Another year draws to a close, and as such it’s more than time for another visit to the wonderful world of Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic. You may remember from last time that our heroes had just got the stolen Master Emerald back onto the Floating Island and blew up the Death Egg; and in the process of doing so they defeated a Metallix, who idly mentioned in chat about an “elite brotherhood” of the robots. All back up to speed now? It’s OK, you can go read part 6 again, I’ll wait.
You’re done? Right. Let’s jump back in, shall we?
The first half of the arc, rather aptly for Knuckles’ Chaotix, is a Knuckles strip. “Total Chaotix” begins with Knuckles waxing lyrical in the Emerald Chamber on the Floating Island, giving a recap of the events of last time; with the Master Emerald being back, all the emeralds being fully powered up for the first time in centuries (from when they all got merged together with the set Sonic gave Robotnik during the Porker Lewis hostage incident back in part 3), and that as a result he now can project a forcefield around the entire island to keep Robotnik out. Handy! Speaking of hostage incidents, Knuckles muses that he didn’t get this for nothing, and pops into a Zoom-Tube to the Mushroom Hill Zone, where the Emerald Hill inhabitants are now hiding out, building houses into the local giant fungus – very Super Mario. Turning away slightly to another view of the island, Knux admires a large crater caused by a single blast from the Death Egg, and then spots something…
It’s fairly blatantly a Stargate, Knuckles. This is the sort of sheltering you get when you live on a giant floating rock pile in isolation. Landing by the ring, Knuckles grumbles about how much he sucks at translating the texts (I dunno, he managed fine when he was bringing the control room online in part 6), but notes it says something about “a gateway to a dream country” – see, told you, it’s a Stargate! However, he doesn’t have much time to think any further about it, because then:
The ring can talk, apparently… Pulled out of normal reality, Knuckles finds himself thrown floating in a strange world of neon graphics and large balls that look like the base for the Sonic 3 & Knuckles special stages. Grabbing a hoop, Knuckles has a sudden realisation that the text actually didn’t say “dream country”, but nightmare country”, his people’s name for the Special Zone – which he curses as he notes that while it’s easy to get into, it’s just about impossible to get out of (really? I can’t recall having problems exiting it personally; it’s more of a bother staying in the bloody things long enough to grab the relevant Emerald, but whatever). A voice calls out though, telling the “villain” to put all thoughts of escape behind him…
Those not familiar with StC outside these articles won’t have met Omni-Viewer before, so a quick summary – he’s a sentient and omniscient (hence the name) energy field that lives in the Special Zone, and an old friend of Sonic’s from before the comic itself started. He can transport people around from one place to another, do time travel, and display images on himself (his powers as such can be a bit of a deus ex machina at times, but we’ll ignore that for now). Knuckles (who has now gone from standing on some purple swiss-cheese-esque… thing, to standing on a rock in the space of a single panel without visibly moving) tries to reason with Omni-Viewer, telling him that his information is entirely out of date, but Omni is being stubborn, telling the echidna that words are of no interest and his fate has already been decided (new evidence apparently meaning nothing around here). Telling Knuckles to “prepare to meet your doom!” (so close to an Altered Beast reference), 5 familiar figures jump out of the screen:
Well, most of these guys are immediately recognisable as the Chaotix, but Nack the Weasel (and yes, he’s going to be Nack for the rest of the piece because that’s his name in this continuity) stands out a mile off. What’s his role here? Time to wait a fortnight!
Cutting to elsewhere in the zone, we see a floating metal egg with various egg nodes pointing off it. This used to be Robotnik’s base waaaaaay back in the comic’s history, before he became the AoStH-style character and moved to the Metropolis Zone, abandoning this base in the process. Wait, did I say abandoned? Apparently not!
Enter the villains of the arc. As has been hinted, there’s more than one robotic Sonic kicking around now – but quite who they’re after here is still a mystery. No time to dwell too much on this though, as we cut back to the Chaotix, who are standing on rocks of their own, looking down at Knuckles, Vector pointing at him and asking Omni-Viewer to confirm they’ve got the right guy. Not sure why Vector’s so dubious about it, but OK. Omni confirms it, and Knuckles again points out that he’s not buddy-buddy with Robotnik any more – however the Chaotix seem to care as little as the flying viewscreen does about actually having their facts straight (that or they simply don’t believe Knuckles).
