Archie Sonic Universe Issue 44 is the forty-fourth issue in the spin-off series Sonic Universe comic series.
- Unsung Heroes, Part Four
As the Council of Acorn prepares to ratify the new constitution, Ixis Naugus prepares to unleash a devastating spell from his secret lair! The Secret Freedom Fighters will only get one shot to stop him, and if they fail, they'll lose the city forever! Don't miss the action-packed finale to the Secret Freedom Fighters arc!
In his Ritual Chamber, Ixis Naugus gleefully moves forward in performing the Eldritch Rites that will enable him to seize control of the minds of the Council of Acorn, while Geoffrey St. John looks on in disinterest, holding his master's Chaos Emerald wand. Unbeknownst to the pair, on the surface, the door to Royal Military HQ is locked, and the council find themselves unable to get inside. After examining the lock and finding himself unable to open it, Charles Hedgehog remarks that they wouldn't have this problem were NICOLE still in the city, though an irate Hamlin reminds him that the vote to exile her was unanimous. Rosemary Prower admits that most of the council didn't like the decision, whilst Dylan admits to observers-including Vanilla the Rabbit-that they're locked out. Meanwhile, in the nearby bushes, Larry Lynx is striving to apply his "bad luck" to keeping the council outside and safe.
Back underground, Naugus asks Geoffrey about the spies who invaded his chamber previously, with Geoffrey reporting-falsely-that he found no trace of them. Naugus orders him to watch the entrance, revealing that the spell is too complicated and taxing for him to repeat and any interruption could be catastrophic. He is then seized in the telekinetic grip of Silver the Hedgehog, who throws him against a wall as he and the other Secret Freedom Fighters-Elias Acorn, Shard, Leeta, and Lyco-burst in. Silver and Shard quickly engage Naugus, whose threats are countered by Shard's bravado. The wizard calls for his wand, only to find Geoffrey engaged by the Wolf Pack twins while Elias places explosives given to him by Harvey Who on the walls of the chamber. Naugus arrogantly asserts that he doesn't need his wand to aid him, summoning rock spikes from the floor. Silver seizes one with his telekinesis while Shard Spin Dashes through the others, the time traveler hurling the spike at Naugus. The wizard splits it with his powers, only for Shard to come flying through the halves to strike him in the face.
Enraged, Naugus attempts to suffocate Shard with a vacuum, but Shard reveals his mechanical nature and fires a blast from his arm cannon at the wizard. Naugus calls for his wand again, and Geoffrey manages to throw it past Leeta only for Silver to grab it with his powers and impale it in the ceiling. Back on the surface, Rotor arrives and unlocks the door to Military HQ, prompting Penelope Platypus to joke that he just can't seem to stop working for the council. After some good-natured banter between the pair, the council take their seats, only to discover that they've lost their copy of the constitution. As the group tries to determine where it could have gone, Larry silently pleads that they'll go back to their homes looking for it.
Back in the chamber, Geoffrey applauds the Wolf twins on their tag team tactic, but then reveals that he knows that they're distracting him, firing a crossbow bolt that strikes the wall just in front of Elias' face. The deposed king attempts to bring his own weapon to bear as Geoffrey charges him, but Geoffrey stops him, only for Elias to throw him. Recovering quickly, he knocks off Elias' goggles and pulls off his face mask. Recognizing his former ruler, Geoffrey chuckles over the choice of the codename "King" for the deposed monarch. Geoffrey reminds him of how he once had so much influence over Elias, to which the angry Squirrel replies that he's matured. Geoffrey then surprises him by tossing back the face mask and agreeing, and Elias dons it again before joining Leeta and Lyco in facing off with their surprising enemy.
