- For the version of this character after the Super Genesis Wave, see King Acorn. For the character in the Sonic the Hedgehog television series, see King (SatAM).
Maximillian Acorn is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs. He is a Mobian/Squirrel-Chipmunk and the former ruler of the Kingdom of Acorn. Crowned King of Mobius during the Golden Age, taking over his aging sire King Frederick Acorn. Max also took Alicia Acorn as his wife, fathering two children; Elias Acorn and Sally Acorn. Max led his people in the Great War, and during so was duped by Overlander defector Julian Kintobor into making him Warlord of his combined military might, and as such, upon the war's end, was betrayed by Julian, who christened himself "Dr. Ivo Robotnik", and banished to the Zone of Silence.
After many years in the Zone, where he was forced to become subservient to the wizard Ixis Naugus in order to survive, the Knothole Freedom Fighters, led by Sally, finally found and freed Max, who resumed command of the Kingdom of Acorn shortly afterwards. The strain of all these conflicts, battles with Robotnik and Eggman, and three attempts on his life, have all taken their toll on Max, eventually to the point he prematurely aged, and was left in no condition to lead, leading to Elias taking his place. While his condition seems to continue to degrade, Max remains a vital member of the House of Acorn. The tragedies that befell the kingdom during his reign earned him the sad moniker King Maximillian the Cursed.
Maximilian Acorn is a brown anthropomorphic squirrel with blue eyes and cheek tuffs. He shares general coloration with the rest of his family; as such, the two tones of brown used for his fur have varied wildly throughout his depictions, sometimes resulting in the light brown sections appearing peach or even yellowish. He typically wears a blue uniform with gold epaulettes, boots and a red cape. While his hair, mustache and bushy eyebrows were originally auburn, age and stress have resulted in them becoming gray/white. At various points he has been wheelchair-bound, initially due to severe injury resulting in the temporary loss of use of his legs, and later due to poor health.
In initial appearances he was often depicted much taller than the general cast, though this was later rectified; early inconsistent depictions lead some fans to believe he was a fox rather than a squirrel. Often his tail and even hair were forgotten.
Under the influence of the zone in which he was trapped, the King donned dark armor and a helmet adorned with long horns; at this time he carried a lance. Later on, his body began to gradually crystallize, somewhat resembling an organic, multifaceted Chaos Emerald, though this was eventually reversed. While he initially wore a simple circlet crown, he eventually recovered the more ornate red and gold Crown of Acorns. The details of his clothing have varied between appearances and artists, but they usually retain the key elements; blue long-sleeve uniform, gold epaulettes and red (or blue) cape. Variables include the additions of medals, belts, pants, and white trim on the cape; instead of the sword, he sometimes carried scepters or staffs. While ill or under medical care, he was sometimes depicted in a simple white shirt. He at one point again donned armor, this time silver, and with it carried a large shield and the Sword of Acorns. After stepping down as active ruler, he no longer wore a crown.
Maximillian was just a young boy when his father Frederick Acorn granted the wizard Ixis Naugus the title of Royal Wizard. Some time after this, the Overlander scientist Nate Morgan was taken in by his father and provided major scientific knowledge which brought the Kingdom of Acorn out of the pre-industrial age. Because of his contributions to the kingdom, Nate Morgan was very close with the royal family and acted somewhat like an uncle for young Maximillian.
At the age of ten, Frederick revealed the mysterious Source of All to Max, and soon he bonded with the Source as per royal tradition. The Crown and Sword of Acorns were forged from the remaining Source of All that did not merge with him. Because of their bonding with the Source of All, the Acorns were granted guidance from the Source. The Source guided Max's father Frederick to select the young Lady Alicia to act as his future wife. At age eleven, Max and Alicia were betrothed, and upon their eighteen commemoration, the two formally married. As his father aged and Max became old enough, he assumed the mantle as king, with Nate Morgan present at the ceremony.
During his early years as a king, Max found himself as odds with what to do during the allegations by Ixis Naugus and Warlord Kodos regarding Nate Morgan. Unable to see Nate perform treason and feeling sympathy for him because Nate had been there during his upbringing, Maximillian was deeply troubled when Kodos and Naugus accused Nate of providing their location to a group of Overlander scouts. To spare Max of the trouble, Nate imposed self-exile and left the kingdom, much to Max's dismay.
