed, looking miserable.
In Castle Acorn, a disgruntled Maximillian Acorn asks why Commander Geoffrey St. John has decided to bring Sonic the Hedgehog along, saying he had wanted to speak with the commander alone. His wife, Alicia Acorn, apologizes for his mood, blaming the bad weather. Geoffrey takes no offense, saying that Max had earlier tasked him to find a way to "restore the monarchy to proper authority" (as Max seemingly disapproves of his son Elias Acorn's decision to form the Council of Acorn). When Max confirms this, Geoffrey suggests attaining a Chaos Emerald, explaining that he has brought Sonic along as an emerald might be hard to get without "acceptable losses." Geoffrey is given permission to proceed as he sees fit, and he and Sonic leave the room. Sonic, not happy to have been dragged out of bed on a rainy day, asks Geoffrey if he will finally tell him what is going on. Geoffrey explains that, while it is "heart-breaking" to say, Max is getting senile. Thinking he could make things as they were before the war, he had officially asked Geoffrey to find a way to make that happen. Sonic wonders how a Chaos Emerald is supposed to help in that case, and Geoffrey merely replies that it will let Max think things are changing and be none the wiser - additionally, having a Chaos Emerald around would be useful regardless. While Sonic admits he does not quite feel right leading the former king on like that, he says it is a good plan... for Geoffrey.
The two head out into the storm, Geoffrey atop a motorcycle with helmet and Sonic wearing goggles. Geoffrey explains that he needs Sonic's help because he has experience with the Special Zone and seems to be on the good side of its ruler, Feist. Sonic accepts this as a compliment and teasingly asks what Geoffrey's wife, Hershey St. John, would think of this; Geoffrey dryly replies that Sonic's not his type ("Which is to say you're vacuous and narcissistic"). The two arrive at Freedom HQ, and as Sonic continues to tease Geoffrey, he doesn't immediate notice Mina, hitting her with the door as she removes her rain jacket. Sonic is quick to apologize, but Ash Mongoose, Mina's boyfriend, is not impressed; however, his verbal assault is cut short by Mina, who's unusually irate. Surprised, Ash apologizes to her, and Sonic asks if she's okay. Closing her eyes, Mina insists she's fine. She tells Sonic she wanted to get out of the city for a bit and brainstorm her new album, asking if it's okay that she stay at Freedom HQ. Sonic says she's always welcome, as, despite her having decided against becoming a Freedom Fighter, he considers her one of the group. She thanks him and Geoffrey leads Sonic off, reminding him they have work to do.
Waiting until Sonic and Geoffrey enter the lab, Ash approaches Mina, asking if she was still suffering nightmares. Mina tries to hold it in, but then breaks into tears, saying she can't handle it anymore. Ash leads her to the couch to sit, encouraging her to talk, and she explains that it feels as though she's reliving the Iron Dominion's occupation over and over. Ash reassures her, telling her that despite the horrors the endured, she still assisted with the evacuation via Warp Ring, but Mina sobs into her hands, saying that they couldn't save everyone with the Dark Egg Legion and Yagyu Clan lurking everywhere. The most horrific aspect, however, was NICOLE herself; as the AI running the city's Nanites, she was "everywhere" - Mina tearfully recalls people being captured by their own beds or snatched off the street by the trees. Mina says that while she knows Sonic insists NICOLE is now fine, and that she wants to trust NICOLE, she still feels scared that AI might again lose control and they'd be helpless against her. Ash says that a lot of people feel the same way. Mina, frustrated, adds that it seems as though the Freedom Fighters are oblivious to the potential danger, saying that for them they just left for a while and saved the day.
Ash has a sudden realization; he tells Mina that as she had wanted to do something new with her music for a while, this would be the perfect opportunity. Catching on, Mina realizes she can use her music to make a statement and make people aware of the situation. Ash agrees, saying they'll be able to wake people up with a new sound. Her tears diminishing, Mina grabs Ash by the hand and leads him off, wanting to start right away.
In the lab, Sonic asks NICOLE to power up the Star Posts leading to the Special Zone. Sonic again says he feels a little bad acting on pretense; Geoffrey replies "whatever it takes to preserve the kingdom." Sonic thinks Geoffrey's attitude is boring, and then asks how Hershey's doing, commenting that he hasn't seen her in a while. To Sonic's surprise, Geoffrey goes silent, frowning. Then he smiles and says that Hershey's doing fine but that she's deep under cover, adding "I won't be seeing her for a while." Sonic finds that understandable. NICOLE informs the two that the Star Posts are now online, and Sonic tells Geoffrey to brace himself, as the Special Zone can be "intense." Having read reports, Geoffrey is sure he can handle it...and finds himself shocked when he steps through the portal. The two have arrived on a small planetoid, and are caught by surprise when an angry Feist grabs the entire orb in his hand. The godlike being does not want to "tolerate an infestation of mortals" but a panicked Sonic quickly tries to remind him who he is, and Feist eventually calms. Feist assumes they have come for another Chaos Emerald and prepares to offer a challenge, but says that if they do not abide by his rules and attempt to defy him "as the others did" he will punish them. Sonic quickly agrees, wondering who else had gotten access to the Zone. Geoffrey, catching on to things, asks Feist if he likes games; he then suggests that he pit Sonic and himself against each other to make things more interesting. Feist is pleased by this, but Sonic isn't; Geoffrey assures him that it should still be an easy task and that it placates Feist. Playfully trading insults, Sonic and Geoffrey bump fists and then prepare to set off for the challenge; navigating a winding path and reaching the purple Chaos Emerald at the end. Sonic tells Geoffrey "May the best super-speedy hedgehog win" and takes off like a shot; unbeknown to him, Geoffrey stays put. The skunk watches as Sonic navigates the treacherous path with ease. Just before Sonic reaches the emerald, Geoffrey calmly pulls out a dart of sorts and loads his wrist-mounted crossbow. Sonic, with the emerald in tow, quickly returns, unimpressed that Geoffrey didn't even try. Geoffrey, in return, shoots Sonic with a stunning dart; he tells the frozen-but-furious hedgehog he didn't need to, and then boots Sonic from the planetoid and into the abyss. Feist is delighted by this treacherous act, and Geoffrey takes the emerald and walks through the portal.
