Espio the Chameleon is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. He is a Mobian chameleon who resides in Rainbow Valley on Angel Island, and also a member of the Dragon Kingdom's Shinobi Clan. He is one of the original members of the Chaotix and his ability to camouflage makes him a formidable opponent. While he tends to prefer performing missions on his own, Espio also works well as a team player in the Chaotix. Espio was the first denizen of Knothole to be captured by Dr. Eggman and transported to the Egg Grape Chambers but was subsequently rescued during the rescue effort by Sonic the Hedgehog, Nicole and others, leading to his taking up residence in New Mobotropolis. Following the defeat of Dr. Eggman, Espio was forced to leave the Chaotix as the leader of his clan surrendered to the Bride of Four Houses and ordered him to serve her. However, the Shinobi Clan later broke ties with the Iron Dominion, and Espio rejoined his friends on Angel Island.
Espio is a purple chameleon with a yellow horn on his head. Initially, his appearance in the comic was based on that of the earlier video games; he wore green, black and yellow shoes with simple white gloves and had a ridge of teal/green scales down his spine and coiled tail. Like many in the comic's earlier days, he was given light blue eyes.
With the release of Sonic Heroes, the character design was updated and so the comic matched his new appearance; his skin became a brighter purple and his eyes are now gold. He now wears dark purple and black shoes with more elaborate cuffs and studded bands around the wrists and ankles. The scales on his back were reduced to three and are now black in color. However, they are still occasionally miscolored various shades of green, as are his eyes (though less frequently). Some artists seem to have some difficulty in properly rendering the shape of his crest and the back of his head; additionally, early on, his horn was more likely to be placed much higher on his face, though these mistakes have become far less common.
Espio was born into the Shinobi Clan as the son of the Bride of Constant Vigil, leader of the clan. He resided in the Dragon Kingdom in his youth, but eventually left and settled on Angel Island with the chameleon community in Rainbow Valley. His purpose in going was to observe Knuckles on behalf of the Bride of Constant Vigil, as other Chameleons had observed Knuckles' forebears. His orders required that he observe Knuckles and report any "dangerous" decisions he made to the Shinobi; he was only to reveal himself if the situation were dire. In his duties, he was instructed by his predecessor Valdez, who had observed Knuckles' father Locke.
Joining the Chaotix
Deeming the situation necessary, Espio joined the Chaotix when Dr. Ivo Robotnik's lackey Renfield T. Rodent had successfully captured the Knothole Freedom Fighters in the House of Mirrors section of Happy Land theme park. Knuckles the Echidna, requiring assistance to defeat Metal Sonic, enlisted the help of Espio along with the rest of the group that became members of the Chaotix: Vector the Crocodile, Charmy Bee, and Mighty the Armadillo, along with one-time members Heavy and Bomb. After successfully capturing Renfield T. Rodent and forcing Robotnik to flee, Espio became a regular member of the Chaotix; despite his orders, the group eventually became his friends.
Though uneventful at first, the position led him and his teammates to be captured by the mysterious Archimedes. Transported to the Grand Conservatory, Espio and the others learned Archimedes' true identity as Knuckles searched for them. All of them were soon menaced by Enerjak, a distant relative of Knuckles' gone mad with the absorption of eleven Chaos Emeralds. Espio and the other Chaotix were brainwashed by Enerjak, and forced to fight Knuckles and Archimedes after the latter two returned from being exiled to Sandopolis. Fortunately, Knuckles was able to overpower his out-of-sorts allies and defeat Enerjak, releasing them from his control.
When Knuckles departed Angel Island briefly to help stop Mecha Sonic, a Roboticized version of Sonic the Hedgehog, Espio and the other Chaotix were attacked by a group of criminals known as the Fearsome Foursome. Engaging Lightning Lynx, Espio was briefly surprised by his attacker's superior senses, but proved more than a match for him and his teammate Sergeant Simian with some help from Mighty. The heroes were then attacked by the Fearsome Foursome's employer, Mammoth Mogul, who wanted to steal Angel Island's Chaos Emeralds. Luckily, Espio and the others proved too much for the villains, and forced them to flee.
During Operation: EndGame, a framed Sonic ran into Espio while being chased by Knuckles and Geoffrey St. John (the 2 believed that Sonic killed Sally), leaving Sonic trapped. Despite Geoffrey's orders to hand over Sonic to him, they refused due to Knuckles refusing to take orders from Geoffrey. Sonic was only saved when Dulcy appeared and told the group that Sonic was telling the truth due to dragons being able to detect lies. He then released Sonic due to Knuckles' orders.
