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Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 256

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STH 256
Main Cover

STH 256 V1
End of the World Variant Cover

Sonic the Hedgehog
Publication Details
Issue 

256

Date Published 

January 8, 2014

Publishing Company 

Archie Comics

Production Staff
Cover Artist
  • Ben Bates (main)
  • Tracy Yardley! (variant)
  • Phyllis Novin (variant)
  • Dustin Evans (variant)
Writer
  • Ian Flynn
Pencils
  • Tracey Yardley!
Inks
  • Terry Austin
Letters
  • John Workman
Colors
  • Steve Downer
Assistant Editor
  • Vincent Lovallo
Editor
  • Paul Kaminski
Editor in Chief
  • Victor Gorelick
President
  • Mike Pellerito
Special Thanks

Anthony Gaccione and Cindy Chau at SEGA Licensing

First Appearances
  
Archie Sonic the Hedgehog issue 256 is the two hundred and fifty-sixth issue of the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.

Summary

Official Solicitation

It's the dramatic conclusion to the epic 'Countdown to Chaos' saga! In Part Four, it's a race against time as the countdown reaches its thrilling end! Metal Sonic is out to kill Sally and the Death Egg II has launched-things are not going well for our true blue hero! Can he and Tails get to Mobotropolis in time to save the day? And what horrifying discovery awaits Dr. Eggman? You definitely won't want to miss this earth-shattering climax of the storyline that shook the Sonic comic books to the core! Featuring the final adjoining cover in the series from artist Ben Bates, and a special 'end of the world' variant cover from Tracy Yardley!

Story One

Countdown to Chaos: Part Four - The Princess and the Hammer
(This story takes place between Sonic Universe #58 and #59)

Amy, Cream, Cheese, Bean and Bark have just arrived in Mobotropolis after their adventure with Blaze in the Sol Zone.  Amy immediately thinks about Sonic and how he must have (or at least, better have) missed her, while Cream is concerned that her mother must be worried sick about her.  Amy assures her that they will visit Vanilla and tell her about their adventures over tea like always, the mention of which excites Bean.  However, the conversation is cut short when an escape pod is suddenly struck out of the sky and lands right next to the group, barely missing them.  The pilot is none other than Princess Sally Acorn, who uses energy blades from her bracelets to cut her way out of the pod, and is relieved to see Amy, having sent a distress signal previously.  The princess mentions that she is under attack by Metal Sonic, only for the killer robot to appear right in front of her, under orders from Dr. Eggman to kill her.  Sally engages Metal Sonic while lamenting that Amy didn't bring more back-up, though the pink hedgehog quickly knocks away the robotic doppleganger with her Piko-Piko Hammer, confident that she can hold her own against any Sonic. 

While the fight with Metal Sonic continues, Cream attempts to persuade Bean and Bark to provide assistance, but since she doesn't have any money on her (as well as them being wanted criminals), the two decide to bail on the girls.  While Cream is yelling at them, she barely dodges an attack from Metal Sonic, which prompts Cheese to charge at the robot.  The attack has no effect whatsoever and Cheese is easily swatted away, but the distraction gives Amy an opportunity to attack, though Metal counters this with his Black Shield.  Cream saves Amy from Metal Sonic's chest laser, and Sally re-enters the fight, asking where the other Freedom Fighters are.  Amy informs her that she just got back from Blaze's world and didn't know anything about a distress signal, meaning the girls are alone in their fight against Metal Sonic.  The robot charges the two while they are talking, though Cream manages to lift them both out of harm's way just in time.  Though the girls realize they are outmatched, they know they can't let Metal Sonic win and decide to launch an all-out attack.

As the girls charge Metal Sonic, Cheese once again provides a distraction by attacking the robot's head.  This allows Amy and Sally to both land a direct hit with their respective weapons, but Metal Sonic survives by activating his Burst Shield matrix.  The Royal Palace Guard suddenly appears to provide assistance, only for Metal Sonic to easily plow through them all.  As the girls tend to the wounded soldiers, Amy asks Sally about the distress signal she sent, to which the princess replies that if they were getting back-up, it would have come by now.  As if on cue, a familiar Spin-Dash appears from a bi-plane flying overhead, landing a devastating hit on Metal Sonic.  The assailant is none other than Sonic the Hedgehog himself, who greets the girls while they express both joy and annoyance at his perfect timing.  Sonic thanks them for softening up Metal Sonic for him, and then challenges his damaged rival to a race.  As the two dash out of the city, Amy is upset that they did all the work while he steals all the glory, though Sally points out he did succeed in luring Metal Sonic away from the innocent civillians.

