- "A Sudden Shift." The world has fallen to the Metal Virus. Heroes, villains, and civilians have become Zombots. There's only one place left to hide and the few survivors-good and bad alike-find themselves up against a new threat commanding the Zombot hordes. Who will Sonic turn to for help in his most desperate hour? Find out in this extra-length issue!
A Sudden Shift
- Story: Ian Flynn
- Art: Adam Bryce Thomas
- Colors: Matt Herms
- Letters: Shawn Lee
- Assistant Editors: Megan Brown, Riley Farmer
- Editor: David Mariotte
- Special thanks to: Mai Kiyotaki, Aaron Webber, Michael Cisneros, Sandra Jo, and everyone at Sega for their invaluable assistance
On Angel Island, Knuckles is surprised to see a Restoration shuttle approaching, and gets an even bigger shock as Sonic jumps off the shuttle and onto the altar of the Master Emerald. Sonic's Metal Virus infection has progressed so far that one of his eyes has turned red and robotic, prompting Knuckles to ask why he looks like Metal Sonic. Sonic greets Knuckles and apologizes for dropping in so close, having wanted to avoid spreading his infection to the grass. Knuckles is confused, but Sonic immediately leaves to run off his infection, mentioning that Tails and Amy will explain more. Knuckles yells back that they had better explain, but as he sees them approach with weary looks on their faces, he knows he is not going to like the answers that he will get.
Meanwhile, aboard the Faceship, Dr. Eggman watches in shock as Dr. Starline presents him with the Deadly Six. Eggman furiously accuses Starline of betrayal, to which the platypus retorts that he merely brought the Deadly Six to solve the problem Eggman could not: controlling the Zombot hordes. Eggman says he will deal with Starline later and sics Metal Sonic on the Zeti. Zavok swiftly uses his electromagnetism to control and stop the robot in his tracks, taunting Eggman on his careless mistake. Starline reminds the Deadly Six that they were invited to the Faceship to take control over the Zombots while Eggman researched a better way to contain the virus. The platypus then pulls out the Cacophonic Conch, which Zazz and Zeena recognize immediately; as they move to attack, Starline blows into the conch to immobilize them. He turns to Zazz and tells him to get back in line, only for the Zeti to violently headbutt him, allowing Zeena to snatch the conch and hand it to Zavok, who ironically taunts Starline for his "lack of foresight". Amidst the commotion, Orbot and Cubot see a monitor pop up with a certain spy's insignia on it. Starline expresses his confusion over the power of the conch, allowing Eggman to tell him that it only worked as long as his lungs lasted. Zavok sends Metal Sonic to destroy the doctors, only for Starline to quickly open a portal to transport the three of them away from the ship. Zazz expresses his anger in not being able to destroy Eggman, but Zavok decides to shift their priorities instead.
Though the Zeti lost Eggman, they now controlled the Faceship, the means to create the Metal Virus, and they were now in possession of the Chaos Emeralds (items that the Deadly Six had only heard of in fables). When Zeena asks what they will do with the Emeralds, Zavok rips out the purple Emerald and its Chaos Emerald Siphon from the throne and fashions them onto his chest, stating that like all things, they will take the power as their own. Orbot applauds Zavok on his intuition, confusing Cubot. Communicating across their shared network, Orbot tells Cubot that he was pretending to obey Zavok so that he would not take control of them and requests that he do the same. Zavok questions if Orbot would actually serve him freely, to which the robot replies that he would as he and Cubot had no backbone. From this, the Deadly Six leader requests to be taken to the largest known pockets of survivors; as Orbot proceeds to do so and note that he will log the Zeti's orders to remain well coordinated, he gives a thumbs up to a hidden Rouge up above. Zavok plots out the Deadly Six's new plan; each of them will take one Emerald to be empowered by so that they can control thousands of Zombots around the world instead of random, shambling masses. He plots to bring utter devastation to the world that Eggman and Sonic had been fighting over for so long; once every living thing had been infected and neither party had anywhere else left to run, they would give them mercy of a slow end by the Zombots themselves.
Back on Angel Island, Sonic returns to the shrine from his run and asks if Knuckles had been caught up on the situation. The echidna simply has his head in his hands, frustrated that trouble had been brought to his island again. Suddenly, a portal opens in front of the four which Eggman, Starline and Metal Sonic drop through. Though Starline is glad that they were no longer in range of Zavok's control, Eggman notes that they have even worse trouble upon seeing a raging Amy. Sonic quickly stops Amy from acting as it there was no reason for Eggman to be visiting them as he had the major advantage. The doctor explains that Starline invited the Deadly Six onto the Faceship but they took control over everything. As Knuckles remains skeptical, Espio comes by to tell them that they had just gotten word from Rouge. On the shuttle, Amy tells Rouge that Eggman, Starline and Metal Sonic appeared on Angel Island. Rouge reports 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. Eggman asks Rouge how long she had been on the ship, to which she replies that she had been there for a few days and almost planned to steal the Chaos Emeralds when the Deadly Six arrived; she goes on to say that she was now coordinating with Orbot to spy on their deployments and coordinate their counterattack. Eggman passively gloats about how he cannot hire good help but he can build it; when Tails hears this, he berates him and demands Eggman to create a cure for the Metal Virus. Eggman initially claims that one cannot be made but Tails states that he had a cure himself that was soon lost. The doctor then clarifies that he does not need to have one as his research found that as the Metal Virus mutates, it becomes unsustainable; any infected eukaryote cells will eventually suffer a form of apoptosis. He goes on to say that autotrophic cells will endure slightly longer but not by much.
Knuckles asks what this means, to which Tails states that the Zombots will soon disintegrate. When the fox cub asks how long they have left, Eggman states that it will take about two hundred years, a time by which he claims he would have evacuated to a different planet. An injured Silver arrives confirming this, saying that everything in his time was left metallic or in ruins and that he came to stop what was already coming to pass because of Eggman. Amy quickly catches the hurt Silver and asks where the survivors of Ice Paradise were, only for the hedgehog to deliver that bad news that the shuttle went down to the Zombots, wondering if his failures in this time were the reason for his future's downfall. When Eggman asks if Silver has always been this melodramatic, Amy snaps at the doctor, exclaiming that he did not get to judge.
Outside, a scope can be seen aiming at Eggman's head only for Cream to soon get in the way; she asks Whisper to not shoot Eggman, with the bodiless Omega agreeing as Eggman was his to destroy. Though Whisper asks Cream to move, the rabbit tilts her Variable Wispon downwards, saying that she understood her hate for Eggman (that she shared) but Sonic and the others needed to figure out how to fix their situation; Cream wished to see her family once again and though she felt like she was asking for a lot, she states that she would give anything to have them back and asks if they were worth it. A tearful Whisper removes her mask, leaving Cream to rush to her and hug her. From this, Cream thanks Whisper and says that they will stay with her so that she will not be lonely. Omega insists he is not lonely, just enraged.
Soon, Amy, Tails, Knuckles, Espio, Silver, Eggman, Starline, Metal Sonic and Sonic gather outside, with the latter running on a treadmill and asking for new ideas on how to approach their situation. Starline suggests tackling the issue in manageable portions, probably using the Master Emerald to neutralize the Deadly Six. Tails debunks this as they could not move the Master Emerald without endangering the rest of the island and they could not lure the Zeti to them as it would be too big of a gamble; Knuckles also adds that he would not allow Starline to touch it anyway. Espio suggests using Chaos Control, though Silver notes that Shadow was better than him at using the move and it could not change things; it could only move a target over a limited range. Amy then suggests for Sonic to transform into Super Sonic, only for Sonic to say that though the Chaos Emeralds give him unlimited power, he could not just do anything with them. Eggman also reminds Amy that the Emeralds were in the possession of the Deadly Six, but Amy wanted to take things one step at a time and asks the doctor for his ideas. Eggman gloats about how he wanted everyone to exhaust themselves of their own bad ideas and suggests using the Warp Topaz. He explains that Starline told him that the Warp Topaz can cause massive changes with just a little charge and if Super Sonic were to power it up, he could warp the virus away in one fell swoop. Ironically, Amy reminds Eggman of how they were not in possession of the Chaos Emeralds while Starline tells Eggman to think of something else as he would not allow the abuse of the topaz. Eggman notes that Starline talked as if he had a say, which the latter protests that he does as he was the only expert on the subject.
