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- This issue takes place between Sonic the Hedgehog #204 and Sonic the Hedgehog #205
Archie Sonic Universe Issue 9 is the ninth issue of the spin off Sonic Universe series.
By popular demand, Knuckles makes a triumphant return in this thrilling spin-off tale! Knuckles presses into the heart of the desert to find the sinister secrets of his hated enemy, Dr. Finitivus, but what he finds leads to a deeper mystery... and deadly danger! With Knuckles away, it's up to Vector to protect the Master Emerald from the newest threat... but who, or what, are they? It's the pulse-pounding start of the next epic story arc, and you can't afford to miss it!
- "Echoes of the Past" - Part One
Having received an invitation from Helmut Von Stryker, Knuckles arrived at the Dingo camp with Julie-Su and Mighty in tow through a Warp Ring. Claiming that Knuckles lied to him at their last meeting, Stryker revealed that his men had discovered Doctor Finitevus's lab and uncovered his files on Project Enerjak: Reborn, which revealed that Knuckles was not in control of his own actions. Dismissing the matter due to shared losses, Stryker then offered Knuckles a chance to go after Finitevus and make him pay for his crimes. As the trio leave to meet their escort, Stryker silently hoped that Knuckles and Finitevus would take each other out.
Meanwhile, on Shrine Isle, Vector was relaxing with Ray for company. Eager to demonstrate his burgeoning detective skills to his crocodile mentor, Ray noted that they were passing over Downunda and recounted the history of Angel Island being lifted from it. Vector made a disparaging remark about being eager to leave the continent when he was younger, leading Ray to question him about it. Vector then revealed that he was hatched in Downunda, but never knew his parents. He then went on to explain that after having some good times with a group of orphans, things started going badly and he built a gyrocopter and left Downunda. After stating that Ray would not be getting anymore than that, Vector realized that Ray had been captured by what appeared to be a Wing Dingo. Vector freed him and trashed the lone robot, but suddenly a whole group of them appeared and went to attack the duo.
In the Sandopolis desert, Knuckles, Julie-Su and Mighty traveled on the back of a giant sandworm being led by a dingo to the ancient ruins that were previously Finitevus' base. Knuckles quickly noted that while the ruins were ancient, they did not appear to have been made by echidnas. Mighty stayed behind for a little while to reminisce with the dingo that he recongized as Harry. Harry then revealed his past about being in the dingo army under Helmut Von Stryker, then being a cab driver and running into the Chaotix, and returning to the army under Kage Von Stryker and acting as an informant by talking with Locke and how he'd been left behind by the Chaotix to deal with an angered Kage, which presumably led to his current state. Harry said that now Helmut was looking after the dingoes since Enerjak had tossed them into Sandopolis and how he called Harry a "hero" to his cause. This upset Mighty, but Harry declared that he was not angry (though he made a rather bitter comment about not wanting to get in the Chaotix's messes anymore) and left upon confirming they had a Warp Ring to return home with.
In the ruins, Knuckles continued to study the ancient buildings and became more and more perplexed by them because no tribe on Downunda was as advanced as the echidnas and yet these huts were not of their usual style except for a lone pyramid, which made things even more puzzling, and Julie-Su more frustrated with her boyfriend for not focusing. Mighty then came up to them and suggested they continue looking for Finitevus, which Julie-Su was more than pleased to hear. They then headed up to the pyramid and Julie-Su noted there was a retina scanner locking the main door, but it made no difference when Mighty easily smashed the door in. Knuckles noted that the pyramid must have been an original Albion stronghold, just like some others he'd seen on the rest of Angel Island. Knuckles remained puzzled, and Julie remained frustrated, but Mighty stated his mind that he thought the Brotherhood of Guardians had told Knuckles all about echidna history, which angered Knuckles greatly to know they'd still kept secrets from him. Julie quickly comforted an upset Mighty before returning to the search for Finitevus.
Back at Shrine Isle, Vector and Ray continued to fight off the Wing Dingoes, wishing their comrades would show up and assist. Vector and Ray then noticed the robots are after the Master Emerald and continued to fight.
Back at the pyramid, Julie and Mighty raced to keep up with Knuckles. Just as Julie warns Knuckles to be cautious, a trap door opens and they are trapped in a small room by a laser field with spiked walls closing in around them.
- Mighty: (cracking his knuckles) Or we can try "knocking". (beats the stone door down) Knock-knock.
- Vector is tasked with looking after the Master Emerald in its shrine while Knuckles goes on a quest.
- It is revealed that Vector spent his early years living in Downunda, and that he had wanted to leave it.
- Angel Island is attacked by flying dog-like robots, presumably Wing Dingos.
- Knuckles and his group are taken to the ruins of an ancient city in Sandopolis by Harry, where they begin their search for Finitevus.
- Knuckles and his group get caught in a trap within one of the ruined structures.
- This story arc was originally planned as the second arc of Sonic Universe.
- The interior design of the pyramid in this issue is almost identical to that of the pyramid shown in the story "Fire Drill" featured in the Sonic & Knuckles Special.
- This is the first Sonic Universe story arc to not feature Shadow the Hedgehog.
- This marks the final on panel appearance of Harry before removal of Ken Penders creations and other old reality characters for the reboot.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- Sonic Universe Vol. 3: Knuckles Returns
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