Jani-Ca (born 3246), formerly known as Lara-Su, is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. She was Knuckles and Julie-Su's daughter in an alternate future timeline. She first came to Mobius Prime to prevent her father from being killed by Constable Remington, as her mother explained that was how Knuckles had died in their timeline. She proved unsuccessful, though she managed to thwart a Dark Legion plot to assassinate Julie-Su. Returning to her home timeline, Jani-Ca became the leader of the Dark Freedom Fighters, fighting to liberate their home from Dark Enerjak. Eventually, with the help of Silver the Hedgehog, she succeeded and became the new incarnation of Enerjak herself.
Concept and creation
Jani-Ca's rough concept design was created by writer Ken Penders; in this early version her vest appeared padded and she wore a black V-neck shirt. Her rectangular glasses (interpreted as shades) were inspired by fan Noelle Carballo.
Lara-Su is a red Echidna with violet eyes and pink hair tipped in purple. She wears a braid on her left. Her outfit is generally blue accented in darker blue/black; she wears a vest, laced boots/shoes, gloves (featuring dark lines on the backs), and a red shirt matching her fur. The vest has varied between appearances, sometimes being blue with darker patches, other times being dark with a lighter trim.
Later on, Lara-Su's appearance changed slightly to reflect the hardship of her battle against her father; more hardened, she now wears a black shirt under her vest and heavier boots. Additionally, she wears studded cuffs and white wraps on her arms; her bangs sweep to the right and she carries a sword in a scabbard on her back.
Born in an alternate future version of Mobius, Lara-Su spent much of her early life growing up inside a base with her mother and other people. She had to stay inside at all times because of the danger of the Dark Legion whom she knew were mean to people, which forced her to stay indoors. It was because of these things that she came to hate the Legion, and hoped that Julie-Su and the others would soon win and make the bad people go away so that she could go outside one day. Vector the Crocodile, whom Lara-Su called Uncle Vector, occasionally visited and she looked forward to it as he would bring her gifts and told her stories about his adventures. She liked when Vector came by, and she liked to hear about things outside the base since she was not supposed to leave. During this young age, she also had a secret that she was practicing; Lara-Su discovered she could move things just by looking at them. Unaware of her family's tie to the Chaos Force, she decided she would show it off to Julie-Su and Vector the next time he came back, hoping that they would be surprised.
One day, Remington came to the base and had a fight with Julie-Su. From the argument, Lara-Su was able to figure out that the fight with the Dark Legion was not going very well, but she then heard that Uncle Vector was lost. Lara-Su comprehended this as Vector not knowing where he was, which she questioned how, since he lived on Dark Mobius his whole life and was so smart. Too young to understand and not exactly knowing what was going on, she thought that she heard Remington say that Vector was with somebody called "Prelate", and she hoped he would show Vector the way back. Since Julie-Su seemed so upset, Lara-Su thought that she would show her the surprise, and got a few things in the room to move around just by thinking about them. That did not make Julie-Su happy, and instead escalated her fight with Remington. As a result, Lara-Su ran up to her room still hating the Dark Legion and the war. Lara-Su also began to hate Remington from that point due to him fighting with her mother.
Over the next few years, Lara-Su was trained for survival and combat in practice sessions with her mother. Things were never easy for her as Julie-Su would snap at her if she was even a second late for training. One day her mother was the one late for practice, which made Lara-Su uneasy. By the time Julie-Su arrived, she felt like giving her a piece of her mind, but saw she had brought in a box with some people she never saw before. Assuming they were more rebels, Lara-Su opened the box and saw it held the robotic head of an echidna. Not realizing this head was the last remains of her ancestor Dimitri, she was shocked when he began to speak to her and revealed that he knew her, her mother, and about her powers. Explaining that she had been channeling the Chaos Force, Dimitri told Lara-Su that he would train her to access it more and use it to fight the Dark Legion. Lara-Su agreed to this idea, though she had forgotten Dimitri's name at that point.
Trip to Mobius Prime
Lara-Su grew up thinking that her father Knuckles had been killed by Remington when she was younger, and became determined to undo that tragic event. Deciding to take the initiative, she applied the training Dimitri gave her and spent a few weeks building up enough power to create a space-time portal and rescue her father. Even though it was risky and dangerous, the war was not going well, and she wanted to do something about it.
Traveling to present day Angel Island in Mobius Prime, she arrived during the period in which all the inhabitants except for Knuckles, Julie-Su, and the Dark Legion had been teleported to the Twilight Cage by the Quantum Beam, Lara-Su was rather confused to find Echidnaopolis deserted. Her confusion multiplied when Chaos Knuckles, using his immense powers, undid the beam's effects. Lara found herself surrounded by the returned Echidnas, among them Remington-the very Echidna whom she had been told by her future mother, Julie-Su, had killed Knuckles. Deciding to go undercover until she could make sense of things, Lara-Su made the constable's acquaintance, claiming to be one "Jani-Ca." Almost immediately afterwards, she ran into her grandmother and namesake, Lara-Le, and then the past versions of her parents. She was quite astonished to see Knuckles in his green form, which had apparently never happened in her knowledge along her timeline.
Regardless, she continued in her quest to protect Knuckles from being killed during a meeting between Dimitri and the Mitre of Angel Island as the Dark Legion and Echidnaopolis negotiated reunification. Lara-Su arrived just in time to prevent Remington's attack on the true assassin, whose shot was aimed at either Dimitri or the Mitre. The shot was caught by Knuckles, who then faked his own death. Heartbroken, Lara-Su was left confused as Remington was not responsible for firing the shot that killed Knuckles. She then overheard Lien-Da talking with the Dark Legion sniper Syntar about taking out Julie-Su and the Mitre. She knocked out Syntar just before he had a chance to fire his shot. Lara-Su realized that she may not have gone back in time to have saved her father, and that perhaps there was a reason her mother did not talk about her younger years. At that moment, Lara-Su began to transport back to her own future reality, despite wanting to stay longer and gain some more answers.
Upon arriving back in her own time, she confronted her mother and learned from her that the Knuckles in their timeline was now leader of the Dark Legion, having absorbed a massive amount of Chaos energy and gone insane. Julie-Su had hidden the truth from her daughter by saying he was dead, but the time had come for Lara-Su to confront her deranged father. She realized she had been given false information, wound up in a whole other zone and accomplished nothing. Lara-Su then followed her mother into an uncertain conflict to defeat Knuckles, but not without hating her for lying about his death. She felt that she could have used her power for something more proactive, regardless if Julie-Su was trying to protect her.
The last Resistance
Lara-Su and her mother soon became part of a much larger resistance; they organized what became an army of Freedom Fighters and were nearly successful in taking down Knuckles, who at this point had assumed the mantle of Enerjak, but he crushed the resistance shortly after with the added power of the stolen Chaos Emeralds. Scarlette Rabbot brought Lara-Su the news one morning that Julie-Su was gone due to a raid gone bad. Numb from the shock, a day passed with her just staring at the walls, though she believed she cried at some point, unable to remember when. With her mother gone, she was officially in charge and renounced her name to cut all ties to Enerjak, something she could not bring herself to perform in front of Julie-Su. Eventually Lara-Su took on her old alias of "Jani-Ca", and was left with just a handful of allies.
At some point, Cutlass Depardieu informed Lara-Su of Sir Charles Hedgehog and arranged a meeting for him with her. Reading Cutlass' letter of introduction, she took into account Charles' poor self-presentation and temperament as it went on to mention that he was amazingly brilliant and knew of a medical technique that was sure to save some lives for the greater good, particularly Blockbuster, who had previously been injured and was in need of Charles' Roboticizer.
Leading the remaining Freedom Fighters, Jani-Ca continued to fight against Enerjak and his Prelate army, which she started by following up on Julie-Su and Elias' request to obtain the Sword of Acorns. Jani-Ca hired her world's version of Nack the Weasel to find the Sword for her, balking at his exorbitant finder's fee, but agreed to it regardless. When she next heard from Nack, it was through a letter he sent claiming that he had found the Sword on Downunda at great personal risk, which made his rate triple. Following Nack's instructions, Jani-Ca got the money together by the end of the month for delivery at the agreed spot, and Nack upheld his end of the bargain. With the Sword of Acorns now in hand, Jani-Ca was able to form a plan; to ambush Enerjak when he dropped his guard and use the Sword to drain away his power.
