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- Continued from Knuckles the Echidna #9
- This issue takes place right before Sonic Super Special #4
Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 56 was the fifty-sixth issue of the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- "Immortality Is Forever - Life Is Finite"
Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails find themselves in a strange Zone, piled on top of each other on a floating mass of rock. As Knuckles laments Mammoth Mogul's role in their exile as the second occasion of a Chaos Force wielding villain coming against him in the recent past-the other being the now powerless third Enerjak-Sonic convinces him to focus on dealing with their current situation rather than complaining about it. Suddenly the rock beneath them trembles, and Tails questions whether or not it is a living thing of some sort, which Knuckles ridicules-until it starts trying to eat them. Sonic deals with the problem by using his super speed to grind the rock into oblivion, only to leave the trio floating in space. Help arrives in the form of Athair, who seems to want the trio to follow him. Using his super speed, Sonic manages to manipulate the weird gravity of the zone to hurtle himself and Tails towards Athair, only to have the Echidna disappear and leave a vortex in his place. With little other hope of getting back to their friends, the trio fly into it.
Back on Angel Island, Mogul expresses his admiration of the bravery exhibited by the Knothole Freedom Fighters and Chaotix, who attempted to challenge him head on, though he deems their efforts a waste against his immense power. Having achieved a Super transformation, he dubs himself Master Mogul, and telekinetically casts away his defeated opponents. He then contemplates his plans to recall the banished trio of heroes-the only beings who might have posed a threat to him-and use them as his elite order enforcers once he has secured dominion over Mobius. Having decided to eliminate all their allies, he waits for them to emerge from hiding, as they are desperately attempting to find a means of striking back against him. Including Rotor Walrus, Charmy Bee, Deo Volente, members of the Dingo Regime, and Hershey Cat, the group is divided: some wanting to formulate a plan, while others are hopeless at the idea of facing Mogul's immense might. Their debate is interrupted by Mogul, who again declares himself unstoppable as he levels their hiding place, though they manage to escape. As he prepares to dispatch them, a portal opens up behind him, admitting Sonic and Knuckles armed with Power Rings, who quickly attack the bewildered Mogul.
Quickly recovering, Mogul quickly demonstrates that the energy of the twelve Chaos Emeralds within him is more than a match for their Power Ring enhanced abilities, and proceeds to blast the two with a lethal attack, much to Sally's horror. However, instead of being killed by the Chaos energy, the two heroes absorb it, and realize why they were sent back with so many rings: combined with the blast, the talismans enable them to transform into Super Sonic and Hyper Knuckles. Knocked through several buildings by his foes' retaliation, Mogul is more confused than ever, having recognized this ability in Sonic and Knuckles but believing it inaccessible without the presence of tangible Chaos Emeralds. He then spots the source of this impediment to his plans: Athair, whom the Mammoth apparently has a history with, the former Guardian often interfering with Mogul's intentions. He attempts to eliminate the interloper, only to find that Athair has tricked him with an illusion as he once fooled Dimitri before absorbing his powers. Sonic and Knuckles swoop in to continue their assault on Mogul, only to learn the truth of his abilities: his original Chaos Emerald was not the head of his cane, as previously believed, but was rather embedded in his chest.
Recounting briefly his encounter with the gem and the power it granted him-including immortality, hence his youthful presence-Mogul then employs his powers to physically move the Floating Island as part of his master plan. As the two heroes go flying, Sally is relieved to see them safe, but questions where Tails has gone, only to learn that they are similarly unaware. Mogul interrupts and suggests that they worry less about their missing comrade and more about their two doomed ones, only to come under attack himself. His assailant, hooded and caped, is bedecked in Power Rings in a similar fashion to Sonic and Knuckles upon their return, and doesn't even try to avoid Mogul's returning energy blast. Mogul's question as to who could avoid detection while remaining vulnerable to his attack is answered by the attacker himself, who revels in his new power. While thinking of himself as "Captain Super-Fox Man", he decides instead to go by the name given him by his benefactors: Turbo Tails. While Sonic and Knuckles are stunned by the change in their young teammate, Mogul is far from surprised, and realizes that the voices Tails speaks of are the Ancient Walkers, and that Tails himself is the long prophesied Chosen One.