The Chaotix faced no major threats again until after the Ultimate Annihilator erased the barrier between Mobius Prime and the Twilight Cage, freeing the Dark Legion, a group of cyborg Echidnas founded by Dimitri's descendants, to begin their campaign of domination. After battling these enemies valiantly, the Chaotix were able to drive them from their headquarters. However, they soon faced the return of some old foes, Mammoth Mogul and the Fearsome Foursome. Using his magic, Mogul disguised his minions as members of the Freedom Fighters to trick the Chaotix and the Chaotix to trick the Freedom Fighters, all in a bid to lay hands on the Sword of Acorns that Knuckles had recently retrieved. Though initially the two forces were fooled, Sally Acorn and Archimedes were able to cease the infighting and get the two groups to cooperate. Espio joined the others in attacking and defeating the Fearsome Foursome and Mammoth Mogul, only for the latter to escape with the Sword. Espio, however, soon found himself faced with other problems: the return of the city of Echidnaopolis and the uneasy alliance between the Chaotix and a rogue Dark Legionnaire named Julie-Su.
Once the Echidnaopolis crisis had been resolved, Espio joined his friends in exploring the city, often hanging out at the local food court. Not long after Enerjak, aided anonymously by Mammoth Mogul, returned to seek his revenge. Seemingly betrayed by Julie-Su, Espio and the others were taken prisoner by the Dark Legion, who had fallen under the command of their ancestral hero. Espio, along with Vector and Mighty, was then left to die in the desert, though he tolerated it better than the armadillo did. Rescued by Knuckles, they returned to Echidnaopolis just in time to save Dimitri from death after Mammoth Mogul used the Sword of Acorns to drain his powers. Espio joined in the fight against the newly empowered Master Mogul, but the day was only saved when Hyper Knuckles, Super Sonic, and Turbo Tails defeated Mogul, while Locke and Sabre sealed him in the new Master Emerald.
While Knuckles left to aid the Lost Tribe of Echidnas, Espio and the Chaotix were deputized by Echidna Security Team Constable Remington; Julie-Su, freed from prison, was assigned to work with them. Espio thought she could be trusted, reasoning that while she was with the Legion she had the opportunity to kill them but didn't. The group was sent to investigate their old enemy Renfield T. Rodent, who had refurbished his old theme park and begun tainting the food with an experimental seasoning designed to cause addiction and thus bring patrons back for more. Renfield accidentally put too much of the ingredient into some of his food, and the resulting overdose killed Charmy's friend Mello. The Chaotix themselves ended up succumbing to the same overdose while investigating the park and were hospitalized; Espio was the third to recover. He, Mighty and Vector soon learned that Remington and Julie-Su were attempting to bring Ebony Hare, the man working with Renfield, to justice; when Ebony attempted to shoot Julie-Su, he was ambushed by an invisible Espio. The crooks were soon arrested.
Battling the Dark Legion and Eggman Empire
Following Knuckles' return, Espio and the rest of the Chaotix found themselves with no enemies to fight for a time. That ended when the Dark Legion resurfaced yet again, this time attempting to seize control of Angel Island through crooked politics; their plans soon failed. Not long after, Espio received a letter announcing Charmy Bee's engagement to Saffron Bee and shared the news with his friends; this lead to him running a bet against Vector that the later would be able to get a date in time for Knuckles' upcoming birthday party, which they all later attended. Espio was among those attempting to help when Knuckles found himself switching bodies with Sonic due to a team-up between the Dark Legion and Robotnik.
When the Master Emerald was shattered, Angel Island crashed near País Misterioso, and Espio was soon captured by the cats, leading to the imprisonment of the rest of the Chaotix. It was only Locke's timely intervention that resulted in them being freed.
In his early plans for the Floating Island, Dr. Eggman managed to capture Valdez, a member of the Secret Service and Espio's friend. The newly roboticized Valdez arrived in Rainbow Valley and captured many of the local chameleons, including Espio and Valdez' shared acquaintance Liza. He proceeded to use extortion and threats of roboticization to force Espio into leading Robotnik's troops to the island's Chaos Emerald. With little choice, Espio was eventually forced to trick and destroy Valdez, deciding that after his actions he was no longer his old friend. Soon Espio was up against the Dark Legion again, but this time he and the Chaotix, except for Julie-Su, were all transported to the Twilight Cage by the Quantum Beam.
Espio was soon brought back to Mobius, together with the other natives of Angel Island, by Chaos Knuckles. Having little to do with the attempted reunification of the Echidnas, he played an equally small role in Chaos Knuckles' battle with Mammoth Mogul, which resulted in Knuckles' death. Like the other Chaotix, he was present at Knuckles' funeral. Soon afterwards, the other Chaotix found themselves telling a grieving Julie-Su stories of their early days with Knuckles, though Espio was silent about his own past. Espio was quick to join the assembled forces against the alien Xorda, and there was witness to Knuckles' miraculous return.
