Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 53 was the fifty-third issue of the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- "Unfinished Business"
As the Knothole Freedom Fighters and the Substitute Freedom Fighters, amongst others, investigate the ruins of Robotropolis, Hamlin Pig alerts Sally Acorn to an incoming aircraft. Antoine D'Coolette suggests that Sally stay behind him and Bunnie Rabbot for safety, which Sally dismisses, particularly upon recognizing the new arrivals: Sir Knuckles the Echidna in a Dark Legion saucer, accompanied by his new ally Julie-Su. After being introduced-and finding out that the two, while initially in conflict, discovered that they had certain things in common-Sally questions whether or not they're in a relationship, which the pair quickly deny. Sally then informs Knuckles that they have important business to discuss-namely, the results of his recent quest to find the Sword of Acorns. Though Knuckles was thought to have been successful, the Sword was briefly thought to be unnecessary when her father, Maximillian Acorn, apparently recovered on his own.
In truth, he had been replaced by an Auto Automaton; upon discovering this, Sally had attempted to use the Sword to cure his crystalline affliction, only for it to fail. Rotor Walrus was then able to determine that the Sword they had been given was a forgery, and Sally had determined to set out to find the true sword herself. However, with her duties in the reclaimed Mobotropolis, Sally had determined that she would be unable to, and so had requested that Knuckles come to see if he would be willing to resume his quest. Knuckles regrettably declined, having responsibilities of his own: namely, the return of Echidnaopolis to Angel Island following the activation of the Ultimate Annihilator. Indeed, he reveals that the only reason he responded to her summons was to get away and try and sort things out, to which Sally responded that Sonic was going through similar difficulties, and suggested that Antoine take him to see the Hedgehog so that the two of them could speak.
Leaving Julie-Su to go off with the rest of the Freedom Fighters, Knuckles and Antoine went to see Sonic, who was actually happy to see Knuckles. After thanking the Echidna for his help in the recent final battle with Dr. Robotnik, the two shake hands, only to be interrupted by a voice calling "Maurice." Groaning, Sonic is embarrassed by the arrival of his father Jules, who is addressing Sonic by the name Maurice. Antoine is highly amused, and Knuckles confused, while Jules responds that Maurice is actually his middle name, but is cut off by an irate Sonic before he can reveal his son's given first name. The younger Hedgehog asserts that his "name is Sonic-PERIOD!", while Antoine goes running off to tell everybody else. Sonic chases him off, while Knuckles inquires if Jules is indeed Sonic's father, to which Jules responds yes, though Sonic doesn't see to treat him like it. Knuckles expresses his understanding, due to having problems with his own parents, and the pair walk off together with Jules offering Knuckles some sage wisdom while leading him off to dinner.
- "Sounds Of Silence" - Part One
Sonic and Sally are on a rise overlooking Mobotropolis, looking over Robotnik's former holdings and contemplating the fact that all of it is now in their hands. Sonic remarks that Sally must be enjoying being a princess, only for Sally to retort that she's far from relaxed-particular with having to worry about such dangerous devices as the Ultimate Annihilator. Sonic agrees, and then notes that Sally seems out-of-sorts; she protests that she doesn't want to bother him with her "dumb problems," leading an irate Sonic to retort that her problems are a serious matter. Sally then admits that she is afraid of the current situation, in which she has found herself no longer merely the leader of a resistance cell, but ruling the Kingdom of Acorn in her father's stead. Added to that, many of the Robians wish to form their own colony apart from the city, and their are strange Zones popping up everywhere as well.
Apparently overwhelmed by the weight of it all, Sally throws her arms around Sonic, adding the fact that her father is slowly being crystallized and that they don't know how to heal him. Geoffrey St. John then arrives and remarks that they may have taken steps in that direction, greeting the pair-kissing Sally on the hand-and informing them of the efforts of Rotor, Uncle Chuck, and Dr. Quack with the portal to the Zone of Silence created by the late Robotnik. He informs them that they have launched a probe into the zone in order to learn more about it, which Sonic feels is unsafe; his concerns are verified as an explosion occurs in the city, prompting the trio to run to the portal site.
- "Sounds Of Silence" - Part Two
The group finds their friends unconscious at the feet of a trio of figures, several villains from the Zone whom Sonic was afraid might escape thanks to the probe. The leader of the new arrivals recognizes Sally, and introduces himself as Ixis Naugus, a powerful sorcerer. While Sonic doesn't know the wizard, he does recognize one of his associates-the former Warlord, Kodos Lion-but is interrupted in noting this by a blast from Naugus' wand.
The wizard prepares another blast, which Sonic evades, grabbing Sally in the process, and claiming that Naugus has to hit him to destroy him. Kodos steps forward in answer to the challenge, only to be opposed himself as Geoffrey fires several crossbow bolts into the haft of his axe, though the Skunk apparently missed his real target. He then directs Sonic to get Sally to safety, only to be attacked by Naugus' other associate, Uma Arachnis. Naugus then prepares to blast the Hedgehog again, remarking that it's a pity that Sonic won't live to see Naugus "assume [his] rightful rulership of Mobotropolis"; however, Sonic uses his speed to thwart the attack. With the villains temporarily stunned, Sonic and Sally-joined by the awakened trio and carrying an unconscious Geoffrey-head into Robotnik's tunnel network, much to Naugus' anger. In response to his minions' queries as to heir next step, Naugus responds that they will ensure that King Acorn tells them the truth of the matter.
- "Sounds Of Silence" - Part Three
Later, in Castle Acorn, the heroes explain the situation to King Acorn, and wonder why the trio of villains are seemingly unaffected by their time in the Zone of Silence. Max recognizes the wizard's name, and informs the startled group that Naugus' claims to being the city's rightful ruler are apparently true. Dr. Quack assumes that Max may be suffering from the effects of his crystallization, which Max denies, claiming that he is more lucid than he has been for some time, and telling a concerned Sally that he never expected Naugus to escape the Zone. He then informs them that his crystallization is not the result of exposure to the Zone of Silence as they had previously believed.
While in the Zone, Max had survived using his various skills for some time, but was eventually driven mad by the Zone's sound/vibration cancelling properties. He was nearly swallowed by a black hole in the zone, only to be saved by Naugus, who made him regret his survival. Naugus, who had served as the Royal Wizard, had disappeared years ago, during which time he had apparently created the Zone. Having used his Ixis Magicks and the Zone's properties to develop protection against the madness-inducing effects of the Zone, mainly involving the ability to transform between a flesh-and-blood and crystalline state at will. Like Kodos and Uma before him, Max swore fealty to the wizard in exchange for the gift, but lost it after being rescued from the Zone.
Worn out from his story, Max collapses back into bed, while Chuck considers the grim possibility that Naugus may be their rightful king thanks to Max's oath to him. However, Sally quickly declares that her father's condition leaves him in no state to decide the fate of the kingdom, and determines to reject Naugus' claims.
- "Sounds Of Silence" - Part Four
An explosion interrupts them, and Sonic identifies its source by a chunk of green crystal that comes flying out of the rubble. The Royal Army guards charge the breach, only to be defeated by Kodos. Sonic then faces off with the Lion, obeying Naugus' orders to finish the battle, while the others roll Max's bed away from the action. Uma then attacks, intending to shatter Max's body, only to be thwarted by Geoffrey, who then realizes hat he is missing his crossbow. Fortunately, it turns up-wielded by Sally, who uses it to drop the bed's canopy on Uma while Sonic strikes Kodos in the head. Seeing his minions at bay, Naugus uses his wand to transform them into their crystalline states, leaving them virtually invulnerable to attack.
Sonic surprises everyone by calling a time out, informing Naugus that he isn't going to win, however much he might want everyone to believe that he will. Naugus threatens him, but Sonic points out that his crystal powers can be used against him. Naugus fires at him anyway, only for Sonic to emerge unharmed-with his gloves and shoes crystallized. Sonic reveals that he has discovered the secret of Naugus' magic: aside from his oath-bound minions, his spell can only affect inanimate objects, which is why he had avoided targeting his magical blasts directly at the heroes. Using his speed, the Hedgehog then seizes Naugus' wand and smashes it, which leaves Kodos and Uma as crystal statues incapable of moving. Naugus himself escapes, but Sonic is confident that he's survived and will return.
- Knuckles: "Maurice?! Who--? Is he talking to you?"
- Ixis Naugus and his followers, Kodos Lion and Uma Arachnis, escape from the Zone of Silence.
- Naugus attempts to seize the throne of Mobotropolis but is thwarted by the Freedom Fighters, while his minions are left crystalline and immobile after the destruction of his wand.
- This issue is Julie-Su's first appearance outside of the Archie Knuckles the Echidna comic series.
- "Unfinished Business" serves as a recap of recent events in the comic.
- Naugus being freed by a probe sent from Mobotropolis was presented as an accident in this issue. It would later be revealed that the probe had been sabotaged. (StH #233)
- Naugus cries "Vail's Bones!", which would serve as the basis for the character Ixis Vale and the involvement her remains would have in SU: #44.
Cameos & References
- The title "Sounds of Silence" is a reference to the Simon and Garfunkel song "The Sound of Silence".
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
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