In Freedom HQ, NICOLE attempts to get someone's attention but Geoffrey ignores her. He passes by Mina's room, where she and Ash are practicing music. Strapping the emerald to his back, he gets on his motorcycle and leaves, approaching but then driving past New Mobotropolis. Instead, he arrives at Casino Night. He approaches one of the staff members, Scratch, and demands to meet his boss. Another staff member, Coconuts, appears alongside two SWATbots and tells the skunk, "Nobody sees Mister Mogul without an appointment."
Not long afterwards, Geoffrey bursts into a room, holding a beaten and battered Coconuts before him, who feebly announces "Y-y-your eleven o'clock is here, sir." Sitting behind his desk, Mammoth Mogul calmly notes Geoffrey's arrival and the Chaos Emerald with him, dryly commenting, "I'm not sure if we have enough chips to exchange for that." Geoffrey replies that he's there to barter, not gamble. Mogul is unimpressed; he says that as he's retired from "daily antagonism and malevolence" he has no need for a second Chaos Emerald. Geoffrey replies that the emerald isn't for him, but rather that it's needed for his mission, and that Mogul has the last thing he needs. Mogul wonders what this mission is, and Geoffrey tells him, "To restore the so called true king to the throne." As they speak, they look over to the chained and unaware Ixis Naugus...
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils: Tracy Yardley
- Inks: Terry Austin
- Colors: Matt Herms
- Letters: John Workman
After exiting an orbital elevator, Sonic and Tails are greeted by an announcement welcoming them to Dr. Eggman's "not-at-all-sinister" interstellar amusement park. Tails is woozy from the elevator ride, though Sonic merely found it "kinda slow." He announces it is time to find out what Eggman's planning to do with this new amusement park. He then notices Orbot and Cubot chasing a number of small, strange creatures, trying to capture them. Sonic rushes ahead and snatches a number of the creatures from their clutches, not sure as to what is happening, but also not wanting to see them mistreated. To his surprise, one of the creatures suddenly seems to dissolve - and Sonic realizes he has somehow absorbed its power. Curious to see what he can do, he suddenly launches into an incredibly fast, laser-like attack, destroying several of the nearby robots.
Orbot and Cubot are shocked and decide that it is time for them to escape. The small creature reappears and Sonic is impressed with its ability. Another creature attempts to communicate with him, and although Sonic is able to gather that it is quite a talker, he cannot understand him. Tails suggests that he might be able to attune his handheld device so that they can understand the creatures, and soon comes up with an awkward, confusing translation. Then, with some adjustments, he clarifies what was said: Dr. Eggman had captured the creatures' planet in order to give himself a special supply of fuel. Sonic figures that makes more sense, comparatively, and attempts to reassure the "little talktative ghostly-alien guy" (Tails interrupts, informing him that the alien's name is Yacker and that he is of a race called "Wisps"). Sonic says that he will save Yacker's planet and the Wisps, adding that, with their powers, they will likely be able to offer a hand. He races off, saying, "Then let's get this show on the road!"
Geoffrey St. John's status in the comic series as being "bad" or "good" is compared, from replacing Sally with a robot clone (which Sally wanted), to bullying then-Prince Elias into carrying out his actions (to help advise the Prince). Then, Geoffrey's former rivalry with Sonic is looked at as having changed to a friendship. Finally, Sonic asks Geoffrey "Whose side are you on?!" Geoffrey grins and replies "There's no fun in telling. YOOOOOOOU'LL SEE!"
- Sonic: Aw, that's so sweet. What would Hershey think?
- Geoffrey: She knows you're not my type. Which is to say you're vacuous and narcissistic.
- Sonic: Quiet, you'll make me blush--
- Mina: ...and Nicole! Running every single thing in the city with those little nanite-things! Beds eating people! Trees snatching you right off the street! She was everywhere!
- Mogul: Commander St. John, is it? And with a Chaos Emerald, no less. I'm not sure if we have enough chips to exchange for that.
- This issue contains an In Another Time, In Another Place adaptation of Sonic Colors.
- Feist's challenge in this issue appears to be based on the half-pipe Special Stage seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 video game, complete with floating mines.
- In one scene while Sonic is running through the course, he is drawn without his ears.
- The tune Sonic "sings" when he claims the purple Chaos Emerald is a reference to the classic "successfully acquired emerald" jingle from the Sonic games.
- Bivalve of the Forty Fathom Freedom Fighters makes a third cameo appearance on a monitor in the Freedom HQ's lab after Geoffrey exits the Special Zone.
- Posters from both of Mina's bands, the Forget Me Knots and the Knothole Knuts, appear in her room.
- Despite appearing on the cover, Elias Acorn does not appear in this issue, although he does appear in the Off Panel.
- The issue marks the first, but not true appearance of Orbot and Cubot in the comics, as these are versions from an alternate reality. Their Prime Zone counterparts would not be introduced until Sonic Universe #37.
- In the Sonic Colors story, in the panel that all the Wisps are shown, the Violet Wisp is missing.
- In the United Kingdom, "Sonic Colors" was printed in All About... #73 and as a digital comic accessible through the QR code feature in Pedigree's Sonic Interactive Annual.
- at Sonic Retro