- "The Big Goodbye"
Some time in the past, Julian Kintobor finds himself being pursued by a pair of Overlander troops. He falls into a pit of mud and miraculously manages to evade their line of sight. A pair of brothers, Jules and Charles Hedgehog, are surprised to see Overlanders turn on their own kind. They load Julian on to their motorcycle and bring him before King Acorn. Impressed by his tactical knowledge and needing support to win the Great War, the king grants Julian the title of Warlord and lets him lead the Mobians into battle against the Overlanders. In the present, two SWATbots notice that Dr. Robotnik is having a pleasant dream and hesitate to wake him.
On the Floating Island, Sonic tries to convince Knuckles to help him clear his name, but Geoffrey St. John interjects, informing Knuckles that Sonic is suspected of murdering Sally Acorn. Knuckles attacks in a fit of rage, but Sonic easily jumps out of the way. Geoffrey orders Smiley and Fleming to release the Devil Dogs, but Sonic runs towards the nearby thicket and taunts them. Espio appears nearby and restrains him. Geoffrey tries to get Knuckles and Espio to turn Sonic over to him, but Knuckles and Espio refuse to take orders from outsiders. Suddenly, Dulcy wakes up and breaks up the fight, explaining to everyone that she can sense that Sonic is honest when he says he didn't murder Sally. Realizing the situation at hand, Geoffrey proposes they work together and return to Knothole. Knuckles tells Espio to gather the Chaotix and protect the island while he helps Sonic.
The citizens of Knothole are rounded up for Roboticization. Rotor and Tails try to sneak into the Bathysphere and Sea Fox to escape, but are caught by Drago Wolf and a team of Combots. Dr. Robotnik contacts Crocbot in Downunda, who tells the doctor that he's busy with an uprising at his labor camp but has already shipped the rare ore he asked for to Robotropolis. Robotnik, overjoyed by the fact that he'll be able to use the ore to power his Ultimate Annihilator and erase Knothole from existence, returns to his slumber.
Sonic, Knuckles, and Geoffrey arrive in Knothole and engage Drago's robotic minions to liberate the captured citizens. While the others handle the battle, Drago flees and Sonic chases after him. He runs into the Great Forest as fast as he can, but Sonic is hot on his heels. He's knocked out by a rock lobbed by Hershey Cat, who tearfully explains to Sonic that Drago tricked her into killing Sally. Sonic reassures her that she wasn't the only one who was tricked as he heads for Robotropolis.
Robotnik awakens from his nap as the cargo from Downunda arrives. His SWATbots inform him that Sonic has freed Knothole Village, but Robotnik brushes it off. Antoine and Bunnie, having been smuggled back to Robotropolis by the Downunda Freedom Fighters, watch Robotnik head to his control room. Just then, Sonic storms Robotropolis, confusing the defense systems by leaving after-images of himself. Sonic fights his way through Robotnik's headquarters, barreling through SWATbots and easily kicking Snively aside, but ends up running headfirst into Bunnie and Antoine. They explain that they've planted a bomb in the Ultimate Annihilator and urge Sonic to leave with them. Sonic tells them to leave without him, determined to settle the score with Robotnik.
Sonic arrives in the control room and confronts Robotnik, who shoots multiple energy blasts at him. In the confines of Robotnik's control room, Sonic is unable to use his speed properly, giving Robotnik the upper hand and allowing him to smack Sonic aside and fire the Ultimate Annihilator at Knothole. Sonic flies into a frenzy and knocks Robotnik into a wall while the computers cry out a warning that the Annihilator has experienced a meltdown and everything in the immediate area will be vaporized. Aware that they'll likely die and have nothing left to lose, Sonic and Robotnik begin their final battle. They trade blows back and forth and are eventually enveloped in a bright light as the command center explodes.
From the void of absolute nothingness, Sonic is summoned back to Robotropolis by his One Billionth Power Ring. He passes out as others arrive on the scene. Sonic wakes up in Knothole under the care of Rotor and Dr. Quack. Rotor explains that Knothole has become like a Zone and exists three hours in the future compared to the rest of Mobius and that the Annihilator created several new zones. Quack takes his turn to explain things and tells Sonic that the Neutron Chip in his Dream Watcher left a signal that allowed Robotnik to find Knothole. Snively kidnapped Quack's family to force him to play along with the scheme to swap the real King Acorn for an Auto Automaton. He also mentions that he saw Snively sabotage the Ultimate Annihilator, programming it to only harm Dr. Robotnik. Quack had kept quiet, praying that Robotnik would be destroyed once and for all. Sonic asks about Sally, and Quack explains that he falsified her medical records: Sally is in a coma and her "casket" is actually a recuperating chamber. Sonic rushes off to see her.
Sonic finds Sally in her glass casket and opens the lid. He admits that he loves her, gives her a kiss, and asks her to come back. Sally stirs, asking what he said, and Sonic says he’s happy to see her again. In the aftermath of Operation: EndGame, the real King Acorn was found, Doctor Quack was exonerated of his crimes and reunited with his family, Hershey was pardoned, Geoffrey St. John was given his position as the commander of his majesty's Secret Service, and Drago was arrested and sent to the Devil's Gulag. Snively's fate, however, is left unknown.
- "Freedom Fighters" Pinup
- Espio: "That's right! I only listen to Knuckles!"
- Dulcy: "Enough!"
- Espio: "Although I have been known to listen to a dragon every now and then..."
- Robotnik: "Well what of it? What? Wipe the grease out of your tin-plated earlobes, twits! That rodent is nothing to me! He less than nothing! And that's pretty danged small, if you ask me!"
- Sonic: "Oh...the heel bone's connected to the chest bone!"
- Snively: "OHH! OWW! You hurt my sternum!"
- Sonic: "Okay 'Julian', stop fiddling with those controls -- and turn around!"
- Robotnik: "Oh how I hate that hedgehog..."
- Sonic: "I love you, Sally! Please come back."
- Sally: "W--what did you say, Sonic?"
- Sonic: "I said -- I'm just happy to see you again!"
- Sonic, Hershey, and Dr. Quack are cleared of all perceived crimes against the kingdom.
- Sonic and Robotnik engage in a one-on-one battle.
- Knothole becomes a pocket zone three hours in the future.
- Numerous pocket zones are created by the Ultimate Annihilator.
- Robotnik is erased from existence due to the Ultimate Annihilator's effects.
- Sally is revealed to be alive.
- This is the series' second milestone issue.
Cameos & References
- Bean and Bark make cameo appearances in the battle with the Overlanders.
- A small, yellow and black creature shaped like a star is also seen in the Overlander battle. This creature is the hero of the self-titled Sega Genesis game, Ristar.
- A small humanoid creature with wild red hair and bushy eyebrows is seen fighting the Overlanders. This character is the hero of the self-titled Sega Saturn game, Astal. Patrick Spaziante has inserted Astal cameos in various issues of Sonic the Hedgehog, including the covers of Archie Sonic the Hedgehog #51, #69, #77, #89, #125, and Sonic Super Special #5 and #9. He can also be seen in the sketchbook pages of StH: #115.
"The Big Goodbye" has been replaced by "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and as such is considered non-canon.
"The Big Goodbye" has never been reprinted and is only available for direct purchase through digital services like the Sonic Comic App. Instead, reprints use the extended version of the story, "For Whom the Bell Tolls", from Sonic Super Special #6. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" has been reprinted in the following places:
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