Archie Sonic The Hedgehog 252 is the two hundred and fifty-second issue of the Archie Sonic The Hedgehog series.
SONIC IS BACK and facing the HUGE consequences of the mega-hit Sonic/Mega Man crossover story arc in "At All Costs" Part Two! As the crossover crashed to a close, Sonic and Tails have returned to a world which is reeling from the cataclysmic effects of the Eggman/Wily Genesis Wave! The damage was severe, the threats have changed, and the mysteries are piling up! What has happened to Naugus in this new landscape? What is the final fate of Sally Acorn? Sonic and Tails are ready to tackle all the drama ahead of them—but first they must survive the wrath of the terrifying Tails Doll! Featuring new cover art from Sonic artist superstar Ben Bates and a special "SEGA" Variant!
At All Costs: Part 2: A New Lease on Life
Sonic, who experiences a barrage of memories-such as the time he was beaten by Eggman during the Destruction of Knothole, the time he was was on the Death Egg during the first Genesis Wave, and his battle with Shadow on the Space Colony ARK, as well as a new memory of when he allied with the Wisps-return, awakens in Mobotropolis, up and running again and now located on Westside Island. Getting to his feet, Sonic silently hopes that "the kid" got back to his own world safely, since he has to focus on saving his own world again. He notices civilians running in panic and quickly spots the reason: the mutated Tails Doll, which is being engaged by the real Tails. Seeing Sonic up, Tails asks if he's all right, claiming the former had taken a heavy blow from the monster, and shows concern when a very confused Sonic begins questioning how he got where he is. Asserting that he's fine, the hedgehog asks his friend where Amy and Silver are, and how they got to their current location given their former status on the Death Egg Mark 2 in their efforts to rescue Mecha Sally. Tails has no idea what Sonic is talking about, and "reminds" him that they returned to New Mobotropolis to contact NICOLE and rescue King Acorn, and found the Tails Doll attacking the city.
He then informs Sonic that Amy has disappeared, and that the last time they encountered Silver was when they saved the Wisps. Sonic, confused, manages to formulate a question as to whether or not Ixis Naugus is involved in the king's current predicament. As he is speaking, the villainous wizard is cursing the presence of both Tails Doll and the heroes, only for a smug NICOLE-projecting from her restored computer body and sporting a new wardrobe-to claim that he deserves his fate. Irritated, Naugus demands that NICOLE honor a previous agreement, which involves her creating a Super Power Ring so that he can regain his lost powers. NICOLE reminds him that she has previously voiced doubts about her ability to craft one, and her defiance prompts him to grab her computer form. Unexpectedly, the act triggers a reaction that awakens Naugus' memories of the unaltered reality, and in horror he throws NICOLE through the nearby window. Horrified by the visions he has witnessed, Naugus crashes through the same window, fleeing the city right past a startled Sonic and Tails. Sonic decides to deal with Tails Doll rather than try to follow him, but quickly discovers that the monster's armor is too strong for his Spin-Dash to penetrate. He and Tails form a joint Spin-Dash and cause some damage, only for Tails Doll to begin repairing itself by absorbing a nearby bridge.
Realizing that the city is no longer composed of Nanites-which leaves Tails even more confused- an exasperated Sonic deduces that merely damaging Tails Doll's outer form isn't enough. Tails then suggests that they locate it's Control Gem, which is what allows it to restore itself (which in this altered reality has occurred more than once). Annoyed at the vague explanation, Sonic angrily asks what it looks like, to which Tails replies its a shiny red gem, the same as "always". Spotting it, the pair prepare to attack, only to be thrown by Tails Doll's next attack, which lands Tails near the discarded NICOLE. NICOLE attempts to speak with Tails, but has been damaged by her treatment at Naugus' hands. Tails reaches to pick her up, despite her apparent attempts to warn him away, and has an experience similar to Naugus' and Sonic's. After remembering other adventures with Sonic, their brief confrontation, and his battles with Speedy and Mecha Sally, Tails recognizes his conflicting memories, and is nearly crushed by Tails Doll in his distraction. Sonic saves him, and helps him overcome his shock before suggesting that they finish Tails Doll first, and THEN worry about the damage to reality. Sonic then mentions sending a message to Dr. Eggman regarding his creations, telling him not to make something so creepy again.
