Merlin Prower was the wizard of the Kingdom of Acorn and uncle to Miles "Tails" Prower. An old friend of Maximillian Acorn's, he went into hiding prior to Dr. Ivo Robotnik's military coup, becoming a charlatan. He would encounter Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails once each before finally revealing himself to them, at which point he temporarily resided in Knothole and then in New Mobotropolis. Having been named one of the Neo Walkers by the Ancient Walkers, he left soon afterwards to explore his connection to the Chaos Force.
Early Meetings with the Triple Threat
Prior to the rise of Dr. Ivo Robotnik, Merlin-the heir to a family with a history of magical ability-was a student of the Chaos Force under the Ancient Walkers. By their request, he pledged his services to Maximillian Acorn as Court Wizard, though he downplayed himself as a charlatan. At some point, he apparently went into exile, leaving behind his brother Amadeus and sister-in-law Rosemary. Though he would remain in his exile during the war against Robotnik, he helped a number of citizens escape Mobotropolis. Additionally, though he refrained from aiding the Knothole Freedom Fighters directly, he did appear to a young Sonic the Hedgehog to give him Tails' first pair of shoes in exchange for a sack of magical stones the Hedgehog had found. As it turned out, the stones were worthless; Merlin requested them as an excuse to get his gift to Tails without revealing himself. (StH: #190, SSS: #5, CSE)
Secluding himself in a region of the Great Forest thought to be abandoned, Merlin continued studying the Chaos Force, gaining a number of remarkable abilities as he progressed. Years later, Knuckles the Echidna met Merlin while searching for the Sword of Acorns, overcoming a number of illusions set by Merlin as security before finally reaching the wizard himself. Sadly, even Merlin was unaware of location of the Sword, though he did direct Knuckles to search for the mysterious Land of the Dark. (SLV, CSE)
Later, Merlin would be forced to deal with the Guardian-who had been driven mad with pain following his transformation into Chaos Knuckles-by healing his nephew Tails and using a spell to force his transformation into Turbo Tails at the behest of Athair. Sending Turbo Tails to battle against Chaos Knuckles, he then followed, only to learn after the battle that his nephew had been replaced with a duplicate. Despite this unsettling event, Merlin returned to hiding, as Athair cautioned against revealing the nature of the duplicate immediately.(StH: #95, #96, #97)
The Prower Family Reunited
Tails would learn of Merlin from Athair, but wouldn't meet his uncle until the dying Ancient Walkers directed him to travel to Knothole. Merlin went there in search of the power of the Source of All, the only thing that could possibly save the Ancient Walkers and prevent the escape of Mammoth Mogul from his Chaos Emerald, which had been entrusted to Merlin after Mogul's defeat at the hands of Titan Tails. Accompanied by Sir Connery, Paladin of the Ancient Walkers and wielder of the Sword of Light, he arrived in Knothole and had a warm first meeting with his nephew. Before they could get to know each other, though, they were attacked by the Destructix, a band of criminals attempting to steal Mogul's emerald. Merlin himself was nearly choked to death by Flying Frog who attempted to strangle him with his scarf so he could not cast any spells. The crooks were defeated by the Freedom Fighters and Chaotix, and Merlin was able to subdue the amphibian by enchanting his own scarf to tie him up. After making his case to King Elias Acorn, Merlin received the Crown of Acorns and the first half of his mission was complete. Unfortunately, at that same moment the Sword of Acorns was used in New Megaopolis's Egg Vineyard by the Arachne to release Merlin's predecessor as Royal Wizard, Ixis Naugus, from the Zone of Silence. The resulting dimensional breach killed the already-weak Ancient Walkers, and Mogul was released from his Emerald. (StH: #162)
Mogul defeated Merlin and his young allies single handily before recruiting the Destructix, only for Ixis Naugus to arrive and challenge him for the Crown of Acorns. Merlin, Connery, Elias, and the Freedom Fighters and Chaotix did battle separately with the forces of the two villains, until Naugus learned that Mogul had founded the Order of Ixis and submitted to him, offering him the Sword of Acorns. Connery then sacrificed himself to destroy the Acorn artifacts, and the battle ended with the capture of the villains by the Egg Fleet. After a service held for the brave Paladin, Merlin joined Tails, Sonic, and Knuckles in discussing how they might fare in the future without the Ancient Walkers, the wizard agreeing with Tails' assertion that Athair was still strong and citing "connections" of his own. (StH: #163, #164)
Shortly afterwards, Merlin would use the power of a Chaos Emerald obtained from Feist by Sonic and Tails, together with Knuckles' Guiding Star Gem, to transport himself and the three young heroes to Argentium, homeworld of the Bem, where his brother and sister-in-law had been stranded for some time. The Prower family enjoyed a warm reunion before traveling back to Mobius, where Amadeus and Rosemary began advocating reform in the government. Not entirely supportive of his brother's radical ideas, Merlin remained neutral during the ensuing feud between Amadeus and King Elias, which eventually resulted in the formation of the Council of Acorn. (StH: #170, #176, #178, #179)
Merlin also refrained from participating in the struggle against the second Enerjak, though he would later use his magic to cleanse Tails, Mina Mongoose, and Mighty the Armadillo of a mind controlling spell placed on them in the past by Mammoth Mogul. He performed a similar cleansing on Sonic and Knuckles, just to ensure that the Hedgehog and Echidna suffered no ill effects from interacting with a similar spell cast on the Master Emerald by Dr. Finitevus, which at the time had not affected Sonic. Determined to find out why, Merlin departed from New Mobotropolis, despite Tails' sadness at seeing him go and Merlin's own at having to depart. (StH: #187)
Just prior to their death, the Ancient Walkers named Merlin as one of their three successors, the Neo Walkers, together with Athair and Aurora. As a result, it can be inferred that Merlin's quest to find answers about Sonic's mysterious nature will also lead him to explore his own connection to the Chaos Force more fully, so that he may achieve the same level of unity with it as his two compatriots. He was not alone in his quest, for Athair would manifest himself as a mentor to the younger Neo Walker. (StH: #162, CSE)
Merlin is a kind, friendly individual who is cordial to any goodly individual whom he meets. He forms strong bonds with whomever he meets, and in particular has a powerful sense of family loyalty and affection. The only thing that appears stronger is his dedication to his duties of protecting Mobius, which he pursues with the utmost dedication. Though young in comparison to the other Neo Walkers, he brings a fresh perspective to the trio.
A trained wizard, Merlin is well-versed in the arcane uses of the Chaos Force and other mystical powers. He is capable of creating realistic illusions, transporting himself and others to other locations instantaneously (though greater distances require the aid of mystical power sources), gazing into Mobius's alternate futures (such as the one containing the Freedom Fighters of the Galaxy), inducing Super transformations using his magic, and performing spells of cleansing magic. Given his years spent in isolation, it is likely that many other abilities are also at his disposal, including many that Tails, Sonic, and Knuckles have never seen before. Despite his considerable knowledge, he is not that impressive of a combatant, certainly not on the level of Mammoth Mogul, Ixis Naugus, or even the Freedom Fighters. Part of this is due to the fact that he relies on magical skills, and thus is physically ordinary and unskilled unlike many of his allies in the battle against evil-or so it seems. Of course, given his propensity for deception, the amount of energy he does command, and the fact that, even without intervention, events still seem to work themselves out for the best, whether or not he has displayed the limits of his powers could be open to question.
- Merlin's name obviously comes from the famous Arthurian wizard, Merlin.
- In the Off Panel StH: #237, a sign reading "Merlin was here" appears in a clearing occupied by Thrash the Tasmanian Devil, Mighty the Armadillo, Ray the Flying Squirrel, and Bunnie Rabbot-D'Coolette, referencing Merlin's solo departure and the long duration of his absence from the comic at that point. Writer Ian Flynn has revealed that a story featuring Merlin is in the works, but is currently put off indefinitely. The chances of this story ever seeing the light of day after the Post-Super Genesis Wave reboot is unlikely.