On the surface, Cream the Rabbit arrives with the missing constitution, which had apparently fallen behind Penelope's desk. Thanking the young Rabbit, the council determines that all they need now is for Naugus to arrive, though Hamlin wishes to move ahead. Dylan is then quick to point out that policy requires the majority of the council and the king, and reminds Hamlin that he always objects when someone else goes against he policy. Hamlin proposes a vote, only to have the lights go out, apparently thanks to Larry's jinxing abilities. Back in the chamber, Silver arrogantly mocks Naugus' attempts to crush him, bragging that he had previously fought a version of Enerjak and that his powers had vastly outclassed Naugus'. Naugus replies by creating a fire around his opponent, only for Shard to fly in and rescue his teammate. Shard then opens fire and vaporizes the remains of Ixis Vale, nullifying Naugus' spell. The Wolf twins then double team Naugus to prevent him from completing the spell, and Elias congratulates his team on a job well done. A sarcastic comment from Geoffrey earns him a telekinetic shove from Silver, and the Secret Freedom Fighters then begin their escape, setting off the explosives.
Caught up in the failure of his plot, Naugus becomes trapped by rubble as the fire continues to spread, unable to reach his wand. He begs Geoffrey to help him, but the disgusted Skunk turns and goes out through the exit. Naugus recovers his wand, and undergoes yet another hideous mutation, vowing that his enemies won't escape. Crystal blocks off the exit tunnel, but Shard smashes his way through, clearing a path for the others. The Secret Freedom Fighters take off for Secret HQ, while an unfortunate Geoffrey is found trapped in crystal by an enraged Naugus. The apprentice claims to have been pursuing their enemies, and Naugus determines that his best bet to seize power is to attack the council. However, the Skunk appeals to reason, advising him to claim that he had been investigating the underground and had saved the city from collapsing after being caught in a cave in. Recognizing that his apprentice still has value, Naugus releases him, though Geoffrey is anything but happy about it.
His team's mission complete, Harvey muses on how they have prevented Naugus' victory and kept it from the citizens. However, the fight is also far from over, and the Secret Freedom Fighters are still forced to keep their presence a secret. Elias looks in on his parents, unnoticed, as Larry observes Penelope, Dylan, and Hamlin spending time together. As Charles enjoys time with his brother Jules and his family, a saddened Shard looks in through the window. Back at Secret HQ, Harvey remarks to Silver how the team has performed admirably. He then reveals to Silver that he has kept up his end of the bargain: namely, investigating the supposed Freedom Fighter traitor. Having compared Antoine's present-day diary with the one Silver brought from the future and utilized his own profiles, Harvey believes he's discovered the traitor. Holding up a large page with photos of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sally Acorn, Antoine, and Rotor-the founding Freedom Fighters-Harvey crosses off Antoine's photo and two others, revealing that he has apparently eliminated them as candidates. A shocked Silver looks at the lone remaining suspect, questioning if this is indeed the traitor. Harvey replies yes, and also remarks that he can tell Silver how this is possible.
In a tribute to a scene from StH: #16, Eggman is shown with Larry captive and Orbot and Cubot restraining him. Having captured "Agent Joker", Eggman demands to know who runs the Secret Freedom Fighters. After three inquiries, all of which are answered with the name "Who" which Eggman fails to recognize as a name, Eggman gives up, claiming that Larry has been trained in resisting interrogation too well. Silver then appears holding an applause sign while Shard plays a drum and symbol in acknowledgement of the pun.
- Geoffrey St. John: "Agent 'King' huh? Going for 'so obvious it's overlooked?'"
- The Council of Acorn meets to ratify the new constitution for the Republic of Acorn.
- Ixis Naugus' attempts to cast a mind control spell are thwarted by the Secret Freedom Fighters, who also succeed in destroying his Ritual Chamber.
- Harvey Who determines the identity of Silver's traitor and reveals it to him.
- Although Larry is depicted in the cover helping in the fight against Naugus, he does not actually participate.
- Naugus implies in this issue that he has a dislike for robots, no doubt because of difficulties experienced in dealing with Mecha and Titan Metal Sonic.
- While Elias is placing explosives on the walls of the chamber, Ixis Naugus's crown is shown on the ground, implying that he dropped it during his transformation in SU42.
- Although the traitor to the Freedom Fighters is not directly shown, there is an indication that it is Sally. Coincidentally or not, this corresponds with a rumor among fans sparked by Sally's/Mecha Sally's appearance on the cover of STH #235. This can also be indicated, possibly proven as fact, due to the pattern of the crossed-off suspects on the sheet, judging by the pattern of them when the front of the sheet is seen.