Elsewhere, in the Efrika Plains, Eggman himself emerges from the battered remnants of the Egg-Wily Machine X, cursing Sonic before calling out for Orbot and Cubot. Extricating his Egg Mobile from the ruined robot, he announces his intentions to return to the Death Egg, only to find that his transport is incapable of flight. Cursing his former partner Dr. Wily, Eggman begins rolling his damaged craft away from the crash site, hoping to find help nearby. Back in New Mobotropolis, Sonic distracts Tails Doll while Tails reluctantly plugs NICOLE into the mechanical monster at her insistence. Her efforts allow Sonic to land the final blow, ripping Tails Doll's original plush form from its giant shell. After determining NICOLE's well-being, the heroes separate Tails Doll from his Control Gem, and then give him a football-style kick into the distance. Crushing the gem, Sonic then leads the way into Castle Acorn, with Tails commenting again on the strange collision of memories from the two different realities. Sonic also comments that his own "memories" of the altered world are popping up, including two different versions of the initial meeting between Dr. Robotnik and King Acorn. Turning to NICOLE for answers, the pair receive a surprise suggestion: to locate the missing Knothole Freedom Fighters.
Tails, connecting NICOLE's part in restoring his original memories and Sonic's retention of his own, suggests that locating the others might help their current dilemma. He also correctly guesses that Naugus may have been similarly affected by NICOLE, but Sonic then suggests that they save the king so that they can proceed to locate the other Freedom Fighters. They find the king's cell secured by high-tech security, which NICOLE reveals was stolen from Dr. Eggman in this reality after Naugus lost his powers to the original Genesis Wave, leading the doctor to send Tails Doll to attack. Getting it open, the trio are greeted by an overjoyed, healthy, and altered King Acorn, who asks about Naugus and is informed of his departure. He then surprises both heroes further by treating them quite warmly, and apologizes to NICOLE for any role he may have played in her capture. Sonic contemplates the strangeness of the situation, and wonders whether or not the altered reality may have its positives.
King Acorn asks if he can assist them in any way, and is asked for help in locating the missing Freedom Fighters. While he doesn't know exactly where they all are, he offers to give them a clue. Entering the royal study, he reveals that the Freedom Fighters were all working on a secretive project, and that Rotor was the only one to have any sort of contact with him. Recognizing the Walrus' message as a set of coordinates, Sonic and Tails set out to find their missing teammates. King Acorn then requests that they inform him immediately once they are able to find his missing daughter. Meanwhile, in the Northern Tundra, aboard the Death Egg, a pair of Egg Swats close in on a silhouetted figure. The imperiled Mobian, sporting a new appearance of her own, is none other than a De-Roboticized Sally Acorn.
Fresh from the Worlds Collide crossover, Sonic anticipates returning to his usual continuity. However, he is then greeted by an unpleasant party: Naugus, Mecha Sally, the still comatose Antoine D'Coolette, and Bunnie with a "spoiler" sign covering her entire body except for her head with the question "Cyborg Parts?" written on it. Returning to his house, he begins packing and calls Rock, saying that he will sleep on the couch and will see him in the next issue.
- Sonic, remembering the events of Worlds Collide and what happened before the second Genesis Wave, arrives in a heavily altered Prime Zone created by the interfered Chaos Control.
- In this altered Prime Zone's history, Team Fighters never formed, the events of Sonic Colors took place, NICOLE never lost her portable body, Ixis Naugus lost his magical powers and never took possession of Geoffrey St. John, Silver hadn't been seen since the Wisp adventure, New Mobotropolis isn't made up of nanites (and doesn't even exist, having been replaced by the original Mobotropolis), Sonic had encountered the Tails Doll at least once before, and Maximillian Acorn is king again.
- The Tails Doll begins to attack the city, now with the objective of re-claiming a barred door stolen by Ixis Naugus, and Sonic and Tails as it's opponents instead of Team Freedom.
- Tails claims that they've returned to Mobotropolis to follow up on Nicole and to rescue King Acorn, and initially Tails has no recollection of the events that occurred in StH: #247 .
- Both Amy and Silver have disappeared.
- Nicole, held captive by Naugus, is ordered to create a Super Ring to restore his magic.
- Naugus flees Castle Acorn in terror after getting flashbacks from the old timeline.
- Tails also remembers the events of Worlds Collide and memories of the old world and timeline after getting a shock from NICOLE.
- Dr. Eggman is shown to have crashed somewhere in the Efrika Plains along with Orbot and Cubot.
- Sonic and Tails defeats Tails Doll, destroy its Power Gem core and kick it over the horizon.
- King Acorn is revealed to be once again restored to health (and much friendlier) due to the effects of the Genesis Wave.
- Sonic, Tails, and NICOLE set out to locate the missing Freedom Fighters.
- Sally is revealed to have been De-Roboticized due to the effects of the Genesis Wave.
- Sonic (upon emerging from the collapse of the Super Genesis Wave) Ugh... feels like my brain is doing a spin-dash in my skull... I hope the kid got back to his own world okay, 'cause I've got to get back... (notices the monstrous Tails Doll) ...to business?
Tails (see Sonic back on his feet): Sonic! You took a nasty hit. Are you okay?
Sonic: I'm back in the city. Outside. And there's a monster-thing. Why?
- Tails (responding to Sonic's questions about what the timeline transition): Rescue Sally? We came here to follow-up on NICOLE and save King Acorn. This thing was already attacking when we arrived!
- Editor's footnote: See StH#...wait a minute...
- Tails: I don't know where Amy went, but we haven't seen Silver since we rescued the Wisps.
- Sonic (extremely confused): I... buh... WHAT?!
- Ixis Naugus (watching Sonic and Tails fight Tails Doll): Curse it all! First Eggman sends his creations after me, then the Quickster arrives!
- NICOLE: Serves you right, Wally. Terrorizing the citizens, lying and manipulating your way to the crown!
- Ixis Naugus: Don't lecture me, and never call me that!
- Tails: Is that...? NICOLE! What are you doing out here in the grass?
- NICOLE (badly damaged): *kshk!* 7@1Lz *vrrt!*
- Tails: Are you damaged?
- NICOLE: *shhk!* 3RrOR *zzkt!*
- Tails: That sounds bad. Is it just the speaker? We could really use you against Tails Doll.
- NICOLE (attempting to warn Tails away): *kvrt!* W@1T *shhk!*
- Tails: Hold on, I'll see if I can fix... (gets bombarded with his old set of memories) ...All that...all that...happened...but...I...remember...everything...differently?
- The painted artwork of Green Hill Zone in the background of the variant cover is taken from the cover art of the Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Vol. 1.
- On the cover, Sonic appears to be using his "Stomp Kick" ability from recent Sonic games.
- Despite thoughts to the contrary, Ian Flynn has confirmed that the Mobius Sonic returns to, though altered, is still the same one we've seen prior to the crossover.
- The first page in which Sonic is seen returning to the old reality is similar to the opening page of Mega Man #28 (the first Mega Man issue to take place after the crossover). Both show the respective hero falling through a white void, surrounded by flashbacks of events from their respective worlds. In contrast, Sonic has fully retained his memories of the crossover, while Mega Man (along with everyone else on Earth 20XX, including Dr. Wily) remembers nothing beyond a flash of white light.
- Additionally, several references are made to the Mega Man universe through out the issue. All references are made vague due to copyright reasons:
- After waking up in Mobotropolis, Sonic remarks that he hopes "the kid" got back to his world okay. "The kid", of course, is Mega Man.
- Eggman, after crashing-landing in the Efrika Plains, blames "Albert" for everything that's happened. "Albert" is the real name of Dr. Wily (although the two doctors usually addressed each other anyhow).
- After regaining his memories of the old timeline, Tails recalls how they met "those robots from another universe", referring to Mega Man, as well as Proto Man and the Robot Masters, among others.
- The Off-Panel shows Sonic talking to Mega Man over the phone, where he refers to the latter by his civilian name, "Rock". Interestingly, "Rock" was the name Sonic usually called Mega Man by, rather than the latter's official name.
- One flashback features Max and the Original Robotnik being warped to the new Mobius. This depicts them with Max's updated design and Robotnik dressed in his classic Genesis outfit.
- Silver apparently being present during the rescuing of the Wisps is an allusion to the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, where several of Sonic's friends could be encountered during the story, including Silver.
- Strangely, although Sonic seems to remember his defeat at the hands of the Egg Beater still happening in the altered universe, Knothole has not been destroyed. However, it is possible that the memory was from the old world, and he was still able to remember it in the new one.
- Tails flashbacks include:
- Sonic returning from Worlds Collide to find the Tails Doll attacking Mobotropolis is in reference to how #247 (and by extension, the comics original continuity) ended, in which the Tails Doll was last seen transforming into this monstrous form in New Mobotropolis to take on Team Freedom. In a sense, this was done as a way to bridge the two realities.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places: