The Dream Zone
- King Acorn's condition is worsening, and even the savvy DOCTOR QUACK can't seem to find a cure! It seems the only hope is the "Electro-Ecellographic Memory Inducer," which will allow Sonic to travel into the King's dreaming mind to communicate! Can Sonic somehow convince the King to fight the crystalization process that's ravaging his body? Or is the whole plan just a pipe dream?
The Dream Zone
- Writer: Ken Penders
- Pencils: Manny Galan and Patrick Spaziante
- Inks: Harvey Mercadoocasio
- Letters: Jeff Powell
- Colors: Barry Grossman
- Editor: Justin Freddy Gabrie
- Managing editor: Victor Gorelick
- Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Dr. Quack storms through the hospital, passing Sonic and Tails as he heads to the room where King Maximillian Acorn is being monitored. He is fondly greeted by Sally, and then greets Rotor, whose presence he requested in his efforts to alleviate the King's condition. Using their new Cell Regenerator, the two attempt to prevent the King from transforming any further, but with no apparent effect. Quack remarks that they will have to wait for any results, and grants Sally permission to stay with her father. Sonic is skeptical about Quack's abilities, perhaps unknowingly provoking King Acorn's memories of an argument he and Sally had as children.
As the memory continues, the King breaks up the argument and then begins speaking with Warlord Julian, soon to be known as Dr. Ivo Robotnik. He announces his intention to appoint Julian Minister of Science, and gives him permission to begin dismantling the kingdom's military force. A thrilled Julian gives orders to Snively, and without warning the city is flooded with attacking robots. Sonic and Sally spot the trouble, and are led to safety by Julayla while Robotnik confronts the King and informs him that he is taking over. Renaming the city Robotropolis and himself Robotnik, he reveals that his SWATbots have struck throughout the city to eliminate resistance, leaving the Royal Family as the only threat. He then orders the King banished to the Zone of Silence, while a pair of onlookers watch in horror.
Back in the outside world, Geoffrey St. John arrives in the King's room looking for Sally, prompting Sonic's ire but Sally's apparent happiness to see him. Sonic expresses his dislike of the Skunk once again, while Dr. Quack enters to check on the King, learning from Sally that the King is apparently bothered by something. The doctor remarks that he can probably at least guess what is happening, while Sonic fakes astonishment only to be berated by Sally and insulted by Geoffrey. Quack then remarks that the King appears to be in some sort of daze, leading back into his memories.
Having taken the King prisoner, Robotnik treats him to the horror of the Roboticizer. Declaring the King an enemy he believes must be eliminated, he takes him to the Zone of Silence portal, asking that he give Ixis Naugus and Kodos his regards. King Acorn vows vengeance as he is sent flying into the Zone, while in the real world he screams at the memory of his defeat. Quack determines that he is having some sort of nightmare in connection with remembering his true past, prompting Sally to ask if anything can be done to relieve his agony. Quack unveils his Electro-Encellographic Memory Inducer, known less formally as the Dream Watcher, which will allow someone to communicate with King Acorn in the Dream Zone. He then reveals the risk, as any complications might leave whoever uses the device trapped, but asks for volunteers. It comes down to Sonic and Geoffrey, who flip a coin, with Sonic winning the toss and going under in order to enter the Dream Zone.
Sonic finds himself in an area that looks like the Zone of Silence, where he is greeted by a surprised King Acorn. Still caught up in his memories, the King believes that Sonic has been exiled to the Zone with him, and questions whether Sally is safe. The King then determines that they must find a way to escape, only for the two to be menaced by a figure from the past: Warlord Kodos, who begins attacking the pair. As Sonic tries to aid the King, he is hit by a bolt of power, and looks up to find that all three of them are being threatened by the towering figure who announces himself as Feist. Kodos then confronts him, but is defeated easily, leaving Sonic and King Acorn to be menaced by the giant.
Sonic attempts to convince the King that what they are experiencing isn't real, telling him what is really going on. The King refuses to believe him at first, but calms down as Sonic continues to explain, and upon recognizing the truth is astonished as Feist disappears back into his memory. The King then questions what has happened since he lost his memory, and Sonic reveals the effects of Robotnik's tyranny and the Freedom Fighters' efforts against him. He then beseeches the King to help them, and the King agrees only for Sonic to disappear from before his eyes. Sonic and the King both then come to their senses back in the real world, with the crystallization process halted. A grateful Sally kisses Sonic on the cheek while Quack escorts the King from the room while Tails inquires about Sonic's adventure.
- Badnik Horde
- SWATbot (flashback)
- Dr. Quack (first appearance)
- Dr. Ivo Robotnik (flashback)
- Feist (first appearance) (fantasy)
- Geoffrey St. John
- Julayla Chipmunk (flashback)
- Knothole Freedom Fighters
- Kodos Lion (first appearance) (fantasy)
- Maximillian Acorn
- Sir Charles Hedgehog (flashback)
- Snively Robotnik (flashback)
- Artifacts of Acorn
- Chili dog (mentioned) (flashback)
- Destroyer (flashback) (only appearance)
- Dream Watcher (only appearance)
- Roboticizer (flashback)
- Sonic's sneakers
- Figure-Eight Peel-Out
- Minister of Science (mentioned)
- Regeneration Ray (only appearance)
- Roboticization (flashback) (mentioned)
- Feist is introduced in this issue, though as a dream figure; he does not appear in reality until Sonic the Hedgehog #170.
- The flashbacks in this story are very similar to the events from the Sonic the Hedgehog TV series' episode "Blast to the Past" parts one and two.
- Dr. Quack's Electio-Encellographis Memory Inducer appears to be a reference to The Riddler's invention, "The Box", from the film Batman Forever.
- Art: Patrick Spaziante
Dr. Robotnik tells the readers to send in fan mail so that he can use the letters as fuel for his fireplace.
- The artwork used for this Off Panel is an edited panel from Sonic & Knuckles: Mecha Madness Special.