The Great War Years
During the Great War, the Overlander's superior technology allowed them to push back the Royal Army at almost every turn. As the city began being bombarded by mortars, Max had his wife and infant son Elias sent away to a safe haven on the Floating Island. However, their craft was intercepted by Overlander ships, and everyone on board the craft was presumed to have been killed. Unbeknownst to Max, the Brotherhood of Guardians had arrived on the crash scene first and lied to the Overlanders about there being survivors, taking in the wounded Queen Alicia and Elias.
Not long after this, the Hedgehog brothers Jules and Sir Charles brought before Max the wounded Overlander Julian Kintobor, whom they had found being chased in the Badlands by other Overlander troops. Feeling guilty over what had happened with Nate Morgan, Max easily accepted Julian into the Kingdom, hoping to not make the same mistake twice of chasing away an Overlander seeking refuge in the kingdom
After Kodos mysteriously "disappeared" (Julian was actually responsible, having sent him to the Zone of Silence), King Max along with everyone else believed Julian's story that Kodos had tampered with leftover weapons from Ixis Naugus which resulted in his death. With Julian's knowledge of Overlander tactics, King Max appointed him as the new Warlord. Eventually, with Julian's new battle tactics and development of new weaponry, the Kingdom of Acorn finally won the Great War and brought peace to their lands. King Max himself struck the final blow, defeating the Overlord Charlemagne in a duel and then sparing his life.
With the defeat of the Overlanders and the end of the war, Max intended to disassemble the War Ministry and appoint Julian to the position of Minister of Science, vacated some time previously by Sir Charles Hedgehog. However, Julian had no intention of continuing to serve Max, and tricked Max into disassembling the Kingdom's military, allowing Julian's SWATbots to easily overwhelm the citizens of the kingdom. Renaming himself Dr. Ivo Robotnik, the former Warlord claimed Mobotropolis for his own as Robotropolis, and banished Max to the Zone of Silence.
While in the Zone, King Acorn found himself unable to think clearly due to the zone's properties. He was then forced to pledge loyalty to Ixis Naugus, the creator of the zone, to survive. Over the next ten years, he lost his memory, not recognizing Sonic or Sally when they came to the Zone. He also came to command an army of goblin-like creatures, clad in a barbaric suit of brownish-purple armor and claiming the Zone as his domain to rule over with an iron fist. However, Robotnik's tampering with the Zone resulted in its losing stability, threatening to collapse and thus kill Max, forcing Sally, Sonic, and Geoffrey St. John to enter the Zone and rescue him.
The Return of the King
The Freedom Fighters managed to free King Acorn from the Zone and brought him back to the Knothole Village. Unfortunately, the King's body began to crystallize due to exposure to the Zone's harsh environment. Initially there were hopes of healing him using a Chaos Emerald, but these proved fruitless. It was discovered afterwards that the Sword of Acorns, when brought together with the Crown of Acorns and the King himself, possessed powerful healing properties and was able to restore King Acorn to his former self. It later became known that the wizard Ixis Naugus had been responsible for the King's condition, forcing Sonic to confront him and his minions-Warlord Kodos, Uma Arachnis, and Feist-in Max's dreams forcing them all out.
At one point, King Max was secretly replaced by one of Robotnik's Auto-Automatons, whom the Freedom Fighters mistook for a fully healed king following their battle with Mammoth Mogul over the Sword of Acorns. While impersonating the King, the robot sentenced Sonic to life in the Devil's Gulag prison when Sonic was mistakenly charged with the murder of Princess Sally. He also later brought Robotnik himself to Knothole, where Robotnik revealed that the King was a fake. The real king was revealed to have been in the care of Dr. Quack, who helped Robotnik in order to protect his captured family.
Following Robotnik Prime's defeat, it came to light that King Max had promised Ixis Naugus the kingdom in exchange for helping him survive in the Zone of Silence, which the wizard came to collect upon his escape from that same Zone. Fortunately, the Freedom Fighters and Max recognized that honoring such a foolish bargain would be catastrophic, and drove Naugus off. The King soon turned paranoid, fearing rebellion by the Robians and ordering that they be disassembled before being convinced of the error of such a course. Matters came to a head when a group of Freedom Fighter illusions inflamed Max's anger, allowing Ixis Naugus to gain control of his mind. Eager to assert control, Naugus soon had the city of Mobotropolis embroiled in civil war, and only when the real Freedom Fighters returned after defeating Master Mogul was Max freed of Naugus's influence by a Sword of Acorns wielding Sonic. Reclaiming his Sword, Max was able to summon the Crown from the Hall of Limbo, which had been inside his mind the whole time, and was thus restored to normal.
The Royal Family and Dr. Eggman
With his return to normality, Max soon began exercising more and more authority. Set firmly in the traditions of the House of Acorn, he revealed the origins of the Royal Artifacts to Sally as well as the Source of All. With utter disregard for Sally's own desires, he tried to convince her to abandon her romance with Sonic because he was a commoner, marry Antoine D'Coolette because of his family's high standing, and merge with the Source-in other words, cease to live her own life. Sally refused, leaving the matter unresolved between herself and Max. The king had also been hiding the existence of his wife Alicia and his son Elias from Sally, hoping to spare her the pain of her lost family. Found by the Brotherhood of Guardians, the young prince and comatose queen were cared for on Angel Island, their continued existence unknown to Max or the Kingdom. Determined to discover the truth, Max authorized Geoffrey St. John to create a new Secret Service, its first mission to uncover the fate of the royal pair and recover them if possible. The group proved successful with the aid of Knuckles the Echidna, bringing the queen and prince back to Mobotropolis. At the same time, Sonic and Miles "Tails" Prower returned from their pursuit and defeat of Ixis Naugus with a surprise for Max: his old honorary uncle, Nate Morgan. Max soon declared that Elias, rather than Sally, would succeed him to the throne, before devoting his attention to his wife. He also disbanded the Knothole Freedom Fighters in favor of the Secret Service.
Peace was fleeting for King Max and his subjects, as a new threat emerged in the form of an alternate version of Dr. Robotnik known as Dr. Eggman. Initially, the villain attacked from the shadows using satellites he had placed in orbit, even hijacking the new Kingdom of Acorn television network during one of Max's own speeches to play a history of Robotnik's life, which of course emphasized Max's faults and those of other members of the kingdom. When the Robians disappeared from Knothole, King Acorn prevented the Freedom Fighters from investigating the satellites. Eggman soon made his presence known, employing a legion of Shadowbots to attack Mobotropolis. Max sought to offer himself up in exchange for the safety of his people, but Eggman denied his request. The defeated king was forced to flee to Knothole with the rest of his subjects, opening the Second Robotnik War. Fortunately, the Freedom Fighters-despite Max's objections-were able to thwart Eggman's plans to invade the newly declared Kingdom of Knothole by uploading a virus into his computer, erasing the data containing the location of Knothole. This led Max to reform the group and also to make Sonic one of the Knights of Acorn.
After the Freedom Fighters' return from a crucial mission in Station Square, they joined the King and his army in rescuing Elias who had recently found a solution to Alicia's illness, which involved surgery. The rescue was a success and Alicia finally woke from her coma sometime after. Unfortunately, the mission resulted in Max's paralysis at the hands of a Shadowbot, confining him to a wheelchair for considerable period afterwards. Max gave the role of acting ruler to Elias, who in turn had his decisions made by Secret Service member Geoffery. One of those orders involved Sonic being stripped of his knighthood and confined in Knothole after stealing and losing the Sword of Acorns. Sonic would defy Elias' wishes on a number of occasions in order to get it back, but the King lifted the hedgehog's confinement after Sonic thwarted an attempt by Heavy and Bomb, robot Secret Service agents reprogrammed by Eggman, to assassinate Max and his family. However, it is possible that having learned of Sonic's sword theft, Max would not reinstate his knighthood. He soon took charge once more when Elias, blaming himself for failing to run the kingdom properly during Max's incapacitation, ran away from Knothole. Prior to that incident, Chaos Knuckles' attempts to alter history caught Max up in an alternate reality where Robotnik's coup d'état had been thwarted, Alicia and Elias had been brought home by Knuckles, and Max had arranged for Sally to marry the young Guardian. Luckily, reality was restored to normal as Chaos Knuckles' efforts failed to produce the desired result.
Max would soon send Sally on a mission to Station Square as an ambassador, after which he granted asylum to Hope Kintobor, an Overlander girl who wished to join the Freedom Fighters. In the midst of that, he received a most surprising and unwelcome guest in Knothole: the original Dr. Robotnik, who had been brought back accidentally by Eggman, who conspired with him to get rid of the Freedom Fighters. Following Robotnik's final demise, King Acorn authorized Geoffrey and Hershey Cat to find his missing son, which they managed with help from Sonic and Sally. Max would then interrogate a member of Nack the Weasel's gang after they kidnapped Sally. In a surprising show of acceptance, he approved of Sally's engagement to Sonic, but was soon faced with the threat of the volatile aliens known as the Xorda. Unable to participate in battle himself, he negotiated with Eggman and succeeded in getting him to surrender control of half his empire in exchange for an alliance with the Kingdom of Knothole. Max's success was bittersweet, as Sonic seemingly perished in the final battle against the Xorda.
Sonic's Absence and Return
Following Sonic's sacrifice, Max somehow regained the use of his legs. He soon found himself faced with the difficulties of waging a war against Eggman, who had broken his promise. Complicating the matter was the presence of the Chaotix in Knothole, coupled with their desire to invade and liberate a conquered Angel Island, which Max forbade. Determined to protect his people, Max even commissioned the construction of the Metal Sonic Troopers, robots based on Sonic himself.
Approximately a year after the Xorda were defeated, Max had dispatched Geoffrey and Hershey to spy on Dr. Eggman. They were captured and about to be put to death after being married when Sonic, who had in fact survived the battle with the Xorda and been transported into deep space, returned and saved them. He soon arrived in Knothole and delivered to Max the information Geoffrey and Hershey had gathered: Eggman had assembled a stockpile of nuclear weapons. Max soon had the Freedom Fighters and Chaotix dispatched to Old Megaopolis and Fort Acorn, and Operation: Triple Threat was thwarted. Afterwards, Max and his wife left for a tour of the Kingdom's territory, leaving Sally in charge-unwittingly setting the stage for Sonic and Sally's breakup.
Passing on the Leadership
While away on his world tour via the Acorn One, King Max was slowly poisoned by Patch, the Anti-Mobius version of Antoine, whom he was impersonating at the time due to an exchange by Evil Sonic. The king slipped into a coma, forcing Prince Elias to take the throne to keep Patch from becoming King. Some time afterwards, Max was revived by a device powered by a Chaos Emerald, though confined to a wheelchair once more. He was among those captured during the destruction of Knothole and was beamed to the Egg Grape Chamber, only to be saved by the efforts of Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Amy Rose, and Nicole, who saved the prisoners by having Nicole transport them to the city of New Mobotropolis.
When his old general Amadeus Prower rebelled against the monarchy, Max was outraged, denying Amadeus's criticism of the House of Acorn despite the merits of Amadeus's accusations. Moreover, he used the opportunity - and Amadeus's short imprisonment - to try and, clearly failed, to plant mistrust of Sonic in Elias's mind. Influenced by his father, Elias ended up facing Amadeus in a duel, which was luckily brought to a halt by Sally, who settled the differences of the two and worked with them to create a new form of government. The new system of a ruling council in which the king served as a presiding councilor with six elected peers was received warmly by everyone, except for Max, who refused to acknowledge his son after the news became public. Some time later, Max and his wife appeared at a concert for the Forget Me Knots celebrating Eggman's defeat, though the event was interrupted by the arrival of Monkey Khan.
The Acorns' Second Downfall
Max seemed to grow increasingly distant and reclusive over time, causing concern from his wife. It would soon become clear that despite the time passed, he was unwilling to accept the new republic. Eventually, he decided he wished to speak with Geoffrey St. John and tasked the commander with finding a way to return the monarchy to "proper authority." Geoffrey convinced the former king he had a plan that would enable him to do so, and so Max granted him permission to act as he saw fit. When his son asked Doctor Quack if Max is plotting to take back the throne, the doctor dismissed the allegations, saying that Max's current condition has prevented him from being a significant threat to anyone, and his "good days" were becoming even more infrequent with time.
Unfortunately, Max had made yet another grave mistake in judgement in trusting St. John. It turned out that Geoffrey, since his childhood, had secretly been affiliated to the Order of Ixis's remnants as an apprentice wizard. His master was none other than Ixis Naugus, whom St. John had recently decided to return to glory. With his sanity restored and Geoffrey by his side, Naugus arrived in New Mobotropolis a few days later with the intent of finally claiming the crown for himself. Aside from recently growing public fear of Nicole (after she was possessed during the Iron Dominion's invasion of the region), Naugus also based his claim on his past interactions with Max, despite Elias's arguments. The Freedom Fighters, meanwhile, attempted to help stop Naugus, but an assault by Julian changed all that.
The chain of events that followed had disastrous consequences for all participants; Julian's recently-launched Death Egg Mark 2 was severely damaged and forced to retreat, but in the process, he had gained a new servant when Sally allowed herself to be roboticized in order to prevent the mad doctor from destroying the world - the first of multiple crushing losses the Freedom Fighters would suffer over the next few days. Worse still, without Sally's leadership and diplomacy skills, Elias was effectively dethroned and Naugus was crowned king - a change instantly accepted by the common people. As Sonic & co. continued to try and stop the wizard, Elias went home to tell his parents the bad news.
