Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 253 is the two hundredth and fifty-third issue of the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
The biggest, most shocking event in Sonic comic history is underway, and YOU can grab a front-row seat in Countdown to Chaos Part One! Sonic and Tails are on a journey to the Mystic Ruins jungle in search of their missing pals. What they encounter is sure to surprise you! Meanwhile, Dr. Eggman begins the long trek back to his deadly Death Egg II battle fortress. Will our heroes find him and stop him before he launches again? And just who, or what, is the "Sky Patrol" and what does it have to do with the missing Freedom Fighters? Don't miss a moment of the chaos, featuring the first in a series of ALL-NEW inter-connecting covers by Sonic art superstar Ben Bates, and bone-chilling variant cover by T.REX!
- Countdown to Chaos: Part 1 - The Builder
In the jungle surrounding the Mystic Ruins, Sonic and Tails are searching for Rotor and the other Freedom Fighters with the aid of a still malfunctioning NICOLE. Hoping that their search will help in NICOLE's restoration, the two note that Rotor seems to be going to great lengths to conceal himself. NICOLE reveals that the Walrus and Tails were previously working on a highly classified project that they were trying to keep secret from Dr. Eggman. Tails vaguely recalls the experience, but is confused by memories of two different realities, while Sonic laments that they don't have anything to lead them to Rotor-when they unexpectedly stumble across a small dwelling. Meanwhile, on the Efrika Plains, Orbot and Cubot are pushing Eggman's damaged Egg Mobile while the bedraggled doctor marches ahead of them, obviously suffering through his experience in the wild. The chatter between his two henchmen sets Eggman off on a tantrum, thus causing him to initially miss the approaching rumble. The source is revealed to be a convoy of Mobians on Extreme Gear, motorcycles, jeeps, and various other vehicles. Axel the Water Buffalo then dismounts and addresses the doctor, questioning whether they are receiving another "surprise inspection."
Momentarily confused but quickly realizing that this strange Mobian is apparently his subordinate, Eggman demands to know his name and rank, and is informed that Axel is the Egg Boss of the Efrika Egg Army. Overjoyed by the arrival of longed-for support, Eggman quickly commandeers the convoy and has them transport him, his robots, and his Egg Mobile to their base. On the way, Orbot notes the oddity of their situation-the Dark Egg Legion being renamed the Egg Army and Axel appearing as one of his lieutenants instead of Diesel. Eggman acknowledges this, and guesses that his disruption of Sonic's efforts to restore Mobius has led to drastic changes in reality. He then dismisses the matter for the time being, intending to get himself and his transport back in order so that he can return to the Death Egg. Back in Soumerca, Sonic and Tails discover that the dwelling they have found is home to none other than their old friend Big the Cat and his pet frog, Froggy. Sonic is quick to question their old ally, wondering why he's back home fishing instead of in New Mobotropolis with Team Freedom. Tails then takes over and asks Big if he knows about Rotor's project; when informed that he does, the Fox asks if Big can lead them to it.
Making their way through the jungle, the group come upon a valley where a large, brightly colored dome is visible nearby. Sonic also notes with some annoyance the presence of the ruins of the Final Egg, former base of the Egg Carrier, which leaves Tails briefly confused, until Sonic realizes that his memories of it came from the new reality. As the pair realize that their memories of the old and new realities are, in effect, merging, Tails worries whether or not they'll forget the past. They have little time to wonder, as Big points out that a battle is taking place in the valley. A squadron of Spinner Badniks are attacking the dome, while a small turret fires back at them. An attack by the robots destroys the turret, forcing its operator to flee and run for another one. The beleaguered Mobian grabs one of his attackers and throws it at the others, and is revealed to be none other than a brawnier Rotor Walrus sporting goggles, gloves, and shoes in addition to his trademark tool sash. Sonic and Tails are quick to go to Rotor's aid-Big moving more slowly-and contact the Walrus to let him know that reinforcements have arrived. Rotor is glad that they've arrived, but urges them to move quickly, before a horde commander arrives. The three Freedom Fighters are decimating the Spinners while Big approaches with a Spin-Dash, but the feared commander then arrives: none other than Silver Sonic.
