Hmph. Flawless technique.
— Espio the Chameleon, Sonic the Hedgehog #17
Espio the Chameleon is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing. He is an anthropomorphic chameleon, who mainly serves as a ninja spy, and a member of the Chaotix, a trio of detectives. He is currently the new lead detective of the group, promoted by Vector.
Espio is a purple, anthropomorphic chameleon with a yellow horn between his eyes, golden eyes and a ridge of three black scales down his spine and a coiled tail. He wears dark purple and black shoes with elaborate cuffs, white gloves with a purple back, and studded bands around his wrists and ankles.
After Dr. Eggman vanished, Espio and the Chaotix Detective Agency were hired by the Resistance to look for the doctor so that they could bring him to justice. After finding no trace of him in the ruins of Imperial City, the Chaotix located Cubot and Orbot and interrogated them, only to learn that they knew nothing. Finding no trace of an escape plan on Eggman's computer either, the Chaotix searched Eggman's other bases, only to find nothing but trouble. Espio himself had to avoid E-106 Eta at one point during their search.
Eventually, the Chaotix found Eggman in an idyllic village after receiving an anonymous tip on the doctor's whereabouts. However, it seemed like Eggman had lost his memory, having lost all recollections of his evil deeds and ambitions, leading to him becoming a productive member of the village, now with the name of "Mr. Tinker". With the majority of them doubting Eggman's condition, the Chaotix spent the next couple of days interrogating and observing Eggman, only to conclude that his amnesia was legit. However, this presented the Chaotix with a new dilemma: whether or not it was right to penalize Eggman for his past crimes now that he was a good man.
The Fate of Dr. Eggman
Eventually, the Chaotix called for Sonic to come and help them solve their problem, with Espio himself heading out to escort Sonic. Upon meeting up with Sonic however, they had to clear out some Badniks attacking them. Afterward, Espio brought Sonic to Eggman's village while telling him of what the Chaotix had been through. After Sonic got to meet the amnesiac Eggman, Espio, Sonic, Vector and the village's head began discussing what to do with Eggman. However, when a horde of Badniks, whom the heroes believed had come for Eggman, neared the village, Espio and the Choatix went to intercept them while Sonic confronted Eggman. Sonic soon after joined Espio and co. in clearing out the Badniks though, before telling them that Eggman wanted nothing to do with his old robots. Believing now that Eggman was indeed a changed man, the heroes settled on leaving Eggman to his new life. As Espio got ready to depart with his friends though, Shadow and Rouge showed up, the former seeking to eliminate Eggman after hearing him mention Eggman Land.
When Sonic and Shadow began fighting, Espio and his crew planned to help Sonic, only to see that they could not keep up with them. Due to this, they turned their attention to Rouge. However, Rouge revealed that she was on their side. As it turned out, Shadow was already looking for Eggman, and would have hurt the Chaotix if they got in his way. As such, she gave the Chaotix the anonymous tip that led them to Eggman so they would have time to verify Eggman's situation and bring in Sonic before she "helped" Shadow find Eggman. Afterward, Espio and his crew tried to stop Shadow from getting to Eggman, but failed. Fortunately, Shadow had been convinced by Sonic to talk to the amnesiac Eggman first. After Eggman showed Shadow that his "Eggman Land" was but an amusement park for children, Espio saw Shadow and Rouge take their leave.
Battle For Angel Island
Eventually, Espio and his teammates were called to Resistance HQ. There, they and the Resistance's other allies were informed that the Resistance needed their help to liberate Angel Island, which had been conquered by Neo Metal Sonic and turned into a flying fortress. To make matters worse, Neo had also secured the Master Emerald for himself on the island. Eventually, Espio was assigned to help two of the assembled group's factions with breaking the Egg Fleet's control over Angel Island while Sonic and Knuckles confronted Neo Metal Sonic.