After the Xorda
When Sonic returned from his year in outer space, he discovered Espio to show great discipline and proficiency in ninja arts including the use of throwing knives and shuriken, non-camouflaged stealth, and close-quarters combat. He used these skills while infiltrating the Eggman-converted Golden Hive Colony with Nicole to learn what became of Charmy Bee's people. After discovering that there were no survivors present, Espio set the place to self-destruct, figuring that if Charmy could not have his home, Eggman would not either. Later, during the wedding of Antoine D'Coolette and Bunnie Rabbot, Espio infiltrated the heart of the Eggman Empire, discovering the Egg Beater battle suit and plans to attack Knothole. As he raced to escape so that he could warn the others, he was eventually cornered, captured and sent to the Egg Grape Chambers. However, when Knuckles was starting to get worried about Espio, Knothole was attacked. During Eggman's destruction of Knothole, all of the other members of the Chaotix and the inhabitants of Knothole were teleported to the Egg Grape Chamber. However, he and the rest of the Knothole Mobians were soon rescued by Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Amy Rose, and NICOLE and were teleported to New Mobotropolis. Following this, Espio went with Knuckles and the rest of the Chaotix to help him overcome his guilt earned while he was Enerjak.
In the aftermath of the Enerjak crisis, Espio and the rest of the Chaotix launched an assault on New Megaopolis to take out the Dark Egg Legion and destroy one of Dr. Eggman's communications relays, in which they succeeded. Later, after the Suppression Squad's defeat, Espio and the Chaotix joined in the confrontation with the Eggman Empire. During the assault, both he and Mighty were trapped by the Legion's laser fire and found themselves being saved by Charmy, Saffron, and Ray. When the Chaotix and Freedom Fighters came across a strange barricade made of debris, Espio investigated the one opening within the wall, reporting that it seemed to be wide enough for a single person at a time, leading it to be suspected as a trap. After Mighty and Bunnie later broke through it, Espio and the others entered to find Eggman defeated and they all returned to New Mobotropolis to celebrate.
Working for the Shinobi Clan
During the celebration of Robotnik's defeat, Espio spent time at his house meditating, but was disturbed by the sound of Monkey Khan's thunder. Feeling that something bad was about to happen, he rushed to the coliseum while asking Nicole for an update. Before Espio could arrive at the coliseum, he encountered Lightning Lynx, who claimed that he quit the Destructix and came to see Espio for "clan business." Lightning revealed the Clan Wars had ended with the Bride of Four Houses having slain the Bride of Rich Nights, forcing all other clans to submit to her control. Espio harshly dismissed this as a lie, but Lightning then gave Espio a message entrusted to him from the Bride of Constant Vigil of the Shinobi Clan. Upon reading his new orders, Espio reluctantly submitted to the summons and departed with Lightning to intercept Sonic and Monkey Khan as they headed towards New Megaopolis. Before he left, he began to tell Nicole to relay a message to Knuckles, before changing his mind and saying goodbye. Arriving in New Megaopolis, the two ninjas joined the fight against Sonic and Khan, forcing them to retreat.
The Iron Dominion later sent Espio to steal the Master Emerald, which led to a confrontation between him and Knuckles. Espio made no effort to hide himself as he approached, but after a brief scuffle, Espio eventually had Knuckles at knifepoint. Knuckles asked in bitter disbelief if Espio would really steal the Master Emerald, but Espio in turn asked him if he would have to kill Knuckles in order to do so. Knuckles replied that Espio should already know the answer to that question and stated that he would give up everything to protect the Emerald. Hearing this, Espio concluded he has conflicting orders and released Knuckles. However, before he could leave, Knuckles insisted they talk, saying he could not help if he did not understand the situation. Espio hesitated, but eventually gave Knuckles some details concerning the clans, his own status within them and that of Lightning Lynx. Warning Knuckles to beware the Iron Dominion, he faded to invisibility and left. Having "failed" his mission, he was called back to the Dragon Kingdom by the Shinobi Clan, prompting the Iron Queen to send the Bride of Conquering Storm to get the clans in line.
Later, after negotiating with the Raiju Clan, a party led by Monkey Khan, Sally and Sonic were contemplating how to locate the Shinobi Clan when Espio appeared to offer his help. The group was initially distrustful, but Sonic felt that as a former friend, Espio deserved a chance to explain himself. The chameleon explained that the Bride of Constant Vigil had been observing their efforts and wished to meet with the group, and so he had volunteered to act as a guide. However, Sally claimed that his word was no longer good enough. Thinking a moment, Espio then offered that there would be no more secrets, and so volunteered to offer up any secrets he knew about the group so that he would no longer have any advantage over them. Sonic found this dubious, claiming that as the heroes they're "squeaky clean," but offered to humor the chameleon. He was then shocked when Espio mentioned "The Sneak," referring to the hedgehog's once-used secret identity, and Sonic backed down, muttering. He then told Tails about "Captain Super Fox-Man," Tails' self-starring comic series, to which Tails claimed no one was ever supposed to read, and adding that he was just a little kid at the time he wrote it. Sally is caught by surprise when Espio claims to know the location of her royal birthmark, which Espio explained that he'd wanted to check her brother Elias' claims following his return. Monkey Khan was then told that there were other "Khans," a claim that only confused and annoyed the monkey. Sonic, however, returned to the point, asking how Espio's knowledge of their secrets was meant to gain their trust; Espio replied that to the Shinobi clan, knowledge is everything, and the fact that he knows such details only comes from doing his job. Sally asked what exactly this job is, but Espio once again said that the Bride of Constant Vigil would reveal everything; he offered the group blindfolds so that he could lead them to the meeting place. With no other options, the group agreed, and Espio thanked them for their trust. When they arrived within a hidden cave, Espio removed their blindfolds and left them to solve the puzzle of "The Way of the Blind," saying that if they made their way through they would then meet with the Bride. He then disappeared from view. When the group arrived in the Bride's chamber, they found Espio serving her tea. After agreeing that the Shinobi clan would no longer serve the Iron Dominion, Espio was finally allowed to explain himself. He told the others that he had been sent to monitor Knuckles' actions as Guardian on behalf of his clan, as had been done with the previous Guardians. He explained that his mentor Valdez had introduced him to Rainbow Valley, and that he was meant only to observe Knuckles, not work with him or become his friend. While Constant Vigil said that Espio had broken taboo, he had made the right choice; Espio, expecting disappointment, was caught by surprise. When Constant Vigil ordered him to return to his station, but with permission to act as he saw fit, he was overjoyed and said "Thank you, mo-" before catching himself. She also ordered him to retrieve the Fan of Fen Xing before returning to New Mobotropolis.
Returning to the Chaotix
As per his orders, Espio arrived in New Mobotropolis, bearing the blessings of the Shinobi and Raiju Clans—as well as the Fan of Fen Xing—to Sonic and Monkey Khan, who used the magical weapon to defeat the Iron King. A week later, in response to recent events, Knuckles gathered the Chaotix on Angel Island to discuss recent events and reaffirm the group's trust in one another. With Constant Vigil's permission, Espio was allowed to explain his actions and his original mission, as well as to reveal information that he had gathered about his teammates during their time together. Vector was quick to deny Espio knowing anything about him, but Espio flatly revealed that he knew Vector was from Downunda and that he had adopted a different accent to hide this. When Knuckles reacted angrily to the news that Espio had known about the Brotherhood all along, Espio replied that he had known of their existence, but had been given no other details. Things went from bad to worse as first Espio's attempts to jog Charmy's memory failed, and then Mighty stormed off in response to the news that his parents were dead and his younger sister was part of a Dark Egg Legion chapter. Espio was deeply upset by the pain he had caused his friend, but the next morning he gave Mighty a warm farewell as he left to find his sister.
When the Forget Me Knots threw a new concert in New Mobotropolis, Espio was among the attendees. As it turned out, Mina Mongoose was using the concert to express her fears about Nicole. During the show, Espio noticed a distraught Nicole run off and disappear; feeling worried about her, Espio went to one of the city's server rooms hoping to find her there. However, he was shocked to find Dimitri there as well, who was thought to be missing. He cloaked himself and attempted to investigate, but his cover was soon blown as Dimitri, hooked into the city's systems, had noticed him coming in through the front door anyway. Espio revealed himself and turned on Nicole, unable to believe that Knuckles' longtime enemy had been hiding within the city itself, and when Dimitri tried to interject, Espio pulled a knife on him, calling him a traitor with nothing to say. Dimitri pointed out that Espio was not one to call anyone a traitor, and that he doubted that Espio had come in just to threaten him and yell at Nicole. Espio, ashamed, admitted that he was right; he had come to make sure Nicole was okay. He felt that he owed her as much as she had helped him in the past (investigating Charmy's former home) and added that she, like him, had also been used by the Iron Dominion; he felt he could sympathize with her as he had also lost the trust of others. However, he was still shocked to find that Dimitri had been living in the city all this time with no one knowing. Nicole explained that he had been left to die and that Sally felt they needed to show him mercy, and Dimitri admitted that he felt he needed to speak with Knuckles but, given their histories, was afraid to do so. Dimitri also explained that Espio and Nicole had displayed something he himself had ignored in the past: the love and support of friends. Knowing that he had no right to ask anything of Espio, Dimitri nonetheless requested that he help arrange a meeting with Knuckles. Espio, understanding that he was not in any position to deny someone else a second chance, agreed to do so, provided Nicole come with him to help explain the situation.