Max, of course, was as deeply shocked by the recent events as almost everyone else. Shortly thereafter, Elias decided he and his family were no longer safe in the city and tried to convince his parents to come with him, but Max, couldn't go due to his condition, and his wife did not want to leave him. His options running out, Elias went to see Harvey Who, whom Max had told him was always there to "watch his back". Harvey, though, had come to consider Max crazy for not originally following his advice, and consequently refused Elias aid at first. However, the old owl changed his mind upon seeing that the boy was a better ruler than his father. The next day, Max was present to watch his son's departure from New Mobotropolis. Before long, though, Elias would secretly return as part a team of covert new Freedom Fighters formed by Harvey to take the kingdom back from Naugus. Max was later shown asleep in bed, with his worried wife at his side and his son watching from the shadows. It is not exactly clear at this point whether or not Max's condition had improved or worsened, but obviously the old ex-king was not looking any better than before.
Indeed, Max's health was apparently degrading with each passing day, likely due to the strain of the loss of his daughter and the downfall of his family. Meanwhile, Naugus was also suffering from health issues after the Death Egg's assault awakened his inner demons. After his latest scheme fell through thanks to Elias and his team, Naugus's mutations worsened, impeding his attempts to maintain control of New Mobotropolis. Naugus thus started searching for a vessel to inhabit as he tried to find a way to recover. His first choice was Max. He offered to "heal" his old ally, effectively reversing his increasing physical and mental frailty, whilst privately planning to take possession of Max again. By this point, Max had gotten to the point where even basic speech had become difficult for him. Despite this, he could still talk, and declined Naugus's offer with a simple "No". Naugus tried to reason with Max, but Alicia, having heard enough, sent the wizard away. Weakly, Max thanked his wife, and she embraced him in turn. Along with the rest of Mobius, Max was later caught up in the effects of the second Genesis Wave.
- Note: From this point, Maximillian's history continues from his new life in the altered timeline.
Max's personality is hard to peg down, particularly because of his link to the Source of All and trauma from his stay in the Zone of Silence. There are two constants to Max's personality: his deep love for his kingdom and his intense love for his family. Early on, he was a wise and just ruler, as well as a devoted husband and father. He is, however, tradition bound to a fault, which had put him in conflict with his children on numerous occasions, the most prevalent examples being his attempts to arrange marriage between Sally and Antoine, and his fury over Elias' reforming of the government into a republic. He would often put the personal considerations of his family second to what he perceived as necessary duty.
He is also prone to prejudice - in particular against Robians - which Ixis Naugus was able to capitalize on. However, he is normally wise enough to act in spite of his prejudices rather than because of them. Perhaps his most notable trait is his bad judge of character, having failed to recognize the true colors of Naugus, Kodos, and the original Robotnik until it was too late and ignoring all of Harvey Who's warnings about them.
The numerous and intense traumas endured over the course of his life, as well as recent breaks from tradition, seem to have had a heavy impact on Max's mental faculties. Since Elias reformed the government, Max has become increasingly reclusive, harsh and irritable; he's also on occasion seemed slightly forgetful or confused, for example not recognizing Sonic. These traumas could easily contribute to his near bipolar personality.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Max's attitude with regards to Sonic vary widely depending on the situation. He showed an almost immediate dislike for Sonic upon his recovery, despite the fact that Sonic saved his mind twice before. This was likely a combination of Sonic's lack of obedience and Sally's interest in him. However, Max changed his tune dramatically after Eggman's arrival, after Sonic was instrumental in preventing the destruction of Knothole. He regarded Sonic as the hero he is for some time thereafter. After Sonic's return from space, King Max gave his wholehearted blessing to Sally's union with Sonic, though after their breakup, he reverted back to his dislike.
- Max also appeared in a future in which Sonic and Sally are married as King and Queen and he is a grandfather. This version of the future is where Nicole originated. He does not appear in the Light Mobius future, possibly having died at some point between the present and the possible future. In the altered timeline, however, a statue of him is in the throne room of Castle Mobius, probably in honor of his memory.
- In the animated series, King Acorn (known only as the king) had brown eyebrows and a mustache, and when he was crystallizing, the crystal was not green, nor did it cover his body as extensively.