Vector’s the group’s leader, apparently – which is interesting because I don’t seem to remember this being set in the game canon until Sonic Heroes re-introduced the Chaotix. I guess chronological superiority wins out, from being in Sonic’s band? Mighty dives in, telling Knuckles to hold still as he winds up a punch. Rather predictably, the echidna glides out of the way – which Mighty can’t do, and he plummets rapidly downward. Cue Vector sending in the next Super Sentai in Charmy Bee…
..though for some odd reason they’re spelling it as Charmee. You thought the modern games version of Charmy was annoying? StC’s is a cross between Mickey Mouse and Bill Cosby’s speech mannerisms with his own added little twists, and even his own team mates find him irritating as hell (as Mighty is so aptly demonstrating here). Knuckles meanwhile has made contact with a chequered cube and figures there’s no point in trying to reason with the Chaotix, as they’re all obviously crazy (I’ll grant you Charmy, Knux), only for a voice to say that not all of them are – it’s Espio, unblending from the background – who then pulls Knuckles onto the top of the cube and starts strangling him.
You do really get the feeling that Knuckles tends to be a punchbag for just about everyone, don’t you? Super Sonic punched the shit out of him last time, now Espio is trying to choke him… However he’s not very good at it as Knuckles happily twirls and throws Espio into Nack, knocking them both out of the way. Vector then decides to jump into the fray, landing on the cube and assuming a fighting stance – and licking his lips. Vector snaps at Knuckles, who dodges out of the way as the crocodile comments that he knows that he shouldn’t eat between meals (message understood, kids?). However he’s not going to be doing any eating today, as Knuckles lands an uppercut on Vector’s jaw. Finally, Omni-Viewer breaks in.
I’d feel more sympathy for you if you weren’t trying to commit murder for the sake of a mid-meal snack, Vector. Omni-Viewer has apparently been on the cross-dimensional Mobian internet and confirms Knuckles’ claim that he was being duped by Robotnik checks out – which Knuckles vigorously agrees to and asks if he also found out about the echidna turning on the fat scientist – but before he can do that Charmy spots that Omni-Viewer looks like “he’s getting acne” as some spots appear on his face. Mighty agrees that something’s there but whatever it is, it’s moving. “Impossible!” declares the screen, “Nothing can get into my personal workspace without permission!” Well, it looks like someone with root access set
sudo chmod 777 /home/omniviewer, and Knuckles says it looks like two familiar figures…
Welp, this can’t be good.
Resuming exactly where we left off, Omni-Viewer screams out for help, but the Chaotix are unable to do so, Vector pushing with all his strength on the screen but being unable to get through. Turns out the Metallixes have locked the Chaotix out of being able to use the screen, and one presses a button on a small box it’s carrying – sucking Omni-Viewer (stop sniggering) into the box and with a blinding flash that knocks the Chaotix to their feet, Knuckles gets back up to see:
Well, I guess he’d make a pretty nice art frame now… Never mind not stealing a car or a handbag, the Metallixes have downloaded Omni-Viewer entirely and made off with him! What I want to know though is where exactly the Metallixes were standing to do this, given that presumably there would have to have been, for a lack of a better phrase, the arse-end of the OmniViewer somewhere. While you could debatably say that there could only be one screen for the whole teleporting thing to work, you’d need two screens for this scene. And if so, I guess while they were busy pwn1ng Omni-Viewer they could have simply forced the screen to a location of their choice. Knuckles tells the group how he’s fought a Metallix before, and how it was a match for him and Sonic combined (only Super Sonic was able to finish it, as you’ll recall). Vector immediately says they need to stop whatever it is that the robots are doing, but Nack wants a word with Knuckles first, pointing out that almost as soon as Knuckles showed up the Metallixes did – maybe he still is working for Robotnik – and that he doesn’t trust Knuckles (which is quite hilarious coming from everyone’s favourite furry bounty hunter, but I digress…). Espio tries to bring him onside, saying the Omni-Viewer had confirmed Knuckles’ good intentions, though Nack still isn’t buying it. Knuckles asks Vector where the Omni-Viewer would likely be taken (I’m not sure why the famously-isolationist echidna is onboard with helping them, maybe he figures it’s his only way home?), and while Robotnik isn’t in the Special Zone any more, the Egg Fortress still is.
Hero pose! Also, this is 1995, how does Vector not have a Discman yet? Get with the times, crocodile. Back at the Fortress, a voice enquires if the mission objectives have been achieved, and for the first time we see:
The Emperor Metallix! I do wonder looking at this if there was maybe a smidgen of Warhammer 40,000 inspiration in this design… From within his NICOLE-esque box, Omni-Viewer says the Metallixes are making a big mistake, and that they’ll be sorry – but the robots ignore him entirely as they begin a data transfer procedure, copying Omni-Viewer to a proper screen (something actually bigger than that of a Game Gear). Omni demands to know what they’re doing, but the Emperor just mutes his voice (if only this was an option for Charmy). Outside the Fortress, the Chaotix have arrived on a nearby conveniently floating rock, Knuckles pondering that the hull isn’t going to be easy to get through.
