Shard the Metal Sonic (call sign Jack in the Secret Freedom Fighters), originally known as Metal Sonic and sometimes Mecha Sonic, is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. He was the first Metal Sonic ever created and was one of the deadliest robotic models created by Dr. Ivo Robotnik. He is based off his organic counterpart and Robotnik's most hated enemy, Sonic the Hedgehog, and was one of the first robots in the Metal Sonic Series. Metal Sonic was pitted against Sonic and friends on numerous occasions, until he was seemingly destroyed when he chose to sacrifice himself to save Sonic and Tails. He was at some later point recovered, rebuilt, and - having gained a social conscience and sense of morality - recruited as a member of the Secret Freedom Fighters.
Metal Sonic was first built by Dr. Robotnik so he could have his own Sonic the Hedgehog. Metal Sonic was first put to use by Robotnik to kidnap Sonic's self-proclaimed "biggest fan," Amy Rose, and bring her to the Collision Chaos Zone to be used as bait for Sonic. The mechanical copy did so, and Sonic did end up coming to the zone. The two hedgehogs then had a race around the zone's resident speed track, Stardust Speedway, with Snively (disguised as Dr. Robotnik) following them and Metal Sonic pulling tricks such as using hologram. Eventually, as they approached the finish line, Sonic began to increase his speed, and Metal Sonic, despite not being programmed with records of Sonic reaching such speeds, pushed his engine beyond its limits to catch up to him. Unfortunately, the heat created from the friction of Metal Sonic's speed, caused his legs to melt and he crashed just before the finish line.
Battle Against the Chaotix
When Knuckles the Echidna and the Chaotix arrived at Renfield T. Rodent's carnival to save the Freedom Fighters, Dr. Robotnik sent a repaired Metal Sonic to stop them. But when the duplicate realized he was clearly outnumbered, he used a Power Gem to turn into a gigantic, monstrous robot. However, Heavy had his own Power Gem on hand and Knuckles used it to turn into a giant version of himself, allowing him to take on the new and improved Metal Sonic. Knuckles used his increased powers to defeat Metal Sonic, seemingly once and for all.
Vengeance and Sacrifice
After the Freedom Fighters left Station Square, the Freedom Fighter Special almost crashed. Nate Morgan found out it was sabotaged and Sally decided to send Sonic and Tails out on reconnaissance to see if there were any signs of life. While the friends were doing this, Sonic told Tails to go find some wood for a fire. However, when Tails hadn't come back for an hour, Sonic went out to search for him. But Sonic then discovered that the person who had kidnapped Tails and sabotaged the ship was none other than the original Metal Sonic. The mechanical menace revealed that the Power Gem that was still inside of him when he was destroyed by Knuckles allowed him to rebuild himself. In this form, Metal Sonic could move much faster than Sonic and, deciding to give Sonic a "fair chance" to save Tails, told him that his friend was in the volcano, Mount Mobius. However, the volcano was also due to erupt soon.
Sonic quickly made his way to the volcano, but was stopped when Metal Sonic attacked him. However, Sonic was able to trap Metal Sonic in his own net and get to Tails before the volcano erupted. The robotic duplicate easily got out of the netting and attacked both Sonic and Tails atop the mountain. Sonic tried to tell Metal Sonic about how there's more to life than just power, but he ignored it. However, when Tails decided to stick with Sonic even while there was lava everywhere, Metal Sonic developed some sort of "conscience" and decided to hold back the lava, allowing the two to escape. Tails' actions allowed Metal Sonic to see he could be more than his programming, and as his two former foes escaped, Metal Sonic was submerged in lava, seemingly meeting his demise.
