Rough the Skunk is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing. He is an anthropomorphic skunk and the brother of his partner, Tumble. An evil mercenary, he and Tumble took over Barricade Town, but were stopped by Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna. After escaping prison later on, they now seek revenge on Sonic and Knuckles.
Concept and creation
Early designs of Rough had more clothing and less defined eyes, likely referring to his colored sclera, compared to the final version.
Rough is a medium-sized, anthropomorphic skunk with blue-gray and cream fur. He has a tall, cream mohawk that extends down to his back. He has cheek tuffs on the sides of his cream colored muzzle and has a scruffy hairstyle along with a long, cream-striped tail that can extend over his own head. He bears a blue-grey V-shaped patch on his cream white-furred chest. He also bears fangs. Rough has red eyes with yellow sclera along with thick black outlines along the outer corners.
For attire, Rough wears orange boots and gloves that both have a red lining and light tan volar surfaces.
Having an enjoyment for playing in ball pits, Rough and Tumble would be banned from any ball pit they went to for kicking out the kids.
The Eggman War
During the war between the Eggman Empire and the Resistance, Rough and Tumble helped Barricade Town by ferociously driving back the invading Badniks. Afterwards, they set themselves up in Barricade Town and promised to help them improve their defenses. However, the brothers ultimately ended up taking over Barricade Town, its Wisps, and its Wispon distribution center, setting themselves up as tyrannical rulers.
Trapping the townsfolk between themselves and marauding Badniks outside the walls, Rough and Tumble controlled Barricade Town throughout the end of the war and into the ensuing reconstruction period.
While Rough and Tumble were lounging about in the Wispon distribution center, being waited on hand and foot by the locals, Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna arrived to confront them. Shocked and angered at the interruption of their fun, Rough remarked about how the heroes do not know who they are and began a choreographed introduction before engaging in combat.
While Sonic engaged Tumble, Rough took on Knuckles. During the fight, Rough managed to use his Stink Bomber technique on Knuckles, leaving Knuckles semi-disabled. However, Knuckles fought through the pain and smashed Rough into the floor boards. Tumble then picked up his dazed brother, and Rough recovered before they both grabbed some Wispons in an attempt to turn the tide of the fight. Unfortunately for them, Sonic convinced the Wisps to turn on them, leaving Rough and Tumble's Wispons useless and helping the heroes surround them. Mocking their choreographed introduction, Sonic and Knuckles did their own number before knocking out both Rough and his brother. In the aftermath, Rough was apprehended by the local militia, along with his brother, and Tumble promised that they would escape and come after Sonic and Knuckles. Rough cursed them as well, saying that they have made life-long enemies of himself and Tumble before being taken away.
Battle For Angel Island
At some point during their incarceration, both Rough and Tumble were broken out of jail by Dr. Starline. He wished to enlist their help in kidnapping Dr. Eggman from the remote mountain village he currently resided in due to his amnesia. Starline promised that in exchange for Rough and Tumble's help, Eggman would build them weapons to use for revenge against Sonic.
Accepting Starline's offer, the brothers went to Windmill Village where Dr. Eggman was staying and kidnapped him against his will. Bringing Eggman to the Final Egg and strapping him up, Rough would watch Starline commence the first round of the evidently painful "procedure" on Eggman that he had arranged to restore Eggman to his former evil self. After Starline was done, Rough watched the supposed result.
Starline continued putting Eggman through his procedures, only for Eggman to show little progress after three sessions. This made Rough and Tumble grow impatient with Starline, but the latter reassure them that he would restore Eggman's memories so that he could build weapons for the duo. Soon, the group were met by a badly damaged Metal Sonic. Upon seeing Metal Sonic, Eggman managed to regain his memories. Starline thus introduced himself and the skunk brothers, prompting Rough and Tumble to do their introduction. Eggman did not think highly of Rough and Tumble at first but when he learned that they hated Sonic, he offered to build them weapons, an idea that excited them. Later on, Rough and Tumble received blueprints for their new weapons. However, they became very confused by their specifications. When Rough complained to Eggman on this, the doctor simply swapped the blueprints between the brothers as they had each received the incorrect one. Following this, they became very satisfied with the weapon designs.