One generated hole later, Mighty deadpans that they shouldn’t all rush to thank him or anything, though an annoyed voice calls him an idiot (you can’t tell who, but I’m calling Vector), and that they wanted to break in quietly – and right on cue, alarms start going off. Looks like they’re doing this the hard way!
Sure enough, the Emperor is aware the group has broken in, and dispatches one of the 2 normal Metallixes to deal with them; as he turns to the Omni-Viewer and taunts him, saying that even though the Chaotix are clearly attempting a rescue, their efforts are doomed to failure.
Elsewhere in the fortress, the alarms have stopped, but as Vector notes, if the Metallixes are here, they’d have heard it. All thanks to “Mighty ‘the brain'”, grumbles Espio, which seems to be right up there with “I’ll deck you, mate” as far as Mighty’s concerned…
Knuckles the peacemaker, who’d have thought it? As the potential fight is being broken up, Charmy zips in, with Nack asking if he’s seen anything. The bee replies in the affirmative: one of the Metallixes is heading right their way. What can they possibly do about this situation?
I think I’m with Mighty on this one, Vec’ – suddenly we’re taking cues from the 80s Action Movie Guidebook. Everyone clambers in regardless, with the grate being closed just in time before the robot arrives. Vector says that he sees it – and quickly warns Nack to watch his foot, that the weasel can’t see due to his hat being in his face. The foot slips and with some force, kicks out the grate, which the robot instantly spots (but not the noise they were making inside the vents. Whatever). Activating the infra-red vision on its circuitry, the Chaotix are instantly visible to the Metallix: and Nack panics, yelling “I’m outta here!” (very Sonic CD), jumping out of the vent hole, and scarpering; as the Metallix continues to stare-down the other five. Charmy turns to Vector, asking what they do now – Vector reasons that the robot will demand that they surrender.
How wrong he is. The Metallix blasts the crap out of them, sending them flying, saying that resistance on their part will only cause further pain – before grabbing Espio and throwing him at the others.
Christ, Charmy, what sort of stuff are you into? I think Vector echoes all of our sentiments about your bee depravities quite nicely. The Metallix fires another shot from its chest cannon, this time missing them all by a mile – but it wasn’t aiming for the group, it was aiming for the ceiling, which caves in around the Chaotix, burying them under a ton of rubble. The Metallix looks around, saying that four subjects were disabled, with its records indicating five authorised targets – but who’s that hanging on the ceiling? Knock-knock, it’s Knuckles: who taunts the Metallix by saying that it can’t even count, as there were six of them, not five. The Metallix responds by listing off a very quick biography of Knuckles, and his role in the Death Egg’s destruction…
Well, Knuckles, if we want to be pedantic, unless you’re going to yell out “KNUCKLES!” like a Pokémon every time you attack the robot, it probably isn’t going to be the last thing it hears…
Part 5 begins with us being thrown straight back into action again, with Knuckles fighting the Metallix. he swipes and he dodges but isn’t making much headway – as the echidna notes, the robot is fast simply because it was built to be a match for Sonic. He realises that if the energy beam from the robot’s chest hits him it’s all over – then almost instantly gets hit by it (great job, Knux). The Metallix pauses, states the obvious that Knuckles fell in the area (maybe a bit of Tails’ personality got chucked into the robot too?), and it attempts to confirm extermination; but suddenly:
“PEEK-A-BOO!” yells a bruised-looking Knuckles.
Zing, Knuckles. Zing. Admiring his well-placed girder-in-dead-robot art piece, Knuckles decides to check on the Chaotix, as they might still be alive – only for cowardly Nack to finally poke his head around the corner, who can’t believe Knuckles is still alive. Nack compliments Knuckles on his attack as Knuckles briefly asks where the weasel had got to – but quickly dismisses the fairly reasonable line of questioning as right now they need to see if there’s anything they can do for the others. Heading over to the rustpile that landed on the Chaotix when the Metallix brought the ceiling down (which Nack apparently saw happen), Knuckles says he thought he saw something move… and lo and behold, Mighty lifts the entire pile of rubble up (how fortunate all the loose crap was on top of one nice big liftable plate) and all six of the group are free again. Vector thanks Mighty and says that it’s time to get the Metallix, but Knuckles tells them not to worry about it, as he’s already taken care of that.
