Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 158 was the one hundred and fifty-eighth issue of the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- "System Reconfiguration"
Mecha announces her master's takeover and Dr. Eggman fearfully orders A.D.A.M. to override her. A.D.A.M. fails to respond, causing Eggman to realize that an outside source is scrambling their programming, most likely Snively assisting the Kingdom of Acorn. The Metal Sonic Troopers attack, narrowly missing him. Eggman uses his Phase Inverter to regain control of Mecha. Confused, Mecha explains that her last memory was of being with Shadow the Hedgehog and Metal Sonic, but Eggman decides they should flee rather than question what happened. They make their way to a transport, where Eggman is pleasantly surprised to see an unconscious Shadow waiting inside.
Back in the control room, Sonic and Rotor wake up to find the Metal Sonic Troopers tearing the chamber apart. One of them confronts Sonic, but another Trooper informs his counterpart that Sonic is "Model One". Not sure what they mean, Sonic and Rotor make their way back to Knothole in Eggman's pod while the Metal Sonic Troopers continue their rampage. The Troopers are briefly confused, wondering if they should pursue before realizing that Eggman isn't in the pod and continue seeking out the doctor, his minions, and his bases. Elsewhere, Mecha reports that the files Metal Sonic retrieved have been downloaded and Eggman is intrigued as he starts looking through them. Shadow, finally awake, confronts them, only for Eggman to reveal that he is Gerald Robotnik's grandson. He tells Shadow that Maria was his half-sister and that he mourns her loss. With an understanding that they have a common loss, Shadow and Eggman form an alliance.
King Elias travels to a lower area of the castle to meet with Sir Charles Hedgehog. Elias asks what Charles is doing in a sealed off portion of the castle, and Charles hesitates briefly before revealing that a "special project" created before Elias' coronation has been activated and set loose. Sonic and Rotor arrive at the same time, having been called by Charles to ensure the Kingdom's security. He then reveals that the Metal Sonic Troopers were created by him and Rotor following Sonic's disappearance after the battle with the Xorda as a replacement for the lost hero. After Sonic returned, it was decided that they were unnecessary, and so they were sealed away. Charles then reveals that several fail-safe systems were installed in the Metal Sonic Troopers due to their immense power, but while attempting to shut them down finds that he is unable. Back in New Megaopolis, Eggman and Shadow detect the Metal Sonic Troopers heading straight for Knothole, and Shadow rushes off upon realizing that Hope is in danger.
As Shadow speeds to the scene, Shadow vows that he will not let Hope be lost as Maria was, and arrives just in time to halt the Metal Sonic Troopers from destroying her home. In his anger he repels the Troopers with a barrier of energy, unsure of how he did it. Shadow heads inside to find Hope while Sonic deals with the Troopers outside. At Sonic's house, Jules and Bernie wonder why they let Sonic head to Dr. Eggman's hideout. They briefly discuss how Sonic has grown up and become an important defender against Eggman and how it affects their role as his parents. An alarm sounds out across Knothole and they rush to the door just in time to see the Troopers pursuing a pair of children. Jules grabs the kids and the group joins the citizenry of Knothole in evacuating to Castle Acorn. Elias warns Sally to make preparations to leave, as the threat of the Metal Sonic Troopers is such that he fears Knothole may fall. Sonic and Shadow continue to engage Metal Sonic Troopers to defend Hope and Rosie, but Sonic inadvertently knocks a Trooper into Hope, knocking her unconscious. Furious, Shadow warns Sonic that if Hope's injuries prove fatal, he will kill him.
- "Insider Treading"
In the Off Panel universe, Sonic meets with Mike Pellerito in a "dark" alleyway, which is actually lit up quite brightly. Mike berates the lighting booth staff when a shadowy figure appears, prompting Sonic to pursue him. The figure then causes a wall of bricks to fall atop Sonic, stunning him. The figure introduces himself as Blackstage, a comic book industry insider with access to all kinds of secrets about the comic that he plans to show to the readers. Mike is horrified, fearing that such a thing would destroy the comic's credibility, but Blackstage starts rolling before Mike or Sonic can do anything.
The blooper reel plays, revealing the secrets behind how several memorable effects were created. To start, Blackstage shows the readers that the Archie staff used "chroma-key" technology to make all of Sonic but his hand invisible when he reached out of the Ultimate Annihilator's blast in StH #50. He goes on to show that the make-up department was behind King Max's crystalization, points out that the comic uses a ridiculous number of stunt doubles for issues like SSS #15, and even reveals duplicitous shots as far back as StH #3, where the camera was flipped around Burrobot instead of actually flipping him upside down. Blackstage gloats that he has ruined the comic, but Mike and Sonic notice that the fans actually seem to like this information. Mike tells off Blackstage, explaining that reality entertainment is incredibly popular. As they go over ways they could punish Blackstage, the villain runs away in fear and Sonic steals his costume. Inspired, Sonic dons the mask and hat and launches into a number from Phantom of the Opera. Mike decides they'll need to dub in new, better singing for the end of this story.
- Dr. Eggman: "Unfortunately, these second-rate knock-offs operate on a different frequency!"
- Mecha: "I take it you mean these superior designed Metal Sonics?"
- Shadow: "If that girl dies, Sonic -- THEN SO WILL YOU!"
- The Metal Sonic Troopers attack Knothole.
- Shadow begins working for Doctor Eggman.
- It is revealed that Uncle Chuck and Rotor built the Metal Sonic Troopers.
- A fallen Metal Sonic Trooper injures Hope.
- Due to its setting in the Off Panel universe, "Insider Treading" is considered non-canon.
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