The Silver Saga
When her team discovered someone being attacked by the Prelates, Jani-Ca's team moved in to save him; the would-be victim turned out to be Silver the hedgehog, who had traveled from another reality following one of the Prelates. Silver and Jani-Ca got off to a rough start (due to him mistaking her for another reality's version of herself and using her old name), and she almost cut him down until Blockbuster intervened to allow the hedgehog to explain himself. After hearing Silver's story about how he was a time-traveler and met another Lara-Su, Jani-Ca accepted his story outright. She then had him accompany her team to their secret base and Jani-Ca outlined their situation and plan to him while also briefly explaining that she believed his story from her own time-travel experience. However, they soon found themselves ambushed in their own base by Enerjak who claimed to have always known where they were and kept them around for entertainment value until Silver had arrived. Joining hands with the rest of her team, she told Demo to clear a path for them and was lifted out of the crumbling remains of their hideout by Silver, only to be captured in Enerjak's chaos energy. Jani-Ca was able to break free of his hold with the Sword of Acorns however, and remained defiant in the face of her corrupted father and his summoned minions. She became especially enraged when he revealed a new Prelate especially for her; one based upon her mother, whom Enerjak had rendered into a Core. As she engaged her new foe in attempt to hold it off with the rest of Enerjak's soldiers, Jani-Ca told Silver to help the others and leave her to fight her mother.
During her fight with Prelate JS, she spoke to it thinking that her mother might be able to somehow hear her from inside, promising that she would save her. Before Jani-Ca could deliver the killing blow though, Silver interrupted the fight, using his power to freeze JS. Jani-Ca was furious as Silver had no right to intrude on a personal matter, but as he pointed out her team was losing and needed her, she agreed he was right and went to help Scarlette and Blockbuster in their battles with Prelates V and M. With the fight over, she destroyed the immobile JS so Silver could add her core to the others he rescued from Enerjak. Noting afterwards that the demigod had just been watching them and brooding for a while, she ordered her team to move until he approached, applauding their efforts. Jani-Ca realized Enerjak himself was about to attack and told everyone to scatter, but it was pointless as he quickly caught and removed the cores of each of them one at a time until just she was left. Even while in her father's grasp, Jani-Ca still defied him as he noted how much wasted potential she still had until Silver attacked him, causing Enerjak to let her go. She stayed back as Silver went to confront Enerjak in tremendous final showdown, and gathered up her friends' lifeless bodies. Promising to restore them soon, Jani-Ca turned to the battle at hand and waited to make her move.
Jani-Ca rushed to Silver's aide when he was overwhelmed by a horde of Prelates, and helped him fight their way through them until Silver was close enough to reach Enerjak. Telling Silver to go finish his fight with the demigod, Jani-ca turned her attention to dealing with the Prelates and held them off single-handedly. Eventually she saw that Enerjak was completely focused on crushing Silver and quickly jumped in, stunning him with the Sword of Acorn's magic, and recited a variant of Tikal's Prayer to drain his power. Following a flash of light, Jani-ca was shocked to find that by taking Enerjak's power away from him, she had become the next incarnation herself as a demigoddess. With a quick test of her new powers she was able to summon her mother's core and realized she could restore everyone and rebuild Mobius. She then destroyed the Sword to prevent her father from regaining his power and offered to help Silver's world in thanks. He declined though, as he still did not know how things went wrong and she accepted that, saying she would not be Enerjak for long. She gave her word as Guardian that she would not miss this opportunity to save her world. She then wished Silver luck in his quest as he departed, remaining hopeful that she could restore her father as well.
Now as Enerjak, Jani-Ca began to think about how to repair the damage to Mobius and decided to first restore the cores to their owners. Though she would have rather stayed away from there, she went to the former Enerjak's abode, the Citadel where the Prelates came from. She felt it was still too soon to forgive Knuckles or regard him as her father again, but brought him with her as her only source of insight. With Knuckles guidance, she gained entrance by concentrating on wanting to go in, and they arrived at a small room with a throne. Hesitantly following his instruction to sit, Jani-Ca extended her will again and the ceiling vanished with the entire height of the spire, and every victim who had fallen to Enerjak, revealed to her.
