Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 226 is the two hundred and twenty sixth issue in the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
Sonic investigates the strange disappearance of woodland creatures and discovers the man behind IT ALL! What is he hiding? What is the truth that has been kept from Sonic? Where did the army of badniks come from?
Celebrate Sonic's 20th anniversary! It's an all new beginning!
- "Sonic: Genesis" - Part One: In the Beginning...
Genesis opens the story by showing Sonic running through Green Hill Zone. The events are set after Robotnik's "Operation: Clean Sweep" during the return of the Death Egg Mark 2 (StH #225). The effects of the Death Egg completely reset all the progress the Freedom Fighters have made for the past 225 issues, completely reducing it to the beginning, before New Mobotropolis, before the Xorda invasion, before everything. Running through a loop, Sonic feels as if he had fallen asleep. He then remembers that there are animals that have been captured by Dr. Robotnik (Sonic later refers to him as Eggman) and held in capsules.
Sonic dashes off to investigate the animals (the Hedgehog does not yet know Dr. Robotnik's acts), and runs into a Badnik, who attempts to slice at Sonic, who then jumps over it, noting that the badnik is "unfriendly". Sonic begins to take off, but then is surrounded by three other badniks, who trap him in a circle. The hedgehog simply says: "What's up, guys?", then absentmindedly wonders if robots even have genders before obliterating them, smugly calling them "Motobugs", before the animals are let free, including the first Flicky shown in several issues (the last known sighting was from Sonic Universe #3), and then Sonic has his answer to the animal capturings. Sonic jumps onto another Badnik, Newtron, wondering who constructed them and why he or she decided to put animals captive inside them. The chameleon then takes off, Sonic hitching a ride on the badnik.
Later on, Snively is shown capturing the last of the animals inside a capsule, praising himself for his work. As he writes notes, Sonic spins into the capsule, blasting the animals free. Snively is utterly shocked by the sighting of Sonic, stuttering for words before Sonic explains himself to Snively. Sonic questions Snively if he is the villain behind the animals' capturing, but Snively explains himself as "Snively, lowly servant to a grander design". He then explains that the designs of Dr. Eggman will bring order to the continent, and plans to destroy nature and replace it with machinery. After Snively's rant, Sonic simply says: "Wow. What a jerk.", which further annoys Snively. He then attacks Sonic, but the hedgehog simply jumps away from the assault, and spin dashes into Snively. Sonic then avoids every attack Snively throws, the hedgehog nearly beating him before Snively retreats in defeat. Sonic kicks the hatch to open the capsule, praying that he would not set off a nuclear explosion. The capsule does set off a blow, but it lets every animal inside free. However, inside, are none other than the Freedom Fighters, a group of three heroes attempting to stop Robotnik.
Sally Acorn is the first to step out, but she is surprised to see Sonic. She nonetheless shakes Sonic's hand, introducing herself, Boomer and Antoine. Sonic begins to dash off, pleased with rescuing the captives, but Sally then quickly grabs Sonic's arm, begging for him to stay. Sonic impatiently asks Sally to explain herself, and Sally says that her group is attempting to stop Dr. Eggman from taking over Green Hill Zone, and Boomer continues to explain that they believe that he is the cause of recent earthquakes. Sally, noting Sonic's bravery, speed, and strength, asks for assistance from Sonic, the hedgehog simply saying that they could slow him down (a gag used throughout the series). Sally is able to win Sonic's trust by proudly showing him a direct route to find Dr. Eggman, Sonic sweeping his hands for them to lead the way.
