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Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 175 was the one hundred and seventy-fifth issue of the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
Up until now, Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robobtnik have been fighting for one hundred and seventy four issues. Every time they've fought Sonic has found some way to win the day. This issue, however, Dr. Robotnik pulls out all the stops, and you'll never believe what happens! It's a 175th anniversary issue fans can't miss; and one that Sonic may prefer to forget!
- "Eggman Empire"
As dawn breaks, the mighty Egg Fleet approaches the Kingdom of Knothole. From the opening of a hanger door, Dr. Eggman and Snively Robotnik watch this vast spectacle, seated in their new battle suits. Eggman tells his nephew that it's time to finish the war, and Snively gloats that their enemies never saw it coming.
In Freedom HQ, the Freedom Fighters and the Chaotix are having a grand old time, relaxing, playing video games and—in Sonic's case—strumming on a guitar. Knuckles is worried about Espio; he's been missing since before the wedding. Julie-Su tries to get him to relax, but Rouge has other ideas, and flirtatiously tells Knuckles that they can look for Espio together.
Julie-Su and Rouge start to get into a verbal disagreement while Sally and Sonic talk about how things have been going lately. Everything seems to be on the up and up, with Knothole now a city, families reuniting, a new king on the throne, and most of the villains beaten; before long, they might take down Eggman himself. Sonic admits that the only downer is Tails, who he feels is holding something back from him.
Meanwhile, Tails and Rotor run a diagnostic on NICOLE, while discussing recent events (such as Fiona's betrayal and Tommy's death). Rotor admits that times have been tough, especially on Tails, but the young fox just shrugs it off, saying that as long as he has his friends and family with him, he'll be fine. It is at this point that NICOLE delivers unpleasant news: they’re under attack.
With a snide greeting to his "friends", Snively makes a dramatic entrance by ripping off the roof of Freedom HQ with his new mech. Part of the roof falls towards Tails, but Rotor pushes him out of the way. The roof falls on him instead, injuring his back and neck before he is consumed in an energy blast. In the common room, Snively opens fire on Rouge, Julie-Su, and Vector, seemingly vaporizing them right before everyone’s eyes. Sally tries to get everyone organized to mount a defense, but Bunnie is caught in Snively's metal hand, and to Sonic's shock, Sally herself is vaporized in the middle of giving Sonic an order. Snively keeps on firing, taking out Antoine, Charmy, Saffron, and Ray. He then proceeds to allow Bunnie to join her husband, zapping her as well.
Amy wakes up from all the commotion, wondering what's going on. Tails is horrified, as everyone he cared about was seemingly obliterated before his eyes. A raging Knuckles is held back by Sonic, who points out that Snively has enough to deal with, namely in the form of Mighty, who was angered as never before over what happened to Ray. With his fury pushing his strength to new heights, the irate armadillo literally disarms Snively's mech and smacks him with the severed limb, ranting all the while about the injustice of striking Ray. Snively responds by vaporizing Mighty with the mech's remaining arm.
Sonic climbs out of the hole where the roof once was, ready to finish Snively's battered machine. However, the treacherous Overlander detaches his mech's cockpit—which doubles as a personal shuttle—and detonates the rest, burying Knuckles, Amy and Tails under rubble. As Snively makes his escape, he reveals that his attack was nothing more than a distraction. Tails deduces that Eggman is attacking Knothole, and tells Sonic to run and save their families while he, Knuckles, and Amy try to free themselves from the ruins of Freedom HQ.
Confident as ever, Sonic arrives at Knothole...and finds it in flames, bombarded by the Egg Fleet. Everything is gone, down to the last house; only Castle Acorn remains standing. But as Sonic approaches, reasoning that Elias must have gotten everyone to safety, the palace explodes before his eyes. Out of the rubble emerges Eggman, piloting a heavily-armed mech in his own likeness, informing the "rodent" that he's been waiting.
Sonic accuses him of killing everyone he ever cared about, but Dr. Eggman corrects him: he simply captured them and sent them to the Egg Grapes, where their life force will power his city. Sonic declares that Eggman's plan will fail, since Snively missed him, but Eggman corrects him again: he told Snively to leave Sonic for himself.
Eggman proceeds to fire a barrage of missiles at Sonic, who dodges around and over them. As the hedgehog closes in on his nemesis, Eggman taunts Sonic by pointing out all of his failures: the deaths of Tommy and Sir Connery, his failure to deroboticize his father, and his tragic love life with Sally, Mina, and Fiona. Sonic simply tells him to shut up as he attempts a spindash attack, but Eggman deflects the blow with his shield, wryly asking if that was Sonic's best retort for their final game.
As the battle rages on, Eggman keeps Sonic on the defensive, stating in a lie that the Freedom Fighters were allowed to exist for his personal amusement; although Sonic may have won several small battles, the simple fact remains that Mobius is still no freer than it was years ago. Flying after the fleeing hedgehog and unleashing a barrage of lasers, the mad doctor claims that King Max's attempt to rally support failed because the rest of the world knows that he controls them, which is also why Knothole never saw his attack coming. He then knocks Sonic down with his wrecking ball, but commands the hedgehog to get up; he's far from done with him.
