You know, if an organic being dies with a secret, that secret dies with them. But digital information is stored, replicated, spread out indefinitely...it's much harder for it to disappear.
— Phage, Sonic Universe #73
Phage is a character who appears in Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. Phage is a sentient virtual being and computer virus that lives inside the Digital World.
Phage is nothing more than an amorphous black mass, capable of taking many forms, with a large mouth, serrated teeth and a white kitten-like mask possessing triangular ears with red inner ears and a triangular pink nose, as its face. The mask also have yellow eyes and three pink markings-a ring on each cheek and forehead which are connected to her eyes and the back of her head by three red lines.
Phage was created by Dr. Eggman to infiltrate and attack various computer networks. She quickly began infiltrating computer networks and gaining knowledge and power by absorbing information. Much to Eggman's displeasure, however, the first system she attacked was his own, erasing sixty terabytes of his data. She thus set out to find some means of making amends.
Shattered World Crisis
Phage observed Sally Acorn and Nicole on Isolated Island after Nicole helped Dr. Ellidy escape the Digital World, where she apparently held him captive using her Digital Monsters. She noted with particular fascination the fact that a living being could manifest in the Digital World, and that NICOLE-a digital being-could manifest a physical form. When Nicole and Tails began checking the system for intrusions, Phage stayed just out of sight, while at the same time hijacking a Badnik to attack Sally Acorn and Big the Cat at the Lake of Rings on the island. Her attack was thwarted, and the two managed to claim a Red Star Ring.
She later took control of a Needlenose to observe a confrontation between Sally and Ellidy regarding the latter's late daughter Nikki, whom Nicole had been intended to save. Eventually she revealed herself to Nicole, remarking on how fascinating she found the holographic Lynx. After cryptically revealing her own nature as a digital being and admitting that she had been behind the attacks on Nicole's creator and friends. Nicole then enclosed Phage within a firewall, only for Phage to break through. She then stated that she found talking was too slow a means of satisfying her curiosity about Nicole, and attacked. Phage briefly captured her, and revealed herself and her loyalties to Ellidy and Sally. She also took control of Ellidy's other Badniks and sent them to attack Dr. Ellidy's House alongside Dark Gaia Creatures, part of her plan to claim Ellidy's research, the Red Star Rings, and a Chaos Emerald located on the island. She briefly toyed with the idea of impersonating Nicole, only for the Lynx to escape confinement and flee into the system. Phage pursued her and finally cornered her, intent on absorbing Nicole into herself, only to be surprised by Sally's arrival via the Digitizer.
After noting that Sally's actions seemed illogical given her reputation as a strategist, Phage eagerly anticipated absorbing both Freedom Fighters into her being. When she attacked Sally, however, Nicole responded with an attack that struck her internal core. In pain and facing now-unfavorable odds, Phage flew into a rage and redoubled her attack on the girls, setting her Digital Monsters loose on them while the Badniks she controlled tried to capture the yellow Chaos Emerald. She eventually found Sally attempting to escape to an outside system. Phage followed her, only for Sally to reveal that Nicole had linked them with a pair of digital Sling Rings, allowing Nicole to pull her back into Ellidy's system. Nicole then attempted to seal Phage outside, but even injured Phage proved too strong until Ellidy inserted a Red Star Ring into Nicole's handheld. Outraged at the power displayed by Overclocked Nicole—power she felt should have been hers—Phage was then forcibly barred from Ellidy's systems, though Nicole feared she was still a threat.
Some time later, after the Freedom Fighters had obtained all the Chaos Emeralds and Gaia Keys, Phage was tracked down and confronted by Eggman himself. After he chastised her for her failure on Isolated Island (and for the aforementioned data-destruction incident), they watched Sonic the Hedgehog and Sally's broadcast (transmitted by Tails Doll), detailing their plan to fix the world. In response, Eggman formulated a plan of his own and commanded Phage to link up with Tails Doll for the upcoming assault.
Via Tails Doll, Phage sneaked aboard the Sky Patrol and disabled its systems, allowing the Battle Bird Armada to sneak up on the Freedom Fighters. When Nicole came to check the system, Phage revealed herself and attacked her. Tails put a Red Star Ring into Nicole's handheld, turning her into Overclocked Nicole, but Phage then led her on a wild goose chase. After the Armada captured Chip and crippled the Sky Patrol, Phage revealed that she had only been stalling for time and vanished.
Phage is a cruel, sadistic being who thinks nothing of attacking others from surprise or if they are helpless to fight against her. She is intrigued by Nicole's unique nature, but her curiosity is a dark one that seeks satisfaction through violence. Her loyalty apparently lies with Dr. Eggman, but her primary motivation seems to be to add to her own being. Phage also seems to fear her master to some degree, given her desperate efforts to appease him after falling.
Powers and abilities
Phage has great power in the Digital World, such as generating firewalls and taking control of computerized devices. Her abilities surpasses Nicole's normal capabilities, since she was able to break free of a quarantine program erected by her. Phage also has stated she exists everywhere in the Digital World, and grows more powerful as she absorbs information. She can also mold her form in various ways, including taking on a more humanoid form and possibly creating the Digital Monsters. Even damaged, she is surprisingly powerful, only outmatched by Overclocked Nicole.
Her body contains a spherical core that appears to be her main weakness-any damage done to it causes her significant pain.
- "Phage" is a term used to describe the actual, real life virus known as bacteriophage.
- "Phage" also derives from the Greek word "phagein", which means "to devour" in English.
- Phage is very similar to the Master Control Program, the main antagonist from Tron, who similarly takes over computer networks and adds them to his own intelligence and power.
- The concept of how Phage wields a red core in her body is very similar to the ones Angels from the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime have. Like the Angels, Phage's core also appears to be the only vulnerable part of her.
- When asked if Phage had a favorite ice cream, Aleah Baker stated that since Phage has a hard time nailing feelings down, she would "probably create some kind of complex review aggregator and an extensive database of ice cream flavours" to determine the best.
- Aleah Baker (7 February 2016). Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016.
- Sonic Universe #73, "Spark of Life Part Three"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #283, "Zero Hour"
- Sonic Universe #71, "Spark of Life Part One"
- Sonic Universe #72, "Spark of Life Part Two"
- Sonic Universe #74, "Spark of Life Part Four"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #284, "Panic in the Sky Part One: The Best Laid Plans"
- Aleah Baker (19 January 2016). Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016.