- "The Last Minute," Part Three! Sonic has been infected by the Metal Virus, and so far the only thing keeping him from going full-on zombot is his incredible speed... but how long can that last? As Sonic pushes himself to his limits gathering data for Tails, he comes face-to-face with the one problem more important than the Metal Virus: its creator, Dr. Eggman.
The Last Minute, Part 3
- Written by: Ian Flynn
- Art by: Jack Lawrence
- Colors by: Matt Herms
- Letters by: Shawn Lee
- Assistant Editor: Megan Brown
- Editor: David Mariotte
- Special thanks to: Anoulay Tsai, Mai Kiyotaki, Aaron Webber, Michael Cisneros, Sandra Jo, and everyone at Sega for their invaluable assistance
Passing the outskirts of Barricade Town, Sonic puts in a call to Tails, who is at his lab in Central City. Tails tells Sonic that the data from his bio-scanner is coming in perfectly; on the other hand, Dr. Eggman had hit Central City with Metal Virus just as he, Tangle and Whisper had arrived. Sonic offers to turn around and come help with the situation, but Tails tells him to keep running; his speed data may be their only chance to find a cure, and it may serve as a backup should something happen on his end. Sonic complies and tells Tails to stay safe. As the call ends, Sonic puts into perspective how he feels slightly more lonely than usual. The hedgehog manages to arrive at Barricade Town and reflects on his last visit when he and Knuckles ended Rough and Tumble's extortion racket. He also recalls how the skunk brothers were now Zombots stuck at the bottom of Echo Mine. Checking the beaten down state of the town, Sonic realizes that Barricade Town had already been affected by the Metal Virus. Sonic thinks about checking for survivors but knows he cannot carry any out. He also knows that if a Zombot managed to land a hit on the bio-scanner, they would lose the data. Sonic soon looks up and manages to spot Eggman. Inside Barricade Town, Eggman and Starline are testing different radio frequencies in an attempt to communicate with the town's Zombots. Not enjoying its tediousness, Eggman exclaims that he should have rigged an automated version of the broadcast to play from the Faceship. Annoyed, Starline reminds Eggman that wide-band broadcasts had no effect and they agreed to try localized attempts next. Eggman snaps at Starline, telling him not to get passive agressive with him but instead have his back if he wished to follow him. Starline replies saying that it would have been smart to have a fail-safe for the Metal Virus mutating beyond Eggman's control. Eggman considers his options and suggests using Starline's Warp Topaz charged by the Chaos Emeralds aboard the Facehsip. Starline refuses and explains that the Warp Topaz reacts strongly to the most passive of energy waves. In his early experiments, anything above a light, controlled charge resulted in extreme reality alteration. To summarize, the Warp Topaz is a useful tool when used correctly but Starline believed that what Eggman was proposing was exceedingly dangerous. When Eggman protests, saying that they just have to be cautious, Starline disagrees saying that he is anything but cautious and adds that he has not yet inoculated themselves with a vaccine to the Metal Virus. From this, Eggman reveals that there is no cure for the virus and states that they were going to avoid infection by simply not touching any Zombot. Infuriated, Starline brings up scenarios of if there was a spill on the Faceship, a mishap in the field or further mutation to make the virus airborne. Eggman tells Starline that he should no longer nitpick him but the platypus claims that he is only bringing up common sense. As Eggman tells Starline to shut up once again, Sonic appears before the both of them, sarcastically asking if their honeymoon was over.
Eggman gloats to Sonic, asking if he came to watch his unbeatable plan unfold. Sonic instead asks Eggman "why he did it." The doctor is confused by this as he has been known to try and take over the world for years. Sonic clarifies asking why chose to go back to his old ways, even after having his memories restored by Starline. Though Eggman acknowledges that his old life as Mr. Tinker was relaxing, he believed that what he was doing was bringing peace and unity to the world and providing it with his brilliant guidance. When Eggman points out that he and Sonic were similar in the sense that they both have their own styles that they will not change, the hedgehog snaps back saying that the doctor's was evil and his was not. Sonic then demands that Eggman reverse the effects of the Metal Virus but the doctor refuses as the virus had spread exponentially and could not stop it if he could. Following this, Sonic decides to leave the cure to Tails and lunges at Eggman. While the archenemies fight, Starline reflects on how he had dreamed of seeing such a fight but now only feels apathy. Starline recalls Neo Metal Sonic's attempt to revive the Eggman Empire but failed due to thinking overwhelming power would win the day without a proper plan. Starline initially believed that he failed because he was designed as a "ballistic missile with a built-in grudge" against Sonic. However, the first biodata that Neo copied was Eggman's, and Starline was once again seeing the exact same brute force strategy. Starline officially recognizes how he was being blinded by legend and believes that Eggman no longer measures up.
In the midst of their battle, Sonic attempts to grab Eggman and infect him with the virus. Eggman quickly dodges, which forces him to fall out of his Egg Mobile down to the village below, along with Sonic. Several Zombots surround the pair and Sonic taunts Eggman as he could not do anything about it. Eggman attempts to control the Zombots and they suddenly attack Sonic. Starline reveals that he found an effective signal with the Egg Mobile, which prompts Eggman to ask him to upload that frequency to the Faceship so that he could control all of the Zombots of the world. In a panic, Sonic bursts out from the horde of Zombots and destroys the Egg Mobile before Starline could do anything. Eggman quickly grabs onto Starline's own transportation machine and tells him to move faster. Due to the added weight, the vehicle crashes down on Barricade Town's gate. Eggman berates Sonic as no one could control the Zombots. The hedgehog sarcastically voices his concern and tells Eggman to work on a cure to help out. Eggman refuses and states that he would pave over the Zombot hordes if he had to. Starline suggests retreating so that they could plan for later and the duo escape through a portal made by the Warp Topaz to the Faceship. While there, Starline says that he did not manage to upload the frequency and was unable to memorize the working frequency but he was able to recall the range. Eggman does not care to do anything about this, saying that it was too risky to use the frequency at such a close range and the Metal Virus was most likely already adapting to resist it. The doctor did not wish to go repeat the process just for it not to work again. When Starline asks what the next move is, Eggman replies saying that he will enjoy infecting Spiral Hill Village, which was the location they were currently located at. Orbot states that the Metal Virus had already been deployed. From this, Eggman simply says that he will think of something after that. This prompts a glare from Starline.
Back in Barricade Town, Sonic finds that the bio-scanner had been destroyed in the commotion and begins to feel down about not being able to protect his friends and trusting the little good that everyone could have in them. Just as Sonic is about to succumb to the Metal Virus and is nearly attacked by a Zombot horde on a roof, he quickly runs off out of the village. He knows he cannot give up as he has friends who are still safe and still has to find a way to save the ones who got infected. Sonic knows that he has messed up but believes he has time to make things right. As the hedgehog soon becomes tired from running, he receives a call from Amy. She tells him that Restoration HQ and Tails' lab were overrun by Zombots and states that they were now on the way to Tangle's home village to help evacuate it. Sonic tells Amy that he can help and believes that the good news was that things could not get any worse. Meanwhile, on the Lost Hex, Zavok confides in Master Zik how Eggman and Sonic's actions against them will not go unanswered. Zik tells Zavok that the vengeance must be exact but states that it was wise of him to have them bide their time to let their hatred and anger fester. Soon, a portal appears before them and Starline walks out of it. He states that today's events cemented how much the Deadly Six's help was needed and asks if they actually can exert their will over machines. Zavok decides to demonstrate by controlling a Moto Bug and goes on to ask when they will serve Eggman again. Starline replies saying that they will join him soon but he still needed to do last minute preparations on his end. With this, Starline says his goodbyes to Zavok and leaves. Zik taunts Starline for being naive, saying that he has no idea that they will take the Zombots for themselves and use it against Eggman. Zavok then declares that they will use the Zombots to destroy Eggman, Sonic and the entire world below for merciless vengeance and absolute victory. Back on the Faceship, Starline recalls the files saying that Eggman used the Cacophonous Conch to control the Zeti and they were eager to turn on him. From this, Starline already knows that the Deadly Six will attempt to turn on him. However, after doing his research and collecting Eggman's paraphernalia, he was already prepared and proceeds to use a portal to retrieve the Cacophonous Conch.
- Amy Rose (Voice)
- Deadly Six
- Dr. Eggman
- Dr. Starline
- Knuckles the Echidna (mentioned)
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Neo Metal Sonic (Flashback)
- Rough the Skunk (mentioned)
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Tangle the Lemur (mentioned)
- Tumble the Skunk (mentioned)
- Barricade Town
- Central City
- Echo Mine (mentioned)
- Lost Hex
- Restoration HQ (mentioned)
- Spiral Hill Village
- The events of this issue occur simultaneously with Sonic the Hedgehog #21 and Sonic the Hedgehog #22.
- Sonic recalls fighting Rough and Tumble with Knuckles in Barricade Town, an event that occurred in Sonic the Hedgehog #3, "Fallout, Part 3".
- Sonic recalls Rough and Tumble getting turned into Zombots and leaving them stuck in Echo Mine, an event that happened in Sonic the Hedgehog #15, "Patient Zero".
- Dr. Starline reminds Dr. Eggman that wide-band broadcasts do not work on Zombots any longer. This was first discovered in Sonic the Hedgehog #18, "Victims".
- Sonic recalls Starline telling him that he restored Eggman's memories in Sonic the Hedgehog #14, "Misdirection", which was an event that occurred in Sonic the Hedgehog #12, "The Cost of the Battle for Angel Island".
- Starline recalls Neo Metal Sonic's attempted takeover of Angel Island, an event that took place in Sonic the Hedgehog #9-Sonic the Hedgehog #11.
- Starline recalls that the first biodata Neo Metal Sonic copies was Eggman's, which the robot first explained in Sonic the Hedgehog #7, "Meet the New Boss".
- The Editor's Note on page two incorrectly states that Rough and Tumble were turned into Zombots and left in Echo Mine in Sonic the Hedgehog #14, "Misdirection", whereas this event actually happened in Sonic the Hedgehog #15, "Patient Zero".
- On page three, Dr. Eggman tries to communicate with the Barricade Town Zombots at a frequency of 141.12. This is the contact frequency for Otacon in Metal Gear Solid.
- Eggman's comment to Sonic about them not being so different and having their own styles that they will not change, and Sonic's rebuttal that Eggman's is filled with evil while his is not, are references to the lyrics of "Open Your Heart".
- Story so far...: "Story so far..." is a summary of the current plotline for the comic. It features a landscape drawing by Cream of various locations that have been established in the series and some that have yet to be introduced. The people and locations on the map that have been marked with a red X indicate that they have been affected by the Metal Virus.
- Roll Call: Roll Call acts as a quick reference guide to new readers about the characters. This issue provides data files on Sonic, Dr. Eggman and Dr. Starline.
- Sonic Letters Squad: Sonic Letters Squad is a section where the comic staff can post fan artwork and fan letters that have been sent in to them.
- Team Sonic Racing One-shot - Free Digital Ashcan
- Dr. Eggman: You've exceeded my threshold for nitpicking, Doctor.
- Dr. Starline: It's not nitpicking! It's common sense!
- Dr. Eggman: You'll shut your bill or I'll staple it shut!
- Sonic: Aww, is the honeymoon over already?
- Dr. Eggman: You know, we're not that different, you and I. We both have our own styles that we won't change.
- Sonic: Yeah, but yours is evil and mine's not!
- Dr. Eggman: Again―agree to disagree.
- Dr. Eggman: Hahaha! One last battle before you're my Zombot slave?
- Sonic: One last butt-kicking before we lock you away forever!
- This issue was initially going to be released on 27 November 2019, but was soon moved to 20 November 2019 instead. It was later moved back to 27 November 2019.
- There was some inconsistent reporting on the art team for the issue when the solicits were released: while the ComicList solicit correctly listed Jack Lawrence as the artist for the issue, the Previews World solicit listed Priscilla Tramontano instead.
- Cover RI acts as parallel artwork to cover RI of Sonic the Hedgehog #5.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #23 CVR A TRAMONTANO. Previews World (26 July 2019). Retrieved on 23 August 2019.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #23 CVR B YARDLEY. Previews World (24 August 2019). Retrieved on 24 August 2019.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #23 10 COPY INCV FOURDRAINE. Previews World (24 August 2019). Retrieved on 24 August 2019.
- Bracardi Curry on Twitter. Twitter (26 October 2019). Retrieved on 26 October 2019.
- IDW Publishing November 2019 Solicitations. ComicList (23 August 2019). Retrieved on 26 August 2019.
- David Mariotte on Twitter. Twitter (26 August 2019). Retrieved on 26 August 2019.
- Digamma-f-wau on Twitter. Twitter (26 August 2019). Retrieved on 26 August 2019.