I’ve said this before, but it’s so refreshing to read a Sonic comic that isn’t as full of Americanisms as Archie is. However we don’t get to see the faceoff between British Knuckles and the revived robot (presumably tea is involved in some fashion), as following a quick side-diversion for a couple of panels for the Emperor to gloat to Omni-Viewer a bit more about how the Chaotix can’t succeed and how the conversion process is nearly complete and how he’s going to have full access to Omni’s power and nothing will be able to stop him, etc etc etc (you know, the standard Evil Genius Gloating Speech), we cut back to the Chaotix again, running down a corridor with Nack at the helm and a rather drunk looking Metallix stumbling after them. Apparently while the rest of them were fighting the robot, Nack had found out where the Omni-Viewer is being kept, and Vector reasons that now’s the time to get in and grab Omni, before the other one gets sent after them. Nack opens a door, telling them to get in quickly, as they don’t have much time.
Have you figured out what’s about to happen yet, boys and girls?
Yup, Nack’s turned turncoat, just like anyone who’s ever played Sonic Triple Trouble would have guessed at the moment he showed up. Four Metallixes surround the Chaotix (now just the five of them, Nack taking a position by the Emperor), as Mighty wonders just how many of “these blasted Metallixes” there are. Very good question, Mighty… Nack tells the Chaotix not to worry, as he got a good price from the Emperor, who for its part tells the weasel not to be concerned as “You will get what you deserve.” Yeah, I think we can all see where this is going.
Part 6 is the final part of Total Chaotix, which picks back up in the control room of the Egg Fortress, with Knuckles demanding to know why Nack betrayed them – and it turns out it’s as simple as cold hard cash. The Emperor says that they couldn’t have captured Omni-Viewer without the weasel’s help: turns out he gave them the access codes (which raises the question of just how he got codes for access that high, given Omni said it was his private workspace, but I digress…), as well as tricking the Chaotix into walking into a trap. But of course, following on from the existing lesson plan from the Evil Genius School of Villainy; because Nack is of no further use to the Metallix Brotherhood, the Emperor orders the robots to destroy all six of the furries. However it seems that Nack’s got a copy of the textbook as well, and was expecting this.
Bravo, Nack, bravo. The bad guys waiting for your powerup transformation sequence to finish first before they attack is something that only happens in anime and Disney movies. Not sure why he thought it’d work here! Knuckles leaps for the now discarded gun, saying that he doesn’t know what it is but the Metallixes don’t like the look of it (it’s a gun, Knuckles, it’s not complex). Dodging robot chest blasts, he tries to figure out how it works before he gets hit (it’s a gun, Knuckles, it’s not complex!), before finally figuring out how a trigger works.
Wow, that’s one powerful pistol – seems you don’t even need to aim it, just fire the thing and magic waves knock them out (some sort of EMP, perhaps). The entire group of Metallixes has been totalled, even the Emperor – Vector is astounded by the device, as Knuckles notes that Nack wasn’t taking any chances – oh, yeah, he got hit. Turns out he’s actually OK, and according to Espio didn’t take the full force of the beam (sure looked like it to me, but then we can’t have a main character die, can we…) Vector downloads Omni-Viewer (who survived the gun, conveniently) back onto the box the Metallixes were using earlier, with the viewer saying that though there seems to be some damage to his system directory (surely nothing a quick
fsck won’t fix), he seems to be fully operational – and at that, the Chaotix get the hell out of Dodge, with Mighty carrying Nack.
A short time later, a bright glow appears over the Floating Island, and Omni-Viewer appears, Knuckles falling through the screen and back to his home. The echidna notes that he can see why the Metallixes wanted him so much with that sort of transportational power, and asks again if Omni is sure that the Metallixes didn’t damage him at all. However the screen doesn’t seem to remember all that much about his capture, but appears to be in full working order. Omni-Viewer disappears from the sky as Knuckles mutters about having a bad feeling about all of this – it felt to him like the Metallixes were working for themselves and not Robotnik. Has to be his imagination though, and all’s well that ends well, right?
Of course not.
One finished reboot later, the Emperor addresses the robots in front of him, saying that their plan has in fact succeeded, as the camera angle changes to reveal that they’ve in fact made a copy of the Omni-Viewer (an eeeevil copy! It’s reddish-pink and frowny and everything), and as such time and space are now entirely theirs to control. He announces that the Brotherhood of Metallix will soon rule supreme – to his audience of at least 15 Metallix robots.
On that note, the Knuckles story concludes, and the second half of the arc begins. Tails and Knuckles are both missing in this story, with Tails having been called into the Nameless Zone in his role as the Zonerunner and Knuckles accidentally tagging along, being mistaken by the locals for “your sidekick, Sonic!” (Don’t ask.) Not that the rest of “Bob Beaky’s Travelling Circus” know about this, as Porker Lewis surrounds their mobile caravan base with a not-at-all obvious energy shield. Sure, it’ll stop the local pikeys from nicking your equipment, Lewis, but it doesn’t exactly scream stealth, does it? Turns out they’re here on the trail of a signal of a brand new badnik, which the Kintobor computer has still got a lock on. Sonic tells the gang to keep on the lookout, as there’s no way to figure out what sort of deadly badnik Robotnik’s come up with this time…
Thinking about it, this obvious reference to Mr Blobby is going to be lost on most people reading this, but never mind… Sonic tells the others to relax as he can handle this on his own, and begins attacking “Mr Blobnik” in earnest. Meanwhile in Metropolis Zone, Robotnik & Grimer are busy with a new plan, and it seems Robotnik is aware just how stupid this new robot is – also it turns out it’s Grimer’s idea, so I guess he’s the Noel Edmonds of Mobius? But before they can open Robotnik’s Crinkley Bottom (oh god, the horrifying mental imagery), something else opens instead – a pink-hued Omni-Viewer frame. Before Robotnik even has a chance to ask what’s going on, a Metallix jumps out, grabs Grimer, and jumps back in, with the portal disappearing as they do so. Robotnik’s commands to the robot to stop are for naught, as he realises that the “Metallix Project” is out of his control.
Meanwhile, in Blobville…
I think the writers & artists of StC had way too much fun with this robot. Amy’s having fun at least, even if Sonic is distinctly unimpressed and Johnny looks… frankly, terrified. Blobnik starts to fiddle with a pair of D-cell batteries but Sonic’s gotten bored of his wacky hijinks and starts revving around the robot in a circle, beginning to tear it to pieces.
Back at the plot, Grimer’s been dragged up in front of the Emperor Metallix in the Brotherhood’s base in the Special Zone. The green scientist says that the base was supposed to be an automated factory for producing the ultimate Metal Sonic – but what happened? Turns out that Grimer designed the robots entirely too well and that their purpose has changed – they now intend to take a trip over to the Miracle Planet (which you may remember from part 2, specifically how it was the power source for the Metallix that Amy Rose & Sonic fought there), and harness the chained planet’s energy for their own purposes. And in order to do that, they need Grimer’s help with something…
But there’s more important things afoot, like Sonic’s encounter with a 90s UK TV spoof. Still whirring around Blobnik, the robot finally explodes, sending a shower of bubbles everywhere. It’s all over for the robot, that Amy picks a small child out of the ruins of. However, Sonic’s not standing around being cocky – he’s inside one of the bubbles, slowly rising upwards, as he calls to the others for a hand. But it turns out Blobnik’s not done with quite yet!
Cutting back to Citadel Robotnik, the Blobnik plan has been a complete success, with Sonic still trapped in the bubble and Robotnik able to happily gloat – only despite Sonic’s supposing that he’s now up for torture, Robotnik has had a reluctant change of heart:
Don’t sound so unhappy about it, Sonic. Look at Robotnik’s eyes, the poor bastard’s near tears. Sonic demands to know what sort of trick this is (not unreasonable after being bubble-captured by a buffoon-bot), but Robotnik insists that there’s no trickery involved. They must combine their forces as a third party has emerged powerful enough to destroy both of them – and if they fail, the Brotherhood of Metallix will rule all of Mobius!
Now free of his bubble, Sonic still thinks this is all a trap, but again Robotnik insists that they’re both in trouble from the Brotherhood – and this time, Sonic recognises the name, and how the Metallix he met on Sky Sanctuary had previously mentioned it. Asking how many there are, Robotnik says he wishes he knew (obviously this secret project to create the ultimate robot Sonic was something that he devoted a lot of time to, then…), but that he does know where they’re holed up – his old Special Zone base. He also relays to the hedgehog that they’re up to something, and that they’ve kidnapped Grimer, which our hero finds hilarious.