On the way to Angel Island, Espio spent the time playing cards. As soon as their ship approached Angel Island however, the Egg Fleet shot it down. Fortunately, Espio and his allies got off the ship before it crashed. Landing then on Angel Island, Espio and his team were instructed to "do [their] thing" and began battling the island's legion of Egg Pawns. Eventually, Espio and his team began focusing on destroying the right wing unit that had been attached to Angel Island, but they were unable to make much progress until Tails hijacked an Egg Fleet battleship and began bombarding the wing unit with it. As the wing unit fell apart, Espio was carried to the battleship Tails had secured by Charmy. When Master Overlord (a transformation Neo Metal Sonic had achieved with the Master Emerald) then attacked the battleship, Espio joined his allies in a midair assault on Master Overlord, whom they forced closer to Angel Island (which was in freefall due to the absence of the Master Emerald) while Knuckles focused on removing the Master Emerald from Master Overlord's body. During the battle, Espio got shaken off Master Overlord, but was rescued by Silver with his psychokinesis. Knuckles subsequently got the Master Emerald away from Master Overlord and brought it back to Angel Island, returning the island to the sky while Master Overlord powered down to normal. With the battle over, Espio was brought down on Angel Island where he took a break alongside his teammates.
As everyone got ready to leave Angel Island onboard a repaired Egg Fleet battleship, Espio and his team went to see Amy to collect their payment for their services, which included finding Dr. Eggman, uncovering the identity of the doctor's impersonator, and helping bring down Metal Sonic, with Espio insisting that their reward should be substantial. Being unprepared for the request, Amy tried insisting that being part of the Resistance was its own reward.
Espio and his team were later in their office in Seaside City when they received news from Tails about the latest events. As it turned out, Dr. Eggman had returned and had begun using a Metal Virus to change people into Zombots. In addition, Sonic had been infected with the Metal Virus and now had to run excessively to keep his disease in check. Soon after, a Zombot entered the Chaotix's office. Espio threw a kunai at it, but it just bounced off the Zombot. Having no choice, the Chaotix decided to withdraw from their building, hoping that they could hide in the city. However, the city had already been covered in a Zombot outbreak. The heroes also noticed Eggman's Faceship in the distance, which was dropping the Metal Virus into the city. The Chaotix then decided to split up and help evacuate the survivors to the docks. Along the way, Charmy distracted the Zombots while Espio tied them up with a rope attached to his kunai. When Espio and Charmy later led a group of survivors down to the docks, one of the survivors was revealed to have already been partially infected by the Metal Virus. Having no choice, Vector trapped the civilian inside a makeshift cage made of cars, which Charmy did not like. Regardless, Espio tried to convince him that there was no other choice. After reaching the docks, Espio helped Vector hold off the Zombots while the survivors got onboard a Rescue Shuttle. Suddenly however, Charmy flew back into the city to save the one that Vector had trapped in the car cage. Espio tried to catch him with a rope attached to a kunai, but it was caught by a Zombot. Espio then stopped Vector from following Charmy into the city, as he stood no chance of not getting infected himself. Having no choice, Espio and Vector retreated to the Rescue Shuttle, leaving Charmy's fate in Sonic's hands.
After Espio and Vector reached Restoration HQ, they began regular shifts to find survivors and supplies while also looking for Charmy. Just as the duo were beginning another shift, they met up with Sonic who was not able to find their partner. Espio then asked when was the last time Sonic slept, to which he replied that he could only afford small naps or the virus would take over completely. After this, the trio said their goodbyes to each other.
The Last Minute
Following a mission for refugees in Pine Grove Village, Espio and Vector managed to find a now fully-infected Charmy and successfully encased him in a Containment Bubble before returning to Restoration HQ. This caused a fight to break out between Vector and Gemerl, who was demanding for the Zombot to be left out of the building. Unwilling to abandon Charmy a second time, Vector refused and promised to look after him, but Gemerl persisted. Before the fight could escalate further, Cream managed to separate the two from each other and helped persuade the robot of Vector's plan; they would store Charmy in Tails' lab with Omega until Tails returned with the cure to the virus so they could have immediate access and return the bee to normal.
