Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 216 is the two-hundred and sixteenth issue in the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
There's one exciting confrontation after another in the frozen waste of the Northern Tundra, as Sonic and the Arctic Freedom Fighters fight for their lives against the newest, most-threatening incarnation of the Dark Egg Legion yet! Will Rotor and Silver come to the rescue or will they be too busy finishing each other off? Then, explore a stirring, fresh look into the "Future Tense" Silver calls home in the second installment of this intriguing tale!
"Family Matters" - Part Two:
In the stormy Northern Tundra, Rotor finds himself confronted by Silver the Hedgehog. Silver, addressing the walrus as Boomer, declares that he'll never be able to betray the Knothole Freedom Fighters now, adding that he's helpless as the nanite-powered battlesuit has been shorted out. Rotor angrily retorts that he'd never betray his friends and furthermore, the nanites can't be "shorted out" but merely knocked temporarily offline. He emphasizes his final point with a blast from the suit's gauntlets - no one calls him "Boomer" anymore. Silver, using his powers to clear snow and debris, hotly retorts that they call him Rotor because he's an imposter - only to find the walrus gone. Before Silver can get his bearings, Rotor tackles him from behind and catches him in a choke hold. He tells the hedgehog that he doesn't have time for this, as his friends and family have been enslaved by Dr. Eggman and he may not have another chance to rescue them. Silver uses his psychokinesis to lift Rotor away and suspend him in the air. "Other lives are at risk?" he asks, and Rotor informs him that the hundreds in the herd, as well as thousands of others in the region, are in danger. Silver considers a moment, and then releases Rotor, saying he'll help him save the others.
Meanwhile, Sonic and the Arctic FF are about to begin their assault upon Eggman's base. Sonic asks for a rundown of the details, confirming that the base's tower is responsible for sending out an amplified signal that keeps the herd brainwashed. The tower, being partially submerged, needs to be attacked from the surface as well as below. Sonic spindashes on the ice, cutting a large hole in its surface, and Guntiver the Wolf tells Sealia that it'll be up to her and her team to handle the underwater portion. She salutes him and plunges into the hole in the ice, soon followed by Flip and Augustus. Sonic compliments their gung-ho attitude; Erma thinks they have no time for such niceties and wants to get to work. She, Sonic and Guntiver then charge into the midst of the aggressive walrus herd, which fights back with clubs and blades. Sonic remarks that it's hard to fight these innocent Mobians, and Guntiver replies that destroying the tower base will allow them to free the herd once and for all. Sonic replies that it's still difficult and suddenly finds himself confronted by Skeeter and Georgette Walrus - Rotor's brother and mother. As they bear down upon him, Sonic desperately tries to explain he's Rotor's friend, hoping to snap them out of it. Suddenly, the two walruses collapse unconscious, having been struck by an camouflaged Erma. As she becomes fully visible again, Sonic, impressed, remarks that she can do "that invisible thing." Erma bluntly replies that it's due to her being an ermine. Sonic, likely thinking of recent adventures, asks if that makes her a ninja. Erma returns to the battle, snapping that the hedgehog needs to focus on the mission or get out of the way. Sonic pauses to replace Skeeter's cap, hoping the other team is having an easier time.
Underwater, Sealia, Flip and Augustus encounter Dark Egg Legion Orcas. Flip disorients one with his superior agility while Sealia lures one away, pretending to be a prone target. The orca is lead to a waiting Augustus, who attacks with a vicious punch. "Zut alors! Who let that polar bear loose?" Sealia giggles. She and Flip prepare to cover Augustus as he goes to the surface to get another breath of air, but the trio are suddenly struck by a painful psychic-sonar attack, courtesy of the local Grandmaster, Akhlut. Akhlut launches a focused blast, throwing Augustus to the surface through the ice. Sealia and Flip attempt to fight back but find themselves outmatched. Akhlut chides these Freedom Fighters for attempting to interfere; he explains that the orcas and walruses have been in conflict as far back as anyone can remember, and that the orcas used their sonar abilities to cause confusion and leave the walrus herd prone to Dr. Robotnik, explaining their past hypnosis. He explains that now, as part of the Dark Egg Legion, there is no going back; the Northern Sea will be his to rule and the herd his slaves forever.
