- "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
Some time in the past, Julian Kintobor finds himself being pursued by a pair of Overlander troops. He falls into a pit of mud and miraculously manages to evade their line of sight. A pair of brothers, Jules and Charles Hedgehog, are surprised to see Overlanders turn on their own kind. They load Julian on to their motorcycle and bring him before King Acorn. Impressed by his tactical knowledge and needing support to win the Great War, the king grants Julian the title of Warlord and lets him lead the Mobians into battle against the Overlanders. In the present, two SWATbots notice that Dr. Robotnik is having a pleasant dream and hesitantly wake their master, informing him that they've secured an Overlander as a test subject. The Overlander recognizes Robotnik as Julian, surprised that he's the famous Robotnik. Using his Ultimate Annihilator, Robotnik vaporizes the Overlander and rejoices that, once the shipment from Downunda arrives, all of Mobius will be his to take. Snively, however, has other plans for his uncle’s wonderful invention.
On the Floating Island, Sonic tries to convince Knuckles to help him clear his name, but Geoffrey St. John interjects, informing Knuckles that Sonic is suspected of murdering Sally Acorn. Knuckles attacks in a fit of rage, but Sonic easily jumps out of the way. Geoffrey orders Smiley and Fleming to release the Devil Dogs, but Sonic runs towards the nearby thicket and taunts them. Espio appears nearby and restrains him. Geoffrey tries to get Knuckles and Espio to turn Sonic over to him, but Knuckles and Espio refuse to take orders from outsiders. Suddenly, Dulcy wakes up and breaks up the fight, explaining to everyone that she can sense that Sonic is honest when he says he didn't murder Sally. Realizing the situation at hand, Geoffrey proposes they work together and return to Knothole. Knuckles tells Espio to gather the Chaotix and protect the island while he helps Sonic.
The citizens of Knothole are rounded up for Roboticization. Rotor and Tails try to sneak into the Bathysphere and Sea Fox to escape, but are caught by Drago Wolf and a team of Combots. Meanwhile at Crocbot's labor camp in Downunda's Great Crater, Antoine screams in terror as Bunnie detonates his prison collar. A Combot peaks inside and contacts Crocbot, telling him that all four prisoners have been terminated. As the robotic guard leaves, Bunnie lowers herself, Antoine, Walt Wallaby and Barby Koala from the ceiling. Reuniting with the rest of the Downunda Freedom Fighters, the group scopes out the facility's loading dock. The Downunda Freedom Fighters attack Crocbot head on, distracting him while Bunnie and Antoine hitch a ride on Crocbot's airbus as it heads to Robotropolis. Dr. Robotnik tries to contact Crocbot, who tells the doctor that he's busy with an uprising but has already shipped the rare ore for the Ultimate Annihilator. Robotnik is overjoyed by the fact that he'll be able to use the ore's power to erase Knothole from existence and returns to his slumber.
Sonic, Knuckles, and Geoffrey arrive in Knothole and engage Drago's robotic minions to liberate the captured citizens. While the others handle the battle, Sonic looks for their traitor, finds Drago, and chases after him. In the airbus, Bunnie and Antoine discover a computer room playing recordings of Robotnik's plans to use the ore on board the bus to power his Ultimate Annihilator. Antoine suggests that they blow up the bus, but Bunnie realizes that maybe Crocbot set them up their own bomb. Drago runs into the Great Forest, where he finds Hershey Cat. She gets him to lower his guard, pretending to still be infatuated with him, and then proceeds to beat the stuffing out of him, scratching his face, kneeing him in the gut, landing dropkicks, sitting on top of him and punching him repeatedly, and nearly caving in his skull with a giant boulder. She cries about how he used her and, as he runs away in fear, she throws a rock at his head and knocks him out. Sonic arrives and Hershey tearfully explains to him that Drago tricked her into killing Sally. Sonic reassures her that she wasn't the only one who was tricked as he heads for Robotropolis.
Robotnik awakens from his nap as the cargo from Downunda arrives. His SWATbots inform him that Sonic has freed Knothole Village, but Robotnik brushes it off. In the rafters above, Antoine and Bunnie watch Robotnik head to his control room. Just then, Sonic storms Robotropolis, confusing the defense systems by leaving after-images of himself. Sonic fights his way through Robotnik's headquarters, barreling through SWATbots and easily kicking Snively aside, but ends up running headfirst into Bunnie and Antoine. They explain that they plan to sabotage Robotnik's weapon by planting a bomb from the airbus on it. Sonic approves and tells them to get to work while he deals with Robotnik. They make their way to the room housing the Ultimate Annihilator, only to discover that the weapon is already being prepared to fire.
