Nerbs are a race of subterranean Mobians, known for their nerdy appearances and behavior as well as being rather snobbish towards other Mobians. Though they were rescued on one occasion by the efforts of Sonic the Hedgehog and his fellow Freedom Fighters, they were subsequently conquered by Dr. Eggman, and many became part of his Nerb Dark Egg Legion.
It was not until Dr. Robotnik began underground construction that threatened the Nerbs' air and water lines that the Knothole Freedom Fighters became aware of them. Meeting a Nerb scout who had come to the surface to investigate, they traveled to the city of Nerberhood to speak with the Nerb King, who blamed them for his people's problems regardless of having no proof. Expelling them from the city, the Nerbs were then surprised as the Freedom Fighters not only saved several of their number from Robotnik, but thwarted his digging efforts by flooding the Mobius Sewer System. The Nerbs promptly thanked the Freedom Fighters by making them honorary Nerbs, an honor that the Freedom Fighters didn't much enjoy or want. (StH: #10)
A number of Nerbs later willingly became part of the Nerb chapter of the Dark Egg Legion, led by a Grandmaster called The Foreman. Though the race had fallen to Dr. Eggman previously and been employed as mining labor, they were never subjected to Roboticization due to inherent work ethic. The vast majority of the race has apparently been subjected to the Legion, their king disappearing in the process, with the exception of a group of Nerb Freedom Fighters who bear heavy resemblance to the Knothole Freedom Fighters. The Legion took control of most of the Nerb tunnel network beneath Northamer, and also enslaved the Kraken race to assist in their mining operation. (SU: #37, CSE)
Society and Culture
The Nerbs live in a secluded society, having stayed underground and avoiding contact with other Mobians for centuries. This was apparently so successful that other Mobians, like Tails, did not even recognize a Nerb when they first encountered. They seem annoyed and offended by the thought of being near outsiders, refusing to consider joining forces with, or even talking to, the freedom fighters. When Sonic rescued three Nerbs from Dr. Robotnik, they refused to go with him, even though the alternative was being caught by Robotnik again. It was only after Sonic helped to save their kingdom from Dr. Robotnik that the Nerbs started to become more friendly towards others, or at least towards the Freedom Fighters.
The Nerbs also have a fairly strict code of conduct, and nonconformity is frowned upon. Sadly, the Eggman Empire took advantage of this fact, and most of the Nerbs are either too by-the-book to resist or actually enjoy the rigidity of their servitude.
The Nerbs have a 'traditional Nerb Costume', consisting of pants, a tucked-in white pocket shirt, silly hat, and pencils in their shirt pocket. This applies mainly to male Nerbs; female Nerbs apparently may apparently wear this attire as well, though they will often wear dresses. All Nerbs also wear glasses due to their poor vision.
The Nerbs have a King, referred to as his "Lowliness", who is the rightful leader of the Nerb society. Unlike other Nerbs, the king wears a red robe in place of the traditional Costume, in addition to a crown. He disappeared following the Foreman's takeover, and part of the objective of the Nerb Freedom Fighters-which appears to include the king's daughter-is to locate him. (CSE)
- It is unknown if the Nerbs are an actual Mobian species. If they are, it is likely that they are some form of Mole- or Ant-like Mobians. There is also the speculation that they can be Mobian Naked Mole Rats.
- Since they first appearance in StH: #10, the Nerbs have not appeared in any other issue for many years, not even during the Xorda Attack on Mobius, when they would have surely had some form of interest in at least their own survival. They came back to the comics in the 37th issue of Sonic Universe, and had their own page in The Complete Sonic Comic Encyclopedia.
All Nerbs share common traits of their race: green skin, large noses, and buck teeth. Many Nerbs have been shown to have hair, and all are known to wear glasses.