After traveling, the group arrives at Marble Zone, Sally thinking there is an underground tunnelway that leads itself into Eggman's hideout. Sonic admits he is weary about going through Marble Zone, but nonetheless knows the group is on the right track. Sally questions Sonic about his doubts, but he grabs Sally at the last second, before being attacked by another badnik, simply answering, "The killer robots." Sally warns Sonic about the badnik, but attempting to find its name, Sonic answers for her, referring the badnik as a Caterkiller. Sally asks Sonic about his knowledge of the name, but Sonic says that it somehow came to him, foreshadowing that the old Sonic is regaining memory of his future self. Boomer then snatches the robot, twists its bolts, then slams them back into Caterkiller, causing it to explode. Sonic then, with a smirk, remarks that he knows why "they call him Boomer." Boomer just says, "Happy to help." Sally informs them of more robots incoming, Antoine hiding inside a cavern, before being attacked by Bat Brains. Sonic hears Antoine's pleads for help against the bats, with Antoine screaming "Il y a des chauves-souris!" (There are bats, translated into English), and Sonic destroys every one. Sally then hugs Antoine for getting the bats outside of the cavern, saying that, if it were not for him, they would been ambushed. Sonic looks over disapprovingly, but turns back to Boomer, who is reprogramming a Buzzbomber to assist them, but they need an animal. Sally then calls over a Flicky on their side, using varied song notes and bars to communicate to it. Sonic then takes point and sprints, Boomer admiring his speed. An earthquake stops the group in their tracks, leaving them stranded on a sinking piece of land on top of lava. Sonic and the reprogrammed badnik then rescue the Freedom Fighters, with Sonic flirting: "Is it hot out here, or is it just you?", to Sally. Sally blushes, reminding the hedgehog that it is not the time and place to flirt.
Antoine wishes for the terror to stop, before Dr. Robotnik comes out, yelling "The terrorizing has just begun!". Sonic then looks over Robotnik, realizing the true meaning of "Eggman" because of his shape. Eggman retorts that he recognizes Sonic as the "mean animal that bullied his nephew". They then begin to fight across the lava. Boomer once again admires Sonic, saying there is "nothing else like them". Sally then agrees with Boomer, subconsciously figuring out that the hedgehog does look familiar, foreshadowing that Sally is getting pieces of her future self's memory back. Sonic stands on top of a pillar, but the pillar crumbles and begins to sink. But at the last second, the flicky-badnik comes in and attacks Eggman, who, unaware of the Flicky present, opens fire on the badnik, but Eggman puts himself at a position for Sonic to blow him out of his machine. Eggman threatens that a cataclysm will come after his "master plan" takes effect. Sonic jumps back onto land, reminded Sally to "tell the flicky he owes it one". Sally then whistles back to the Flicky as it flies off. Antoine investigates the underground tunnelway, hesitantly saying that it seems perilous, though he is unsure. Sonic notes Antoine's words, and remarks that he is glad to be with the Freedom Fighters on his adventures, Sally pleased that Sonic feels the same way. And with that, the group descends into the underground passage.
Eggman is gloating about how he is free of Sonic since he's reset the world, but quickly sees on a monitor that Sonic is still there. Eggman looks worried, but assures himself that at least he got rid of Sally from last issue. The monitor shows Sonic and Sally talking to each other and Eggman yells in frustration.
- Snively: What -- how -- why?!
- Sonic: The name's "Sonic the Hedgehog." I respond better to "who," but I'm flexible.
- In an unknown reality, Sonic the Hedgehog rescues and teams up with Sally, Antoine and Boomer.
- Sonic fights Dr. Eggman in the Marble Zone, forcing his retreat.
- The heroes enter an underground passageway.
- The variant cover was originally distributed at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con.
- This is the first time Patrick Spaziante pencilled art in an issue since StH #98, however finishing touches were made by Tracy Yardley.
- The phrase on the cover was changed in this issue from The World's Most Way Past Cool Comic! to The Most Way Past Cool 20th Anniversary Celebration! to celebrate Sonic's 20th Anniversary.
- Sally introduces Antoine as "Antoine Depardieu". This was the name that was used for him in the Sonic SatAM cartoon. Ian Flynn later revealed this was an Easter egg.
- Interestingly, in the background of Marble Zone in the sky are floating green UFOs that didn't exist in the first Sonic game but the beta/prototype version.
- Spring Yard Zone, which is placed between Marble Zone and Labyrinth Zone in the original game, is omitted from the story, likely due to space limitations.
Cameos and References
- This issue's cover is an homage to the original U.S cover for the 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog video game.
- Snively's attack on Sonic is similar to the very first boss of the first Sonic the Hedgehog game with the wrecking chain-ball.
- In some panels in the beginning of the story, Sonic's shoes had the gray soles from his updated design. It is a possible mistake from Tracy Yardley's pencil finishes.
- The Bat-Brain badniks seem to be missing their ears.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- In France, this issue was printed in Delcourt Sonic Les Origines: 1/2
- In Germany, this issue was printed in Panini Sonic the Hedgehog #1