Zombots, also referred to as simply the infected, is a term that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing. It refers to fauna who have been infected by the Metal Virus and had their infection reach its apogee. After Super Sonic and Super Silver managed to send every trace of the Metal Virus into the sun however, all of the infected returned to normal.
Concept and creation
Zombots are made up entirely of an unknown metallic compound that completely rewrites the victim's genetic coding, transforming them on a molecular level. Their bodies are given a metallic sheen while retaining shades of their original colors; they are quite malleable, able to deform from sufficiently strong blunt impacts. They also possess dark red eyes with small, bright red pupils, but otherwise retain the general shape of their organic selves. Some Zombots may develop minor additional features, such as sharp claws, spikes, fangs, and more angular body markings.
Characteristics and culture
Zombots are silent and devoid of personalities. They do not react emotionally to the environment around them and are completely unresponsive to verbal chatter; notably, taunts from Sonic that would have sent Tumble into a fury did not even register with a Zombot version of the skunk. This has led Amy to call them "soulless" and inspired Sonic to coin the name "Zombots" as a descriptor (zombie robots); however, some Zombots can apparently react to physical stresses, flinching or appearing dizzy when struck. Sonic also noticed that Zombots do not fight as efficiently as they normally would after their transformation; he was able to overwhelm a Zombot Shadow with a move that his uninfected self would have anticipated and countered.
Due to the Metal Virus, Zombots are also deprived of free will. Initially, they would instinctively obey the orders of Dr. Eggman alone. However - supposedly due to random mutations in the Metal Virus' coding created from spreading through exposure - the Zombots gradually became more disobedient and unresponsive to Eggman's commands. However, it was theorized by Starline that Zeti could control them using their electromagnetic powers. Zavok later reveals this to be true, but their powers could only control at least a dozen alone. Once empowered by the Chaos Emeralds, they can control up to thousands.
Idle Zombots display aggressive tendencies towards all uninfected living organisms, relentlessly attacking them in order to spread the Metal Virus - this is the only time they will show anything resembling emotion. However, they appear to be at least docile towards their own kind; if no uninfected beings are present, Zombots behave like they are in a mindless daze.
Eggman later reveals that the Metal Virus becomes unsustainable as it continues to mutate; any infected 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.
Powers and abilities
All Zombots possess increased strength compared to their original selves; Zombot Rough was able to crack a rock wall with a single punch and regular citizens were able to smash though a thick wooden door using only their fists. They also retain some, if not all, of the abilities they had as organic beings, but their simpleminded nature prevents them from using more specialized techniques. For instance, Shadow retained his super speed after being converted into a Zombot, but was unable to use his rocket skates to accelerate himself. Similarly, Charmy, Jewel and Flickies retain their ability to fly. Due to their robotic nature, Zombots are also immune to illnesses and have no need to eat.
Following their transmutation, the Zombots become much more durable; even a sharp object thrown directly into their bodies will just bounce off without a scratch. If a Zombot does take damage, it can manipulate its own liquid body composition, allowing it to instantly reconstitute and restore its body from damaging blows. This makes them virtually unstoppable opponents.
Zombots are able to spread the Metal Virus to any living tissue, be it either flora or fauna, through the slightest physical touch; however, they cannot pass the virus onto processed or inorganic matter. Once the virus has been passed onto a victim, the infection will slowly spread across the victim until it is fully converted; however, the infection rate can be accelerated by repeated or prolonged exposure to the virus. As such, Zombots will often attempt to pin down a target until they are fully transformed - or destroyed, in the case of inorganic foes.
The first "Zombot" (though not yet named as such) to be created was a Pocky that Dr. Eggman used as a test subject. This Pocky was saturated in the Metal Virus, instantly turning it into a Zombot. Dr. Eggman then had the Zombot Pocky briefly grab a Picky, seeing that the infection had transferred to it. The next Zombot to be created was a Ricky in Eggman's captivity, who had been infected with the Metal Virus during Eggman's experiments; in an effort to circumvent the slow rate of secondary infection, Eggman used the Zombot Pocky to accelerate the virus' spread on it, quickly achieving full conversion.