Dickishness vs condescension, gotta love StC. Robotnik tells Sonic that the Brotherhood have sealed up all the entrances into the Special Zone – except for a [[Star Post]]. As Sonic is the only one who can use them, the hedgehog realises (“Finally!”, Robotnik gasps in relief) just why it is that he’s needed for this job, and motions Robotnik to back away. So, wait, the main way that we’ve seen previously in the comic for characters to get into the Special Zone is now the only way that works? The Metallixes only bothered to block obscure magic Stargate artefacts and other such hidden items? And what about Omni-Viewer? Sonic doesn’t seem to care about this, spinning around the Star Post faster and faster, as he tells Robotnik that he’ll check out the story but that if it turns out to be a trick, then…
Yes, Sonic, I’m sure this particular catchphrase has absolutely no copyright connotations whatsoever. Then again, we all know how no copyright law in the universe can stop him, so I guess we have nothing to worry about. The fact it’s a Terminator reference amuses me, considering how many we had back in the Sonic CD arc – nice callback, writers. Sonic pops out, as expected, in the Special Zone, which he instantly starts complaining about how much he hates. It doesn’t take the hedgehog long to track down the Fortress though, and as he bounces between geometric shapes and rocks, Sonic quickly reaches a fairly familiar spot.
At least Mighty’s earlier complete lack of subtlety (someone fancies himself as Vinnie Jones, methinks) is of help to someone, even if he got nothing but grief about it at the time. Looks like the armadillo got the last laugh after all! (Who let Mighty edit the typeset? –Ed) Sonic looks around inside the metal egg and notes that quite a fight has been going on, but the place now looks completely deserted. He starts running around the base, getting halfway through the complex without seeing a single sign of activity at all – it would seem that whatever the Brotherhood had been up to here is now finished, until he comes across a room under a catwalk. Only 4 remain in the room – the Emperor Metallix, Grimer, and 2 regular Metallix models, next to the copied evil Omni-Viewer. Grimer is holding a length of piping that looks somewhat like a flute, of all things. The Emperor takes it off Grimer, calling it the “Alpha Device” – and promises severe punishment if Grimer has lied and it doesn’t work as intended. Grimer for his part nervously insists that it will. The Emperor begins to cross into the portal, bidding Grimer farewell – but hasn’t banked on Sonic, who decides that though he has no idea what the thing is, it’s probably not a good idea to let the Metallixes have it.
Yoink! We’re then treated to 2 pages of dialogueless fight scenes between Sonic and the 2 regular Metallixes. Though getting punched, Sonic throws a few of his own, dodging a chest laser by using one of the Metallixes as a shield, which helpfully explodes. Thrown aside by the other one, Sonic grabs the Alpha Device again and uses it like a baseball bat, hitting the robot so hard that it shatters into pieces (yet still leaving the magic tube in one piece. It’s either incredibly resilient or this particular Metallix wasn’t one of the better efforts the robot factor churned out…) While not quite up there with robot-head-kicking, Sonic is triumphant, and brandishes the tube in the air; but turns around to see that the Emperor has got Grimer in one fist, demanding the return of the device at once or he’ll destroy the scientist.
Yes kids – Sonic’s a dick, but he does have limits. The Emperor (grabbing his new toy) dashes through the portal, throwing Grimer to one side as he does so; uttering a warning for all of Mobius on their return from the Miracle Planet. Sonic for his part just mutters about why all villains have to make a big exit speech. Grimer is shocked that Sonic has saved his life, but Sonic tosses it aside, saying everyone makes mistakes – they just need to get after the Metallixes. Grimer tells him that’s already too late however, as they have the Alpha Device and are on the Miracle Planet – the Brotherhood has already won!
The penultimate issue of the arc begins with a brief re-introduction to the Miracle Planet – how it appears over Mobius once a month, stays for only 3 days, then disappears again to god-knows-where. The chain connecting it to the planet is magic, as though it looks hundreds of miles long you can walk across it in only a couple of hours: no-one quite knows how this works (seven-league boots, maybe?) And who do we find dawdling across the chain but our band of heroes – Sonic, Amy, Johnny Lightfoot and Porker Lewis (as mentioned earlier, Tails is occupied elsewhere at this point in the chronology). Sonic ponders that he never thought he’d have to go back to the Miracle Planet again, after getting stuck there for a month last time. Amy wistfully recalls it as it was with her, and so romantic… does Sonic share the feeling? Take a guess.