Jack of All Trades (New and Improved)
Despite being submerged in lava, this was not the end of Metal Sonic. Metal Sonic's core programming and mind, which were now a part of the Power Gem's crystalline matrix, survived being submerged in lava and was later recovered by Geoffrey St. John and the Royal Secret Service shortly after Metal Sonic's attack on Sonic and Tails. Geoffrey and his team were sent to investigate the site, and he intended on stealing the still functional Power Gem for New Mobotropolis before Dr. Eggman could use it for his own gain. The gem was then given to Sir Charles Hedgehog who retrieved Metal Sonic's core-data and used it to construct the Metal Sonic Troopers. Metal Sonic was later fully resurrected/rebuilt by Charles, by using parts from the previous Metal Sonic robots, the Metal Sonic Troopers and the Metal Scourge, another factor counting towards developing his personality. He was given the new name "Shard", and provided another member of Harvey Who's newly formed team called the Secret Freedom Fighters. This not only give Shard another chance at life, but also another chance to prove himself to be a hero. While Charles was reluctant to rebuild a Metal Sonic robot, Shard assured Charles that he had learned that there was more to life from Sonic. He and the other Secret Freedom Fighters had helped Team Freedom defeat Team Metal in the invasion of New Mobotropolis.
After being fully rebuilt, Shard was given the call sign "Jack" and sent on a mission to Soumerca with Silver the Hedgehog (call sign "Ace") and Larry Lynx (call sign "Joker"), to track the whereabouts of Geoffrey St. John, servant to Ixis Naugus. Shard managed to plant a tracking device on St. John's Extreme Gear, though the team's attempts to discover what Geoffrey went to Windy Valley for resulted in them being buried in the collapsed tomb of Ixis Vale deep underground by Geoffrey St. John. In the process, Shard was damaged, but assured his team that his self-repair system was kicking in, and began helping dig themselves out.
Once they returned to base and were reprimanded by Who for not stopping Geoffrey, Shard and the others learned that agents King, Queen of Hearts, and Queen of Diamonds had not returned from their mission, and went to search for them in the pit from the Battle Bird Armada's attack. At the bottom, Shard went to his infra-red vision to search, but they regrouped before he could use it and went over what they learned on their missions. After their discussion, they agreed to have Silver try approaching Geoffrey and ask him about Naugus' plan, and Shard submerged himself in the Lake of Rings during the exchange. The team then returned to base and prepared to stop Naugus from taking control of the Council of Acorn's minds that same day.
Shard teamed up with Silver to take on Naugus himself, gleefully throwing himself into the battle. Naugus' promises that they would suffer were met with Shard's gloating that they had him on the run. He then proceeded to smash through rock spikes summoned up by the sorcerer, and managed to catch Naugus by surprise by Spin Dashing behind a chunk of rock that Silver hurled at Naugus with his powers. Naugus attempted to stop Shard by summoning a vacuum, but the robot quickly made it known that he didn't need to breath and blasted the wizard with his arm cannon. He was then forced to rescue Silver after the Hedgehog became overconfident and was surrounded by flames, courtesy of Naugus' power. Recognizing that attacking Naugus himself wasn't accomplishing their goal, Shard made "an executive decision" and took out a crystal container holding Ixis Vale's remains, disrupting Naugus' spell. He then grabbed teammates Leeta and Lyco, carrying them through the tunnel to the blocked entrance. Furiously refusing to be trapped underground again, Shard smashed through Naugus' crystal barrier, exulting in his victory as his teammates followed him thanks to Silver. Shortly thereafter, Shard would look in on his "creator", Charles, as the Hedgehog enjoyed dinner with his brother Jules, sister-in-law Bernie, and his nephew's pet Muttski. Shard's expression was a sad one, no doubt indicating a longing for such ties of his own.
Shard later traveled to Albion to find Team Fighters, and observed their battle alongside Knuckles with Thrash the Tasmanian Devil and his Devil Dogs. Seeing their victory, Shard felt confident that he wouldn't need to reveal himself to help them; his hopes were dashed by the arrival of Metal Knuckles under the control of the Krudzu Hybrid Hydra. Though he had been ordered only to observe and report on Team Fighters' situation, Shard quickly realized that the heroes were drained from their previous battle. When the Hydra combined with leftover Albion technology to become a monstrous being, Shard intervened Spin-Dashing through the mechanical giant. He landed before a stunned and wary Sonic, Amy, and Tails, jokingly inquiring if they knew how difficult they were to keep up with.
