- The ROAD TO #50 starts here! Enjoy a TEN-ISSUE long adventure leading up to the EPIC SHOWDOWN in milestone issue #50.
- ROAD TRIP!!! The girls; Amy, Jewel, Tangle, and Belle, are heading off on a well-deserved camping trip. Between Dr. Eggman, Dr. Starline, and the Deadly Six, life has been a bit stressful, so they hope rest and relaxation will bring them some peace. Unfortunately... tensions are high and Amy's fortune card readings leave everyone feeling confused. Can the girls extinguish the awkwardness before it burns out of control? Find out in "TRIAL BY FIRE," part one by Evan Stanley.
Trial by Fire, Part 1
- Story & Art: Evan Stanley
- Inks: Matt Froese
- Colors: Reggie Graham
- Letters: Shawn Lee
- Assistant Editor: Riley Farmer
- Editor: David Mariotte
- Special thanks to: Mai Kiyotaki, Michael Cisneros, Sandra Jo, Sonic Team, and everyone at Sega for their invaluable assistance
At Tails' lab, Sonic and Tails help load the fox's camping gear into Amy's car. Amy thanks Tails for lending the gear to her, with the fox asking only for her to provide him with detailed reviews of his prototype equipment as he believes that there was no way he could improve without it. Amy is taken aback by hearing that the equipment are all prototypes, with Sonic joking that he believed Amy was a hedgehog and not a guinea pig. Amy shakes this off and believes that it will be fine; this was going to be the first time that she and the other girls hung out with each other without involving some sort of battle or wild adventure, and she is determined to take advantage of this. Sonic is tempted to join them as he believes that the wildflowers in the Zone park could not be beat around this time of year. Tails stops this thought, reminding Sonic that he promised that would play a new video game with him this weekend due to the fact that he needs a second player for versus mode. Due to this, Sonic instead went with Tails as Amy waved them off. Soon, after Amy picks up the others, Tangle expresses her excitement for the camping trip. Noticing that Belle was cramped up at the back with luggage, Amy offered to make more room for her; Belle thanks her but politely declines. As Tangle ponders whether or not she should have brought a knife, Amy tells her that it is set to be more of a "nature hikes and marshmallow roasts" kind of camping trip. The lemur is aware of this but still considers it an adventure, out seeing the world.
A few days earlier, Whisper was leaving Restoration HQ with her Wisps in secret, but was found by Tangle, who went out jogging. When the lemur asked if Whisper wanted to join her, the wolf declined and explained that she had stayed in the area for too long and planned to leave due to Mimic being free; to her, this meant that her presence was a liability and did not want to put anyone else in danger. Tangle mentioned how Whisper had just arrived but Whisper said that her Tangle's place was with the Restoration but hers was not. With this, Whisper and the Wisps left the area. Tangle is snapped back into the present by Jewel and explains that she was thinking about "Restoration stuff". Jewel relates to this as she found it hard to be torn away from such important work. Belle reflects on this with a more pessimistic tone. Amy exclaims that they were here for that reason to rest and recharge; to her, they had earned a girls' night out and was not taking no for an answer. The hedgehog explains that she had done her research, learning that it is the best campground around. When the girls arrive at the campground, they find it to be very packed and busy, which Amy claims is proof that it is an excellent campground. At the reception, Amy tells the ranger at the desk that they have a reservation for site #97. He explains to her that they have new fire regulations in place for the year. The Metal Virus infected the entire region through the winter and metal plants do not absorb water. Due to this, the area missed its hydration last season, making the whole park bone-dry and set to go up. The bear continues to explain that fire was only permitted in marked areas, that coals should be carefully doused before leaving the campsite, and trash was to be taken to designated areas instead of being burnt. He tries to continue his list, only for his map to be burned up by a Red Wisp belonging to his son, Ashe. The kid and Wisp run as his father chases him to scold him for using fire.