According to the platypus, creating and directing his Warp Portals is difficult and the components of his glove were built after countless hours of careful testing. Starline notes that Super Sonic could undo the Metal Virus' effects or warp space-time so badly that the planet collapses. He adds that since they had a safe haven on Angel Island, they could use their resources and put in the work to find a safe, responsible way to regain control of the situation. Eggman reminds Starline that Sonic did not have much time left before the virus would fully infect him. So Angel Island would not be safe for much longer and he would take any risk to ensure that the Zeti do not use his own genius against him; as they did not have any better options, Eggman was determined to end this. Starline refuses and opens a portal, stating that he will find a better way to finish what he started and he could thank him later. Before he can leave, Metal Sonic grabs Starline by the neck and his left wrist. Eggman swiftly takes off Starline's glove with the Warp Topaz, fires him, and has Metal Sonic throw him into the portal. When Tails asks if they were okay with this, Sonic says yes as he recalls Starline being the cause of Eggman's return and him later trying to blow him and Silver up. Eggman moves onto the business of the Chaos Emeralds; while each member of the Deadly Six was in possession of an Emerald, two were on the Faceship, one powering the ship and one in the possession of Zavok. Eggman believes that Rouge could handle getting the Emeralds herself as she was an expert jewel thief. Espio realizes that five Zeti were left, now empowered by Chaos Emeralds, though Silver optimistically states that as they had each other they would be able to overwhelm them one at a time. Knuckles notes that Rouge said they were all networked through the Faceship, meaning that they needed to strike at the same time to prevent one Zeti from contacting the others. Eggman explains that he can scavenge materials on the shuttle and use the Warp Topaz to create a "Multi-Portal Generator"; with Rouge and Orbot's counter-intelligence, he would be able to send everyone to their exact targets. Tails believes that it would be better if everyone went with a backup in case things went south. Since Sonic was not sure how much strength was left in him, Amy gets an idea to put in a call.
Soon, a blimp arrives at Angel Island, revealing that Amy had called the Babylon Rogues. Sonic was initially skeptical to this idea but Amy stated that they were thieves and spent their time on a blimp, a convenient way for them not to be infected and be perfect for stealing Chaos Emeralds. Jet wastes no time in insulting Sonic and states that he may be able to help if the reward is big enough. Wave tells Jet to help them, otherwise they would have no places to refuel, eat or steal from but the leader believed that they could figure it all out without having to become do-gooders. Storm backs Jet up on his decision but notes that he does like to eat. Sonic turns to Jet and acknowledges that he has an image to maintain and that he has his own way of doing things. However, Sonic believed that he needed his help, and the world needed the "Legendary Wind Master". Flattered, Jet accepts Sonic's offer to save the world and takes a second to gloat about Sonic needing his help, to Sonic's annoyance. Amy tells Sonic that she will not tell Knuckles about Sonic needing to boost Jet's ego, though Sonic was accepting his own ego's hits. He then sets out for another run but promised to be back before deployment so that they could hopefully end things before they got worse.
In Riverside, Zazz has Zombots recklessly tear down buildings. When the Zombots find some survivors, he mercilessly orders the infected to infect them immediately. In Vista View, Zomom finds disappointment in the food that he forced a child to bring to him. As punishment, the Zeti has the child infected by Zombots. In Orchardville, Zor takes great pleasure in having several villagers infected by the Metal Virus and begins to talk through poetry. He sees a farmer try to fend Zombots off while protecting a small child and the Zeti does nothing but recite more poetry and watch in glee. In Sunset City, Zeena has made both Zombots and the remaining uninfected citizens obey her but finds immense disappointment in the city's shopping. When she asks one survivor why the shopping was not any better, he nervously states that nothing can suit someone as radiant as her. Zeena accepts this answer, stating that he can remain spared for another hour and forces the rest to praise her. In Winterburg, Master Zik levitates on a broken water tower, commanding a large horde of Zombots to search and infect. Contacting Zavok, Zik says that the invasion is going well and he can see the virus spreading through the forests beyond, believing that the continent will be fully converted in a few days but also wonders if there was more the leader could be doing. Zavok praises his master and assures him that he was not resting on his laurels; he states that he will see to it that they infect everything from coast to coast by tonight and by tomorrow, the world.
- Babylon Rogues
- Big the Cat (first appearance)
- Cream the Rabbit
- Deadly Six
- Dr. Eggman
- Dr. Starline
- Elder Scruffy
- Jewel the Beetle
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Metal Sonic
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Silver the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Super Sonic (mentioned)
- Tangle the Lemur
- Team Dark
- Vanilla the Rabbit
- Whisper the Wolf
Races and species:
- Silver's future (mentioned)
- Sonic's dimension
- Cacophonic Conch
- Chaos Emeralds
- Chaos Emerald Siphon (first appearance)
- Master Emerald
- Metal Virus
- Moon Mech (first appearance)
- Multi-Portal Generator (mentioned)
- Multi-Tool Heel Spurs
- Piko Piko Hammer
- Warp Topaz
- Sonic is still infected with the Metal Virus he received in Sonic the Hedgehog #15, "Patient Zero".
- Knuckles is still guarding the Master Emerald on Angel Island, as mentioned by Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog #13, "Calling Card".