Flying, Silver and Rotor finally come across the battle. Silver calls the scene a riot and thinks it's likely people will get hurt; he wonders if he can use his powers to hold the entire herd at once. Rotor instead points out the tower base, thinking that since it's Robotnik's, it will be directly tied to the current problem. Silver is dubious but follows Rotor as he flies to the top of the tower and blasts a hole in its side. Entering the control room, Rotor observes the computer systems and notes that while he can likely hack it, he doesn't know how to use it to their advantage. Silver points out a device consisting of a strange helmet over a chair, asking if it's important, and Rotor hacks the system, pulling up its files; he excitedly realizes that the device is a kind of neural interface. Silver, confused, asks what he means, and Rotor explains that it would allow direct control over the herd. He adds that Robotnik's use of the device is sick, but still, the device will allow them to reach out to the herd all at once - and the fact that Silver's a psychic will only make things easier. Silver points out that he's more of a telekinetic than a telepath, saying that at most he can just give someone a headache. Rotor grabs the hedgehog by the shoulders and says that Robotnik's no psychic and could use the device, asking Silver if he wants to save the herd or not. Persuaded, Silver says he'll try for the herd's sake and puts on the helmet while Rotor uses the controls to set the signal to maximum. Once in the chair, Silver asks what exactly it is he's supposed to do, and Rotor suggests just thinking of a command, adding "You're the psychic!" Timidly, Silver makes his move.
Outside, a massive psychic wave suddenly strikes both the herd and the Legion; some of Akhlut's cybernetics shatter as the walruses stagger on the ice. Sonic approaches a walrus, who groggily says he only remembers "ear-splitting whale songs." Suddenly, everyone is nearly knocked off their feet as an explosion shakes the ice; as Erma lunges in with a hug, Guntiver happily realizes that the rest of the team must have succeeded in destroying the underwater portion of the base. Sonic notes they might have had some help as he sees Rotor approach, holding a very disoriented Silver. Rotor greets Sonic, adding that he must already know Silver, and Sonic replies they've met, asking Rotor what happened to his earlier comment about staying back as part of the Council of Acorn. Rotor replies "Eh, long story" and asks that they keep it to themselves.
Later, in Iceborough, Sonic, Rotor, Silver, the Arctic Freedom Fighters, and Rotor's family enjoy a meal together as Flip explains what happened underwater. He says that he'd thought they were finished when Ahklut suddenly went berserk, and he and the other orcas attempted to flee while severely disoriented. Rotor notes that with their sonar, enhanced by Eggman's cybernetics and amplified by their connection to the tower base, Silver's psychic attack must have hit them especially hard. Georgette tells her son that she's proud of him, being both a Freedom Fighter and a member of the Council of Acorn, adding that his father would have been proud as well. Skeeter excitedly asks if he could try the nanite battlesuit, addressing his older brother as "Boomer." Silver makes a small, disgusted noise, and Sonic says that "Boomer" was Rotor's childhood nickname. Annoyed and embarrassed, Silver replies that he knows that, as Rotor's mother had explained it repeatedly as they travelled to the city. Sonic says that Silver is really bent on finding "this imaginary traitor" among the Freedom Fighters. Silver admits that his research wasn't thorough, but he's still dedicated to saving his future. However, he adds that it wasn't all a waste, as when he was hooked up to the tower's device, he was linked directly with the minds of the entire herd; rather than just break the Legion's hold, he explains, he modified their minds to prevent any further attempts at brainwashing. Sonic compliments this and the two clink glasses. Rotor lifts Silver onto his shoulder, saying that if Silver can stand sitting across from Hamlin for a week, then he'll be impressed. As the Arctic Freedom Fighters celebrate, Silver wonders what "a hamlin" is supposed to be.
Meanwhile, in New Mobotropolis, Amy Rose and Sally Acorn are eating at Chuck's Diner. Amy suddenly waves to Tails, Bunnie "Rabbot" D'Coolette and Antoine D'Coolette, who have returned from their vacation. Sally asks if their visit to Cocoa Island was fun, and Tails dryly implies that it was an adventure, saying he'll tell them about it later. Sally tells them to rest up quick, as she needs Bunnie and Sonic for a mission...
- "Future Tense":
Silver returns to Onyx Island in the future, reflecting on his embarrassment over being wrong about the traitor again. Someone approaches, asking who's arrived on his island; Silver turns to find the Guardian Edmund, and greets him in a friendly manner. Edmund seems to have trouble remembering who Silver is, though after a moment he shows some recognition, calling him "the boy with the funny hair out to save all of time" and casually asks how that's going. Silver replies that it's not going too well, but thanks the elderly Echidna for allowing him to do research in his library. Edmund doesn't seem to remember this, but then remarks that, being over one-hundred-years old, he's not surprised he's gone senile. Silver says that that's not necessarily the case; he explains that when he travels through time, he sometimes changes the past, resulting in changes in the future. Other people, having lived through the changes, may not recognize them, but he does while he himself remains unchanged. Casually accepting this, Edmund points out to the horizon, asking if the ARK was still crashed and burning there when he left; Silver sadly responds that it had been burning like that for years. Edmund then asks if he remembers the Great Krudzu Spore, indicating the remains of a robotic vine on the ground, and Silver replies that it's new to him. Edmund chuckles and says that's too bad, as Silver had been impressive when he destroyed it. Silver chuckles weakly and says "What can I say? Time travel."