Unfortunately, the trio were none too happy to see their former foe, believing that Eggman had rebuilt him, and quickly began attacking him. Before Shard could do much more than regret his decision to get involved, the Krudzu Hybrid Hydra recovered and ensnared Sonic and Shard in its vines. After pleading with Sonic to let him help, and reminding him that Sonic had taught him the true value of life, the two joined forces to start dragging the Hydra around Albion, though not without exchanging a little banter. As they continued pulling the Hydra across the landscape, Sonic attempted to prod Shard for answers on the robot's survival with Shard refusing to tell anything in order to protect his team's secrets; despite this he did reveal that Sonic's Uncle Chuck was involved in order to gain his trust. Soon the two returned to where Tails and Amy were stationed, allowing Amy and Thrash's Devil Dogs to damage the Hydra with Shard and Amy delivering the final blows. Following this Sonic captured the Krudzu's last remaining sprig, which Shard volunteered to return to New Mobotropolis in order to cultivate it as a deroboticizing agent for Sally. Helping the group repair the Tornado, Shard also planted a tracking device on them, and informed Silver that the group was heading for the Northern Tundra.
A few days after Team Metal's defeat at New Mobotropolis, Metal Sonic had been rebuilt yet again but this time Dr. Eggman decided to give Metal Sonic back its free-will algorithm, seeing that it was needed to give it the edge over its foes, as well as its own power gem core. The rebuilt Metal Sonic immediately stated its intentions of destroying Sonic but Eggman stopped it, stating its mission was now to destroy Shard to which it initially refused before Eggman triggered a soft-reboot defiance kill-switch, keeping Metal Sonic obedient.
Meanwhile Shard was enjoying a game of digital-world chess with Nicole, blasting the virtual pieces much to Nicole's amusement when she won the game. Before they could start another game, however, Metal Sonic attacked a resting Antoine D'Coolette at the hospital, with both the intent of finishing off Antoine and luring out Shard, who was on scene in no time. He convinced Metal Sonic to fight him first, one on one, which Metal Sonic accepted once they made their way out to the Great Wastes.
The two immediately began a heated battle, exchanging countless blows on the other. Metal Sonic began using its stored memory of past defeats to counter Shard's cannon-fire, by plugging it with a rock, and spin attack, using a shield. Shard tried to shoot the rock out at Metal Sonic, who countered with its chest cannon. Metal Sonic then proceeded to finish off Shard, who tried to convince it to do as he had done and become good. For a second Metal Sonic seemed to ponder the idea, his memory recalling that Shadow the Hedgehog, another freed weapon for destruction, had said something very similar. However Doctor Eggman's new 'soft reboot' function kicked in, preventing the idea from taking hold.
Shard realized that Eggman had finally found a way to take away Metal Sonic's free will, and since his cannon had repaired itself, he blasted himself free and tried to drill out Metal Sonic's power gem core which it defended by raising its shield, severing Shard's cannon arm in half.
At this point, Shard clearly saw he was losing and if he was going down, he was taking Metal Sonic with him. Metal Sonic warned Shard that he was only going to destroy himself, to which Shard stated it was never about him and continued by telling Metal Sonic if it couldn't understand why, it needed to be destroyed. He then tried to pry out Metal Sonic's power gem core and the robot saw its chance, having analyzed Shard's data and stored it in the power gem, and self-destructed, catching Shard in the blast much the same way it had done to Antoine, leaving Shard laying on the ground, a wrecked and broken mess. His energy signal weakening, Shard called Nicole for an emergency pick-up and as he tried to tell her something, most likely personal in nature, his signal faded out. Eventually, Mobius was caught up in and heavily altered by the Super Genesis Wave, leaving Shard's fate ambiguous.
As his old self, Metal Sonic/Shard had a rather emotionless personality, acting as another of Robotnik's obedient robots, though he did express contempt for his enemies. However, after his defeat at the hands of Knuckles and the Chaotix, and having been forced to rebuild himself, his personality drastically improved, as did his abilities and appearance. He showed overt signs of emotions while battling Sonic, mocking and insulting his organic counterpart, and shortly before his apparent death, revealed that he could surpass his programming and act as a complete individual. As part of his developed personality, he became arrogant and extremely self-confident in his abilities.
Because of this, he is fairly easy going, though he is also not above playfully (or cruelly) taunting or mocking others. A notable example of Shard's cockiness was when he teased Silver during their mission to Soumerca whilst simultaneously showing off his abilities. As indicated during the same mission, however, Shard seems somewhat protective of Larry Lynx. It's possible that his ability to surpass his original programming stems from his Power Gem core. Despite being modeled after a Hedgehog, Shard hates being buried, most likely as a result of his near destruction at mercy of a tidal wave of lava. He also has Sonic's knack for finding unexpected solutions to problems. Since his rebuilding, he also seems to have developed a sense of his mortality, and appears to long for the sorts of family connections that his organic counterpart enjoys. Perhaps in this spirit, he began spending a good deal of time with NICOLE, whom he seems to have developed some feelings for as a result.
Despite his ego in battle, Shard is actually rather insecure, weighed down by both his past misdeeds and the negative image created for robots by Eggman's villainy. He is eager to change this impression, and is willing to sacrifice himself for the very people that he believes would fear him if they knew of his existence. Furthermore, while he apparently wishes to help his fellow artificial beings, he is willing to destroy any who are incapable of moving beyond their destructive programming. He also wishes to make amends for the evils he has committed, and provide help to his former foes in their battle against evil.
Powers and abilities
Due to being built as a robotic copy of Sonic, Shard shares many of his counterpart's abilities, such as being able to move at high speeds and to perform his Spin Dash techniques. Over times, he has possessed several robotic bodies that has granted him various kinds of abilities and strengths. His bodies are also always equipped with rockets that grants him flight.
First Body (Metal Sonic v1.0)
Shard's first robot body possessed all of the physical abilities of Sonic, which included his super speed and strength. However, he was unable to match Sonic's top speed since the heat created from the friction would cause him to melt. His entire body was constructed from a steel titanium alloy that made him incredibly resilient to physical blows.
Second Body (Metal Sonic v2.0)
Shard's second body had many of the same qualities as his first body, with minor design alterations to better resemble Sonic. In this second body, however, he had a Power Gem embedded in his chest, which allowed him to absorb the energies from it to become Titan Metal Sonic.
Presumably, this body was modified to withstand extreme speeds without melting, a flaw which was present in the first body. It is possible that it was the Power Gem itself that fixed this defect, as his third body could use the Power Gem to reach even higher speeds than the first without any problems.
Third Body (Metal Sonic v2.5)
After obtaining and incorporating the Power Gem core into his second body, following his defeat of Knuckles, Shard was granted a massive power increase and several new abilities as well. Some of these abilities it granted Shard was some limited shape-shifting abilities, which increases his weapon versatility and equipment, and allowed him to repair himself, though it strained his Power Gem core.
The body he had constructed for himself after his battle with Knuckles (Metal Sonic v2.5), was shown to possess both strength and speed far beyond that of Sonic's and was able to defeat him with ease. His left arm contained a cannon capable of firing plasma blasts and other projectiles (such as a grappling hook, metallic restraint bands and cybernetic shredder blades) and could as well shapeshift into a power shovel. He could also fire energy blasts directly from his Power Gem. This body was however destroyed when he sacrificed himself to save Sonic and Tails.
Fourth Body (Metal Sonic v2.6)
The body Charles constructed for Shard so that he could serve as a member of the Secret Freedom Fighters, shares many of the same powers he had as Metal Sonic v2.5, though it has not been shown so far to possess the same level of raw power as Metal Sonic v2.5 had. One of the skills he has shown in this body is being able to adapt his eyes into a scanner visor and as well initiate infrared vision. His speed is at the point where he is able to move too fast to be recognized, even by fellow robots like Heavy and Bomb, and can keep up with the real Sonic's speed.