Moments later, a villager (who had hidden his infection using a blanket) turned into a Zombot and caused panic to break out among the survivors. The tumult caused Charmy's Containment Bubble to crack and unleash the Zombot in full force. Espio quickly pressed a button to sound the alarm, which led to Amy authorizing an evacuation. He then went to launch bay to help survivors board the Rescue Shuttles but found out that only one pilot made it out in time. By the time Amy and Cream arrived, Espio guided the latter into the ship. As Vector and Gemerl were about to seal the gate to the launch bay, Charmy managed to slip through and flew past both of them, aiming for the last remaining Rescue Shuttle. Upon realizing what had happened, Vector immediately leapt at his friend and forced him to the ground, getting infected himself in the process, much to the surprise of Espio. Knowing that he was lost to the virus, a determined Vector grabbed Charmy and forced his way through incoming Zombots, pushing them back into the base. As Espio and Amy watched on in horror, Vector requested Gemerl to close the door behind him. Turning around to his friends, the crocodile smilingly declared Espio the new lead detective before disappearing behind the gates. Espio looked on stunned with tears in his eyes but he was helped up by Amy and they all took off in the ship.
After picking up Tails, Tangle, Whisper and the uninfected citizens of Central City, the Rescue Shuttle next went to Spiral Hill Village after they learned from Tangle that the village was hit by the Metal Virus. While Espio, Tangle and Whisper distracted the Zombots, Tails and Cream helped get survivors to the shuttle. Soon, when the chameleon seemingly found himself cornered by a horde of Zombots, Sonic rushed into action and beat the Zombots back. Espio went on to explain the current situation in Spiral Hill Village; when Sonic asked where Vector was, the chameleon told him that they had found Charmy and had him contained. Espio felt that the situation was his fault as he believed he should not have let Vector bring Charmy back to Restoration HQ. However, Espio also angrily pointed out that he should not have let Sonic convince him to leave Eggman alone in Windmill Village. While Sonic argued that it was not Eggman and they did not know that Starline would turn him back into his evil self, Espio told him that they would not have had to worry should they have dealt with him earlier. Sonic went on to ask if they should then never give second chances to anyone, leaving him and Espio to have an intense stare at each other. Not wanting to prolong the events, Espio wished to continue the mission, which Sonic agreed with. Later, when it was time to retreat, Espio was found by Tails and informed of Amy's order. Soon, Sonic arrived at the shuttle, only to bring the bad news that Tangle had been infected. While Espio and the others became distressed over hearing this, Whisper became hysterical and attempted to rush back into the village after her; after she was dragged back into the shuttle by her Wisps, Amy gave the order for the shuttle to take-off and leave the village.
All or Nothing
The Rescue Shuttle soon landed on Angel Island as a final safe haven. Later on, as Amy and Tails explained what was happening on the world below to Knuckles, Espio got word from Rouge who had infiltrated the Faceship. Espio alerted the others to come back onto the shuttle where he kept an eye on Dr. Starline. Rouge reported that Eggman had been powering the Faceship with the Chaos Emeralds, which Zavok had now distributed to the rest of his team and then sent them out into the world. She went on to say that she was now coordinating with Orbot to spy on their deployments and coordinate their counterattack. An argument soon arose between Tails and Eggman about a cure for the Metal Virus, to which the doctor clarified that he did not need to have one as his research found that as the Metal Virus mutated, it became unsustainable; soon, every Zombot would disintegrate approximately two hundred years into the future. An injured Silver came onboard and confirmed this claim as it described his current future well. Later outside, Espio and the others tried to come up with ideas on how to counteract the virus. Espio suggested using Chaos Control, only for Silver to state that Shadow was better at it than him and the move only moved a target over a limited range and could not change things. Eggman instead came up with the idea to use the Warp Topaz, as if they had Super Sonic charge it with his power, they would be able to warp the virus away with one swoop. Starline protested against it due to its instability and decided to leave and create a solution on his own; instead, Eggman, with Metal Sonic's help, removed Starline's glove that had the Warp Topaz attached to it, fired him and had him thrown out via a Warp Portal. Following this, Eggman surmised that Rouge would be able to steal the two Emeralds that were on the Faceship from Zavok; Espio noted that it left five Zeti left to deal with but Silver felt confident that they would be able to overwhelm them so long as they had each other. The group realized that they would have to split up and ambush the Deadly Six all at once since there was a risk that one could contact the others should they get a sense of their plan. While Eggman thought to work on a "Multi-Portal Generator" to help the others reach their destinations, Tails thought it would be best if everyone had a backup in case someone turned into a Zombot; from this, Amy decided to call in the Babylon Rogues to increase their numbers.
Espio watched Tails and Eggman build their Multi-Portal Generator with the Warp Topaz that would take everyone where they needed to go in an instant. Sonic returned from his run and had come up with a plan for who should be assigned with who and what Zeti they should go after. He claimed it would be best for Espio and Knuckles to take on Zazz as this Zeti was a berserker and they were the best trained fighters. However, Knuckles went against this, saying that since everyone was going off on a "suicide mission" and Sonic was in no place to fight, that would leave Eggman and Metal Sonic alone with the Master Emerald. Sonic initially questioned this paranoia, but went with it as he remembered the history that he and Eggman shared of working together and getting stabbed in the back by him in the end. Espio stated that he would be alright going alone, as he already had a tactic in mind. Later, Espio showed Knuckles how little survivors they managed to save. Worried that there was a chance that they could fail, Espio began to fear what could happen if he did not defeat Zazz. Knuckles denied this and told him that if things went south, he would look after the survivors. After Tails and Eggman finally set the coordinates on the portals, Espio headed off to Riverside. He found Zazz riding around on his Moon Mech decided to latch onto it while invisible. He attempted to reach for the Emerald but he was unexpectedly sniffed out by the Zeti; Zazz grabbed the chameleon and dropped him onto the ground where he was surrounded by Zombots.
Espio is a serious and disciplined ninja warrior and detective with a distinct sense of wariness. He is likewise a wise, intelligent and soulful character, and has an excellent drive to all that he does, always being very thorough with his assignments. While having a no-nonsense attitude, he also has a bit of an ego which makes him elaborate on stories about his work that go nowhere in order to make his listeners understand how hard he has been working. He is also reluctant to admit his shortcomings.
Espio usually maintains a reserved demeanor. Beneath this surface however is a burning sense of justice and a refusal to let evil have its way. This is best exemplified in how he wanted Dr. Eggman to stand trial for his past actions when the doctor was seemingly amnesiac and had apparently turned over a new leaf.
Powers and abilities
Being a chameleon, Espio can change his color scheme to match his environment, which is so effective that he is rendered practically invisible. Being a skilled ninja, he is also a master of stealth which combined with his camouflaging abilities makes him virtually undetectable. Like a real lizard, Espio is also able to climb along any surface and stick to them.
Thanks to his ninja skills, Espio is proficient with several forms of ninja-based weaponry. He is especially a master of throwing kunai and shuriken stars, capable of striking targets with pin-point accuracy without even looking at them.
- Blaze the Cat
- Cream the Rabbit
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Silver the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Team Dark
- Vanilla the Rabbit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Head writer Ian Flynn has revealed on Twitter that Espio's measurements are the same as those of his game counterpart.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Sonic the Hedgehog #5, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 1"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sonic the Hedgehog #12, "The Cost of the Battle for Angel Island"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #6, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 2"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Sonic the Hedgehog #9, "The Battle for Angel Island, Part 1"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sonic the Hedgehog #10, "The Battle for Angel Island, Part 2"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #11, "The Battle for Angel Island, Part 3"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #17, "Plague"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #20, "Crisis City, Part 2"
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Sonic the Hedgehog #22, "The Last Minute, Part 2"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #24, "The Last One Out"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #25, "A Sudden Shift"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #26, "All or Nothing, Part 1"