The two later approached Knuckles by the Lake of Rings and attempted to delicately explain the situation; however, upon discovering that Dimitri had been living in the city for quite some time without his knowledge, Knuckles was greatly angered, though Espio meekly offered that he himself had only just discovered this as well. However, Knuckles eventually allowed Dimitri to talk, and Espio attempted to interject that he thought that Dimitri was being sincere. While not happy, Knuckles decided to give Dimitri his chance at redemption, and, to their surprise, bluntly thanked Espio and Nicole for their actions. Espio remarked afterward that things had gone much better than anticipated.
According to Charmy Bee, who recalled the events as a weird dream, Espio, along with Charmy and Vector, were detectives in the reality created by Operation: Clean Sweep. After Knuckles acknowledged Charmy's response, Charmy went on to explain that they had their own office and everything. Some time later, the trio embarked on a mission to locate Mighty and Ray, Espio taking it upon himself to keep Charmy safe. The team made it's way to Mercia, where they first met the Mercia Dark Egg Legion, and then the Mercian Freedom Fighters as the latter group came to their aid. Noticing the absence of the group's leader Rob o' the Hedge, Espio brought it up, and acting leader Bow Sparrow revealed that their leader had gone into hiding with his family and had not been heard from since. Relocating to Hideaway, Espio was surprised by a reference made by Vector to time spent in Downunda, which Espio had not been present for. He then listened with the others as Bow explained that Mighty and Ray had indeed come to Mercia, as the last letter the pair had written indicated. Bow and his teammates revealed that Mighty had learned, through records kept by Friar Buck, that his sister had been in an orphanage until undergoing Roboticization some years ago.
Processing the news, Espio came to the same conclusion as Mighty himself had before him: that Mighty's sister would presumably not have aged due to becoming a Robian. His musing earned him a look from Vector, who questioned why the Chameleon had not known this previously due to his skills as a spy and a ninja. Espio retorted that knowing ninjitsu didn't mean he could do everything, though Charmy seemed to think that it should. Bow went on to describe how the Freedom Fighters had orchestrated a plan to raid Snottingham Castle, the Legion headquarters, in order to allow Mighty and Ray to access the Eggnet and learned what had happened to Mighty's sister. However, a surprise attack by the Legion had changed their plans, and after helping fight it off, the pair had gone to the castle themselves. To Espio's annoyance, Alan Quail turned the narrative into a song, which several of the Freedom Fighters, Vector and Charmy joined in on. Thorn the Lop conveyed her sympathies, while the team went on to reveal that they had assumed that Mighty and Ray had succeeded in their quest. The two teams settled on a strategy: they would invade the castle and liberate various prisoners taken by the Legion, particularly if Mighty and Ray were among them. If the pair were not to be found, the Chaotix would use the Eggnet to learn what had become of them. Working together, the two groups made their way into the castle using a formerly secret route, unaware that Grandmaster Mordred Hood was aware of it and had left it open as a trap.
The group soon became aware of Hood's intentions after spring-loaded bars appeared in the tunnels through which they were traveling. Espio, ever the pragmatist, suggested that they abandon the attempt, but relented at Friar Buck's urging, though he insisted on changing the plan somewhat. He asked Vector to give the Freedom Fighters their Warp Ring, which Vector did with some reluctance, and then informed his two teammates that they would be continuing as originally planned while making as much of a disturbance as possible. The trio eventually made their way to the Eggnet terminal-Vector providing Espio some annoyance along the way-which Espio accessed while Vector and Charmy held off the guards. After wishing he had NICOLE's assistance, Espio realized that the password for the Eggnet was in fact "password," which he privately chided the Legionnaires for. Having accessed the system, Espio learned that the Freedom Fighters-who had made their way to the dungeon-were in trouble, and sent his teammates to assist them. Espio was then delighted to discover a file on Mighty's sister, revealing that she had been Roboticized, was sent as a Robian to Sand Blast City, and eventually became part of the Great Desert Dark Egg Legion. More good news came in the records showing that the file had been accessed previously, meaning that Mighty had indeed managed to get inside. After also looking up information on the missing Rob o'the Hedge, and sending false orders that weren't corrected by Lord Hood-thanks to Vector surprising him in the dungeon-Espio left to reunite with his friends.
Surprising two guards at the inner gate, he opened it, allowing his friends and the freed Mercian prisoners to make their way into the area between the inner and outer walls. After making sure that they had everyone-and informing the group that all the G.O.O.N.s were waiting outside the next wall-Espio had Bow shut the inner gate, seemingly leaving them trapped between the two forces. Espio then revealed his masterstroke: using the Warp Ring to escape from between the Legionnaires and their robot enforcers. Vector complimented him on his idea for the Warp Ring, and Espio remarked that Knuckles had once forgotten to use one when stuck in a death trap, which has since become a point of some embarrassment for him. The group made it to Hideaway safely, and Espio informed his friends of his successes. He informed Bow Sparrow of the Legion's ignorance as to the location of the royal family, who had disappeared in the vicinity of Never Lake, and expressed his views that they must have something in the works. Bow took the news gladly, apparently knowing more about the matter than he would reveal, and thanked Espio and the others for their help, inviting them to stay the night. The entire village then became the site of a massive celebration.
The next morning, the Chaotix traveled to the outskirts of Sand Blast City. When questioned as to why he had brought them so far from the city, Espio remarked that he had heard bad things about the Sand-Blasters-the local Freedom Fighter group-and did not want them seeing the Chaotix using the Warp Ring. Vector tried to allay concerns about them, prompting Espio to bring up Sonic's previous encounters with the group, though Vector remarked that Sonic had fought with a number of people, including their own friend Knuckles. However, Espio's fears proved true, as the Sand-Blasters arrived and their leader Jack Rabbit demanded to know what the Chaotix were doing there. After a failed attempt by Vector to reason with the rogue Freedom Fighters, the two teams battled, with Espio taking on Shift E. Wolf. While Espio's ninja skills enabled him to dodge Shift's traps, he was distracted by Avery the Bear catching Charmy in a net. This cost him, as Shift was able to captured him with another of his devices.
The defeated trio were led into Sand Blast City and informed that they could serve willingly or be terminated. As an example of how rewarding service in the group could be, he brought forth two new recruits: Mighty and Ray, whom he addressed as "Flex" and "Jitters." After harshly silencing Vector, Mighty volunteered to take the new arrivals under his wing and teach them to respect Jack, a suggestion that the Rabbit agreed with. The trio were led to their friends' dwelling, where they explained that they had joined the Sand-Blasters under assumed identities. Like Espio, Mighty had recognized the danger of allowing the Sand-Blasters to know about the Warp Ring, and so had sent it back to Angel Island. Satisfied, Espio questioned what Mighty's plans were, and the Armadillo revealed his plans to meet with Beauregard Rabbot, Grandmaster of the Great Desert Dark Egg Legion. Using his stealth abilities, Espio helped Mighty escape the city undetected, and then returned to the other Chaotix.
The next morning, Jack barged into the dwelling demanding to know what had become of Mighty, and tried to threaten Ray into telling him. Espio defused the situation with a cover story: that Mighty had gone to confront Beauregard on his own, and that he has left the trio as compensation in the event of his failure. Though he doubted the three were an adequate replacement for the Armadillo, Jack decided to deploy them anyway as he set out to meet Beauregard for an exchange of prisoners. Unfortunately, rather than turn over any of his Legion captives, Jack took a page from the group's cover story and decided to use the meeting as an opportunity to assassinate the Grandmaster.
Espio and his teammates quickly resolved upon a plan: to use the ambush as a distraction to enable them to escape with Mighty and his sister in tow. Unfortunately, their cover was blown during the fight, forcing the Chaotix to engage the Sand-Blasters again. Espio gave a good account of himself, striking Jack before taking on Tex the Lizard, who was subsequently defeated by Vector. In the course of fighting, Mighty's sister Matilda the Armadillo was injured, and Espio was forced to join Vector in stopping Mighty from harming the Sand-Blasters after his berserk rampage led him to destroy their jeeps and tanks. Going back to the Legion camp, Espio overheard Vector talking about the oddity of fighting Freedom Fighters and assisting Legionnaires, and asked if Vector was going to make any comments about his allegiances, which the Crocodile declined. The group received both good and bad news: Matilda would live, but would need time to recover, and the Chaotix would have to leave for the time being to insure her safety. Supporting their friend, the others watched as he said goodbye to his sister before using their Warp Ring to return home.
In their absence, Julie-Su and Saffron had fallen victim to Thrash the Tasmanian Devil's revenge against the Echidnas, leading to the banishment of the pair and the inhabitants of Albion. Espio and the others arrived to find Knuckles alone after defeating Thrash, and watched as he broke down in response to their questions regarding the girls' whereabouts. Espio was the first to notice an empty Warp Ring, which Thrash had used to banish the Echidnas and the girls, but which Knuckles was unable to use to rescue them.
- Note: Due to the Genesis Wave, Espio's history from this point were changed to be nearly identical to that of his game counterpart's.
