Knuckles the Echidna is a character that appears in the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions. He is a red anthropomorphic echidna, the last of his kind (at least initially). Completely alone, he guards the Floating Island, as well as the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald, a duty that he takes very seriously.
Unlike the game-version of Knuckles, he does not have a white crescent birthmark on his chest; instead, he wears a silver-white circlet or necklace. His first appearance was in a story starring himself, "Guardian of the Chaos Emeralds", in Sonic the Summer Special (1994).
Knuckles lived alone on the Floating Island for his whole life, dedicated to guarding the sacred Chaos Emeralds and waiting for the return of his people. When the Death Egg II crashed on the island, Knuckles initially believed that it was his people returning, until he learned that it was in fact Doctor Robotnik. Robotnik briefly duped Knuckles into believing that he was a "humble inventor", and that Sonic was a dangerous villain who plotted to steal the Island's Chaos Emeralds. The echidna thus allowed Robotnik to place his Badnik armies on the island and also construct a Launch Base Zone to rebuild his Death Egg. He also became Robotnik's bodyguard, and allowed Robotnik to place an implant in his skull, which was attuned to a homing device in Robotnik's tooth, so that Knuckles would always be able to find him.
When Sonic and Tails arrived on the Floating Island in search of Robotnik, Knuckles came to defend the doctor. He and Sonic fought across the Marble Garden Zone. Sonic briefly gained the upper hand, but the fight had no decisive outcome. Sonic and Tails captured Robotnik in a net and fled. Knuckles soon used the homing device to track Robotnik down in the prison where he was being held in Sonic's Secret Underground Base. He freed Robotnik and together they coerced Sonic into handing over Sonic's own six Chaos Emeralds. Knuckles believed that Robotnik was helping him restore the Chaos Emeralds to their rightful home of the Floating Island, re-combining the two sets of Chaos Emeralds (totalling twelve) into a single set of six (as they had been originally). Knuckles, however, didn't trust Robotnik enough to tell him that he had the Grey Emerald (which could control the others), and when Robotnik tried to absorb the Emerald's power into himself, Knuckles used the Grey Emerald to defeat him.
Knuckles felt obliged to assist Sonic when his secret base came under attack by a Badnik army, since he had been responsible for revealing its location to Robotnik. His intervention allowed Sonic to destroy Robotnik's new Squeeze Tag Machine, and gave the Freedom Fighters a chance to set up a new mobile base in the guise of Bob Beaky's Travelling Circus.
Knuckles spent the next few months destroying every trace of Robotnik's influence on the Floating Island, including excising the entire Carnival Night Zone, mistakenly battling Shortfuse the Cybernik, and once again fighting alongside Sonic when Robotnik established a base in the Ice Cap Zone. Finally, the two heroes teamed up to destroy the Death Egg before it could launch—which they failed to do and, worse, Knuckles failed to stop Robotnik's Metallix from stealing the Master Emerald to power the Death Egg! While Sonic fought to retrieve the Emerald, Knuckles used ancient echidna technology to pilot the Floating Island and open fire on the Death Egg with Chaos Energy blasts, finally downing the craft.
With the Master Emerald returned, Knuckles owed a debt to Sonic and, despite preferring privacy, agreed to hide the entire population of the Emerald Hill Zone in the Mushroom Hill Zone to keep them safe from Robotnik's wrath. Whilst the arrangement was generally stress-free, the villagers swiftly demanded to be returned home when Robotnik was overthrown.
In the story "The Homecoming", Knuckles discovered that a elderly, white-furred echidna named Doctor Zachary had appeared on the Floating Island. He claimed to be the first of the race to return to Mobius and was being pursued by a dangerous robot, but it turned out Zachary was evil and using the robot (in reality an ancient echidna Guardian Robot) as his minion. He had the robot destroy the Master Emerald and absorb its power, leaving the Island to crash while he destroyed Mobius, but Knuckles stopped him (using the robot's head as a brief substitute Emerald). Zachary apparently perished as he fell from the Island, but later returned, with a part-robot body, working for Robotnik. It was hinted that he knew where the echidnas had vanished to, but his story was left unfinished at the end of the comic.
In order to replace the shattered Master Emerald, Knuckles required a Raw Emerald from the echidnas' Sacred Emerald Mine. The mine was situated in the Kohenyu Graveyard, which housed the bones of an extinct race of Styrakosaurus known as the Kohenyu. While there, Knuckles was accosted by the Spirit of the Herd. The Spirit wanted to take revenge on Knuckles because the ancient Echidnas had unwittingly hunted the Kohenyu to extinction for food, but was eventually convinced to allow Knuckles to live when Knuckles had the opportunity to destroy the Spirit but refused. Knuckles was able to collect a Raw Emerald from the mine and carve it into the appropriate shape, but when he attempted to transfer the Chaos Energy out of the robot's head and into the new Master Emerald, the robot woke up and heavily damaged the Emerald Chamber.
Unable to fix the Floating Island's systems, even with the help of Porker Lewis, Knuckles agreed to help Captain Plunder and his Sky Pirates launch a heist on an alien galleon, in return for a chest of ancient echidna documents that could help him with the Island's ancient computer systems. Although Knuckles did take possession of the chest, he was stranded on the surface of Mobius and forced to trek back to the Floating Island, dragging the chest behind him. He crossed the Mobian Channel (where he defeated the crab Captain Claw),, a dark forest (where he saved a village from the machinations of Doctor Robotnik and Mesmer), the Mobian Prairie (where a rancher named Rooster gave him a green pterodactyl to help him on his journey), and even the Metropolis Zone before finally returning home to battle Robotnik and a cyborg Zachary's attempt to turn the Emerald Hill refugees into an organic computer.