While fighting Sonic and Amy in Echo Mine, Rough and Tumble unwittingly released backpacks full of the Metal Virus onto themselves, turning them into Zombots. They then resumed fighting Sonic and Amy, regenerating from any damage the hedgehogs inflicted. Although Sonic ultimately got rid of the Zombot skunk brothers by knocking them into a refuse pit, he was infected with the Metal Virus in the process. Meanwhile, having heard Sonic call Rough and Tumble "Zombots" during the battle, Eggman decided to call the infected just that, considering the name to be "catchy".
After checking in with Tails at his laboratory, Sonic discovered that he could keep his Zombot transformation in check with his speed, although he could not fully purge it from his body. In the meantime, Eggman used his Faceship to flood Windmill Village with his Metal Virus, transforming all of the inhabitants into Zombots either directly or by the attacks of their infected brethren. Afterwards, the Zombots followed Eggman's orders and dispersed across the countryside to create more Zombots, infecting plants and animals along the way. One Flicky in particular was transformed overnight as it slept in an infected tree; in the morning, it awoke as a fully-fledged Zombot and flew towards the nearest city.
Crisis City and Darkest Hour
A new Zombot infection broke out in Seaside City after the Faceship spilled a dose of the Metal Virus into the city. The Zombots soon reached and attacked the Chaotix's office, but the group managed to escape them; seeing the outbreak consuming the city, Vector, Espio and Charmy set to work distracting the Zombots while evacuating the uninfected residents. During the evacuation, Sonic saved Vector when a group of Zombots surrounded him, taking advantage of his infected state to keep the Zombots at bay. After a Rescue Shuttle arrived, most of the Zombots headed for the docks where the survivors were gathering. There, the Chaotix fended off the Zombots while the survivors boarded the Rescue Shuttle. Charmy flew back into the city to save a partially-infected civilian that Vector had to leave behind; however, the civilian had already become a Zombot by the time he arrived. Startled by this, Charmy was grabbed by another Zombot and overwhelmed by a horde. He would then wander around the streets for a while before moving elsewhere.
Another Zombot infection broke out in Floral Forest Village when Eggman's Faceship spilled another Metal Virus dose into the village. As the Zombots began wreaking havoc and infecting more villagers, Sonic came to hold them off and evacuate as many villagers as possible. During this, the Zombots were ordered by Eggman to pile up on Sonic; however, they ignored the command. Orbot then revealed that the Zombots had become increasingly disobedient over time, which worried Starline. Eggman suspected this was due to mutations in the Metal Virus' coding brought about by spreading through exposure, however, he was certain that he would find a way to control the Zombots after Sonic was dealt with. Meanwhile, more Zombots pressed onward towards Cream's residence, but Gemerl got in their way. At first, Gemerl sought to eliminate the Zombots; however, Cream convinced Gemerl to fight the Zombots without destroying them. As such, Gemerl engaged the Zombots non-lethally, taking slight damage after they surrounded him. Meanwhile, a few Zombots managed to break into Cream's house and corner Vanilla. In an attempt to defend their family, Cheese and Chocola attacked the Zombots, but their punches only got them infected by the Metal Virus. A Zombot caught the Chao to complete the infection as Sonic came and blew away a group threatening Cream and Vanilla. When the rabbits escaped to safety, the local Zombots (now including Cheese and Chocola) turned their attention to Sonic, but they were knocked away by Gemerl. Sonic trapped the Zombot Cheese and Chocola in glass jars to keep them grounded before heading over to Sunset City after a call from Rouge; after he left, Cheese and Chocola began to break out of their jars.