Sonic keeps trying to attack Eggman’s suit, but everything he tries against it just bounces right off. Eggman sneers that the battle was over before he even began the attack, because his suit was designed specifically to counter Sonic's every move; the only reason they're still fighting is because residual energy from the Power Rings Sonic absorbed in his youth is increasing his recovery. Knocking Sonic down again, Eggman triumphantly tells Sonic that he's reached his limit. This enrages Sonic, who proceeds to run away faster than Eggman has ever seen before. High above in his shuttle, Snively finds Sonic's location, and tells Eggman, with great surprise, that Sonic was already at the east coast. There, Sonic—practically unhinged with anger and desperation—is using his figure-eight maneuver to really give himself a boost.
Unleashing his full capabilities, Sonic flies across the continent, practically rending the landscape in half. As Snively calls out a warning, a frightened Eggman barely has time to raise his shield before the hedgehog smacks into the Egg Beater, sending it flying into the castle's ruins with a massive explosion. Sonic, weakened but seemingly victorious, asks Eggman how he feels about that for his limit. To his horror, the Egg Beater rises up from the ruins, and Eggman replies that "it's just fine" (although the Beater does have a dent in the shield).
Eggman proceeds to attack a stunned Sonic over and over again, mocking him all the while, until he finally goes down. The victorious dictator grabs the barely-conscious form of his beaten adversary, detailing exactly what he is going to do to all of Sonic's friends and family and how he is going to leave Sonic here: beaten, humiliated, and all alone. Eggman then proceeds to drop Sonic, telling him to never forget his humiliation, and flies back to the Egg Fleet to return to New Megaopolis, leaving Sonic lying on the ground, helpless and defeated.
Tails comes running over to Sonic, having dug himself out of the ruins of Freedom HQ. He begins to help Sonic up, apologizing for not getting there sooner and lamenting that Eggman has finally won. Sonic tells him not to worry about it, and that so long as they're still breathing, they’ve still got a chance...
- Rouge: Watch it, Pinky.
- Julie-Su: You wear pink!
- Snively: (tears through Freedom HQ's roof) Knock-knock, my friends.
- Amy (confused): What's going on?!
- Tails (horrified): Rotor! And Sally! He blasted---!
- Knuckles (angry): LET ME AT HIM!
- Sonic (holding Knuckles back): Everyone stay back! Mighty's lost it! And you do NOT want to be in the middle of that!
- Mighty (to Snively, about Ray): He could never hurt you! I told him I'd keep him safe! And you go and vaporize him!
- Snively: (zaps Mighty) Fine! I don't want you to feel left out!
- Eggman: (emerges from the remains of Castle Acorn) It's about time you showed up, rodent.
- Sonic: Nice try, Doc. Snively didn't zap me. I get to save the day like always.
- Eggman: Silly boy, I told Snively to leave you for me!
- Sonic: (while preparing a figure-eight peel out) "'Limit"? I've got your "limit" right here! (charges across the continent, tearing the landscape apart in his wake)
- Snively: Watch out, sir!
- Eggman: (sees Sonic running at full speed towards him) Oh my gears and starters... (gets slammed into the castle ruins by Sonic's attack)
- Sonic: H-Ha! H-How's that for m-my limit, E-Eggman?
- Eggman: (emerges from the castle ruins) It's just fine, Sonic. (looks at his damaged shield) Although I am a little upset that you dented the shield.
- Eggman: Like I said, Sonic... (hits Sonic with the shield) ...you're out-matched...out-classed...(hits Sonic with the wrecking ball) ...you're not fast enough...(kicks Sonic) ...you're not strong enough... (hits Sonic with a laser) ...and you certainly aren't smart enough to defeat me. (picks Sonic up from the ground) I'm going back to New Megaopolis now. Once I've freshened up, I'm going to turn on the Egg Grapes. Everyone you've ever known or cared for will be turned into fuel for my city. And you'll be left here--helpless. I'm not playing with you, rodent. Run--run all over the world and try to start a new Freedom Fighter group. You will find no one. So run--for the rest of your life--and never escape the humiliation of today. (throws Sonic to the ground and flies away)
- Almost every village resident is captured by Dr. Eggman and Snively and imprisoned in Egg Grape Chambers.
- Rotor's back is injured when he saves Tails from a piece of falling debris.
- Knothole Village is destroyed by the Egg Fleet.
- Sonic is utterly defeated by Dr. Eggman in their battle.
- This is the series' seventh milestone issue.
- This issue featured one of the first times Dr. Eggman totally defeats Sonic.
- The friction between Sonic and Tails is mentioned in this issue, foreshadowing their eventual fight in Sonic the Hedgehog #178 - #179.
- This is the first and so far only landmark issue in which the cover art doesn't make any note of the fact that it's a landmark issue in any form.
- In the final version of the cover, the subtitle The Unthinkable Happens is shown while in the preview cover, it doesn't.
- In the early drafts for this issue, E-123 Omega would have taken Snively's role by carrying out the assault on Freedom HQ, and would have killed a still-living Tommy Turtle before fighting Bunnie Rabbot and eventually Sonic himself. (1) But due to issues with SEGA, these events were withdrawn and Omega did not appear until almost two years later in Sonic Universe: #3. (2)
- Coloring error: When Mighty rips off the arm of Snively's Beater, the detached left shoulder is gray instead of green.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- Sonic Saga Series Vol. 3: Eggman Empire
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