Surveying all of the sad and frightened looking figures preserved by the magic that had robbed them of their cores, Jani-Ca stopped on one man in particular. Knowing him only through his legendary evil, she asked her father if it was Dr. Eggman, as she thought he had been vaporized. Knuckles confirmed it was Eggman, explaining he was not in complete control of his power then, and it took a great deal of experimentation to restore him since the doctor was the first person he stole a Core from. As Jani-Ca learned the bodies were all preserved as far as Knuckles knew, but that he never restored a core to someone, she found herself not knowing where to begin or even how.
When Knuckles inquired, Jani-Ca affirmed her plan to restore the cores to their owners, but remained unsure if she could figure out how. Knuckles warned her that she could err without mastering her powers, and might destroy the body, the core, or both. She listened as Knuckles suggested he could coach her in the process, but when he mentioned doing so by example and sharing her powers with him, she silenced him with a look. At this point, a dark voice began to make itself known in her mind, whispering malicious ideas, but Jani-Ca ignored it as she knew that kind of thinking led to the misery she grew up in and refused to perpetuate it. However, she realized she would not be able to resist the whisper forever, and had to restore the cores and Mobius quickly.
Jani-Ca was still uncertain who she would try to restore first when Knuckles asked. As he suggested her mother, only to add that Jani-Ca would not start with her because she would not want to risk botching it and losing her forever, she seethed at his accuracy. She reluctantly nodded, but told him that she did not want any more sacrifices when he suggested using Dr. Eggman or another villain who would not be missed, nor that anyone else would be lost to his machinations. She then turned to a familiar face, Remington, and realized she never really knew him. She hated him in her childhood purely from principle, and his heroism only confused her as she grew up. Finally understanding that he had given everything to try to protect everyone, Jani-Ca believed he would have volunteered himself if he knew it could save the world. Hoping she was right and that Remington could forgive her if she was wrong, Jani-Ca summoned a core and offered it to the body, softly begging him to please wake up.
Powers and abilities
As Knuckles' daughter, Lara-Su commands Chaos energy through a link to the Master Emerald. This allowed Lara-Su to knock an unsuspecting EST officer unconscious. She also commands Knuckles' strength, and has fist spurs similar to his, which she can retract at will.
Later on, Jani-Ca wielded the Sword of Acorns, which she uses to take the power from Enerjak. Upon doing this, she absorbed her father's powers, becoming the next incarnation of Enerjak.
- This Lara-Su exists in an alternate reality. A different version of Lara-Su appeared later in StH #131—144, StH #166—167, and SU #5—8.
- The differing personalities of the two were the subject of an Off Panel strip, in which the alternate Lara-Su convinced Enerjak to stop his evil ways through cordial discussion, whereas Jani-Ca demanded King Shadow's surrender at sword point.
- The origin story of this Lara-Su was taken from the cancelled storyline Knuckles: 20 Years Later.
- This Lara-Su's pseudonym, Jani-Ca, has a real-world parallel, Janica, which means "God's Gracious Gift" in Hebrew. Her name also shares the traditional Echidna female suffix of her adopted maternal grandmother, Floren-Ca. Whether this was intended as a means of retaining a connection to her mother's family through her new name is unknown.
- Dark Mobius - Jani-Ca's ascent. Archie Comics.
- Dark Mobius - Jani-Ca's ascent. Archie Comics.
- Dark Mobius - Knuckles' Descent
- Dark Mobius - Jani-Ca's ascent. Archie Comics.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #106, "Reunification Part 1"
- Dark Mobius - Jani-Ca's ascent. Archie Comics.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #107, "Reunification Part II"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #108, "Reunification Part 3"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #109, "Reunification: The Conclusion"
- Sonic Universe #26, "Fractured Mirror Part Two: Warped Reflections"
- Dark Mobius - Jani-Ca's ascent. Archie Comics.
- Sonic Universe #27, "Fractured Mirror Part Three: Shattered"
- Sonic Universe #28, "Fractured Mirror The Finale: Picking up the Pieces"