An overzealous Sonic realizes that his attacks have taken him too far away from his friends, and Rotor finds himself being swarmed by Spinners. Silver Sonic thunders towards their location, but is stopped by a forgotten combatant: Big. The Cat hurls Silver Sonic into the air, allowing Rotor to hit it with his turret fire. Sonic and Tails finish off the remaining Badniks, and are then stunned by the sight of the new and improved Rotor. He then proceeds to give them a tour of the dome, which is revealed to be an aircraft named the Sky Patrol, which he and Tails created as a counter to threats like the Death Egg and Egg Fleet. Tails is delighted to find T-Pup aboard as well, but he and Sonic then face the grim task of trying out their theory. Tails hands NICOLE to Rotor, and the Walrus is hit with a wave of reawakened memories, including building the Sea Fox, his injuries during the Destruction of Knothole, and serving on the Council of Acorn. The experience proves quite overwhelming for the mechanic, though it does prove beneficial to NICOLE as expected. Sonic then asks Rotor about the other Freedom Fighters, and is informed that Sally and Bunnie are on deep cover assignments, Antoine is with Uncle Chuck outside Knothole, and that Amy inexplicably vanished a short time ago. Noting her absence as another mystery to solve, Sonic at least takes comfort in the knowledge that Bunnie, Antoine, and Sally are faring better on the altered Mobius than they were on the original.
Rotor suggests that he remain behind to complete Sky Patrol, and Big volunteers to stay with him in case of further robot threats. Meanwhile, back at the Efrika Egg Army base, Eggman finishes rebuilding his Egg Mobile into a plane-like craft to transport him to the next Egg Boss location. Unsure where that is, he questions Axel, who informs him that the nearest base is that of Mordred Hood in Avalon. Eggman and his robots take off, and one of Axel's underlings then questions why they obey the obnoxious doctor. Axel responds that they have no choice, particularly if the doctor has indeed managed to make the Roboticizer functional again. On board the Egg Mobile, Orbot questions their rush, as they stayed at the base only long enough to get cleaned up and get the Egg Mobile flying. Eggman responds that he's in a hurry to get back to the Death Egg, as he feels it will be needed in order to "fix things." When questioned as to his meaning, the doctor responds that he looked at some global readings on the Eggnet, and notes that his efforts to stop Sonic may have been quite foolhardy indeed. As the villains fly towards their next destination, a large fissure with purple light emanating from it appears on the planet's surface below...
After seeing Sonic grind on a plant, Tails questions how he can accomplish such a feat, as his shoes would undoubtedly require extra grip to accommodate his super-fast running. Sonic's response: "I guess I'm just that smooth."
- It's revealed that in the altered Prime Zone:
- Big stayed in the Mystic Ruins.
- The Dark Egg Legion is called the Egg Army.
- The Efrika Egg Army is now run by Axel the Water Buffalo instead of Diesel.
- Rotor and Tails had been working on a secret project called the Sky Patrol.
- Bunnie Rabbot is still a member of the Freedom Fighters.
- Antoine isn't suffering serious injures.
- Mordred Hood's territory has been renamed Avalon.
- Sonic's and Tails's memories of the old and new realities begin to merge.
- Dr. Eggman meets up with the Efrika Egg Army, and they help him build an Egg Mobile with plane wings as transportation.
- Sonic and Tails meet up with Big, who helps them find Rotor.
- Sonic, Tails, Big and Rotor fight off against a group of Badniks attacking the Sky Patrol who are led by Silver Sonic III.
- Rotor regains his memories of the old Prime Zone after touching NICOLE.
- Sonic learns from Rotor that Antoine is currently helping Uncle Chuck near Knothole, Amy has vanished from the face of the planet, and Sally and Bunnie are undercover on missions.
- Rotor and Big stay behind in the Mystic Ruins Jungle until they get the Sky Patrol up and running while Sonic and Tails set out to find the other Freedom Fighters.
- Eggman begins to realize the consequences of his disrupting Sonic's Chaos Control at the end of Worlds Collide.
- A large purple crack appears on the landscape of the planet.
- Sonic: Outta the way, jungle! Hedgehog, comin' through!
- Tails: Yeah! You show those leaves who's boss!
- Sonic: Says the fox with the weed-whacker tails...
- Cubot: Oi! I've just about had it, pushin' this thing, don'tcha know?
- Orbot: Indeed. My servos are creaking.
- Dr. Eggman: Well, I'm tired, hungry, thirsty, AND had to camp out in the wilderness, so the two of you can GET OVER IT!
- Orbot: If only we had a genius mechanic with us. He could do such things as fix the Egg Mobile so we could go home and...
- Dr. Eggman: Fix it with WHAT, you passive-aggressive bocce ball?! I have no tools! No fuel cells! No machine shop to work in! No idea WHERE we are! If you happen to be hiding all that in that big mouth of yours--PLEASE!--do share!
- Axel: Is this another "surprise inspection", sir?
- Dr. Eggman (riding in Axel's vehicle): WHOA-HO-HO! I've GOT to get me one of these!