Rotor, observing, realizes that Tails' stories about Downunda were indeed factual, and now sees why Tails was banished by Mogul alongside Sonic and Knuckles. Mogul acknowledges that the trio are indeed reputed to be the great champions of their age, Tails in particular, but vows to Athair-who is watching form a nearby balcony-that he has no intention of allowing the prophecies to come to pass. He then boasts that while the three heroes may be titans, his immortality and mastery of Chaos has made him a god, beyond even Dimitri's former glory. Tails then picks up on his mention of Dimitri, and reveals another surprise for the tyrant: Dimitri's Chaos Syphon, which he turns on Mogul. Recognizing the device, Mogul wonders whether Athair is responsible for its presence, or whether the Ancient Walkers-whom he has sensed observing the battle in secret-are to blame. He continues to assert his superiority, even as Helmut Von Stryker, Bunnie Rabbot, and others of his foes, freed by his loss of concentration, join the Super-powered trio in attacking him. Observing from Haven, Locke bemoans the chances of the allied forces, even with the Chaos Syphon, but does acknowledge the brilliance of the plan concocted by either Athair or the Walkers.
Sabre, meanwhile, questions whether or not Locke has been unnerved by the Walkers using methods so similar to his own, which his son acknowledges while wondering when the Brotherhood of Guardians is supposed to act in this crisis. Determined not to fall, Mogul employs his energies in seeking out others of their own kind, and homes in on the Chaos Chamber, where the two Chaos Emeralds keeping Angel Island aloft are kept. With such additional power at his disposal, Mogul is confident that even the Chaos Syphon won't be enough to stop him, and quickly unleashes an energy blast against Tails. While Locke is impressed by the enhanced abilities of Knuckles and his friends-abilities that no other Guardian has ever achieved-he and Sabre both realize that the three cannot stop Mogul alone due to his immense powers. While only the Ancient Walkers have true mastered the power of Chaos, Sabre and Locke realize that their limited abilities may hold the key to stopping Mogul. They reach out with their powers, and the entire battle site is enveloped in an explosion of Chaos.
The following morning, battle-damaged Echidnaopolis is still playing host to the confused heroes, the main trio having been returned to their normal forms-whether by the explosion or by other means, they are unsure. Remington, alluding to the mysterious transmission that the Freedom Fighters believed came from Knuckles, deduces that Knuckles suspects outside involvement, which Archimedes-knowing more than he is letting on-says makes sense. Knuckles remarks that more unanswered questions have been opened up that he intends to see answered, but is interrupted by the arrival of an Echidna Security Team officer carrying a wrapped bundle. Unwrapping it, Knuckles announces that the time has come to fulfill his promise, and he proudly present the Sword of Acorns to Sally at long last. Some time later, as the Freedom Fighters are preparing to leave, Sonic and Knuckles make amends for their previous conflicts, both acknowledging that they should have been on the same side the whole time. Admitting that they both enjoy being heroes, Knuckles then questions whether or not the recent developments in both their homes will leave them obsolete as defenders.
Sonic, for one, is not content with the idea of settling in to rebuild Mobotropolis, and suggests going after Dr. Robotnik's remaining Sub-Bosses. Knuckles declines the offer, afraid to leave the island given the dramatic events of the recent past. He also reveals that Mogul is now contained within a single, massive Chaos Emerald-the Master Emerald-which is the only thing keeping Angel Island aloft. Fearing the villain's future escape, Knuckles feels bound to remain on the island. Sonic goes to meet Tails, who seeing his friend's low spirits asks whether he and Knuckles had another fight. Sonic responds that he's just been doing quite a bit of thinking, something out of character for him, but then tells Tails how proud he is of his younger friend. Sonic decides that Tails just might the the perfect traveling partner, particularly given his role as the destined Chosen One.
- Master Mogul battles Super Sonic, Hyper Knuckles and Turbo Tails-who achieves a Super transformation for the first time.
- Mogul is sealed in the newly-created Master Emerald.
- Knuckles returns the Sword of Acorns to Sally.
- The Master Emerald, a powerful version of the Chaos emeralds and one of the main features in the Sonic games makes its first appearance. This event ties in the Master Emerald into the Archie Comic, though notably with a different history from the one featured in the games.
- Mogul, who makes his first appearance in the main series in this issue-having previously appeared in two special issues and the Knuckles the Echidna series-is eventually released when Dr. Eggman breaks open the black chaos emerald, releasing Chaos.(StH: #79, #94, #114)
- At one point Hershey is shown evading a blast when she never showed up with the other Freedom Fighters in Knuckles the Echidna Issue 9 nor anywhere else in the issue.
- Artist error: most characters-but not Sonic, Tails or Knuckles-are depicted with five fingers instead of four.
- This issue marks the first appearance of Remington, Helmut Von Stryker, Archimedes, Deo Volente, and Sabre in the main series, all of them previously appeared either in special issues or the Knuckles series.