Outside Mobotropolis, Sonic taunts his robotic doppleganger for the damage he took from fighting the girls, only for Metal to retort that his damage is minimal and he is still faster than Sonic.  For once, Sonic isn't in the mood to argue, having only been the distraction while Tails got a lock on Metal Sonic from the Tornado; on that note, the fox proceeds to nail the killer robot with a missile barrage.  Sonic is startled when Metal Sonic emerges from the blast apparently ready to attack again, only to quickly realize that the robot's legs and torso were blown off in the explosion.  Still alive, the defeated Metal Sonic swears that he will surpass his organic counterpart eventually, which prompts Sonic to tell him to go crawling back to Eggman, having more important things to worry about right now.  After informing Tails of Metal Sonic's defeat, Sonic rushes back to the city and proceeds to give Sally a tearful embrace, much to Amy's chagrin and Cream's delight.  The surprised princess asks Sonic what has gotten into him, to which Sonic replies that he has missed her, knowing that Sally doesn't remember being a robot.  Noticing Amy's predictable jealousy, Sonic assures her he was also worried about her and asks her where she has been, to which Amy is only able to respond that Blaze says hi.  

From this, Sonic is able to reason that Amy ended up in the Sol Zone due to the effects of the Genesis Wave, which confuses Amy.  Sally points out that Sonic is making no sense, but the overjoyed hedgehog simply takes both girls by the shoulder and says that he is just being too fast as per usual, expressing his happiness at Amy's safe return and Sally no longer being a robot, which confuses them both.  After a quick but happy reunion between Sally and King Acorn, the Freedom Fighters all assemble at the Sky Patrol in Soumerca, which Sonic and Rotor proudly present.  While Rotor is happy to unveil their new base, he notes that there are still certain things left undone.  After Rotor hands NICOLE over to Sonic, the hedgehog asks her if she is able to restore both Sally and Amy, to which the supercomputer replies that it is possible, but only if they touch her simultaneously.  Sonic calls Sally and Amy over to him, and shares his story of how Eggman tried to rewrite reality using the Genesis Wave.  When Sonic (as Super Sonic) attempted to restore the world to normal, Eggman interfered, disrupting the process, and as a result the world was changed.  As a side-effect, some of the left-over energy from the wave was transferred to NICOLE, which damaged her systems, but also allowed her to restore people's memories of the unaltered world.  Though the story surprises Amy and Sally, the latter points out that with their prior experiences with alternate realities, it wasn't impossible.  She asks NICOLE what will happen once her systems are restored, to which NICOLE responds that she will hopefully be able to analyze and find out exactly what has happened to their world.

Bunnie warns Sally to brace herself, having had her own harrowing experience with regaining her old memories, though the princess is adamant in doing whatever is necessary to fix NICOLE, especially if the world is at stake.  Sally and Amy reaffirm their confidence one last time, and Sonic hands NICOLE over to them, telling them not to say they weren't warned.  The two place their hands on NICOLE, and memories of the unaltered Mobius return to them.  Though the process proves jarring for them both, Sally is clearly the more troubled of the two, horrified by her actions as Mecha Sally.  The princess thanks the others for stopping her and apologizes profusely, then falls to her knees and starts sobbing uncontrollably.  She is then left to be comforted by Bunnie, while a restored NICOLE suddenly shouts at Sonic to launch the Sky Patrol immediately, stating that the Genesis Wave didn't just rewrite their world.  As the air base takes to the sky, Rotor asks NICOLE what the rush is about while placing a Power Ring in her miniature handheld, allowing the supercomputer to appear in her physical form.  NICOLE states in horror that her readings were far worse than anticipated, and explains that the Genesis didn't just rewrite their world; rather, the entire multiverse has collapsed in upon itself.

The scene then cuts to the Death Egg II, while Dr. Eggman gives the same explanation to Orbot and Cubot, saying that even their molecular make-up was altered to fit their new histories in their new universe.  He goes on to explain that with the first Genesis Wave, he only rewrote their own world, and even that nearly destroyed it.  This time, he rewrote everything, and all that energy has now been focused on their planet, effectively causing the world to tear itself apart.  Sonic and Tails try to ask NICOLE how this can be prevented while Orbot and Cubot do the same with Eggman, only to receive the same answer from both sides: it's too late!  At that moment, the ground below both the Sky Patrol and the Death Egg II crumbles and breaks apart while glowing with purple energy, leaving Sonic, Sally, Amy, Tails, Bunnie, Antoine, Rotor, Big, Cream and Cheese to witness in horror the chaos that is ensuing:

The end of the world has begun!!!