In this body, Shard's weakness is his Power Gem itself, which contains Shard's mind and serves as his power source. As a part of his system, Shard's power output is linked to his Power Gem's energy supply, meaning that if he strains his Power Gem too far, he will begin to run out of energy, and his powers will be diminished, leaving him forced to rest while it recharges. Also, should his Power Gem completely run out of power or get destroyed, it could prove fatal to Shard.
It is also interesting to note that he has the ability to change the color of his Power Gem and his pupils from Green to Red and vice versa. When passive, the colors are green, and in battle mode as Agent Jack, the colors are red. He was shown touching the Power Gem with one of his fingers when they changed from red to green, but it is unknown if he must do this for the color to change.
Shard and NICOLE began spending time together after he became a Secret Freedom Fighter, and the two seem to have developed a friendship. While NICOLE expressed no romantic feelings early on, she did her best to support and encourage Shard, acting almost as a mentor of sorts to her fellow artificial intelligence. She did enjoy his company, and Shard seems to have developed feelings for her, and she was obviously concerned for his safety following his battle with Metal Sonic v3.7. Whether she reciprocates his apparent attraction to her is unknown at the present.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog #246, when Sonic and Shard are pulling the Krudzu-Metal Knuckles hybrid around Albion during the Albion Attack, Sonic asks Shard how he knew where Team Freedom was. Shard then replies back, "It's a secret to everyone." This is a reference to The Legend of Zelda video game series, as a famous recurring quote from one of the characters.
- When originally introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog #25, Sonic recognized Metal Sonic, and the character described himself as "all-new, all-different," factors that combine to to imply that he had previously existed and been upgraded. This suggests he may have originally been written to be an upgraded form of the only prior Sonic robot, Pseudo-Sonic, but later stories would clearly establish them to be separate characters.
- Metal Sonic's original design matched those of his game counterparts from Sonic the Hedgehog CD and Knuckles' Chaotix. His appearance as v2.5 has an original design.
- Even though the comic appearance of the giant red Metal Sonic was Titan Metal Sonic, this form was borrowed from Metal Sonic Kai, the final boss of Knuckles' Chaotix.
- When Metal Sonic first appeared in issue StH #25, he was named "Mecha Sonic". This name was later used in issue StH #39 for the robotized version of Sonic.
- Shard's death in lava is slightly based on that of what happened to his counterpart in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie.
- One of the robots Shard is constructed from is the Metal Scourge. Unlike the multiple Metal Sonics, there was only ever one Metal Scourge, and it was constructed hastily during Doctor Eggman's pre-issue #200 descent into madness, making Shard truly an individual.
- Shard's new design as a member of the Secret Freedom Fighters bears a resemblance to Metal Sonic 3.0 from Sonic Rivals 2, and also similar to Gemerl from Sonic Advance 3.
- The visor he sometimes uses highly resembles the one used by Mecha Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit).
- Shard's energy source (which is a shard) was used to make the Metal Sonic Troopers while it was with Uncle Chuck.
- Shard's new name given for his latest return was proposed by Aleah Baker.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #25, "Go Ahead... Mecha my Day!"
- Knuckles' Chaotix, "The Chaos Effect"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #86, "Heart of the Hedgehog Part One: Evil's Return"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #87, "Heart of the Hedgehog Part Two: Lava Story"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #238, "Foundation Works"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #240, "Heroes Part Two: For the People"
- Sonic Universe #41, "Unsung Heroes Part One: The Big Guns!"
- Sonic Universe #43, "Unsung Heroes Part Three: Occupational Hazards!"
- Sonic Universe #44, "Unsung Heroes Part Four: Fight the Power!"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #245, "Endangered Species Part Three: Restoration Efforts"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #246, "Endangered Species Finale: One of a Kind"
- Sonic Universe #50, "Forged in Fire"
- Flynn, Ian (22 March 2015). Ask Ian - Year End Bonanza Thingie. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 26 July 2015.