That’s it, guys, ignore the bickering couple – best to avoid domestics. Porker is distracted from the perilous drop by beeping on a comms channel – someone’s trying to reach them. Sonic casually mentions it’ll be Robotnik as he gave him access to their comms channel – which takes the other three by surprise. Sonic says that if the Brotherhood succeed in what they’re doing, then they’ll all be for it, so call it a temporary truce. Was this plan not discussed before they headed out? Surely you’d want to mention something like this, unless Sonic just felt like being an arse for no reason which to be fair wouldn’t be out of character. It’s not like they need to rush – the way that Grimer described it last issue they were already boned, but whatever. Robotnik complains about how Sonic sent Grimer back to him, rather than making him tag along on the Miracle Planet expedition (I’m assuming they got back via Omni-Viewer in that case, though the question then becomes why they didn’t do what the Metallixes did and teleport straight to the planet, but I digress…) Sonic tells Robotnik that he doesn’t want any of his lackeys snooping around their top-secret operation, and that they’re busy right now (avoiding a death-drop and everything), so ends the communication.
On the surface of the planet, the Emperor is surrounded by a dozen or so Metallixes, who are all pointing energy beams at the Alpha Device, charging it for it’s task, which is apparently to “re-shape the Miracle Planet”. Just as the Emperor is crowing about how they will be invincible (seriously, I think this guy makes more evil villain speeches than anyone else so far in this whole comic), one of the Metallixes sounds an alert – Sonic and co have been spotted. Johnny realises this, exclaiming they’ve walked right into the middle of them – but Sonic’s got a plan.
Hopping into the cave and out of sight, the Emperor immediately dispatches one of the other robots (given Sonic’s skill against two of them I’d have sent more, but presumably they can’t be spared from the charging ceremony) to destroy the intruders (have you noticed incidentally how the Metallixes never kill anything, they “destroy” it? Must be a robot thing). The Emperor orders that nothing must interrupt them at the current critical stage. Down in the tunnels, Sonic notes that the Brotherhood are bound to come after them, but it seems that the month spent up here wasn’t entirely wasted, as his knowledge of the caves will give the Freedom Fighters an edge against the robots. Amy for her part is sceptical – the last time the pair were down in the caves, Sonic had gotten lost for two days.
Was he really?
Ouch. Look at poor Amy’s face, she’s so crestfallen while Sonic is absolutely loving it. Johnny breaks up the moment of Sonic-smugness by saying that he thought he heard something, and the group dash to hide as Porker begins one of his nervous mumblings. From the shadows, Sonic surveys their seeker, and curses that only one Metallix has been sent after them. Amy laments the plan having just gone up in smoke (they had a plan? All I gathered was “I know the caves better than they do”), but Sonic says plans are easy and he has a million of them, if he can get a second to think. However he doesn’t get time for that as the Metallix has already picked up their life signs (evidently a much improved model on the one that was after the Chaotix in that venting system earlier), and fires a chest laser at them, sending them flying. Johnny Lightfoot spars with the Metallix and Sonic thwacks into it, both to no effect beyond dazing it, but Sonic suddenly (and conveniently) remembers that Robotnik told him the Metallixes’ one weak-spot: their necks. If only we had a lady around who was competent with a crossbow!
One can only hope that Sonic’s plan is exceptional however – while all that was going on, the Alpha Device has finally finished charging up. With one more mini victory speech, the Emperor flings it at the ground, embedding it in the surface – and wires and tendrils leap from the ground, which slowly begins to turn to metal…
As the final part begins, the Emperor continues making speeches as the metallic grey-goo expands, covering more and more of the grass of the vicinity. Turning his head, the Emperor spies the Metallix he’d sent out previously, who reports that he has succeeded in capturing Sonic and his accomplices – though there’s no Porker in sight, only the other three. The Emperor tells the Metallix to rejoin the others as Sonic says that it’s not yet over and they’ll find a way to win. The Emperor chides Sonic, telling him he’s just like Robotnik, thinking that the Metallixes would be content to just serve him. The Emperor rants on an entire text-heavy panel of villain-posturing before realising that there were in fact four intruders, and not three – he asks the Metallix he sent out (who still hasn’t moved) what happened to the remaining one. The Metallix replies that he has succeeded in capturing Sonic and his accomplices. The Emperor realises something is wrong as the Metallix says he has succeeded in capturing Sonic and his accomplices (all I can see at this point is this scene), as Sonic grabs the other two and runs like buggery out of the way, yelling “NOW!” to Porker, who presses a big red button on a control panel.
Cue an entire page-sized explosion of Metallixes.