When Robotnik was overthrown, Knuckles spent his days with Porker Lewis trying to uncover the mysteries of his lost people, occasionally being drawn into battle against such foes as Ms Alpha's band of thieves, and a Chaos-charged Robotnik.
Knuckles left his island to save lives from the environmental collapse of Mobius, when Robotnik tried to drain the planet's life force. Soon after that (in STC's last story), the Floating Island came under attack by the terrifying Chaos creature and Knuckles was forced to stop it absorbing the Chaos Emeralds by scattering them to the four corners of Mobius; dooming the island in the process. He was left distraught and had to be forcibly evacuated from the island, and joined up with the Freedom Fighters to stop Chaos and retrieve the Emeralds.
Knuckles is also one of the few to know of Tails' legendary status in the Nameless Zone, a fact he became aware of when he followed Tails through a portal mistakenly believing the young fox was being kidnapped. The Nameless Zone residents came to the conclusion that Knuckles was actually Sonic, whom Tails had claimed was his sidekick. Far from blowing Tails' cover, Knuckles was delighted to meet people who didn't worship his rival and played along, assisting him in defeating the terrifying Trogg once and for all.
The last STC storyline revealed that the ancient echidnas had been at war with the alien Drakon Empire, who invented the Chaos Emeralds; Knuckles was alive back then and served as the leader of the echidna's army. It is presumed by Sonic that Knuckles was placed in suspended animation for unknown reasons and lost his memory. Nigel Kitching's original plan was to reveal that the outcome of the war was that the Drakons were driven back but the only surviving echidnas were Drakon slaves scattered across the Empire (and that Zachary was one of these echidnas).
Robotnik Reigns Supreme
When Doctor Robotnik became all-powerful by absorbing the power of the Chaos Emeralds, he rewrote history so that Sonic the Hedgehog had never existed. In this alternate reality, Knuckles was the faithful servant of Robotnik. However, Sonic goaded Robotnik into restoring Knuckles' memories of the original timeline, and Sonic distracted Robotnik long enough for Knuckles to get into position with the Grey Emerald, which drained all of the Emerald power out of Robotnik and undid all the changes to reality that Robotnik performed.
Knuckles is extremely devoted to his duty as a Guardian to the point of an obsession. He finds Sonic's enhanced ego slightly obnoxious, and is a loner most of the time. He is quicker to anger, slow to trust and slightly less gullible than usual. He guards not only the Master Emerald, but also the Chaos Emeralds.
- The STC version of Knuckles has yellow socks and green-and-red shoes, as on the European cover of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (image) and inconsistently during gameplay of that game (inconsistencies were caused by software limitations in the colour palette). Recent versions of Knuckles more consistently depict him with the yellow and green colours reversed.
- In his early appearances, Knuckles was shown to have pink fur (again, because of European Sonic 3 artwork, above). The colour was changed to red beginning in Sonic the Comic #36. This is particularly noticeable, as the last panel of issue 35, "Power of the Chaos Emeralds, Part 1", and the first panel of issue 36, "Power of the Chaos Emeralds, Part 2", are nearly identical apart from the colour change.
- Sonic the Summer Special (1994), "Guardian of the Chaos Emeralds"
- Sonic the Comic #37, "Robotnik's Revenge, Part 1"
- Sonic the Comic #33, "Enter Knuckles, Part 1"
- Sonic the Comic #35, "Power of the Chaos Emeralds, Part 1"
- Sonic the Comic #34, "Enter Knuckles, Part 2"
- Sonic the Comic #36, "Power of the Chaos Emeralds", Part 2"
- Sonic the Comic #38, "Robotnik's Revenge, Part 2"
- Sonic the Comic #39 to #44, "Carnival Night Conspiracy"
- Sonic the Comic #52, "Knuckles versus the Cybernik"
- Sonic the Comic #41 and #42, "Ice Cap Attack"
- Sonic the Comic #49 and #50, "Count Down to Disaster"
- Sonic the Comic #51 to #53, "Disaster!"
- Sonic the Comic #53, "Disaster! Part 3"
- Sonic the Comic #101, "Loose Ends"
- Sonic the Comic #65, "The Homecoming, Part 1"
- Sonic the Comic #66, "The Homecoming, Part 2"
- Sonic the Comic #67, "The Homecoming, Part 3"
- Sonic the Comic #68, "The Homecoming, Part 4"
- Sonic the Comic #97, "Victims, Part 1"
- Sonic the Comic #69, "The Graveyard, Part 1"
- Sonic the Comic #70, "The Graveyard, Part 2"
- Sonic the Comic #72, "The Graveyard, Part 4"
- Sonic the Comic #73, "New Master Emerald"
- Sonic the Comic #74, "The Ghost Ship, Part 1"
- Sonic the Comic #75, "The Ghost Ship, Part 2"
- Sonic the Comic #79, "The Ghost Ship, Part 6"
- Sonic the Comic #82 and #83, "Troubled Waters"
- Sonic the Comic #84 to #86, "Village of the Damned"
- Sonic the Comic #87 to #90, "The Good, the Bad and the Echidna"
- Sonic the Comic #94 to #96, "Roots"
- Sonic the Comic #97 to #99, "Victims"
- Sonic the Comic #135 to #138, "The Take-Over"
- Sonic the Comic #130, "Showdown"
- Sonic the Comic #59 to #64, "The Revenge of Trogg"
- Sonic the Comic #130, "Showdown, Part 3"