Sonic arrives in the control room as Robotnik is finishing his countdown. While Sonic is preoccupied fending off the army of SWATbots in the room, Robotnik fires his weapon and Knothole is consumed by a massive beam of energy. Antoine places the bomb for the Annihilator and flees with Bunnie. Robotnik's computers cry out a warning that the Annihilator has experienced a meltdown and everything in the immediate area will be vaporized. Aware that they'll likely die and have nothing left to lose, Sonic and Robotnik begin their final battle. They trade blows back and forth and are eventually enveloped in a bright light as the command center explodes.
From the void of absolute nothingness, Sonic is summoned back to Robotropolis by his One Billionth Power Ring. He passes out as others arrive on the scene. Sonic wakes up in Knothole under the care of Rotor and Dr. Quack. Rotor explains that Knothole has become like a Zone and exists three hours in the future compared to the rest of Mobius and that the Annihilator created several new zones. Quack takes his turn to explain things and tells Sonic that the Neutron Chip in his Dream Watcher left a signal that allowed Robotnik to find Knothole. Snively kidnapped Quack's family to force him to play along with the scheme to swap the real King Acorn for an Auto Automaton. He also mentions that he saw Snively sabotage the Ultimate Annihilator, programming it to only harm Dr. Robotnik. Quack had kept quiet, praying that Robotnik would be destroyed once and for all. Sonic asks about Sally, and Quack explains that he falsified her medical records: Sally is in a coma and her "casket" is actually a recuperating chamber. Sonic rushes off to see her.
Sonic finds Sally in her glass casket and opens the lid. He admits that he loves her, gives her a kiss, and asks her to come back. Sally stirs, asking what he said, and Sonic pulls her out of the casket for a passionate kiss, telling her that he's happy to see her again. In the aftermath of Operation: EndGame the real King Acorn wass found, Doctor Quack was exonerated of his crimes and reunited with his family, Hershey was pardoned, Geoffrey St. John was given his position as the commander of his majesty's Secret Service, and Drago was arrested and sent to the Devil's Gulag. Snively's fate, however, is left unknown.
- "Freedom Fighters" Pinup
- Robotnik: "While I enjoy watching someone grovel and beg, I'm afraid other considerations outweigh personal pleasures!"
- Antoine: "Sonic!! Wait!! Whaire are you going?!"
- Sonic: "To buy you guys time!"
- Bunnie: "But, Sonic--"
- Sonic: "No 'buts', Bunnie. You and Twan just make sure that when that doohickey of yours blows -- or it's really gonna be The Big Goodbye!"
- Sonic: "N-nooo... All my friends... everyone that mattered... Everything all gone! Because of you Robotnik! You'd better run, Robo-butt!!!"
- Robotnik: "Oh how I hate that hedgehog! I've lived to see one dream come true the destruction of Knothole Village and everyone within it. All that matters now is the please of eliminating you once and for all!"
- Sonic, Hershey, and Dr. Quack are cleared of all perceived crimes against the kingdom.
- Sonic and Robotnik engage in a one-on-one battle.
- Knothole becomes a pocket zone three hours in the future.
- Numerous pocket zones are created by the Ultimate Annihilator.
- Robotnik is erased from existence due to the Ultimate Annihilator's effects.
- Sally is revealed to be alive.
- This issue is a recut version of Sonic the Hedgehog #50 featuring a few new pages and images, some new dialogue, and omitting some of the original images and dialogue.
- This issue retconned the line "Julian, son of Ivo, prepared to be punished!" to say "Julian of the House of Ivo, prepared to be punished!". This was likely to make it clear that Robotnik's father was not named "Ivo".
- Small portions of "Down and Out in Downunda" from Sonic Super Special #4 are reused in this issue.
- This version of the story was published in place of the original Sonic #50 in Sonic Archives #13. This was the first time stories from the Sonic Super Specials have been reprinted in the Archives.
- Other than STH: 125, this issue has the largest collection of pencilers, inkers, and writers in the entire series.
- This is the last Super Special to utilize the original logo design.
Cameos & References
- Dr. Robotnik tells his Overlander test subject that "the reports of my demise were somewhat exaggerated!" This is a reference to the famous misquotation of Mark Twain, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
- Sonic name-drops the title of the StH #50 version of this story, "The Big Goodbye".
- When name-dropping "The Big Goodbye", Sonic tells Antoine and Bunnie to "make sure that when that doohickey explodes" instead of telling them to "make sure that doohickey explodes".
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
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