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- From Silver's perspective, this issue takes place somewhere between Sonic the Hedgehog #216 and #235
Archie Sonic Universe Issue 26 is the twenty-sixth issue of the Sonic Universe spin-off series.
Silver the Hedgehog is stranded on a strange, dark version of Mobius and fights stranger, darker versions of heroes you know and love! Perhaps he can get a little help from the all new, all different Freedom Fighters? But will they be enough against the terror of Enerjak?
- "Fractured Mirror - Part Two: Warped Reflections
Stuck in a strange alternate reality, Silver the Hedgehog finds himself cornered by six aggressive Prelates. Despite his efforts to use his telekinesis to protect himself using ripped up chunks of concrete, the Prelates press them closer against Silver, attempting to crush him. From within his lair, Enerjak watches, intrigued. He wonders if Silver followed one of his Prelates from elsewhere, and, as Silver begins to succumb, thinks he may have been too optimistic about the visitor's abilities. However, with a burst of energy, Silver forces the Prelates back and frees himself, impressing Enerjak.
Silver attempts to flee, needing time to figure out what to do. He lifts himself into the air, only to be struck down by three of the Prelates; he manages to recover in time, narrowly avoiding falling into the hands of the other three. He barely succeeds in landing behind an overturned car. Overwhelmed, he desperately tries to come up with a course of action. The three airborne prelates approach Silver, but before he can react, all three are consumed by explosions. Silver peers out from behind the car and notices the other three prelates have turned their attention towards new targets; one deflects the green prelate's laser fire with robotic arms while another crushes the red prelate into the road with a single massive punch. The first, a female fox, turns the laser fire back onto the green prelate; Silver watches as it explodes, leaving nothing behind but a glowing green orb. Two others corner the purple prelate; they catch it in a cross of blades; again, a glowing orb is all that remains. Another pair walk by Silver; one thinks they should double-check that three of the prelates have indeed been taken out, while her companion insists he never misses; he's soon proved correct as yellow, orange and blue cores are shown to be all that remains of the airborne prelates. He wonders what they were after, and the female suddenly spots Silver by the car. She approaches him and asks if he's okay, while her friend calls to their "boss," saying they've found a survivor.
Silver finds himself facing his rescuers; a group of Freedom Fighters consisting of Dagger Walrus, Payback Fox, Blockbuster Polar Bear, Cutlass Depardieu, Demo Duck, Scarlette Rabbot, and their leader Lara-Su, whom Silver believes he recognizes. He happily greets her, addressing her as Lara-Su, much to the shock of the others; the echidna suddenly draws her sword and points it at the young hedgehog. "Don't you dare call me that!" she snarls; however, before she can do anything else, Blockbuster puts a hand on her shoulder and points out that Silver seems to know her, and they won't find out why if he's dead. She begrudgingly backs down, but demands to know how Silver knows her. He apologizes, realizing his error, and explains that he'd met a alternate version of her. She insists he call her Jani-Ca. Silver attempts to explain himself further, saying that he's a time traveller and that he had once travelled into the past, met another "Lara-Su" and helped her deal with a crisis. Cutlass finds the story ridiculous, but after a moment of consideration, Jani-Ca says she believes Silver. She asks him "when" he's from, and comparing her apparent age to that of the other Lara-Su, he guesses approximately one-hundred-and-seventy-years ahead. She then asks what brought him there; he replies that he followed a "tall, shiny guy." Jani-Ca bluntly tells him, "Your mistake." She orders the others to return to cover, dragging Silver along.
As they travel, Silver asks about the city. He says it reminds him of Portal, but Jani-Ca tells him it's called Nekronopolis and that it used to be the capital of the Dark Legion nation. She adds that the Guardian prior to her was very powerful, and had taken over the Dark Legion with his Chaos powers; after that, he took over the planet itself. She begins to climb over a wall of wrecked cars, but Silver uses his telekinesis to lift some away and open a path, mildly impressing the echidna (however, she has to remind him to put them back in place after they pass through, as the cars serve as a protective barrier). Jani-Ca goes on to explain that she and her mother, Julie-Su, had organized a Freedom Fighter army and had nearly succeeded in defeating their foe, but then he took all the Chaos Emeralds for himself, preventing anyone from matching his power, and soundly defeated them, leaving only the present group. Silver asks who exactly this foe is; Jani-Ca coldly replies, "Enerjak."