Kissing the pig on the cheek, Amy says that only Porker could have rigged the explosion, but there’s no time to celebrate just yet. The Metallixes might be down but the magic flute is still turning the Miracle Planet to a metallic sphere. Sonic suggests just yanking it out of the ground, but Porker quickly nixes that idea. Turns out the sheer amount of energy the thing is holding means that if it were to explode, the force of the Alpha Device versus the Metallix bomb he’d just rigged would be like comparing a Christmas cracker and a thermonuclear missile. That option out, the only thing they can do is watch as Porker slowly prods away at the device, trying not to close down the wrong programs on the booby-trapped OS (mid-to-late 1995? Oh dear. First release Windows ’95, good luck not crashing that one Porker) lest it do something… bad. Eventually though, the pig cracks it, and the stick starts venting the energy off into the atmosphere to dissipate back into the planet harmlessly – though it’ll take some time to do so:
With the clock ticking, Sonic and company head for the chain and start climbing, leaving the Miracle Planet behind. Sonic says he’ll come back next month and check everything’s OK. Johnny notes that it was a pretty close call this time, but Sonic casually reckons he had it under control as usual. Just as Porker turns around and yells out – seems there’s one final hitch.
Bzzt-ing and crawling, the Emperor makes one last error-laden speech about their destiny to rule (seriously, this guy could put Bond villains to shame) before finally crashing to the floor. Porker runs back down the rapidly disappearing chain as Amy tells him it’s too late, but Porker says he has to try as he’s the only one who can stop it. Sonic finally notices that Porker is missing and Amy quickly fills him in as the pig reaches the stick – just as the Miracle Planet finally fades into nothingness. Amy, in shock, stammers out that the Emperor seemed to finally collapse, and that she doesn’t think Porker’s in any danger. Sonic doesn’t think they’ve seen the last of the Metallixes, though.
And with that, the Chaotix arc is drawn to a close! As is evident, games chronology has been stuck to a lot less this time around. The Chaotix are all present (albeit with the addition of Nack, who I can only reason got thrown in because of the character being present in the at-the-time release of Sonic Triple Trouble on the still-popular-in-Europe Game Gear); we have Metallixes (this universe’s Metal Sonics); and we have the concept of a large red Metal Sonic (the Emperor); but beyond that, not really a lot of effort is put into sticking to either game continuity, be it the Mysterious Island from the Japanese manuals or the theme park of the Western chronology. That said, the unofficial Chaotix-being-a-sequal-to-Sonic CD is explored, with the return to the Miracle Planet. Leading on from the pretty-accurate S&K adaptation this drift from game continuity is something of a surprise – the writers maybe wanting to expand a bit from the source material, which they would later do far more drastically by the time we reach the final story we’ll be covering: but that’s still some way down the road yet.
I can say I enjoyed this arc though. The idea of a robot Sonic army is still one I find fun because it makes sense – why make a one-off robot model when you can mass produce something with equal skill to your arch enemy, and simply overwhelm him? I’d like to see how this’d handle in the modern game universe, but I somehow don’t see it happening. Mr Blobnik is an amusing diversion (if not quite on the same level of parody as say the Marxio Bros), and a couple of large elements later in the comic are foreshadowed (intentionally? Possibly on at least one, not so sure on another) nicely for those who’re aware of what’s coming up.
Next time: Sonic 3D! And this is where things start to get…. complicated. Happy New Year!
Want a refresh on all the past StC adventures we’ve looked at so far? Got you covered:
How Fleetway Played The Games, Part One: Of Flying Battleships and Space Eggs
How Fleetway Played The Games, Part 2: Of Time Stones and Shrink Lasers
How Fleetway Played The Games, Part 3: Of Emeralds and Echidnas
How Fleetway Played The Games, Part 4: Of Evacuating and Electricians
How Fleetway Played The Games, Part 5: Of Ice and Repairing
How Fleetway Played The Games, Part 6: Of Master Emeralds and Death Eggs
And of course, there’s David the Lurker’s Archie coverage too if you like your Knuckles arcs with LOTS of echidnas:
How Archie Played the Games, Part One: Of Pinball and Echidnas
How Archie Played the Games, Part Two: Of Floating Islands
How Archie Played The Games, Part Three: Of Pink And Metal Hedgehogs
How Archie Played The Games, Part Four: Of Walkers and Snipers
How Archie Played The Games, Part Five: Of Rodents and Giants
How Archie Played The Games, Part 6A: Of Death Eggs and Robot Birds
How Archie Played The Games, Part 6B: Of Silver Hedgehogs and Falling Islands
How Archie Played The Games, Part 7: Of FLiCKIES and Remote Atolls
How Archie Played The Games, Part 8: Of Abandoned Bases and Obscure Characters