Off-Panel

Rotor modifies an old weapon of Eggman's to serve a new purposes: to launch chili dogs for Sonic.

Quotes

  • Cream: Miss Blaze did it!  We're home!
  • Amy: We sure are!  I bet Sonic missed me...He better have missed me...


  • Sally: That thing gives Sonic a run for his money.


  • Sonic: Hey, ladies. Somebody call for a hero?
  • Amy: Oh, so now you show up?
  • Sally: As usual, your timing is perfect and maddening.


  • Metal Sonic: I *zzt* will surpass you...


  • Sonic: Welcome to our new home away from home.  Presenting--the SKY PATROL!


  • Bunnie (trying to warn Sally about the memory-restoring process): Y'all need to brace yourselves, tho'.  It's a jarrin' experience by itself, but this other life...things were so different, Sally-Girl.  And you...


  • Amy: We're the FREEDOM FIGHTERS.  As long as we've got each other, we can handle any crisis.


  • Sally (upon regaining her old memories): ...Tried to start a war...things I said...things I did...almost murdered... (breaks into tears) ...but you stopped me...thank you...I'm so sorry...so, so sorry...
  • Bunnie (comforting her): Shh...that wasn't you.  You're safe now.  It's over.


  • Sonic: Whoa--hold on, NICOLE.  We save the world all the time!
  • Tails: Right!  What do we do to stop it?
  • Orbot: ...Ha!  Ha-Ha!  Good one, sir.  You had me going there, boss.  You have a plan, yes?
  • Cubot: You're a genius!  You can fix this, right?
  • NICOLE: Stop it?
  • Eggman: Fix it?
  • NICOLE & Eggman: IT'S TOO LATE!

Key Events

  • Sally meets up with Amy and Cream after their adventure in the Sol Zone, and the three girls fight Metal Sonic while Bean and Bark bail on them.
  • Sonic arrives to help the girls and defeats Metal Sonic in a race.
  • Sally and Amy both get their old memories back by both touching NICOLE at the same time.
  • It is revealed that the Super Genesis Wave effected the entire multiverse rather than just the Prime Zone.
  • The planet breaks apart under the pressure of the excess Genesis Wave energy.

Background Information

  • This issue marks Sally's first non-cameo appearance, as well as her first meeting with Sonic, as her normal self since Sonic #230.
  • The background of the variant cover was first seen in a three-page advertisement for the post-Worlds Collide storylines for the Sonic and Mega Man comics in Sonic #250.
  • The variant makes two references to the game Sonic Unleashed:
    • The tagline above the title, "The World Adventure Begins!", is based on the game's Japanese title, Sonic World Adventure.
    • The "End of the World Variant" logo is styled similarly to the Sonic World Adventure logo.
  • Additionally, the fact that Mobius is breaking up, along with solicits from future issues, indicate that the Countdown to Chaos arc is a setup for an adaptation of Sonic Unleashed.
  • The original solicit stated that the Aquatic Ruin Zone would be appearing in the story. While it does not appear in the issue itself, the zone is referenced in the Off-Panel strip.
  • The title of this issue's main story is possibly a play on "The Princess and the Cobbler", one of several names given to the animated movie The Thief and the Cobbler.
  • Eggman's explanation over what happened with the Super Genesis Wave also explains why no one in the Mega Man comic completely remembers the events of Worlds Collide (though Wily had a sudden urge to smash eggs after returning); since the multiverse had rebooted, and with Mobius heavily altered, the crossover was effectively negated for both universes.
  • Rotor's "Success!" face in the Off-Panel strip resembles the popular "Nyoron~" face made by the titular character of the gag manga strip Nyoron! Churuya-san, a spinoff of the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise.
  • Based on Sally's comments, it seems that the only areas that they heard of or visited were the Sol Zone, Silver's world, and Special Zone.
  • When Cheese the chao starts to attack Metal Sonic he gets hit on the head similar what he did to E-123 Omega from Sonic Universe comic #22.

Reprint History

This issue has been reprinted in the following places:

Continuity

  • "Countdown to Chaos: Part 4" occurs directly between the events of "Pirate Plunder Panic" (SU: #55-#58) and "Shadow Fall" (SU: #59-#62).

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