- In continuation from the previous issue, Dr. Starline successfully brings the Deadly Six aboard the Faceship, a plan he had been plotting since Sonic the Hedgehog #20, "Crisis City, Part 2".
- The Deadly Six take control of the Faceship and the Zombot hordes. This would last until Sonic the Hedgehog #29, "All or Nothing, Part 4".
- Rouge was last seen evacuating civilians from Sunset City in Sonic the Hedgehog #20, "Crisis City, Part 2"; Amy noted her disappearance in Sonic the Hedgehog #22, "The Last Minute, Part 2". This issue reveals that she had infiltrated the Faceship some time ago.
- Silver reminds the others of how he found his future to have nothing but ruins and metallic plant life, which was first discovered in Sonic the Hedgehog #8, "Silent Support". This issue also explains the cause of said future.
- Dr. Eggman continues to express interest in using the Warp Topaz to fix the Zombot situation against Starline's warnings, which first arose in Sonic the Hedgehog #23, "The Last Minute, Part 3".
- Starline is fired as Eggman's protegé. This event would be recalled in several future issues.
- Sonic expresses little concern about Starline being deprived of his Warp Topaz and being fired by Eggman, recalling how the platypus was responsible for abducting "Mr. Tinker" and restoring his memories (as seen in Sonic the Hedgehog #10-#12) and attempting to kill Sonic and Silver in Sonic the Hedgehog #14, "Misdirection".
- Big the Cat makes his first appearance in this issue as a Zombot, though it had not been revealed previously as to how he became one. It was later revealed in Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020, "Big's Big Adventure" that he was infected after Froggy jumped on a Zombot and he touched him afterwards.
- The owl mech that Zor can be seen piloting in the issue is a callback to his boss fights in Sonic Lost World.
- There is an error on page thirteen in which Cream says "I... I want to see my mother again. And Cream, and Chocola, and everyone else." instead of "Cheese", who was infected at the time.
- This error was corrected when the issue was later reprinted in Sonic the Hedgehog Volume 7: All or Nothing.
- On page fifteen, Silver mentions that Shadow was better at Chaos Control than him. Silver was first seen using this move in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
- As the events of the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) were seemingly erased, it is unknown if this is a representation of Silver remembering the events of the game or has come to personally know Shadow as a superior user of the move.
- This is the first appearance of the Babylon Rogues in the main comic series after already appearing in the 2019 annual.
- Wave is drawn without her necklace throughout the issue.
- Story so far: "Story so far" is a summary of the current plotline for the comic.
- 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, Knuckles, Dr. Eggman, Dr. Starline, Metal Sonic and the Deadly Six.
- 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. As a special treat this month, the Sonic Letter Squad is six pages long instead of just two pages long. Two of the pages are dedicated to a fan comic by JT Foster while the other four showcase raw artwork of each of the variant covers for the issue.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle & Whisper #1 - Free Digital Ashcan
- Cubot: Oh! I get it! We're only pretending to like his evil, crazy plan!
- Orbot: Precisely! Just act like he's Eggman when he's in one of his moods.
- Cubot: So... like most days?
- Amy: Silver! You're hurt! Where is everyone from Ice Paradise?
- Silver: The shuttle went down to the Zombots. I... I couldn't save anyone. Is my time doomed because of my failures here?
- Dr. Eggman: Is he always this melodramatic?
- Amy: You don't get to judge!
- Cream: Please don't, Miss Whisper.
- Omega: Agreed. Eggman is mine to destroy.
- This is the first milestone issue of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- This issue was originally scheduled to release on 22 January 2020, but was soon moved to 29 January 2020 instead. It was later moved to 5 February 2020 and then to 12 February 2020.
- The artwork for cover RI-A was influenced by the Game Over screen in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
- The artwork for cover RI-B took after the layout for the Deadly Six artwork in Sonic Lost World, the Japanese box artwork for Sonic Blast and the Japanese box artwork for Sonic Jam.
- The original artwork for cover RI-B had a drop of blood coming out from a wound on Dr. Starline by Zomom. This was edited out in the final version.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #25 CVR A HESSE. Previews World (25 October 2019). Retrieved on 25 October 2019.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #25 CVR B THOMAS. Previews World (25 October 2019). Retrieved on 25 October 2019.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #25 10 COPY INCV FOURDRAINE. Previews World (25 October 2019). Retrieved on 25 October 2019.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #25 25 COPY INCV GRAY & GRAHAM. Previews World (25 October 2019). Retrieved on 27 January 2019.
- Nathalie Fourdraine on Twitter (28 January 2020). Retrieved on 29 January 2020.
- Jonathan H. Gray on Twitter (27 January 2020). Retrieved on 4 February 2020.