Sonic Live! was the seventh single issue special in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- "The Last Game Cartridge Hero"
On a dark and stormy night, Dr. Robotnik demands Sonic to arrive and challenge him. As the hedgehog arrives at his usual pace, Robotnik taunts him by presenting Princess Sally as his hostage, who is paralyzed due to a mechanical helmet on her head. When Sonic demands that Robotnik let Sally go and focus on him, Robotnik summons a SWATbot unit to open fire... and succeeds in vaporizing Sonic.
At that moment in another world, a human child named Steve is seen playing a video game, and it is revealed that Sonic's defeat is due to his gameplay. He and his sister Jessie are called by their mother to get to school and they leave the living room, not noticing Sonic's arm as he reaches through the screen. Rather than being dead, Sonic is now apparently trapped in a strange 'in-between' zone that even he cannot identify. Back in Mobius, Robotnik is gloating to the rest of the imprisoned Freedom Fighters over Sonic's death and how no one is coming to save them now.
Steve and Jessie later return from school and start up the video game again, and Sonic sees Steve sitting in front of him. Deciding to try and make contact, Sonic reaches out through their TV screen again and manages to pull the kids into his side of reality. Steve and Jessie are instantly amazed to see their hero in the flesh, and the three of them journey together through another wall in hopes of returning to Mobius.
Meanwhile, Robotnik has lined up the Freedom Fighters to load them into his newest weapon: a missile that will launch a network of killer satellites into orbit around Mobius and kill the heroes in the process. Sonic arrives with his new friends and manages to knock Robotnik unconscious, but Robotnik ends up falling onto his remote, which starts the missile's launch sequence. Sonic grabs Steve and Jessie and makes an incredible dash for the control room. While Sonic tries to figure out how to stop the missile, Robotnik recovers and sees a strange beam of light, which he deduces to be where Sonic entered from.
Sonic manages to stop the missile, but he gets no time to catch his breath when the beam of light suddenly grows and sucks Jessie in, forcings Sonic and Steve to follow her into another strange zone. When they arrive, Robotnik appears with a SWATbot army to take them into a large facility, where many mechanical Robotniks are hard at work building weapons.
After the tour, Robotnik has Sonic and the kids thrown into a prison cell. Inside, they meet a pair of prisoners named Mori and Jerry, who explain that in their world, Sonic is "just a character in a game cartridge". However, they explain that Sonic's creation as a video game character was not just the result of a staff artist's sketch. Rather, they were based on images received over a prototype multi-dimensional portal.
Robotnik has also discovered the portal and is eagerly planning to use it to rule all the universes, but his ambition is halted when the robot Robotniks turn on him. One of the humans' friends manage to break Sonic and the other prisoners out while dressed as Robotnik, and Sonic (a bit reluctantly) saves his enemy from being killed. Jerry then tells Sonic to shut down the prototype via an access code, which coincidently matches a code from one of the Sonic video games. With help from Steve, who knows all the codes, Sonic turns off the prototype and the robot Robotniks for good.
With control of the prototype returned to them, Jerry and Mori prepare to send everybody back to their own worlds, though they mention that it'll be a one-way trip. After saying goodbye to the kids, Sonic and Robotnik are returned to Mobius, where Sally and Tails reunite with the hedgehog. And in our own world, Steve has just gotten a new Sonic video game, and he and Jessie are looking forward to seeing what their hero is up to now.
- "The Substitute Freedom Fighters"
The Freedom Fighters (minus Sonic) gather in Rotor's lab, where he reveals his new Micro Belt Camera. With it attached to his belt, he can record the Freedom Fighters' actions in battle and use the footage to help improve their effectiveness. An alarm goes off indicating that a group of SWATbots are approaching Knothole, and Rotor uses the opportunity to test the device as he joins the others in charging out.
Later that day, Larry Lynx shows up at the lab looking for the Freedom Fighters, and is about to leave given their absence when he sees and hears Dr. Robotnik on a monitor hooked up to Rotor's camera. To his horror, Larry learns that the Freedom Fighters have been captured and Sonic has supposedly already been removed. Blaming his own bad luck-causing nature, the Lynx questions what he can do to help them, when he spots several citizens of Knothole training on another monitor. Rushing to the site, he finds Cyril the Eagle working with Penelope Platypus, Dylan, Arlo, and Hamlin, and quickly tells them what has transpired. The group immediately agree to go help and, with the urgency of the situation, head out without forming a detailed plan.