They continue to walk, making their way into a hidden underground path; Silver asks what happened to Sonic the Hedgehog, and Jani-Ca replies that he was turned into a Core like everyone else; she explains that a Core is something along the lines of concentrated life force, referring to the glowing orbs that were left behind when they destroyed the prelates. She says that Enerjak rips the cores from the bodies of his victims, and uses them to create prelates to serve him. Silver is disgusted; Jani-Ca adds that it's hard to fight their friends this way, and that Enerjak simply reuses the cores if they're defeated. They arrive in a secret base of sorts decorated with sparse, old furniture. Silver says he has one more question: why was Jani-Ca so quick to believe that he was a time traveler? Jani-Ca explains that, when she was younger, she herself traveled back in time to attempt to change the future. However, she adds that she didn't have her facts straight; not only did she not end up where she intended, she failed to change anything in her future. Silver, thinking of his own actions, mutters that it's an understandable mistake. Trying to change the subject, Silver wonders if Jani-Ca has a plan to stop Enerjak. Eager, she shows him her blade, the Sword of Acorns. Silver is dubious that Enerjak can be "poked with a sword," but Jani-Ca explains that it's magical; she hopes to ambush Enerjak and use the sword to drain away all his power. Dagger adds that with that power, they should be able to return the Cores to the Mobians. Jani-Ca then apologizes for reacting so poorly to Silver at first; she explains that her original name is a sore spot for her as it reminds her of her father. Picking up on that, Silver begins to ask about Enerjak; if he's the previous Guardian as Jani-Ca said, wouldn't that make him...
Suddenly, a voice rings out, chiding Silver for not using his powerful mental abilities for actual thought. Jani-Ca realizes that Enerjak's found their base; the ceiling begins to crumble. Atop a building, Enerjak says he's always known where the Freedom Fighters were; using his Chaos powers, he begins to lift an entire building to expose the underground base. Silver tells everyone to link hands, hoping to fly them all to safety with his telekinesis; at Jani-Ca's command, Demo clears their path using a bomb. However, not long after lifting into the air, they're all suddenly encased in Chaos energy; Enerjak tells the Freedom Fighters that they've been amusing, but now, Silver's arrival has made their entertainment value pointless. Pulling out the Sword of Acorns, Jani-Ca struggles to break free of Enerjak's grasp; enraged, she insists they'll keep fighting, but Enerjak is not impressed. However, with his own burst of power, Silver retakes control, and gently sets everyone down on street-level. He tells Enerjak that he's outnumbered; Enerjak merely replies that G.U.N once had him outnumbered by hundreds, and now their fleets lie underwater. Still, amused and intrigued by Silver's power, Enerjak offers a "fair fight" and summons glowing orbs; Silver wonders what's going on, and Jani-Ca tells him that Enerjak is using the Cores to create more prelates, again forcing their friends to fight them.
The six prelates from earlier materialize before them; they quickly attack the group. However, Enerjak calls out to Jani-Ca, telling her he's been saving a Core for a special occasion; with a blast of pink light, a seventh prelate appears. Jani-Ca is absolutely livid that Enerjak would turn even "her" into a Core; Silver doesn't understand, and Jani-Ca tells him that this prelate is none other than her own mother. Silver doesn't know what to do; Jani-Ca holds off the new prelate and tells him to help the others. The hedgehog uses his powers to snag a large chunk of concrete, but seeing the others fighting, he doesn't know where to begin. He starts to get flustered before he remembers Edmund's advice; to use his head. Rather than try to stop the seven prelates at once, he goes for the source and hurls his chunk of debris at their controller: Enerjak.
Enerjak notices the object flying towards him and destroys it with a powerful punch; however, Silver uses the moment to snag Enerjak with his telekinesis. He's initially elated, but Enerjak breaks free with ease, telling him that the maneuver was clever, but childish and pointless. He throws Silver down to the ground as the Freedom Fighters struggle against the prelates. Enerjak gloats to Silver that he's arrived just in time to witness his ultimate victory.
Silver address the reader that since he can time-travel, he thought that it would be neat to see what would happen if he swapped the two versions of Lara-Su around. The next panel shows Silver's Arc "Jani-Ca", who has King Shadow at her mercy with the Sword of Acorns saying that "Sonic is king now. Get over it." The other panel shows Mobius: 30 years later's Lara-Su, who is having a tea party with Enerjak discussing why having cores ripped out of Mobians would be a violation of their personal space. Enerjak agrees with her and thanks her for explaining it and that he shall return the cores.
- Silver: Oh, come on! Six against one? Isn't that a little overkill?
- Silver: It's me, Silver! Oh, you're a sight for sore eyes, Lara-s-
- Jani-ca: Don't you dare call me that!
- Silver: So. Enerjak. Cores. World conquered. Is there a plan to stop all this?
- Jani-Ca: Oh, there's a plan all right.
- Silver: ...you're going to poke him with a sword?
- Jani-ca: The Sword of Acorns is magic. When the time is right, I'll get the jump on Enerjak and use this to siphon all his power from him.
- Silver: Then it's a good thing you didn't dull it on my face.
- Silver teams up with the local Freedom Fighters
- Enerjak sends his Prelates after the heroes
- This issue marks the first appearance of Jani-Ca in the series since StH: #109. It is also the first time that her potential future reality has been touched upon since that issue.
- Early previews of the cover show Prelate-R coloured yellow, though later previews show him corrected to blue.
- Elements from the story, primarily the Alternate Freedom Fighters, are in reference to Ian Flynn's old fan-project, Other-M.
- Jani-Ca plans to use the Sword of Acorns the same way Mammoth Mogul used it against Dimitri when he was Enerjak in Knuckles the Echidna #9.
- In the cover, all Prelates are present except for Prelate-S and Prelate-JS.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
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