The girls eventually get to their campsite and try to set up their gear. Jewel finds trouble reading some instructions as half of it was just geometry equations. Jewel tries to ask Tangle to thread one of the tent poles a certain way, only for the lemur to accidentally hit Jewel with it. Amy finds some frustration in Tails packing several pieces of high tech but forgetting to supply them with matches. Belle reveals that her pinky tool finger is a lighter, which she is nervous about using due to her being made of wood. Amy sees that Belle does not seem to want to use it and the robot apologizes for dampening the mood for the others. Amy discards this as she has a trick up her sleeve. Later that night, Amy asks Tangle and Jewel how pitching the tent went. The lemur gloomily thinks back, only for Jewel to call her attention to her nearly burning her marshmallows. Jewel asks Tangle if she was feeling all right as she has been distracted all day, only for Tangle to snap at her, saying that she can handle it and she has stuff to think about. Before any more tension can develop, Amy prepares to get the night started using her fortune cards. She explains that she is an expert practitioner and the cards led her to someone very important to her. Elsewhere, still playing video games with Tails, Sonic sneezes. Amy continues to say that with the cards, she can uncover the secrets of their destinies. Belle wonders if Amy can really predict the future. Jewel is more skeptical of it, believing it to be more about suggestion; to her, the cards would present someone with an open-ended "prediction," and they will associate it with their own life experiences. Seeing Jewel to be a doubter, Amy decides to demonstrate and pull a card for her. She pulled "The Master", which is a card that signifies strength and leadership—a unifier of chaos. The hedgehog believes this to be very fitting for Jewel, to which the beetle half-heartedly agrees with. Amy moves onto Tangle next, the latter of which wonders if it will be a future she does not like. Amy tells her that she will never know until she tries, and that was part of the fun of it. For Tangle, Amy pulls the "Chao's Fruit"; it is about balance of the opposing sides, giving it several interpretations like a showdown, a moral dilemma, or a partnership. When Amy asks if this was familiar to her, Tangle says no; aside from when the Deadly Six attacked, the Restoration does not find a whole lot of excitement at their HQ. This disheartens Jewel upon hearing this.
When it is finally Belle's turn, she wonders if the cards can work on robots. Amy claims that they can as long as she is open to them. However, when Amy does pull a card for Belle, she is shocked by the results. Eager to know if the result was about her dad, Belle tries to get the card from Amy, only for the hedgehog to nervously resist giving it to her. Belle trips over, forcing the card to fall into the campfire and burn. After an awkward silence among the group, Belle panics and tries to apologize, only for Amy to forgive her and insist that her fortune was is good as she had drawn the "Statue Savior", which was all about mercy and protection. However as Belle is picking up the cards she finds the "Statue Savior" among them; she gloomily looks at it. The hedgehog continues by saying it is perfect for the Restoration, especially with Jewel in charge. With this, Jewel decides to head off to bed. Tangle tries to convince her to stay longer as it is not that late, but Jewel refuses, saying that she is not a night owl. The others eventually go to bed, but Belle does not sleep. She leaves the tent on her own and wanders through the woods. In the woods, she spots a small bush that looks like Sonic's head. It rustles and startles her, causing her to go through her fingers to try and find a flashlight. She is only able to find her lighter on her pinky finger and investigates the bush. Out from the bush, a Motobug leaps out, causing Belle to fall back and hit her head on a rock. On impact, she powers down. Back at the tent, Amy exits and wonders why she can smell a bonfire so late in the night. She looks to the trees to find that a forest fire has been started. She wakes the others up and points out the forest fire to them. Jewel notes that if a forest fire got through to the main campsite, there will be nothing left. The other campers can be seen trying to get away from the site as quickly as possible. Amy states that the area will get worse if people start to panic, and they cannot let that happen. As the group are not able to find Belle, they go to the ranger to see if he has a plan. The bear, however, explains that his son, Ashe, is now missing and he has to find him; according to the ranger, he is always wandering into the woods. Tangle resolves to find Ashe, with Jewel asking if she is sure. Tangle is determined as out there is where she can do the most good. Amy confirms that the ranger can trust Tangle to handle the search and rescue, and asks the ranger to help her and Jewel with getting everyone else to safety. Tangle heads off into the woods and is wished luck by Amy.
- Amy Rose
- Ashe (first appearance)
- Big the Cat
- Dr. Eggman (mentioned)
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Mimic (mentioned)
- Red Hot (first appearance)
- Restoration (mentioned)
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Whisper the Wolf (flashback)
Races and species:
- Chao (mentioned)
- Zeti (mentioned)
- Sonic's dimension
- Extreme Gear
- Fishing Rod
- Metal Virus (mentioned)
- Whisper mentions that Mimic is free. He escaped Everhold Prison in Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #1, "A Few Bad Men".
- Jewel is still affiliated with the Restoration after joining it in Sonic the Hedgehog #31, "Recovery, Part 1".
- Tangle is still affiliated with the Restoration after it was revealed that she joined in Sonic the Hedgehog #37, "Test Run, Part 1".
- Belle is still affiliated with the Restoration after joining it in Sonic the Hedgehog #37, "Test Run, Part 1".
- Tangle recalls the Deadly Six attacking Restoration HQ, which occurred in Sonic the Hedgehog #42-#43.
