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Sonic the Hedgehog Publication Details Issue
September 14, 2016
Production Staff Writer First Appearances
Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 286 is the two-hundred eighty-sixth issue of Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
“Panic in the Sky” Part Three: The finale to the “Shattered World Saga” is reaching a fevered pitch! Sonic battles Dr. Eggman in a desperate bid to rescue Chip! The Freedom Fighters invade Eggman’s refinery against impossible odds! Rotor flies the Sky Patrol into a no-win battle with the Death Egg! And it only gets more nuts from there! Featuring the third of four connecting covers by comics pro Dan Schoening plus an “Egg Dragoon” variant by Mr. Sonic comics, Tracy Yardley!
In Eggman Land, Sonic is battling Dr. Eggman, who is piloting his new mech, the Egg Dragoon. Eggman orders Sonic to give up as he has complete control of the Dark Gaia energy, the Gaia Colossus and the fate of the world. He also mentions that his Egg Army will keep each chunk of the world weak and if anybody wanted him to be merciful and restore the world, they would have to meet all his demands.
Sonic takes no heed of Eggman's threats and attempts to run up to the Gaia Colossus' head, believing Chip was there as Eggman previously mentioned he did not want Sonic up there. However, Sonic is hit by a wave of electrical energy before he could reach the top. Eggman taunts Sonic, saying that the rest of the Freedom Fighters were not present to fight but Sonic replies saying they did not need to be as they were busy executing their plan, leaving him to handle the mad scientist. Eggman then angrily drives Sonic and the Egg Dragoon down the side of the Gaia Colossus.
Meanwhile, Sally and Antoine are seen holding down E-106 Eta, allowing Bunnie to powerfully punch the robot, destroying it. The trio decide to press on to the central tower and Sally asks Tails of his status. The fox was in his Tornado firing at E-108 Iota and after taking it down, he tells Sally that three more super badniks were on their way with a Badnik Horde and he'll give them some cover. Sally, Antoine and Bunnie then move on.
Elsewhere, the Sky Patrol takes a large hit from the Death Egg but it does not destroy the former. Nicole informs Rotor that the ship and its weapons were barely holding while Orbot tells Cubot that their usage of weapons has been draining their reserves, meaning they had to quickly end the battle and get to Eggman Land before Eggman got angry. Due to the Sky Patrol being in a holding pattern due to their damaged engine, Orbot plotted out where the ship's net move would be and focused all of the Death Egg's fire on that spot. The shot took out the Sky Patrol, leaving it to crash into the ocean. Rotor then asks if Nicole was okay leaving the ship on its reserves.
Chip is seen trying to escape his capsule while Sonic keeps getting cut off by Eggman. Eggman freezes Sonic with his concentrated ice blast and then attempts to kill Sonic with the Egg Dragon's drill arm. Luckily, the sun had set, turning Sonic into his Werehog form. He tosses the Egg Dragoon backwards and dodges his incoming drill, impaling the mech. Sonic then proceeds to lift and toss Eggman in his Egg Mobile out into the open. Sonic then destroys the Egg Dragoon and soon finds Chip. After freeing Chip, Sonic planned to make use of the Chaos Emeralds but is suddenly brought to his knees.
Eggman complains how everything aches and orders Orbot to move the Death Egg to the spire immediately. However, Orbot advises against this as Eggman Land was sending him worrisome readings. Eggman looks on in horror as Eggman Land slowly spirals out of control and curses Sonic for ruining his plans. Sally is seen having trouble trying to shut down spire and the Dark Gaia Energy leaves all of the badniks. Bunnie notes that animals did not seem to be inside any of them. Tails alerts Sally that Eggman Land was breaking apart and they needed to evacuate. Sally still attempted to shut down the spire but it was too late as her MilesElectric short circuits, forcing her to make a swift escape with Bunnie, Antoine and Tails on the Tornado.
The Dark Gaia energy that Sonic possessed also left him and Chip tells Sonic it was Dark Gaia's doing as he was calling his little fragments home, concluding that Dark Gaia had fully awoken. Chip explains that the two of them normally sleep in the core of the world for thousands of years, recovering from previous duels. However, they were awoken early resulting in the memory loss of Chip and the scattering of Dark Gaia. With Eggman's summoning spire drawing out all of Dark Gaia's energy, he had indirectly aided the beast in rebuilding itself. Chip notes that once Dark Gaia achieves his true form it would destroy all life.
Chip then cries out, believing he failed but Sonic cheers him up by asking him if he wanted to give up on all the people he has met on their adventure. Chip perks up and decides to continue the mission. Sonic then asks how Chip defeats Dark Gaia and Chip tells him that he battles it into submission with the Gaia Colossus and seals the both of them away, allowing the world to start over. However, Chip notes how these battles can take centuries but Sonic tells him that he has got him covered on that part. With the power of the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic transforms into Super Sonic and he and the Chip proceed to battle Dark Gaia, who has achieved its perfect form.
Chip encounters Dark Gaia, who is seen in a "Chip-like" form, only in a darker color scheme, bat-like wings, and wearing a black jacket. He boasts how he is opposite to his "Light Gaia" rival in every way. However, he becomes angry when Sonic ignores him while pushing Chip away; the hedgehog wanting nothing to do with this plot.
- Sonic fights the Egg Dragoon and rescues Chip.
- The Sky Patrol gets shot down.
- Dark Gaia awakens and absorbs its energy collected by Eggman. Sonic loses his ability to go Werehog in the process.
- Sonic attains his super form and prepares to fight Dark Gaia.
- Sonic: My friends don't need to be up here, I'm counting on them to handle the rest of the plan. Which means I'm free to handle you.
- Eggman: HANDLE me!?
- Sonic: Toy with? Mess with? Take your pick.
- Eggman: I'LL PICK WHAT'S LEFT OF YOU OFF THE PAVEMENT!
- This issues main cover is unusual in that the only part of Sonic that appears is his hand.
- This issue marks the last appearance of the Werehog.
- This issue marks the first official appearance of Dark Gaia, both regular and Perfect forms.
- Not counting Genesis, Worlds Collide, & Worlds Unite, this issue marks the first time in the comics we've seen Sonic become Super using the 7 Chaos Emeralds, as "Enerjak Reborn" has him using the Master Emerald and "Order From Chaos" was due to the Great Harmony, before the formation of the 7 Emeralds.
- This story arc shares its name with the main story from the Sonic & Knuckles special.
Cameos and References
The two Off-Panel titles reference two things:
- "I found you faker!" is what Sonic exclaimed during his second meeting with Shadow in Sonic Adventure 2.
- "Prepare for trouble, it's Chip's evil double!" references the two opening lines of Team Rocket's motto in the Pokémon anime series.
The Off-Panel strip itself may be based on some fan speculation that Dark Gaia may have a form like Chip. However, this may also/actually be a parody of the "Moebius/Anti-Mobius" plot that existed in the pre-Super Genesis Wave continuity of the comic series, which contains morally opposite versions of the main world's characters (e.g. Sonic's evil double, Scourge).
- Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 286 at Sonic News Network
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