Curse of the Pyramid
Rough and Tumble eventually went to the Lost Pyramid of Dr. Eggman in the Dusty Desert to find Eggman's forgotten treasure, among other things. While Tumble was superstitious of the curse that surrounded the area, Rough was determined to find the treasure no matter what. Inside the pyramid, Rough stepped on a trick switch which made walls with spikes close in on them. Rough managed to roll out of the way with Tumble riding on top of him however. Once they were clear, Rough cheered for their victory. Tumble was still superstitious of the pyramid which prompted Rough to remind him that they were not scared of anything. Rouge the Bat then appeared and slightly startled the skunk brothers. Once they learned that she was also after Eggman's treasure, Rough used his noxious stench on her and ran off with Tumble. However, the skunk brothers were soon interrupted by an active Egg-Golem. When Rouge arrived, she explained what it was and that the Egg-Golem was being controlled via a remote. Rough and Tumble continued to fight the Egg-Golem while Rouge disappeared. Eventually though, the brothers managed to defeating the Egg-Golem. As the duo felt victorious, Rouge reappeared, all mummy-like, and warned the brothers not to touch the bandages or they would be doomed for eternity. Rough immediately became frightened of Rouge and ran out of the pyramid carrying his brother, ignoring his earlier comments on not being scared of anything.
After receiving their new weapons, Rough and Tumble went to Windmill Village where they trapped the villagers in the community center and left the beaten village head hanging from a tree. When Sonic and Tails later came to Windmill Village, Rough and Tumble found them just as they were freeing the village head. After doing their introduction, the skunk brothers attacked Sonic. During the fight however, Sonic correctly deduced that they were working with someone and demanded to know where Eggman was. While Rough told him that (maybe) he would tattle if he beat them, Tumble told him not to barter with him and pressed on the attack. Eventually though, Tails joined Sonic's side in the fight. As the fight progressed, Rough would face Tails alone, who turned Rough's Vapor Condenser against him by hitting him with his own stink bomb. A weaponless and defeated Rough was then brought together with Tumble, who had been beaten by Sonic. Before Rough wound up tattling however, he and Tumble got pulled through a Warp Topaz portal. Back at the base, Rough asked Eggman for another chance to take on Sonic, only to be pushed aside by Metal Sonic. Rough tried speaking against this, but was quickly silenced by Metal Sonic. Eventually, Rough and Tumble grew impatient from waiting on Eggman to make good on his word and help them waste Sonic. Confronting Eggman, they demanded that the doctor provided them with a new edge against Sonic. In response, Eggman told them that his "latest weapon just got out of beta".
Cubot later notified Rough and Tumble to meet Eggman in hangar three. While waiting for Eggman, Rough would kick Cubot around. When he finally arrived, the doctor gave them two "back-up" backpacks that they could open in case Sonic got the upper hand. However, Rough and Tumble did not find out what the backpacks were supposed to do. They were also not happy with them, but then Eggman provided them with a large tank with a drill and cannons. Rough and Tumble subsequently used it to enter Echo Mine and destroy the computer that Sonic and Amy used to learn about Eggman's latest scheme. Rough and Tumble again tried to introduce themselves with rhymes, but Sonic criticized their rhymes for being poor. This made Rough and Tumble argue between them, but when Amy failed to hit their tank, they attacked. They chased Sonic and Amy through the mines until they reached a cave with a refuse pit in the middle, forcing Rough to turn sharply to the right and drive around the pit. It was then that Sonic and Amy attacked them from behind, destroying the cockpit and treads on the tank, which then fell into the pit. Rough and Tumble, however, managed to evacuate. They then activated their backpacks, causing the Metal Virus to be poured out on them, much to their horror, and turn them into Zombots. Rough attacked Amy, who tried to fight back, only to discover that she could not harm Zombot Rough. Ultimately though, Rough was knocked into the refuse pit by Sonic, who had caught the Metal Virus in the process.
Out of the Blue
After Super Sonic and Super Silver had reversed the effects of the Metal Virus all around the world, the Zombots were no more and were cured. Rough and Tumble remained at the bottom of the refuse pit for a long while, starved and helpless. Soon, an object dropped down that scared Rough because he thought it was a spider. It was actually the extensive tail of Tangle the Lemur who had come to rescue the duo with Tails. After pulling them out, Tails and Tangle told the skunks that Sonic had saved the world from the Metal Virus, giving everyone a second chance of life, including them. Rough and Tumble laughed at this and took it as another opportunity to run wild in the world. The duo ran off but soon became confused trying to find their way out of the mines.
Rough and Tumble subsequently tried to take over Barricade Town again, but were defeated by the Wispon-armed villagers and thrown into the maximum security wing of Everhold Prison, which held Mimic and Zavok as well. They were soon after visited by Dr. Starline, who had hypnotized the warden into letting him in before making him fall asleep, who offered Rough and Tumble to join him and the others and take their revenge on Eggman for tricking them into pouring the Metal Virus onto themselves. Rough and Tumble, however, were not having any of this. Ultimately, however, Starline convinced Rough and Tumble to join him by promising the skunk brothers to create new weapons for them, which they responded very enthusiastically to. After they were released from their cell, they locked the prison warden in one of the cells. As the prison guards tried to surround them though, Rough asked Starline to hypnotize them. Since Starline could not do this on crowds however, Rough and Tumble decided to take matters into their own hands and defeated the guards with brute force. They later helped knock down the guards in the security center. There, they admitted that they were not quite sure yet if they wanted to work with Starline, but realized they did not have a better idea either. Ultimately, they managed to escape from prison with their new crew after Starline made the prison descend into chaos.
After Rough and his new team were brought to Dr. Starline's Repository, Starline told the villains that they would have to acquire Power Cores, special energy spheres used by various machines in the Eggman Empire. With them, they could increase their powers using special adapters for the next part of their plan, which was infiltrating an Eggnet hub. Amidst this, Rough and Tumble were amused when Starline compared Mimic's intelligence to that of their stupidity. Later, the villains took part in an attack on the Eggman base holding the Energy Cores. After disposing of the forward guard, Rough and Mimic were thrown behind the walls by Tumble. Inside the base, Rough created a smokescreen for Mimic and started destroying the present Badniks. Tumble joined Rough soon after, and the two of them would argue over who of them had destroyed most Badniks. However, they stopped when a mechanical tyrannosaurus rex appeared. However, Rough and Tumble quickly destroyed it using their Grand Stink Bomber Slam combo attack, with Rough releasing his musk inside the robot, thus causing it to burst apart from within. The villains then took the crates of Power Cores from the base's warehouse, loaded them into a truck, and drove off.
Later, Rough and Tumble came along with the other villains on their way to the Eggnet hub. Along the way, they tried to write a new intro that included their new teammates. Upon their arrival, Rough was equipped with a blue Core Gear. He also asked Starline if he had prepared a Core Gear for himself, but Starline assured him that he had no skills he could improve, prompting Rough to laugh at him. During their subsequent attack on the Eggnet hub, Rough used a Spin Dash to launch Tumble up to the hub's gate, which Tumble then demolished. Delighted at his improved speed, Rough ran inside the hub's premise. There, he then demanded for something to destroy, and Starline let him devastate everything inside the hub except the central computer. Choosing an Egg Knight as his first target, Rough cut it in half with his tail. However, when Mimic got a knife to Starline's throat, Zavok revealed to everyone that Starline was trying to use them and destroy them after he had gotten what he wanted. Rough and Tumble were initially surprised, but then pretended that they had been pretending to trust the doctor from the beginning. Afterward, Zavok let them have the remaining Power Core in Starline's lab, which Rough and Tumble thought was a good deal. They then agreed with Zavok when he announced that they no longer needed Starline. However, Starline used his Tricore to escape the group, leaving Rough dumbfounded by the physical prowess Starline now possessed. Rough was then ordered by Zavok to pursue Starline. Rough looked for the doctor around the hub and called for him, saying that he could not defeat them all anyway. He was then tripped by Starline by surprise and poisoned by Starline's Multi-Tool Heel Spurs. Downed, Rough began calling for backup. Tumble later tried to avenge Rough, but got poisoned by Starline too. When Zavok then found Rough and Tumble, incapacitated on the ground, he was not pleased that they had failed to deal with just one opponent. However, they believed that they had done more than Zavok and decided to leave his team. Rough and Tumble subsequently managed to leave the Eggnet hub just before Eggman carpet-bombed the location. The skunk brothers then decided that they would start all over again and that they did not need a team or a leader.
Trial by Fire
Eventually, Rough and Tumble began working for Clutch the Opossum, their jobs being to move crates containing Badnik parts through the sewers from a warehouse on Central City's docks. During one of his trips however, Rough stumbled upon the Chaotix, causing him to drop his crate. Fortunately, he managed to escape into a nearby sewer corridor and drive off the trio using his Stink Bomber. Back in the warehouse at Central City's docks, Rough reported back to Clutch about his mission. Though Clutch was dissatisfied with the results, he allowed Rough and his brother to rectify their mistake when the Chaotix entered their warehouse. Rough tried to attack Vector, but got tripped by the crocodile's tail and was soon after stung by Charmy. However, Rough and Tumble stopped fighting when Espio captured Clutch. Clutch, however, managed to steal two of Espio's smoke bombs and used them to flee the scene with Rough and Tumble.
Rough is a course and aggressive skunk. Ruthless, cruel, and violent, he takes great pleasure in terrorizing and taking advantage of those weaker than himself, as demonstrated by how he and his brother oppressed the townsfolk of Barricade Town. Meanspirited, Rough showed no concern for the happiness or well-being of the townsfolk he and his brother oppressed, displaying a lack of empathy for others, and he was significantly offended by Sonic and Knuckles ruining their "fun".
Rough is a brawler who loves to fight. Also, in order to intimidate their opponents, he and Tumble have created choreography and rhyming introductions for themselves. This also shows a measure of arrogance in their abilities. Their announcements, however, do not always rhyme, and they usually end up embarrassing them or makes everyone laugh at them. Despite this, Rough is genuinely proud and sensitive about their introductions, believing that they creating art that others do not appreciate. He also gets greatly offended when others imitate their introductions, and in a mocking manner no less.
Rough is arrogant and very confident. He never admits failures or weaknesses, like denying needing help or extra firepower. He is also an ungrateful opportunist who never intends to change, even after his enemies have saved his life. In comparison to his brother, Rough is less wild and more prone to engage in banter with his enemies. Rough is also rather assertive and not intimidated by rumors in the slightest, like when he remained unconcerned by the legends of the curse surrounding the Lost Pyramid of Dr. Eggman and told his brother to man up when he began worrying about said curse. However, when he met a "mummy" in the pyramid, he got immediately scared and ran away, unlike his brother, who was more confused than scared. Rough can also be more fearful than Tumble, like fearing spiders in the dark and fleeing confrontations from time to time.
While powerful and clever enough to seize an entire town alongside his brother, Rough is not very intelligent, having been described as more of a bully than a mastermind. Also, while he and his brother were able to take control of a key location and a stockpile of Wispons, they showed no foresight or ambition in doing anything beyond forcing the townsfolk into serving and entertaining them. Rough is also very naïve and easy to convince when promised with a supply of new weapons, although he will not admit about having been deceived later on upon realizing it. As such, many consider him a brutal, but mindless tool that is incapable of devising complex plans and strategies. Rough has also shown immature behavior, such as getting into a childish argument with Tumble over who destroyed more Badniks in a fight, or playing in ball pits. Rough is also a hypocrite, as he has mocked Mimic for being dumb, while at the same time admitting that he is not intelligent, called Rouge a "no-good, lousy thief", despite being a thief himself, and ran away in terror when he believed Rouge had been cursed, despite telling Tumble earlier that curses do not exist and that nothing scares him. Rough is also very vindictive, as he assured Sonic and Knuckles that they had made "lifelong enemies" of out of him and Tumble after they defeated them, and has constantly attempted to get revenge on Sonic ever since.
Powers and abilities
Rough is a ferocious combatant. As a testament to his power, he and Tumble were able to single-handedly save a town from Eggman's forces during the Eggman War. Although smaller and less physically intimidating than his brother, Rough makes up for his lack of brute strength with surprising speed and agility.
Rough is an experienced mercenary and is able to efficiently coordinate with his brother, Tumble, to form a formidable tag team in battle. He is also extremely acrobatic: he can easily jump over a person charging at him and spring off structures. Also, while not as strong as his brother, Rough possesses impressive strength, enough to crack an Egg-Golem's armor with a flying double kick and carry Tumble while running without his weight slowing him down. However, he does not have nearly the same amount of strength that his brother has. Rough is also durable enough to withstand and quickly recover from Knuckles punching him through a wooden floor while without losing consciousness.
As a skunk, Rough is able to produce a noxious musk that affects the eyes, respiratory system, and has a pungent odor. It is also so dense that releasing enough of it can create a smokescreen. By combining this skill with a Spin Attack-based maneuver, Rough can use his Stink Bomber and Grand Stink Bomber Slam techniques. Rough's tail is also sharp enough to slice through an Egg Knight.
Weapons and equipment
After helping Dr. Starline, Rough received a weaponized Vapor Condenser from Dr. Eggman. This launcher, which could be strapped to Rough's back, could fire capsules filled with concentrated portions of Rough's own musk which were so potent that those dowsed in them were rendered completely incapacitated. However, he lost this device when Tails destroyed it.
Tumble the Skunk
Tumble the Skunk is Rough's brother and his partner in crime. They are very close and highly coordinated with each other, capable of destroying entire armies of Badniks, occupying towns, and terrorizing its inhabitants together. Their joint attack is the Grand Stink Bomber Slam, with which they are able to destroy powerful robots. While they like each other and easily forgive each other for their mistakes, they are often childish, prompting them to argue over trivialities such as which one of them managed to destroy the most robots.
Rough and Tumble have a habit of introducing themselves with rhyming introductions where they brag about their skills. They also feel that they do not need any team, as they will always have each other.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Rough regards Sonic the Hedgehog as his lifelong enemy after he ended their occupation of Barricade Town. Since then, Rough and Tumble have tried to get revenge on Sonic by finding suitable weapons for themselves, forging alliances with dangerous people such as Dr. Starline and Dr. Eggman along the way. However, they always fail, which only makes them even more angry than before.
Rough was once released from prison by Dr. Starline to help bring him Dr. Eggman. In return, they were to receive weapons designed by Eggman that would allow them to defeat Sonic. However, Rough grew impatient as Starline dragged out their arrangement, prompting him to urge Starline on.
When Starline offered to cooperate with Rough and Tumble a second time, this time on the pretext of q united revenge plot against Dr. Eggman, Rough initially rejected his offer, insisting that Starline turned them into Zombots during the Metal Virus plague. However, he quickly agreed when Starline offered to build him and Tumble new weapons. As Rough and Tumble began cooperating with Starline and their new team, they would want to include them all in their rhyming introductions. Later, however, they found that Starline was only using them and so sought to get revenge on him. After Starline escaped them however, Rough and Tumble decided that they did not need Starline's team and they would start all over again by themselves.
Rough and Tumble once kidnapped Dr. Eggman while he was suffering from amnesia on Dr. Starline's orders. Once Starline could restore his memory, Rough hoped that Eggman would give them new weapons. Initially, Rough was unconvinced that Eggman, who had become a reformed handyman, was the infamous would-be despot. After Eggman had recovered, Rough and Tumble would put a lot of pressure on Eggman for making weapons for them that they did not like at first, until Eggman revealed that they had mixed up the schematics that had been delivered to them. When they failed Eggman however, they begged him for a second chance, irritating him even more. Soon after, they unknowingly became Eggman's guinea pigs and the first victims of Metal Virus when the doctor equipped them with backpacks filled with the virus without revealing their contents or function.
- Amy Rose
- Dr. Starline
- Eggman Empire
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Rouge the Bat
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Tangle the Lemur
- "Yeah, we've heard of you, hero! But you clearly ain't heard of us!"
- —Rough after Sonic introduces himself to him, Sonic the Hedgehog #3
- "Say your prayers, chumps!"
- —Rough wielding a Burst Wispon against Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog #3
- "That's our thing! You can't do our thing!"
- —Rough upon seeing Sonic and Knuckles imitate his and Tumble's introduction, Sonic the Hedgehog #3
- Rough and Tumble's names are a play on the saying "rough-and-tumble".
- Rough was officially revealed in a Kotaku exclusive interview with editor, David Mariotte on 16 February 2018.
- At the Sonic Town Hall at Wondercon 2018, Joe Hughes compared Rough and Tumble to Bebop and Rocksteady, saying they are approximately 12% smarter.
- Fahey, Mike (16 February 2018). Meet Rough And Tumble, Two Brand-New Sonic Comic Villains. Kotaku. Retrieved on 16 February 2018.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #31, "Recovery, Part 1"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #13, Roll Call
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #2, "Smash & Grab"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #3, "Fallout, Part 3"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #12, "The Cost of the Battle for Angel Island"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #10, "The Battle for Angel Island, Part 2"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #11, "The Battle for Angel Island, Part 3"
- Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2019, "Curse of the Pyramid"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #13, "Calling Card"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #14, "Misdirection"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #15, "Patient Zero"
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #1, "A Few Bad Men"
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #3, "Trust Issues"
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #4, "No Honor Among Thieves"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #48, "Hit the Pavement"