Edmund carefully eases himself to sit on some rubble, asking if Silver is still working for "that sad sack of lies." Silver pointedly insists that his Master was the one who taught him to use his powers in the first place and that he still has a lot to learn from him. Edmund replies that he doesn't like the idea of Silver learning anything from him, and wonders if the Master had noticed Silver's departure. The hedgehog replies that he hopes not, but his hopes are dashed as his Master mentally chastises him and tells him to return. Silver tells Edmund that his absence was noticed and tells him he'll visit later, using his telekinesis to lift himself into the air. Edmund tells the hedgehog that he's always welcome on his island, adding quietly that maybe this "failed Guardian" will be able to teach him something someday.
As Silver flies across barren landscapes and towards the ruins of a city, he holds a telepathic conversation with the Master. The Master notes that Silver was likely away on another failed mission to the past and notes that to become a true "Knight of Kronos" he cannot go traveling in time without consideration, knowledge and full training. Silver protests that he did do research before leaving, and that while he didn't find the traitor, he eliminated a possibility, concluding that he must therefore be getting closer to the truth. The Master ponders on the notion of "the truth" and whether it can be affected by perspective, confusing Silver; the hedgehog just assumes he's still being berated. The Master explains that he is merely concerned that Silver, not prepared, might misuse his incredible powers and thus might make the same mistakes he did in the past. Silver says that it's hard to believe his Master ever made mistakes, and the Master replies that he made many, most of them dire. Arriving in the remains of a building, Silver asks if they can talk regularly, as the overuse of telepathy is hurting his head. The Master replies vocally, asking Silver to prepare them a meal so they can eat and go over his recent adventure. Silver turns to the stacked supplies, smiling kindly to his Master, an aged, decrepit Mammoth Mogul.
The Off Panel is a single panel with Sonic running from a Legionized orca at a beach on boardwalk saying, "Why didn't I get to see you up North? No tasty board walks for you to chase me on?" The text above the panel reads "The natural enemy of hedgehogs: Orcas?!"
- Rotor: (to Silver) Look...whatever problem you have with me can wait. My herd -- my family -- are slaves to Doctor Robotnik! They need me, and this may be the last time I get to do something like this!
- Sonic: (after Erma appears out of thin air, having knocked out a brainwashed Georgette and Skeeter Walrus) Wow! You can do that invisible thing too?
- Erma: (annoyed) I'm an ermine!
- Sonic: ...Does that make you a ninja?
- Silver: "Boomer." Peh.
- Sonic: Yeah. That was his nickname growing up. We called him that all the time.
- Silver: I know. I get it. His mother explained it repeatedly on the trip here.
- Rotor: (lifts Silver up on his shouder) Yeah, well--try sitting across from Hamlin for a week--then I'll be impressed!
- Silver: What in the world is a "Hamlin"...?
- Edmund: Oh, right! The boy with the funny hair out to save all of time. How's that working out for you?
- Silver: Not so good. Thank you for letting me do my research, though.
- Edmund: I did? (pauses to think) Bah! I'm over a hundred years old. I was bound to go senile one of these days.
- Silver agrees to help Rotor save the Walrus Herd.
- Sonic and the Arctic Freedom Fighters begin their attack on Eggman's tower.
- The Arctic Freedom Fighters battle Akhlut.
- Using his psychokinesis, Silver frees the enslaved Walrus Herd and defeats the orca branch of the Dark Egg Legion.
- Silver learns of his mistake regarding Rotor being Boomer.
- Silver returns to the future and meets with the Guardian Edmund and his master, who is revealed to be Mammoth Mogul.
- The Off-Panel gag refers to the famous Orca chase segment of the Emerald Coast level in Sonic Adventure (and to a lesser extent, the similar segment in the level Wave Ocean of 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog).
- Despite being depicted riding his dorsal fin on the cover, Sonic never directly confronts Akhlut.
- When Akhult describes his sonic-psychic combination attack, his dialogue has a double "be".
- Due to a mix up with customer subscriptions of the comic, some ended up getting this issue early, before it's official release, and even before the preview was posted on the Archie Comics website. In some cases, some people even received this issue in place of the previous issue by mistake.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- "Family Matters: Part 2" was reprinted in Sonic Super Special Magazine #5
- "Future Tense: Part 2" was reprinted in Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Vol. 1 and Ultimate Collection, and Sonic Super Special Magazine #8.
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