The second Genesis Wave affected Espio and his teammates much as it had the first time, leaving him as part of a trio of detectives working with Vector and Charmy. At Sonic's request, they took up the search for the missing Knuckles, Tails, and Amy, only to lose Charmy as he went looking for ice cream. When the Bee inexplicably vanished, Espio noticed a mysterious figure trailing a purple scarf, and went after him while Vector took another route. Sadly, Espio's ninja training was not enough to save him from Copy Robot, who subdued the trio for delivery to Eggman and Dr. Wily. Transformed into Espio Man of the Roboticized Masters, the ninja detective joined his teammates in battling Sonic, Tails, and their allies Mega Man and Rush. Espio Man lasted longer than his teammates Vector Man and Charmy Man, but was likewise restored to normal by Mega Man after being restrained by Sonic. Though somewhat embarrassed at having to be rescued, Espio was grateful to Mega Man, and joined his teammates in the search for Mega Man's missing brother Proto Man.
Espio and his teammates soon caught up with Proto Man, and eventually located the Wily Egg, which served as the doctors' base of operations. Despite their previous hacking experience, the trio of detectives were unable to crack the code of a teleporter pad located beneath the flying fortress. However, their location served as a gathering point for Sonic and Mega Man's allies from across the Skull Egg Zone. The group of heroes was then forced to deal with a new threat: the Robot Master Army dispatched by the doctors. Espio joined the battle, and eventually found himself facing off with a fellow ninja, Shadow Man. The battle soon led him to face off with Crystal Man, after which he and his teammates were cornered by the Robot Masters. Fighting on bravely, the Chameleon and his allies were soon joined by another band of heroes: the original Light Robot Masters. Bolstered by this group, the heroes continued to battle the Robot Master army until the Super Genesis Wave engulfed all of reality. Fortunately, Super Sonic and Super Armor Mega Man were able to defeat the evil doctors, though Eggman managed to attack Super Sonic as he was attempting to restore their world to its previous state.
- Note: From this point, Espio's history continues from his new life in the altered timeline.
Before his ninja training, Espio was laid back and a bit acerbic; he was also the most socially distant of the Chaotix, though much to his surprise he still developed strong friendships with them. Always somewhat cynical, he nevertheless maintained a positive outlook on life. While Mighty also advocated keeping the peace among friends, Espio was more blunt in putting an end to any bickering, especially from Vector.
After being forced to destroy his old friend Valdez, Espio became much quieter and more serious in demeanor. While Sonic was lost in space, Espio underwent his ninja training which further led to his stern and serious outlook on life. Espio is especially serious, quiet, and completely devoted to whatever job he is undertaking. While given to emotion in intense situations, he is relatively more reserved than others. He still holds a soft spot for his friends, going to some length to "avenge" the loss of the Golden Hive Colony for Charmy's sake and going out of his way to seek out NICOLE when she was upset.
Charmy is perhaps his closest friend among the Chaotix, and Espio has also made a point of helping Saffron look after him since his memory loss. He is also very honor-bound to his clan, shown in how he went to serve the Iron Queen when his house swore their allegiance to her, even though he obviously does not wish to do this. Espio's loyalty to his friends is extreme; he was greatly upset by the pain he caused them and was overjoyed when the Bride of Constant Vigil allowed him to return to the Chaotix.
Powers and abilities
Being a chameleon, Espio can camouflage himself to his environment. His camouflage is so effective that he is essentially invisible while remaining still. He can move while camouflaged, however, doing so causes more of a cloaking effect. This invisibility is not perfect, as both Knuckles and Lightning Lynx-the former thanks to his Guardian training and the latter due to his heightened senses-can detect Espio even while he is cloaked.
Espio can also climb along any surface including ceilings due to his lizard sticky pads. He also can use his tongue as a short range projectile attack and as a grappling hook. After his ninja training, Espio is now a master of throwing knives and shurikens, to the point where he can strike an opponent without looking at them. He is also a master of non-camouflaged stealth, and has a wide knowledge of ninja combat skills.
Espio also possesses great skill at gathering information, as shown by his ability to uncover secrets about his fellow Chaotix that they were either unaware of or went to great lengths to hide. He is also somewhat skilled with computer systems, though he prefers to have NICOLE's help in doing so.
- Knothole Freedom Fighters
- Mercian Freedom Fighters
- Echidna Security Team
- Shinobi Clan
- Elias Acorn
- Monkey Khan
- Great Desert Dark Egg Legion
- Silver the Hedgehog
- Blaze the Cat
- Mega Man
- Proto Man
- Eggman Empire
- A near slip of the tongue by Espio indicated that the Bride of Constant Vigil is his mother. This was later confirmed by writer Ian Flynn.
- The Off Panel for Sonic Universe #47 indicated that Espio plays the shamisen, a Japanese stringed instrument, just as his game counterpart does in the "Chaotix Recital" Team Blast move in Sonic Heroes.