- Sonic: Big! What are you doin' here, buddy?
- Big: Fishin'.
- Sonic: I can see that. But what happened to Team Freedom? Weren't you still in the city when we left?
- Big: Nope.
- Sonic: But...well, then, what have you been doing all this time?
- Big: Fishin'.
- Tails (to Big): Hey, do you know about that project Rotor and I were working on?
- Big: Yeah. It's big. Like me!
- Tails: Haha--I bet! We got lost. Can you show us the way?
- Big: Sure.(Tails bows, Sonic golf-claps)
- Sonic: ...Huh...I guess all that happened on this world. My memories are starting to run together.
- Tails: What if...what if our new histories overtake the old ones?
- Sonic (seeing Rotor fighting Badniks): We'll worry about reality, memories, and all that junk later. Right now, it's hero time.
- Sonic (to a group of Badniks he smashes): Aw, so I've gotta be fast? I dunno guys...
- Rotor: Almost done, boys! I think we did it! There's no sign of... (Sees Silver Sonic arrive) ...Oh. Me and my big mouth...
- Sonic: Yeah! Thirty-six homing combo! Did you guys see--? (Realizes he's strayed too far from the others). ...Whoops.
- Big (stopping Silver Sonic): No! STOP! It's not nice to attack my friends!
- Rotor (destroying Silver Sonic): Ska-doosh!
- Sonic: Rotor? That's you, right?
- Rotor: Oh, c'mon. You haven't been away THAT long!
- Sonic: No, I mean...you look good, man!
- Rotor: Ha, okay? You too.
- Sonic: Chuck is okay. Bunnie's still with us. And Antoine's on his feet! And Sally's...Sally's on a mission. She's not a robot. She's okay.
- Axel: You're going to fly. In that.
- Dr. Eggman: It should get me as far as...um... Pop-quiz! What's the nearest base and Egg Boss?
- Axel: Uh, that'd be Lord Hood in Avalon, right?
- Dr. Eggman: Haha! It better be!
- Dr. Eggman: Till we meet again, my loyal Egg Soldiers!
- Efrika Egg Army Soldier: Why do we tolerate him again, sir?
- Axel: Because we have to. Besides, if the rumors are true, there's no way I'm getting on his bad side. If he's really gotten the Roboticizer to work again, I don't want to be the first guy in it.
- This issue's variant cover features a blueprint of Silver Sonic III. The icon of Sonic in the corner has been replaced by one of Doctor Eggman.
- The name, Sky Patrol, is based off of the Game Gear game, Tails Sky Patrol.
- This is the third arc in Archie Sonic comic history to have inter-connecting covers that form a single, larger image. Despite this, Sonic is still present on every cover, his speed leaving afterimages as he hops from one cover to the next.
- Uncle Chuck appears on the cover, despite not appearing in the issue itself.
- (Ironically, Rotor is on the cover of 254 despite not being in the story that Chuck appears in.)
- The vehicle Axel (and later Eggman) rides in is similar to his ride from Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, the Egg Monster.
- As of this issue, Eggman's Army has officially been renamed from the "Dark Egg Legion" to the "Egg Army", a change which is even noticed by Orbot, who doesn't recall Eggman's Army having that name. Additionally, new characters like Axel are referred to as an "Egg Boss" instead of a "Grandmaster". Though it has yet to be seen, this further supports the idea that several characters and elements created by former writer Ken Penders have been removed from the new reality.
- It's revealed in this issue that events based on the video game Sonic Adventure occurred in this timeline, as it did in the original. However it's interesting to note that Sonic is reminded of these events through seeing the bridge that leads to the "Final Egg" stage in the Mystic Ruins jungle: an element from the game that was never used in the aforementioned adaption. This indicates that this timeline's version of Sonic Adventure played out much more closer to the events in the game.
- Sonic makes use of the "Homing Attack" from Sonic Heroes, and even comments that he got a "thirty-six combo." Big also references the game by quoting, nearly word for word, his line from the Team Rose vs. Team Chaotix cutscene.
- Rotor's line when he takes out Silver Sonic, "Ska-doosh!", is a quote from Dreamworks' Kung Fu Panda. In addition, Sonic's line when he goes to help Rotor, "It's hero time!", is a quote from Ben 10.
- This issue marks the first time that Silver Sonic III has been defeated without Sonic aiding in the fight.
- The layout on the Sky Patrol computer screen showing the locations of each Freedom Fighter is based on the save-file selection screen from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- Rotor's flashbacks of the old timeline include:
- Uncle Chuck, on the cover, holds what appears to be a variant of the MilesElectic, a device Tails uses in Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Lost World.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places: