- "The Last One Out" As the Metal Virus spreads, Tangle's hometown of Spiral Hill Village stands as one of the last strongholds of the uninfected. Sonic, Tangle, and the remaining heroes of the Restoration make a stand, but will it be enough?
The Last One Out
- Written by: Ian Flynn
- Art by: Adam Bryce Thomas
- Colors by: Bracardi Curry
- 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
Sonic runs towards Spiral Hill Village; remembering that his first visit to the town was during an attack from Dr. Eggman's Badniks, he notes that things have not changed much since then. As he dashes inside and past some Zombots, he notices that the Restoration has already begun evacuating the uninfected citizens, and decides he should check in with Amy. However, he notices Espio fending off some Zombots on his own and goes over to help him out. After blowing away the incoming enemies, Sonic asks Espio if he is dealing with all the Zombots by himself; the chameleon replies that their numbers have grown thin. He explains that Amy and Gemerl are watching the escape shuttle, with Gemerl scanning everyone to make sure they are uninfected. Tails and Cream are airlifting any survivors they can find while Silver is managing the outbreak at Ice Paradise on his own; therefore, it falls to Espio to contain the Zombots alongside Tangle and Whisper. Concerned, Sonic asks where Vector is. Espio tells Sonic that he and Vector managed to find the Zombot Charmy and brought him back to Restoration HQ, though Espio regrets allowing Vector to do this and blames himself for what happened. Before Sonic can console him, Espio also states that he should not have let Sonic convince him to leave Eggman be in Windmill Village.
Though Sonic protests that it was "Mr. Tinker" that they were dealing with and the fact that they had no way of knowing that Dr. Starline was going to turn him back into Eggman, Espio tells Sonic that if they had dealt with Eggman back then, they would not have to worry about it. Sonic retorts by asking if they have to assume the worst of everyone and everything, showing no mercy and not giving any second chances. After an intense glare at each other, Espio stands down and states that they still have to save the villagers; Sonic agrees and tells him that he will see him at the shuttle. As the chameleon vanishes, Sonic pushes a horde of Zombots back into a building, struggling to close the doors on them. A spike ball made of pink energy suddenly whizzes past and cuts down a lamppost; Sonic narrowly dodges the lamppost and allows it to block off the doors. Looking above, he sees Whisper perched on a scaffolding and gives her a thumbs up, which she returns.
Using a group of Zombots to bounce over a gate, Sonic runs to meet Amy and the other Restoration members at the shuttle. She tells him that Espio, Tangle and Whisper were keeping the Zombots distracted while Tails and Cream found survivors; the rest of the Restoration has made a choke point that will allow Amy and Gemerl to handle any Zombots that do find them. They are nearly done with evacuation, but Amy notes that once they pull back for retreat, the Zombots will swarm them. Sonic takes this as his cue to cover the escape, planning to rendezvous with Tangle to see if she has any ideas on how to do so. Before Sonic heads off, Tails and Cream come by, though the hedgehog receives cold reception from the latter. Amy quietly explains that Vanilla had held back some Zombots in Restoration HQ so that they could escape and Cream had seen the entire thing. Tails asks Sonic if he had the data recorder with him, only for the hedgehog to reveal that he had lost it after running into Eggman. After a brief moment of silence, a tearful Tails states that he would not have been able to do anything anyway without a lab; regaining some composure, he tells Amy that they could not find any other survivors. Realizing that they've saved everyone they can, Amy turns to her teammates, telling them that it was time to retreat; Sonic plans to go find Tangle while Tails says that he will find Espio and Whisper. As the two head off, Gemerl approaches Amy and tells her that he performed a scan on Sonic; according to him, the hedgehog is exhibiting a level of infection higher than previous estimates should allow. Amy wearily asks for a simpler explanation, which Gemerl readily provides: Sonic's speed is losing its ability to stop the Metal Virus.
In the Mineral Museum, Tangle battles Zombots by pushing them back with chairs. When Sonic arrives on the scene and asks if anyone needs rescuing, Tangle tells him that the block was clear. Sonic tells Tangle that Amy was calling for a retreat but the two knew that they would draw attention to themselves if they attempted escape. When the hedgehog asks Tangle if she had any ideas to plug the bottleneck, she proudly announces that she does; she plans to have Sonic pick her up while that she wraps her tail around one of the lampposts and have him wind them up around the lampposts so that she could use her tail as a tripwire. When Sonic notes that the plan could work but Tangle would end up getting infected, she cheerfully brushes off the concern, claiming that she has got a solution for that too.
With the museum clear of hostiles for now, Tangle reveals that she came here to check on Jewel, only to find out that her friend was already converted into a Zombot. While she was able to contain Jewel, Tangle reveals that the beetle managed to infect her shoulder; she has been fighting cautiously to avoid turning too fast, but she knows that it is only a matter of time. A despondent Sonic apologizes to Tangle, stating that everything was his fault from the beginning and it may have been different if he listened to Shadow or did not let Metal Sonic go. After hitting a Zombot sneaking up behind Sonic, Tangle tells him that he did not bring Eggman back or weaponize Metal Sonic again, though the hedgehog notes that he has not been able to protect his friends or anyone else from the Metal Virus. The optimistic lemur reminds Sonic that there was still a group of survivors being protected on the shuttle, making the Blue Blur realize Tangle simply would not let this get to her. Tangle cheerfully agrees, explaining that she believes in Sonic the Hedgehog; he and his friends would set this right and cure everyone.
With his own confidence bolstered, Sonic quickly carries an excited Tangle outside to begin their plan. He darts between several lampposts, stretching Tangle's tail between them until the lemur asks Sonic to stop on the verge of pulling her tail off. The two heroes look at their makeshift tripwire as a few Zombots try to get through; Tangle tells Sonic to tell the others that she was sorry, noting that Whisper in particular would not take the news very well. Sonic thanks Tangle and shares a hug with her before she pushes him back and tells him to go, insisting that she has the situation handled. As the hedgehog dashes away, Tangle wipes away her tears and beats back the nearest Zombots, bragging that they may as well turn back; as her former neighbors, they should know they she won't let them through.
Sonic gets back to the rendezvous point, asking the shuttle to lift off while he rides on the outside. When Amy asks where Tangle is, Sonic informs the team that she had been infected and decided to stay behind to cover them; he goes on to say that Tangle had said she was sorry but notes that heroes have nothing to be sorry about. As the heroes stand shocked at the news, Whisper cries out for Tangle and attempts to run back into the village. Amy holds the hysteric wolf back and asks Sonic for help, but he makes it clear that he could not for fear of infecting Whisper. Instead, Whisper's Wisps emerge and help pull her back onto the shuttle. Amy calls out for lift off; as the shuttle begins to move, Sonic jumps from a rooftop onto the exterior of the ship.
As the shuttle flies over Tangle's head, she quietly asks the Restoration not to keep her waiting too long before continuing to fight the Zombot horde. She momentarily jumps as the infection reaches the base of her tail, but she refuses to give up. Desperately crying that she can still fight, she delivers a final punch that freezes just before contact; the transformation is finally complete. The new Zombot begins to walk alongside the others as Sonic solemnly looks back at the village; inside the shuttle, Whisper cries into Cream's lap as the Wisps try and comfort her.
Later, aboard the Faceship, Starline reports to Eggman that he believes he has a solution to the ongoing problem of not being able to control the Zombots. Eggman dismisses this, saying that he told Starline he would figure something out, and asks to stop being pestered. This proves to be the last straw for Starline; after a moment to gather his confidence, he says "No sir. I insist." before using the Warp Topaz to bring the Deadly Six onto the ship.
- Cream the Rabbit
- Deadly Six
- Dr. Eggman
- Dr. Starline
- Jewel the Beetle
- Metal Sonic (mentioned)
- Shadow the Hedgehog (mentioned)
- Silver the Hedgehog (mentioned)
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Vanilla the Rabbit (mentioned)
- Sonic's world
- Sonic is still infected with the Metal Virus he received in Sonic the Hedgehog #15, "Patient Zero".
- Sonic recalls his first visit to Spiral Hill Village from Sonic the Hedgehog #4, "Fallout, Part 4".
- Espio comments that he heard that Silver is handling a Zombot outbreak at Ice Paradise. This was first shown in Sonic the Hedgehog #21, "The Last Minute, Part 1".
- Espio tells Sonic how he and Vector found the Zombot Charmy and brought him back to Restoration HQ despite Espio's misgivings, which contributed to the later Zombot outbreak and the fall of the HQ. These events occurred in Sonic the Hedgehog #22, "The Last Minute, Part 2".
- Espio recalls wanting Dr. Eggman to be brought to justice while Sonic wanted "Mr. Tinker" to have a second chance in Windmill Village, which occurred in Sonic the Hedgehog #5, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 1".
- Sonic's retort to Espio about showing mercy and giving second chances hearkens back to his speech to Shadow in Sonic the Hedgehog #6, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 2".
- In addition to the "Mr. Tinker" incident, Sonic laments to Tangle that he let Metal Sonic go free, allowing him to restore Eggman's memory and be repaired to full functionality. These events happened in Sonic the Hedgehog #12, "The Cost of the Battle for Angel Island".
- Amy tells Sonic that Vanilla held back some Zombots in Restoration HQ, allowing Amy to save Cream. These events occurred in Sonic the Hedgehog #22, "The Last Minute, Part 2".
- Sonic tells Tails that the bio-scanner was destroyed after he ran into Eggman, which occurred in Sonic the Hedgehog #23, "The Last Minute, Part 3".
- After discovering Tangle's infection, Sonic blames himself for the current crisis, lamenting his inability to protect anyone. Sonic began questioning his actions after his battle with Eggman in Sonic the Hedgehog #23, "The Last Minute, Part 3".
- Tangle correctly predicting Whisper's distraught reaction to learning about her Zombot transformation hearkens back to the Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper miniseries, particularly Whisper's fear of losing any more friends revealed in Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper #2, "Ambush".
- The issue ends with Dr. Starline summoning the Deadly Six to the Faceship, finally executing the plan he has been preparing ever since he learned of the Zeti at the end of Sonic the Hedgehog #20, "Crisis City, Part 2". This act also denotes his open betrayal of Eggman after his prior disillusionment with his fellow doctor during Sonic the Hedgehog #23, "The Last Minute, Part 3".
- On page one, Sonic says that he visited Spiral Hill Village when it was under attack by Dr. Eggman. This is technically incorrect, as the Badniks were being directed by Neo Metal Sonic (disguised as Eggman) at the time.
- On page three, the Zombots that Espio can be seen fighting are actually background village characters that Evan Stanley first drew for Spiral Hill Village in Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper #1, "Imposter".
- The female sheep that was first drawn by Adam Bryce Thomas in Sonic the Hedgehog #2, "Fallout, Part 2" can be seen once again on page six as a member of the Restoration, a callback to her first being seen as part of the team in Sonic the Hedgehog #13, "Calling Card".
- 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.
- This is the first time the map has been updated since Sonic the Hedgehog #21, "The Last Minute, Part 1".
- Roll Call: Roll Call acts as a quick reference guide to new readers about the characters. This issue provides data files on Sonic, Tails, Cream, Espio, Whisper, Amy, Gemerl and Tangle.
- 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.
- The Powerpuff Girls: The Bureau of Bad #1 - Free Digital Ashcan
- Sonic: We had no way of knowing Starline would turn him back to Eggman.
- Espio: And if we had dealt with him then, we wouldn't have had to worry.
- Sonic: So―what? We have to assume the worst about everyone and everything? Show no mercy to anyone? No second chances?
- Sonic: Tangle, you... heh. You're never gonna let this get to you, are you?
- Tangle: NEVER! Because you're Sonic the Hedgehog. You'll set this right. I know you will. Now, less moping and more moving!
- Tangle: You might as well turn back! You used to be my neighbors! You know I won't let you past!
- Dr. Starline: Doctor, I have found a solution to the ongoing problem of not being able to control the Zombots.
- Dr. Eggman: I told you I'd figure something out. Quit pestering me about it!
- Dr. Starline: No, sir. I insist.
- This issue was initially going to be released on 18 December 2019, but was soon moved to 25 December 2019 instead.
- On his Twitter account, writer Ian Flynn offered an apology to fans for such a "depressing" issue being released on Christmas day, claiming he was unaware of the shift of the release date. In the same post, he declared that this issue was the storyline's "lowest point", and that its tone would only improve in the issues moving forward.
- Cover A featured Marine the Raccoon, Big the Cat, Froggy, Captain Whisker, Captain Jelly, Dodon Pa, a Pecky, a Rocky, a Cucky, a Hero Chao, a Dark Chao, Omochao, a Black Wisp, a Crimson Wisp, a Magenta Wisp, a Purple Wisp, a Gray Wisp, a Jade Wisp, a Klagen, the Interceptor, the Death Queen, a Goal Plate, and the Moon Mech before their actual debut in the comic series.
- The pose in which Sonic and his Zombot form can be seen in on cover A is based on sprite artwork from Sonic Advance 3.
- The pose in which the Zombot Big can be seen in on cover A is based on concept artwork for Big from Sonic Adventure.
- The art style depicted on cover B takes after the art style for the sprites used for previous Sonic the Hedgehog games that were released on the Game Boy Advance.
- The partner icon for Sonic and Tangle seen at the bottom left side corner is a reference to Sonic Advance 3 specifically.
- In relation to cover B, Aaron Hammerstrom stated that the blue color on Sonic's original sprite used did not print well, leading him to use a different shade for him for the cover. He also stated that the design of the cover was based on Evan Stanley's interior artwork for Sonic the Hedgehog #4 and Ghost Town from Sonic Forces.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #24 CVR A GRAY & GRAHAM. Previews World (20 September 2019). Retrieved on 20 September 2019.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #24 CVR B HAMMERSTROM. Previews World (20 September 2019). Retrieved on 20 September 2019.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #24 10 COPY INCV FOURDRAINE. Previews World (20 September 2019). Retrieved on 20 September 2019.
- Aaron Hammerstrom on Twitter. Twitter (20 September 2019). Retrieved on 20 September 2019.
- Aaron Hammerstrom on Twitter. Twitter (23 September 2019). Retrieved on 23 September 2019.