Arriving in Robotropolis to find SWATbots patrolling the border, Larry moves in to take care of them by using his "jinx" talent, causing them to miss him with their lasers and hit each other instead. After Cyril flies up and reports that the area is clear, the group advances to a locked door that Dylan opens using one of his quills. Inside, they find a party of SWATbots, but Arlo, Cyril, and Penelope join forces to throw a curled up Hamlin at them like a bowling ball.
As they cross a balcony, the team finds Sonic confronting Robotnik below them, but Larry keeps them moving to find the other Freedom Fighters. Succeeding, they release the Freedom Fighters and help them escape Robotropolis.
As gratitude for their aid, Sally awards the team with special watches so that contact between them will be more reliable in the future. Sally then expresses her admiration of Larry in the situation and informs him that she wishes to form a back up team of Freedom Fighters in case of such a future emergency, one that she would like Larry to take charge of. Larry is almost speechless, but then agrees emphatically to lead the new Substitute Legion of Freedom Fighters.
- "Knuckles Quest 2"
Having spoken with the Ancient Walkers and done research in the Book of Myths, Knuckles travels to an abandoned area of the Great Forest to continue his search for the Sword of Acorns. Thinking the place forgotten by all, he is surprised to be attacked by a Devil Watcher, a creature out of a fairy tale. He brings it down by felling a tree, only to enter the dismal looking cottage and encounter a pair of Blood Beasts, whom he also defeats. Marveling at how all three creatures have faded away upon being overcome, he is then attacked by another set of creatures, including a muscular warrior, a Dragon, and a cloaked skeleton.
Remembering the words of the Ancient Walkers about a charlatan to be met with fairness, he apologizes to an unseen host, only for the creatures to fade away and the creator of illusion to make his appearance. Revealed as a cloaked and hooded fox, the charlatan welcomes Knuckles to his home, and remarks that his protection draws upon not only illusion, but his own imagination. He also reveals that he previously used those powers to serve Maximillian Acorn, prompting Knuckles to question if he knows the whereabouts of the Sword. The fox replies in the negative, but reveals that he might learn its location from someone in the Land of the Dark.
Knuckles is frustrated, but the apologetic charlatan wishes him luck and asks him to give the King regards from Merlin Prower, while Knuckles promises that when next he sees the King, he'll have the Sword.
- Sonic: (surrounded by SWATbots) You think you have me, don't you? I'll get out of this yet!
Robotnik: A fitting epitaph for your tombstone! "I'll get out of this yet!" I can't wait to see you try!
- Sonic: Whaddya mean I'm not real?!
Mori: In our world, you're just a character in a game cartridge.
- Larry Lynx, Cyril the Eagle, and Sally's trainees join forces to rescue the Freedom Fighters from Robotnik, and are subsequently commissioned as the Substitute Freedom Fighters.
- Knuckles' quest for the location of the Sword of Acorns leads him to Merlin Prower, who reveals that the Sword may be located with help from someone currently in a region known as the Land of the Dark.
- "The Last Game Cartridge Hero" has been largely criticized as one of the worst stories in the entire Sonic the Hedgehog series. Due to the story establishing Sonic as a fictional character, it is considered non-canon by this wiki.
- The second story (The Substitute Freedom Fighters) runs parallel with the main story and explains how the Freedom Fighters were captured and later rescued during the events of The Last Game Cartridge Hero. Despite this fact, the story is still considered canon.
- Sally's Trainees from the Princess Sally Miniseries return in this issue and become members of the Substitute Freedom Fighters, along with Larry Lynx and Cyril from Sonic the Hedgehog #12.
Cameos & References
- The name and some of the plot of "The Last Game Cartridge Hero" is likely a nod to the panned 90s Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Action Hero.
- The code Sonic uses to shut down the prototype is the Stage Select code from the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game (Up, Down, Left, Right, hold A, and press Start). The console that Sonic enters the code on is also made to resemble a Sega Genesis controller.
- The kids who served as the photo models for "Steve" and "Jessie" are the real world son and niece of Ken Penders.
- At the beginning of the first "live-action", Steve is said to be playing a Sonic game on the Sega Genesis, however the photo clearly shows him holding a TV remote sideways rather than a Genesis controller.
- "The Substitute Freedom Fighters" was reprinted in Sonic Select Book 1
- "Knuckles Quest 2" was reprinted in Sonic Select Book 2 and Sonic's Monster Mash-Up
- "The Last Game Cartridge Hero" is one of only four stories produced for Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog series in the 1990s to never be reprinted, alongside the original version of StH #50, SSS #7 and "Ghost Busted" from SSS #8.This may be due to the story's poor reception from fans, non-canon status, or inclusion of caricatures of real children.
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