Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 173 was the one hundred and seventy-third issue of the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- "Round Up"
The story opens with Antoine D'Coolette proposing to Bunnie Rabbot while Sonic and Amy Rose look from afar giving him support. Bunnie accepts and Sonic and Amy go over to congratulate the happy couple.
Meanwhile, Sally Acorn is talking to Knuckles via a computer transmitter. He informs them that Mina Mongoose's world tour has started off fine. He also tells them that Vector the Crocodile got wind of something important. Rouge the Bat had stolen the "Master Emerald" and was selling it to the highest bidder. Rotor says it doesn't make any sense since Rouge has only ever wanted it for herself. Sally says that that is regardless as they must secure the Master Emerald no matter what, especially with so many dangerous forces at large. Knuckles says that he'll return to Knothole as soon as possible to take care of Rouge, but Sally says that the Freedom Fighters owe him this and she volunteers herself, Sonic, Bunnie, and Antoine to take care of the mission.
Later that night, the Freedom Fighters are stationed in the marshlands where the auction is taking place. Soon, Nack the Weasel, Bark the Polar Bear and Bean the Dynamite arrive. The Freedom Fighters take care of them easily and then go after Rouge. Rouge is awaiting bidders for the "emerald" and believes no one is going to show up, but then Mammoth Mogul and Ixis Naugus arrive to steal the Master Emerald.
Mogul reveals that he was set free by Anonymous while in the Egg Grapes in return for his Chaos Emerald, but the experience had left him de-powered and Naugus no more than animal. Mogul attempts to grab the emerald, only for Sonic and Bunnie to stop him. Mogul sends Naugus to defeat them using his new shadow-melding abilities, but he is easily knocked out by Bunnie. Mogul then confronts them himself using his Ixis Magicks, but he is knocked out by Princess Sally on Nack's Marvelous Queen.
They then attempt to arrest Rouge, but she then reveals that she didn't steal the Master Emerald and that it was all just part of a sting operation she did to show Knuckles she can be a good girl that plays by the rules, using a table, a blanket, and a green lantern. They then place all the criminals on Nack's Marvelous Queen and set off back to Knothole.
Meanwhile, Snively reports into Dr. Eggman that Bean, Bark and Nack have not reported in and that they may have been captured. Eggman then reveals that he knew it must have been a trap, but hired the three mercenaries to be sure. Snively then tells him that the Egg Fleet has been finished ahead of schedule, and that his other project will be finished right on time.
- "See Ya Later Chao!" - Part One
Sonic then explains that the other day, Rotor picked up readings of mystical energy where the Power Ring Grotto used to be, so Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles decided to take the Tornado out there to investigate.
There they found a chao garden. The three become fond of the chao they see and decide to "investigate" more before they leave. They learned a lot about chao, like that they seem to get the traits of whatever they're exposed to the most be it speed, flight, or strength and that they have strange life-cycles, as Sonic discovered while looking for his chao, Chronic. Chronic made a cocoon around himself and grew older within a short time and they are capable of reincarnating themelves.
While they were still "investigating" the chao, Dr. Eggman appeared in a drilling machine.
- Amy: ...Does this give you any ideas, Sonic?
- Sonic: Not a one, Amy.
- Sonic: Since when did you become the voice of reason, 'Twan?
- Antoine: Eet comes with time. And maturity.
- Sonic: Hey!
- Bean: (to Sonic and Antoine) It's Swifty McQuickness and the guy who talks funny!
- Bean: Indy! Melon! Stale fish!
- Sonic: Where's your off-button?!
- Bean: Please consult your owner's manual?
- Bean: More for me, I'm driving--
- Sonic: Hey! It's the Marvelous Queen.
- Sally: I'm still a princess, but thanks.
- Sonic: I let you have that one.
- Mammoth Mogul: You are a fool to challenge me, Hedgehog. Naugus may have lost his mind and elemental magic, but he has somehow gained the power to shadow-meld, appearing anywhere before you can--!
- Sonic: Fifty rings says he tries to pop out right behind us.
- Bunnie: Prolli. (backhands Naugus as he appears from behind)
- Sally: (after landing Nack's airbike on Mogul's head, knocking him out) You have the right to remain silent!
- Antoine proposes marriage to Bunnie Rabbot, which she accepts. They later ask Sonic and Sally to be best man and maid of honor, respectively.
- Ixis Naugus is revealed to have lost his mind in the Egg Grapes, trading his Ixian Magicks for Shadow-melding abilities.
- Bean the Dynamite, Bark the Polarbear, Nack the Weasel, Ixis Naugus, and Mammoth Mogul are all captured in the aftermath of a sting operation.
- The Egg Fleet is finally completed, in preparation for Eggman's ultimate plan.
- A Chao Garden is discovered by Sonic, Tails and Knuckles
- This is the first issue during Ian Flynn's run that features a character 'roll call' at the bottom of the first page. This concept was first introduced in Issue #0 of the original four-part mini-series to show off the featured cast of heroes, villains, and occasional supporters for the main storyline. However, the characters featured here are given specific subtitles to their name based on talents, titles, or a role specifically for the story (in this case: Sonic referred as the "Fastest Thing Alive", Sally being the "Tomboy Princess" and Amy Rose as a "[Would-Be] Love Interest". This would be become a staple concept from then on.
- Bean and Bark are seen using Extreme Gear from Sonic Riders in this issue. How they got the Extreme Gear was mentioned by Bean as "one of the perks of deserting the Armada", meaning he was possibly a member of the Battle Bird Armada introduced in SU #17.
- Snively is seen with a red outfit similar to that of Eggman instead of his usual green attire.
- Nack's and Bean's eyes are miscolored red, while Bark's eyes are miscolored blue, along with Antoine's boots.
- This issue's back-up story was originally intended to be published in StH: #154, and the second part of the story would have continued in the next issue (StH: #155) respectively.
- Jason Jensen is credited as the colorist for the lead story but the colors appear to have been done by Josh Ray.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- Sonic Saga Series Vol. 3: Eggman Empire
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