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- This issue takes place before Sonic Comic Origins #6 in FCBD 2015 and leads into Sonic the Hedgehog #272
Archie Sonic Universe Issue 74 is the seventy-fourth issue of the Archie Sonic Universe comic series.
The final showdown for the fate of the digital realm is HERE! “Spark of Life” Part Four: It’s pandemonium aplenty in this conclusion to the stunning “Spark of Life” story arc! Who, or what, is Phage? Introductions aren’t necessary—she’s creating havoc for our heroes anyway! Tails and Big—menaced by badniks and Dark Gaia Monsters alike! A Chaos Emerald—about to fall into enemy hands! Nicole—on the brink of deletion! Will Sally sacrifice it all to save her friends and the world? Only the dramatic conclusion to SPARK OF LIFE can tell! Featuring cover art from Sonic comic artist extraordinaire Tracy Yardley, and a special SEGA-art TAILS variant cover!
- "Spark of Life" - Part Four
In the Digital World, Sally and Nicole is facing Phage, who taunts them that they are both hers to examine. Sally blocks an attack and tells Nicole to get out of the system. Nicole runs, but then gets an idea. Creating another weapon, she attacks Phage from behind, severely damaging her and surprising Sally. As Sally tries to come up with another plan to disable her, Phage suddenly flies into a rage, bellowing "I'll tear you down to the last bit of coding!". A now scared Sally tells Nicole to escape to her handheld, while Sally gets out from the Digitizer, and they can shut down Doctor Ellidy's system with Phage in it. However, Nicole just grabs Sally and dashes off, much to her confusion.
Back in the real world, Big and Tails reached the Lake of the Rings to search for the Chaos Emerald, before Ellidy's badniks, (controlled by Phage) and the Dark Gaia monsters arrive. Tails wonders where to start, and Big suggests in the lake itself. Tails tries to swim, but is attacked by one of the badniks. As many more arrive, Big uses his fishing rod to fish out the Chaos Emerald. With the Emerald in hand, Tails decides to get back to Ellidy's lab, but their vehicle is destroyed by the Dark Gaia monsters.
Back in the Digtal World, Sally and Nicole argue over their situation while hiding: Nicole condemns Sally for being reckless again, while Sally yells at Nicole for not following her plan. Nicole retaliates by revealing she can't reach her handheld because of Phage, but then sits down and admits that she herself acted recklessly, as she did not want to see Sally get hurt. Sally assures her that they will find a way out. Sally decides not to fly out, because of Phage's monsters. Nicole explains the Digitizer's methods, interpreting the system that Sally can understand. Back in Isolated Island, Ellidy hears thumping noises from his badniks and the Dark Gaia monsters coming from his lab. Sally asks Nicole about the Digital World, and Nicole says that it is still connected to the system, but to no end, and Phage will keep following them. Sally then gets an idea, she tells Nicole to recreate one of the rings that Ellidy had created, while she distracts Phage. She creates a sword and a shield from her Ring-Blades.
Meanwhile, a damaged and angry Phage continues to search for Sally and Nicole. Phage finds Sally, with the latter leading the chase to the other side of the Digital World. Sally taunts Phage, but realizes that she can't run as fast as sonic in the Digital World. Eventually, she makes it to another part of the Digital World. Phage also arrives, taunting her if she can stop her in this system. Sally says no, but calls out to Nicole, who had created a Sling Ring, quickly taking Sally back to Ellidy's system. Nicole then tries to lock Phage out of the system, but Phage tries to force the barrier open. Now furious, she claims to be stronger and faster. Ellidy sees Phage through the cameras, as Phage claims the rings and the research will be hers. Meanwhile, Big and Tails are fighting a massive amount of Dark Gaia monsters, and badniks, as Phage claims that the Chaos Emerald will be hers. Nicole is having a hard time trying to close the barrier, while Sally is fighting more of Phage's monsters.
Ellidy watches Sally motivate Nicole, but just then, the badniks finally break down the door. In desperation, he rushes over to Nicole's handheld and places one of the Red Star Rings in it. This causes Nicole to transform into Overclocked Nicole, whose energy destroys Phage's monsters. Phage, outraged, yells that the Red Star Ring Nicole just got was supposed to be hers. Overclocked Nicole says that it's not, and that she isn't welcome. With a swift clap of her hands, she finally forces Phage out of the system, causing Ellidy's badniks to return to normal. They help Big and Tails drive out the Dark Gaia monsters, and some surround Doctor Ellidy. Back in the Digital World, Sally praises Overclocked Nicole for what she had done. She says that she only shut Phage out of the system, but she won't be coming back anytime soon. Sally hugs her, saying she saved everyone.
The next day, Tails gets a message from Rotor, saying that they have to head to Apotos. Big is confused, but Nicole says it's a place. Sally thanks Ellidy for giving one of the Red Star Rings. Ellidy assures her that they will but it to good use, and was suprised that a Chaos Emerald was here. He wishes them good luck and asks Sally ro say hi to her dad for him. Ellidy apologizes to Sally for the tings he said last night, but Sally says they weren't in their minds at that time. He admits that he was being unfair to Nicole. Sally says he should tell that to her. Ellidy then talks about the Grand archive Project being Nikki's idea. He then apologizes again, needing to think more with Nicole. Nicole calls Sally, and as they leave, Sally tries to tell her about Nikki, but she already knows. Nicole explains that she saw photos of her when she was running away from Phage. She then explains that she was created because Ellidy was trying to save his daughter's life, hoping that she would live on in her mind. Ellidy arrives and gives Nicole the Red Star Ring. Nicole is confused, without the Chaos Emerald, then the Lake would not produce any more rings. Ellidy says that it would take time for his lab to be set up, and tells her to send him the findings. Nicole accepts.
Sally asks Nicole if she would return to the Sky Patrol through the Digital World, but Nicole decides to ride back with them on the plane. The issue ends with the team heading for Apotos, with Nicole enjoying the ride.
- Off Panel: Spark of Life
Sonic decides to celebrate Nicole becoming "real" by showing her something special. Nicole isn't quite sure of his definition of real, but nonetheless he introduces her to chilli dogs. They both eat until they're both stuffed, and Sonic stops her from describing the experience, not wanting her to cheapen their emotions with words. Written by Eric Esquivel, pencils by Agnes Garbowska, inks by Jim Amash, colors by Vincent Lovallo.
- Tails and Big obtain the yellow Chaos Emerald.
- Nicole gains a new form, Overclocked Nicole, after being powered up by a Red Star Ring. She uses it to defeat Phage.
- Ellidy reluctantly gives Nicole a Red Star Ring for study so that he can get to work fixing his lab.
- After recieving a message from Rotor, the heroes head off to Apotos.
- There may be an error in visual consistency. When Sally first summons her "energy Sword and Shield", the shield is in her left hand and the sword in her right. However, for the rest the comic, they are switched.
- The pronged weapon Nicole used to severely damage Phage and way it pierces her "core" is most likely a reference to the "Lance of Longinus" an angelic weapon from the anime "Neon Genesis Evangelion".