- Tails mentions how Sonic promised to play a new video game from the Ages video game company this weekend. This is reference to Sega, whose name backwards spells "Ages".
- This is also in reference to an early European marketing strategy motto used by Sega from the late 1980's to early 1990's: To Be This Good takes AGES/To Be This Good takes SEGA.
- A character that looks similar to Garfield can be seen on page six.
- Amy mentions how her fortune cards led her to someone very important to her, alluding to Sonic. This is a reference to Sonic the Hedgehog CD, where the Japanese manual for the game states that Amy's tarot cards predicted that she would have a "destined" encounter with Sonic on Little Planet.
- Sonic sneezing when Amy refers to him is a reference to the real-life Asian superstition that talking behind someone's back causes the person being talked about to sneeze.
- The bear park ranger is a reference to Smokey Bear, a mascot for fire safety in forested areas.
- A bottle of Chaos Cola can be seen on page ten, which is based on the in-universe drink that has been advertised in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2.
- On page ten, "The Master" card features a picture of the Master Emerald.
- One of the descriptions Amy gives for it is "a unifier of chaos", which references Tikal's Prayer from Sonic Adventure.
- On page 13, the "Statue Savior" card features a picture of a statue resembling the hidden angel statue found in Wacky Workbench's past from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- Additionally, the name of the card is a reference to "Statue Savior", an achievement earned for finding said hidden statue in the 2011 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- On the card, the face of the statue is hidden by falling water due to no humans other than Dr. Eggman appearing in the comic series.
- According to writer Evan Stanley, Belle's unseen card that fell into the fire was the "Floating Island", but drawn inverted, making it the "falling island" and an omen of great peril.
- 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, Belle, Jewel, Amy 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. Only one page is featured in this issue. The other pages showcase raw artwork of the variant covers for the issue.
- Creator Corner: Creator Corner is a section where one of the staff that works on the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series is interviewed. In this case, the section is dedicated to Diana Skelly.
- Tangle: Camping! Braving the wilderness with nothing but our wits and guts. This is gonna be awesome!
- Amy: Ooh...! It's just like Tails to pack all these high-tech bells and whistles, but forget the essentials.
- Belle: Something's missing?
- Amy: Yeah, no matches!
- Belle: I can take care of that...see?
- Amy: It looks like you'd rather not.
- Belle: It comes in handy. But it's still a little nerve-wracking when you're made of wood.
- Amy: Through these cards... ...I can uncover the secrets of your destiny!
- Belle: You can really predict the future?
- Jewel: It's more about suggestion; present someone with an open-ended "prediction," and they'll associate it with their own life experiences.
- Amy: Ah! You doubt my power? Maybe a demonstration will change your mind!
- This issue was originally scheduled for release on 22 September 2021, but was delayed to 6 October 2021, and later again to 13 October 2021.
- On cover B, the characters (aside from Amy) appear on tarot cards. Tangle's card is reminiscent of The Fool. However, according to artist Diana Skelly, the cards do not have exact matches to a real world tarot set, but rather the way the characters are dressed is meant to allude to their roles within the story.
- Skelly's designs for the back and front border of the cards also appear within the story on Amy's fortune cards.
- An initial sketch of cover RI features a board stuck to Belle's head. This is in reference to the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "My Pretty Seahorse" where a similar act happens to Patrick. However, this sketch was drawn just for fun and that pose was never meant to be used for the final cover.
Fortune card artwork
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #45 CVR A STANLEY. Previews World (25 June 2021). Retrieved on 25 June 2021.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #45 CVR B SKELLY. Previews World (25 June 2021). Retrieved on 25 June 2021.
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #45 CVR C 10 COPY INCV FOURDRAINE (. Previews World (25 June 2021). Retrieved on 25 June 2021.
- Stanley, Evan (28 October 2021). Draw many Cartoon. Tumblr. Archived from the original on 29 October 2021. Retrieved on 29 October 2021.
- Stanley, Evan (29 October 2021). Draw many Cartoon. Tumblr. Archived from the original on 29 October 2021. Retrieved on 29 October 2021.
- Stanley, Evan (2 January 2022). Draw many Cartoon. Tumblr. Archived from the original on 13 January 2022. Retrieved on 13 January 2022.
- Skelly, Diana (11 October 2021). A glorified sketchbook blog. Tumblr. Archived from the original on 12 October 2021. Retrieved on 12 October 2021.
- Skelly, D on Twitter. Twitter (10 October 2021). Archived from the original on 11 October 2021. Retrieved on 29 October 20021.
- Nathalie F on Twitter. Twitter (15 September 2021). Archived from the original on 15 September 2021. Retrieved on 12 October 2021.