- An unused concept for "The Chaotix Quest" would have revealed that Espio arranged for Liza to join the Shinobi Clan after she was rejected by the Rainbow Valley Chameleons following her De-Roboticization.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Knuckles the Echidna #3, "Blood is Thicker"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Sonic the Hedgehog #202, "Dangerous Territory"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Sonic Universe #16, "Journey To The East Part Four: A World Under Constant Vigil"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Sonic the Hedgehog #212, "The Roads We Take"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Knuckles' Chaotix, "The Chaos Effect"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #32, "Prisoners"
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Knuckles #1, "Rite of Passage! Part 1"
- ↑ Knuckles #2, "Rite of Passage!" Part Two
- ↑ Knuckles #3, "Rite of Passage!" Part Three
- ↑ Sonic & Knuckles: Mecha Madness Special, "Don't Let the Island Hit You on the Way Down!"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #50, "The Big Goodbye"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #1, "The Dark Legion Book One: Army of Darkness"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #2, "Sins of the Fathers"
- ↑ Sonic Super Special #1, "Battle Royal"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #4, "Lost Paradise - Part One of Three: The Phantom City"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #5, "Lost Paradise - Part Two of Three: Fallout"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #7, "Dark Vengance Part One of Three: Deadly Homecoming"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #8, "Dark Vengance Part Two of Three: The Gauntlet"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #9, "Dark Vengeance Part Three of Three: Twilight of the Titans"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #56, "Immortality is forever... life is finite"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #13, "The Chaotix Caper Part One of Three: The Unsuspecting!"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #14, "The Chaotix Caper Part Two of Three: A Tenuous Grip on Reality!"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #15, "The Chaotix Caper Part Three of Three: Picking up the Pieces"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #22, "Dark Alliance Part One of Three: Revolution..."
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #23, "Dark Alliance Part Two of Three: Election Night"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #24, "Dark Alliance Part Two of Three: Primary Evil"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #25, "Childhood's End"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #26, "The First Date Part One of Three"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #27, "These Were the Days..."
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #28, "Below the Belt"
- ↑ Sonic Super Special #1, "Turnabout Heroes"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #80, "Land Fall"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #81, "All You Need Is A Bit of Chaos"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #30, "Hiding In Plain Sight"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #31, "The Best of Friends"
- ↑ Knuckles the Echidna #32, "The Worst of Enemies"
- ↑ Sonic Super Special #14, "Best of Times, Worst of Times"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #107, "Reunification Part II"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #118, "Ultimate Power Part Four"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #121, "Afterlife Part One"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #122, "When Here Was Only One Guardian"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #125, "Sonic Adventure 2.5: Omega"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #169, "...For a Friend"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #174, "Union"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #176, "Cracking the Empire"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #186, "Honor-Bound"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #189, "A Bold New Moebius Part One: Unwelcome Guests!"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #190, "A Bold New Moebius Part Two: Duality!"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #198, "Phoenix-down!"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #199, "Knocking On Eggman's Door"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #200, "Turn About Is Fair Play"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #201, "Change In Management"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #201, "Devotion"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #203, "Friend in Deed Part One"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #204, "Friend in Deed Part Two"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #205, "On the Run Part One: All the Eggs in One Basket"
- ↑ Sonic Universe #15, "Journey To The East Part Three: No Love in a Conquering Storm"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #211, "Home Invasion Part 2: Security Measures"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #221, "Second Impressions Part One"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #222, "Second Impressions Part Two"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog Free Comic Book Day 2012, "Sonic: Genesis Awakenings - Knuckles the Echidna"
- ↑ 62.0 62.1 Sonic Universe #46, "All For One Part One: Picking Up The Trail"
- ↑ 63.0 63.1 63.2 Sonic Universe #47, "All For One Part Two: Ongoing Investigation"
- ↑ 64.0 64.1 64.2 Sonic Universe #48, "All For One Part Three: Deep Cover"
- ↑ Sonic Universe #49, "All For One Part Four: Friends, Foes, & Family"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #244, "Endangered Species Part Two: Extinction Event"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #246, "Endangered Species Finale: One of a Kind"
- ↑ Sonic Universe #51, "When Worlds Collide Part Two: Mistaken Identities"
- ↑ Sonic Universe #52, "When Worlds Collide Part Five: The Advance Guard"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #249, "When Worlds Collide Part Six: Friends or Foes"
- ↑ Mega Man #26, "When Worlds Collide Part Seven: Evening The Odds"
- ↑ Sonic Universe #53, "When Worlds Collide Part Eight: Liberation"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #250, "When Worlds Collide Part Nine: All-Out War!"
- ↑ Mega Man #27, "When Worlds Collide Part Ten: No Holds Barred"
- ↑ Sonic Universe #54, "When Worlds Collide Part Eleven: Worst of the Worst"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog #251, "When Worlds Collide Finale: Best of the Best"
- ↑ Ask Ian
- ↑ Aleah Baker (21 March 2015). Ask Lea Stuff and Things. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015.