The Metal Virus is an object that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing. It is a synthetically concocted virus created by Dr. Eggman that transmutes organic matter into metallic matter.
At a microscopic level, the Metal Virus consists of nanobots that resemble bacteriophages. As such, they appear as spheres with the Eggman Empire decal emblazoned on them and bodies with six legs each. When observed and contained on the other hand, the virus appears like a gray metallic liquid.
Powers and traits
When the Metal Virus makes contact with active organic tissue, be it either in flora or fauna, the virus will spread across the organic matter of the subject and transmute it into a metal-like substance.
In the case of fauna that have been transmuted by the virus, their bodies' organic matter will be fully transmuted into a liquid metal composition. This makes their bodies more durable than they were before. In addition, the subjects receive the power to manipulate their own liquid body composition, allowing them to instantly reconstitute and restore their bodies whenever they receive a damaging blow. Also, the virus will rob the subjects of their free will and any personality traits, essentially turning them into soulless machines that are programmed to be subservient to Dr. Eggman's orders. The virus also causes the infected subjects to display aggressive tendencies without direction. Faunas that have been fully converted by the Metal Virus are referred to as "Zombots", a term originally coined by Sonic.
The virus can make slight changes to a subject's anatomy. This includes making a plant's parts more mechanical in shape and granting Zombots sharp claws and red eyes.
Like an actual virus, the Metal Virus is contagious, and its infection can be transferred immediately through the slightest touch with subjects infected with the virus. The Metal Virus' rate of infection depends on the situation though. Full saturation in the virus causes an immediate and total transmutation, while infections received through touch from infected subjects will spread at a considerable slower rate. However, repeated physical exposure to Zombots will speed up the process. It should be noted that the Metal Virus can also inflict a fair amount of pain on the victim.
Owing to its virus-like nature, the Metal Virus is capable of evolving through mutations in its coding, which are brought about by spreading through exposure. As shown so far, these mutations have caused the Zombots created from the Metal Virus to grow steadily more disobedient of Eggman's orders.
As the infected subjects turn into Zombots, the subjects experience a sharp pain as the victims' genetic coding is rewritten at a molecular level, forcing their body mass to be transformed into the Metal Virus.
As stated by Eggman, there is no known vaccine for the Metal Virus; however, speed seems to counteract it to a degree. Sonic, for example, is able to drive the Metal Virus into remission by burning it off and keeping it in check by moving at super speeds while his infection is still underway. However, after he started to slow down, he had a relapse, with spots on his body starting to become metallic again. Later on, it was discovered by Gemerl that Sonic's infection was evolving further so that his speed was losing its ability to reverse its effects.
The Metal Virus can only infect living flora and fauna. It cannot transmute processed or inorganic matter, such as food, processed wood, metal or stone. Clothing worn by living beings appears to be an exception, however.
Eggman later reveals that as the Metal Virus mutates, it becomes unsustainable; any infected heterotrophic 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. In other words, those infected by the virus will eventually disintegrate, but not for another two hundred years.
Battle For Angel Island
After having his memory restored, Dr. Eggman began his plans to synthesize the Metal Virus, with the intention of unleashing it upon the world to make an army for himself and make everyone suffer for the indignities he endured while he was an amnesiac.
After making his first Metal Virus batch, Eggman began experimenting with it to see the full extent of its abilities. The first test subject was a flower, which it successfully transmuted. The second test was with vertebrate specimens. Eggman covered a Pocky with the Metal Virus, causing an instant transmutation. For the next test, Eggman had the Zombot Pocky touch a Picky, causing the virus' infection to gradual transmute the Picky. After observing the behavior of the Zombot Pocky, Eggman moved onto test four, which involved having a Ricky pick up the transmuted flower and make it touch various objects. The Metal Virus showed no signs of transmuting the objects, but having touched the flower, the Ricky was infected with the virus as well. Deeming the Metal Virus a success, Eggman began implementing it into the next phase of his plan. However, Eggman soon noticed how slow the Metal Virus was to transmute subjects who had been infected with it through touch with infected subjects, which made Eggman worry that the Metal Virus could not be spread very far. As a test to see if greater exposure to the virus could move things along, Eggman had the Zombot Pocky touch the partially-infected Ricky repeatedly. As expected, this caused the infection of the Ricky to spread faster, which Eggman noted was beneficial and began planning to administer the Metal Virus in different locations. When Rough and Tumble then came to Eggman to demand new weapons to use for their revenge against Sonic, Eggman got an idea and told them that "his latest weapon just got out of beta".
Secretly plotting to turn the skunk brothers into Zombots when they faced Sonic, Eggman prepared backpacks loaded with the Metal Virus which he told Rough and Tumble were back-ups they should open if Sonic got the upper hand. Facing Sonic and Amy Rose in Echo Mine soon after, Rough and Tumble would open their backpacks, causing the Metal Virus to gush over them and turn them into Zombots. Although Sonic got rid of Rough and Tumble by knocking them into a refuse pit, he got infected with the Metal Virus in the process. Meanwhile, Eggman got ready to share the Metal Virus with the world. Sonic soon discovered that he could burn off the virus and keep it in check with his speed. In the meantime, Eggman, Starline, Orbot, and Cubot took off in the Faceship. On the Faceship, Eggman had a room dedicated to creating the Metal Virus en masse. He had also dedicated a large hatch in the Faceship to distribute the Metal Virus from a high altitude. Soon, the Faceship arrived at Windmill Village. There, the Faceship doused the villagers in the Metal Virus, quickly turning the population in Zombots. Following up on this, Eggman sent the infected villagers and animals off to infect other people with the Metal Virus.
Eggman next went to Seaside City where he spilled the Metal Virus into the city with his Faceship, transforming many of the residents into Zombots. However, a small part of the population was saved by the Chaotix and escaped aboard a Rescue Shuttle with Vector and Espio. Charmy, on the other hand, tried to save one of the survivors who had been partially infected with the Metal Virus. However, he was caught by Zombots, who overwhelmed him with their numbers and infected him with the Metal Virus. Continuing onward, Eggman went to Floral Forest Village where he created another Zombot outbreak by pouring the Metal Virus agent into the village from his Faceship. However, when the new Zombots ignored Eggman's orders, Orbot revealed that there had been a steady decline in Zombot obedience. This made Eggman theorize that the Metal Virus's coding had begun mutating due to the virus spreading through exposure. While Starline got worried, Eggman remained certain he could regain control of the virus. Meanwhile, the Metal Virus steadily spread across the village. While keeping the Zombots at bay, Sonic's own Metal Virus infection grew stronger due to his exposure to the Zombots. Meanwhile, Cheese and Chocola got infected with the Metal Virus while trying to protect their family from Zombots, and quickly became Zombots themselves. Regardless, Sonic and Gemerl managed to get villagers like Cream and Vanilla to safety.
The next location to receive a batch of the Metal Virus from Eggman's Faceship was Sunset City, which created a colossal Zombot outbreak. While helping the survivors, Sonic fought through the Zombots, which only made his Metal Virus infection grow worse. Shadow later engaged the Zombots. While Shadow proved more resilient to the Metal Virus (presumably due to his "Ultimate Lifeform" physiology), it ultimately infected him too after he touched too many Zombots. In the end, Shadow was overwhelmed by Zombots, allowing the Metal Virus to turn him into one too. The Zombot Shadow began to rampage and fight against Sonic and his growing infection. After Rouge took off with the uninfected civilians, Omega stayed behind to fight more Zombots. Soon, Sonic and Omega found themselves by the Sunset City Zombots but they were saved by Tails and Silver.
The Last Minute
Another Zombot outbreak occurred at Central City after Dr. Eggman used the Faceship to distribute a batch of Metal Virus there. One hour later, Zombots freely roamed the streets; Tangle the Lemur and Whisper the Wolf fended off many of them to help uninfected citizens evacuate the city. The Metal Virus had also reached Ice Paradise, with a number of Zombots engaging Silver in battle as the city was engulfed in flames.
Tails ended up taking shelter in his lab, both to avoid the Zombots and to study the Metal Virus in hopes of finding a cure. He briefly ventured outside in order to retrieve a sample of the Metal Virus; while he was not attacked outright, he caught the attention of Cheese and Chocola. Meanwhile, Vector and Espio returned to Restoration HQ from a mission in Pine Grove Village after it had suffered a random Zombot outbreak. In addition to several refugees, the pair also managed to find the Zombot Charmy and imprisoned him in a Containment Bubble, planning to use him as a primary test subject for any cures that may be developed. At the HQ, one of the refugees from Pine Grove Village revealed that he had actually been infected and swiftly turned into a Zombot. This caused a panic among the refugees and the tumult caused Charmy to break out of his Containment Bubble. The virus quickly spread among the refugees, including Vanilla. Just before Vector attempted to close the gates to the HQ's launch bay, Charmy flew out, targeting the one Rescue Shuttle the Restoration planned to use. Vector lunged at Charmy and pinned him down, getting infected in the process. Knowing he was lost to the virus, Vector had Gemerl close the gates behind him as he kept the Zombots back so that everyone else could escape.
Back in Central City, Cheese and Chocola cut the power of Tails' lab just before the fox cub could finish his cure for the Metal Virus. Tails tried to retrieve his computer's server blades to use later at Restoration HQ, but he was interrupted by a Zombot who tore through the lab's entrance. The Zombot destroyed Tails' server blades and was followed by several other Zombots; this forced Tails to use his Cyclone to ram his way out of the lab. Cheese and Chocola attempted to follow Tails, but the fox cub left them behind in the dust with his evasive maneuvers. Tails soon came to the aid of Tangle and Whisper to fend off Zombots while they guarded the uninfected citizens at the city's dock. A Rescue Shuttle soon arrived and the citizens boarded while Tangle and Whisper drove the Zombots away from the ship. The shuttle took off as Tails' Cyclone was overwhelmed by the Zombot horde; realizing that his mech was lost, the fox cub left it to explode and flew himself to the shuttle.
Another Zombot outbreak occurred at Barricade Town. The Zombots in the town soon found Sonic and Dr. Eggman there after they fell from up high. They almost attacked both of them but they were commanded to lunge at Sonic only by a radio frequency that Dr. Starline found in Eggman's Egg Mobile. After Sonic destroyed the Egg Mobile, Eggman and Starline retreated before the Zombots could attack them. Following that, the Faceship distributed more of the Metal Virus at Spiral Hill Village. Sonic himself quickly escaped the horde of Zombots in Barricade Town and rushed to Spiral Hill Village to help with the evacuation. During this outbreak, Tangle went to the Mineral Museum to check up on Jewel, whom she discovered had been turned into a Zombot. Tangle was forced to trap Jewel, but not before being infected herself, forcing her to hold back against the other Zombots in the museum until Sonic arrived. After Sonic and Tangle blocked off the Zombot horde using Tangle's tail as a tripwire, the lemur opted to sacrifice herself and remain behind. As Sonic delivered the bad news and fled with the other survivors, Tangle fought against the remaining Zombots with all of her might until she succumbed to the Metal Virus.
All or Nothing
After Eggman, Starline and Metal Sonic were forced to flee from the Deadly Six on the Faceship, they were transported via a Warp Portal to Angel Island and met up with several survivors of the Metal Virus. Soon, Eggman revealed that as the Metal Virus mutated, it became unsustainable; any infected heterotrophic eukaryote cells will eventually suffer a form of apoptosis. He went on to say that autotrophic cells will endure slightly longer but not by much. In other words, those infected by the virus will eventually disintegrate, but not for another two hundred years. Meanwhile, the Deadly Six equipped themselves with the Chaos Emeralds and set off into the world to control thousands of Zombots in an attempt to infect the entire world with the Metal Virus.
- The transmutation that the virus causes is similar to roboticization, a reoccurring process seen in the mainline Sonic the Hedgehog video games, the previous Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics, the Sonic the Hedgehog television series and Sonic Underground.
- Although the Metal Virus is supposed to not infect processed matter, it is somehow capable of affecting people's clothes as well.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #13, "Calling Card"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #15, "Patient Zero"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #17, "Plague"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #14, "Misdirection"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #24, "The Last One Out"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #18, "Victims"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #16, "Infection"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #25, "A Sudden Shift"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #12, "The Cost of the Battle for Angel Island"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #19, "Crisis City, Part 1"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #20, "Crisis City, Part 2"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #21, "The Last Minute, Part 1"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #22, "The Last Minute, Part 2"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #23, "The Last Minute, Part 3"
- BumbleKast #95 - Spider-Man: Far From Home. YouTube (8 July 2019). Retrieved on 16 July 2019.