Later, a colossal Zombot outbreak erupted in Sunset City after the Faceship released a dose of the Metal Virus into the city; this time, Eggman seemingly did not even try to command the Zombots, leaving them to attack purely on their own. One Zombot traveled to the K-TBR 199.2 radio station as Nite the Owl and Don the Rooster attempted to fortify it and direct the remaining citizens to safety. The Zombots swarmed the streets, trying to reach civilians holed up in buildings and attacking Sonic as he passed through; while they failed to stop the hedgehog, a few managed to touch him and accelerate his infection once more. They also came under attack by E-123 Omega, who attempted to destroy them like any other Eggman robot despite Sonic's protests. Fortunately, the Zombots' durability ensured that Omega's gunfire could only keep them away as Sonic helped the civilians out of the building. The remaining Zombots between the building and the Grand Gold Flicky Hotel were quickly blown away by Sonic so the civilians could go to the extraction point.
The Hotel was beset by another horde of Zombots, kept at bay by the local officers' Burst Wispons. Sonic soon arrived and repelled a large group of Zombots when they tried to catch the survivors before they could reach the hotel's safe zone. Two Zombots were then pulled away from the hotel by Sonic, who met up with Omega, who fought back against more groups of Zombots. As the Zombots started to come from two sides at once, Shadow arrived in a truck and drove straight through the Zombots. Noticing that the truck was being used to gather survivors, the Zombot hordes made it their primary target; however, they were kept at bay by Omega's gunfire. Meanwhile, Shadow engaged another Zombot horde head-on, believing that his status as the Ultimate Life Form would prevent them from infecting him; however, he was quickly proven wrong when he made the mistake of grabbing a Zombot and throwing it. Despite the Metal Virus rapidly infecting him, Shadow refused to back down and continued fighting, allowing the Zombot horde to overwhelm him and complete his transformation. When Sonic returned after his latest run to burn off the Metal Virus, he was pinned against the truck by the newly-minted Zombot Shadow.
Sonic fought Shadow and kept him and the other Zombots at bay while Rouge evacuated the area with the truck full of uninfected citizens. Omega stayed behind to fight more Zombots, but ended up getting his torso ripped open by Shadow and his arms torn off by two other Zombots. Sonic found himself nearly overpowered by Shadow, but he and the other Zombots were lifted into the air by Silver's psychokinesis before they could do more damage. Sonic managed to escape and Tails removed Omega's head from his damaged body. After Silver released the Zombots, Shadow immediately attacked him. Silver narrowly dodged this attack and fled the scene with Tails.
The infected Charmy joined a large flock of Zombot Flickies to attack a lone Rescue Shuttle. They met opposition in the form of Vector and Espio, who planned to capture Charmy. After some quick thinking, Vector used one of Espio's smoke bombs to stun the Flickies long enough to isolate Charmy and trap him in a Containment Bubble.
The Last Minute and The Catalyst
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 began to roam the streets of the city. One Zombot knocked over some trash cans near Tails' lab, while several more were fended off by Tangle the Lemur and Whisper the Wolf as they helped uninfected citizens evacuate the city. At some point, Whisper helped knock away some Zombots that surrounded Tangle when she was on a street light. Meanwhile, Silver was dealing with a Zombot outbreak in Ice Paradise; he evacuated several survivors, but their ship went down to Zombots.
A flock of Zombot Flickies flew over Tails on his lab rooftop, but they did not notice him, allowing the fox cub to retrieve a sample of the Metal Virus and return to his lab; however, Cheese and Chocola had noticed him and were poised to invade his lab. Meanwhile, Vector and Espio returned to Restoration HQ from a mission in Pine Grove Village after it had suffered a random Zombot outbreak, bringing several refugees and the trapped Zombot Charmy. 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. The Restoration saved what people they could and made an escape on a Rescue Shuttle as Gemerl and Vector attempted to close the gates to the HQ's launch bay. Unfortunately, Charmy was able to get through, forcing Vector to infect himself by grabbing his infected friend. Knowing he was lost to the virus, Vector marched back into the HQ and kept the Zombots at bay while Gemerl closed the gates behind him; while this led to his complete conversion, the remnants of the Restoration had time to escape.
Back in Central City, Tails was developing a cure for the Metal Virus when the Zombot Chao brothers cut off the main power supply for his lab. 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 performed enough evasive maneuvers to leave them in the dust. 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, allowing the Restoration's Rescue Shuttle to arrive and pick them up. While Tangle and Whisper drove the Zombots away from the ship, Tails' Cyclone was overwhelmed by others that had been infected, forcing him to leave his mech before it exploded from the accumulated damage.
Elsewhere, Eggman and Starline travelled to the Zombot-infested Barricade Town to test various radio frequencies in an attempt to control the horde. Their efforts had yet to succeed when Sonic arrived on the scene and fought Eggman to the point of causing both them to fall out of the doctor's Egg Mobile. A group of Zombots surrounded them both but only attacked Sonic as Starline managed to find a working frequency. Sonic quickly destroyed the Egg Mobile before Starline could upload the working frequency to the Faceship, forcing him and Eggman to retreat using the Warp Topaz as the Zombots attempted to scale the wall they had ended up upon. Distracted and demoralized by the loss of his Bio-scanner, Sonic was surrounded by Zombots and nearly succumbed to the Metal Virus, but regained himself in time to escape the village and run off the infection once again.
Back on the Faceship, Eggman decided to drop Metal Virus on the nearby Spiral Hill Village. The substance was first deployed on the farms around the village, which led to the infection and transformation of several Sonic Fan Club members into Zombots. As the Faceship dropped another viral payload, Jewel the Beetle and the Sonic Fan Club's president and vice president ran away, trying not to alert the transformed members of the fan club. After the trio arrived back in the village, Jewel found out that the president and vice president had already touched the Metal Virus and inadvertently infected her in the process. Once the Faceship flew over the town proper and began to dump more Metal Virus, Jewel put in a call to Tangle for help. After Amy found out about this, she contacted Sonic to ask him to help with the evacuation.
By the time the Restoration arrived, Spiral Hill Village was overrun with Zombots, but they proceeded to evacuate the survivors as best as they could. Tangle went to check on Jewel at the Mineral Museum, only to be ambushed by the fully-infected beetle. Although Tangle managed to trap Jewel in a glass display, she was infected in the process; deciding to make the most of it, she decided to stay behind and stall the Zombots for as long as she could. After sharing her plan with Sonic and giving him a much-needed pep talk, she had him dash down the main street and wrap her tail around several lampposts, preventing the Zombots from advancing on the Restoration's position. This bought the Rescue Shuttle enough time to secure the survivors and evacuate; Tangle continued fending off the Zombots until her accelerated infection added her to their ranks.
Big's Big Adventure
While searching for Froggy, Big narrowly (and unwittingly) avoided several encounters with Zombots. After finding Froggy near Spiral Hill Village, he was on his way home when he was approached by several Zombots. He fought them off using his Fishing Rod and tied them to a tree, unaware that Froggy had infected himself after jumping on a Zombot's head. Back at home, Big recounted his adventure to Froggy, unaware that he had become a Zombot, or that the Metal Virus was spreading across the forest and Big himself.
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 the Zombots would eventually disintegrate as a result of the Metal Virus' degradation, but not for another two hundred years. Meanwhile, the Deadly Six equipped themselves with the Chaos Emeralds and set off into the world, controlling thousands of Zombots in an attempt to infect the entire planet with the Metal Virus.
Zomom had the Zombots in Vista View chase after Amy and Tails after the latter lied to him. The pair managed to outrun them anyway all the way to the town's gate. After dropping the gate on Zomom to stop him in his tracks, Amy and Tails took his Chaos Emerald and left him at the mercy of the Zombots. Zeena had the Zombots around her in Sunset City on standby while she fought Cream controlling Gemerl. When she tossed him aside to a group of Zombots, Zeena restrained Cream and held her up to another group. Gemerl managed to burst out and join the battle again. The pair managed to defeat Zeena and take her Chaos Emerald; following this, Gemerl threw the helpless Zeti to a group of Zombots, where she was infected. Soon after, Cream revealed that she was infected as well. In Orchardville, after Silver and Whisper defeated Zor, they took his Chaos Emerald and left him to be approached by Zombots, though the Zeti happily accepted his grim fate. In Riverside, Zazz tried to have Zombots follow Espio and infect him, but to no avail. In Winterburg, as Master Zik forced Wave and Storm to stand cornered and fight against a large horde of Zombots, Jet faced the Zeti head on and attacked him with his Bashōsen. With the combined efforts of Jet's teammates, Master Zik had his Chaos Emerald taken from him and was left to be infected by Zombots. Jet then decided to send the Chaos Emerald back through the portal with his board and stay behind to fight Zombots with Wave and Storm.
Zavok led a large horde of Zombots to Angel Island in order to track down Eggman and Sonic. After Rouge had the Faceship crash down into the ocean after removing the Chaos Emerald that powered it, Zavok became Giant Zavok with his Chaos Emerald. He then threw a group of Zombots onto the island's surface to face the survivors there. While Sonic, Silver and Metal Sonic went to retrieve the final Chaos Emerald, the rest of the survivors did their best to keep away from the Zombots, with Knuckles eventually succumbing to the virus himself. Several Zombots tried holding Sonic back, preventing him from reaching the final Emerald; Metal Sonic quickly brushed them aside, but not before Sonic's infection reached critical levels. Moments before Sonic could be fully converted into a Zombot, he and Silver retrieved all seven Chaos Emeralds and transformed into Super Sonic and Super Silver, respectively. After Super Sonic defeated Zavok and used the Warp Topaz to create a Super Warp Portal, Super Silver used his enhanced psychokinesis to remove the Metal Virus from every infected living thing around the world, allowing Super Sonic to send it straight to the sun. With this, the Zombots were no more.
List of former Zombots
- Big the Cat
- Charmy Bee
- Elder Scruffy
- Gala the Hound
- Jewel the Beetle
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Rough the Skunk
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Tangle the Lemur
- The Sonic Fan Club
- Tumble the Skunk
- Vanilla the Rabbit
- Vector the Crocodile
- Various citizens of the following locations:
- The Zombots are similar to the robians from the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, anthropomorphic animals that were converted into robotic slaves who acted as the primary labor force for Dr. Ivo Robotnik.
- Cheese and Chocola look similar to Dark Chao as Zombots.
- Bracardi Curry designed Shadow's Zombot appearance, with it being loosely based off of the Shadow Androids from the Shadow the Hedgehog video game.
- Interestingly enough, the Zombots share the same name towards a group of enemies from Crash Twinsanity as well as the final boss from Plants vs Zombies.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #15, "Patient Zero"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #29, "All or Nothing, Part 4"
- Ian Flynn (@IanFlynnBKC) on Twitter. Twitter (27 February 2019). Retrieved on 27 February 2019. "Ian Flynn: Catching up on STH#13-14 reactions and pleased to see some folks have already figured out the game inspiration for the Metal Virus. ...Sonic Heroes is one of my least favorite games. Why the hell am I pulling so much from it?"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #13, "Calling Card"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #17, "Plague"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #20, "Crisis City, Part 2"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #16, "Infection"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #18, "Victims"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #25, "A Sudden Shift"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #14, "Misdirection"
- Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020, "Big's Big Adventure"
- Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020, "Darkest Hour"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #19, "Crisis City, Part 1"
- Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020, "Flock Together"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #21, "The Last Minute, Part 1"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #22, "The Last Minute, Part 2"
- Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020, "The Catalyst"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #23, "The Last Minute, Part 3"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #24, "The Last One Out"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #27, "All or Nothing, Part 2"
- Sonic the Hedgehog #28, "All or Nothing, Part 3"
- Bracardi Curry (@DreddStarin) on Twitter. Twitter (19 July 2019). Retrieved on 24 July 2019. "Bracardi Curry: ...I had the job to come up with the color scheme for his zombot design~"
- Bracardi Curry (@DreddStarin) on Twitter. Twitter (19 July 2019). Retrieved on 24 July 2019. "Bracardi Curry: ...I loosely based it off the Shadow bots from the multiplayer mode in Shadow the Hedgehog"