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- This miniseries takes place between Sonic the Hedgehog #36 — Sonic the Hedgehog #37, and prior to Knuckles the Echidna #1
Archie Knuckles Miniseries Issue 3 was the third and final issue of the Knuckles Miniseries.
- "Rites of Passage!" - Part Three
Knuckles finds himself facing off against the brainwashed members of the Chaotix, who warn him that Enerjak will win regardless of whether he chooses to surrender or fight. Archimedes whispers a warning to Knuckles and unleashes a fire blast on the Chaotix. Vector quickly pulls out a fire hose to counter, only for a bank of fog to rise up. The confused Chaotix then hear a strange echoing voice, only for the source to be revealed as Knuckles and Archimedes reappear and attack. Knuckles lands blows on Mighty and Vector, and Archimedes hits Charmy with his fire breath. Recognizing that his brainwashed minions cannot overcome foes with free will, Enerjak intervenes, using his powers to knock Knuckles and Archimedes unconscious by cutting off their air supply. He then orders the Chaotix to bring their defeated foes to him, while reminiscing on the events that have led up to this moment, from the creation of Angel Island to his own escape from Mount Fate.
Knuckles and Archimedes then appear in Enerjak's chamber, where he remarks that they were the biggest threat to his plan, which is why he had exiled them previously. He expresses his surprise at their survival, while Knuckles arrogantly retorts that he's really only imagining their presence. To himself, Knuckles notices that Enerjak is unaware of the oasis he and Archimedes found. Enerjak throws Knuckles to the ground and boasts of his limitless power, which has the capability to hold the island aloft and to create structures like Nekronopolis from the earth. He tells Knuckles that he doubts his city will collapse as his Dark Tower did previously. Knuckles isn't so sure, signalling Archimedes to contact his Fire Ant brethren, who march on Enerjak's Citadel.
Enerjak continues to gloat, but Archimedes uses his vanishing trick to escape with Knuckles. Enraged, Enerjak alerts the Chaotix, who leave a card game behind in order to obey their master. They end up rushing right by where Knuckles and Archimedes are hiding, courtesy of one of the Fire Ant's illusions. Archimedes then proposes a counterattack against Enerjak, though Knuckles expresses doubts given Enerjak's ability to strike at them without being physically present. His companion then points out that his illusion has apparently concealed them from Enerjak as well, and teleports the pair into an air vent just above Enerjak's chamber. Knuckles then dislodges a grating and rides it to land on top of Enerjak, who throws him off in a rage.
As the Fire Ants swarm over Enerjak's citadel, Enerjak mocks Knuckles' attack, only for Knuckles to reveal his name and his knowledge of Enerjak's true identity: that of his distant uncle Dimitri. He tells Enerjak that who he is was shaped by Dimitri's selfish actions in the past. Enerjak angrily denies this, claiming that his brother Edmund is responsible for people like Knuckles, lacking his "courage" and vision. Knuckles asks if fighting with enhanced strength is really courage, goading him into fighting without his powers. The two duke it out, with Enerjak overwhelming Knuckles. However, in the course of their battle, rocket jets have been mysteriously attached to the upper levels of the citadel and ignited, carrying the building up through the atmosphere. Knuckles breaks away from the battle, and a piece of the floor breaks away beneath him, while Enerjak is carried into space with his fortress.
Calling Archimedes by a new nickname, Archy, Knuckles goes into a glide, safely descending to the surface of the island. There they meet the Fire Ants, whom Archy thanks, only for them to reveal that they only created an escape route for him and Knuckles, and had nothing to do with the rocket engines. Before they can think long on who might have planted them, they are distracted by Nekronopolis vanishing into thin air-the result of Enerjak's power being removed-and the appearance of the Chaotix, now freed from their brainwashing. When his friends question how he managed to succeed, Knuckles admits that it was only as he learned from his father's lessons, Archimedes, and even Enerjak that he was able to succeed. He acknowledges that he couldn't have defeated Enerjak alone, but managed to do so by relying on others. Enerjak had sensed that he was a loner by nature, but Knuckles had recognized the weaknesses of that and changed tactics, while Enerjak remained wrapped up in the past. Archimedes notes again that Enerjak had no knowledge of the oasis that he and Knuckles found, and that they still have no idea how it came to be or how it disappeared. The Chaotix, however, decide that it isn't worth worrying about, and decide that it's time to celebrate.
Unbeknownst to the heroes, they are being observed by a hooded Echidna in an unknown location, who commends them for their victory. He reveals that Knuckles' efforts in fighting Enerjak allowed him to plant the rocket engines that carried the citadel-and Enerjak with it-into space. He sees that Knuckles has learned his lesson from his people's history --that everyone must work together-- and is pleased by Knuckles' acceptance of Archimedes, realizing that though their two races are natural opposites, they have learned to work together. Locke resolves to continue his duty of watching over his son, just as his forefathers did before him.
Later, Archimedes and Knuckles sit together for a talk. Archy admits that he had thought Knuckles was incapable of adapting, but he now believes Knuckles is worthy of his role as Guardian. Meanwhile, however, as Enerjak's citadel flies away from Mobius, maniacal laughter echoes through the void.
- "Map of Enerjak's Citadel of Darkness"
Full page map of the Citadel of Darkness with notes indicating key areas throughout the tower.
- Enerjak: "Where's your bravado now, great-nephew?"
- Knuckles: "It's with my pride and honor, great-uncle! Those are qualities I'll never lose--qualities you never had!"
- Locke: "You understood the message of history--we are all together as one!"
- The Chaotix regain control of their minds.
- Knuckles distracts Enerjak long enough for the Fire Ants to eat the foundations of Nekronopolis.
- Locke remotely activates a space ship section of the city, sending Enerjak into space.
- The battle between Enerjak and Knuckles and how it ends is similar to the fight between Spider-Man and Venom in the Spider-Man cartoon show.
- Knuckles' last line in the issue, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship!" is a direct quote from Casablanca.
- Enerjak returned in the "Dark Vengeance" story arc in Knuckles the Echidna #7—#9.
- The Chaotix have glowing eyes when controlled by Enerjak in the last issue, but not this issue.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- Knuckles Archives Vol. 1
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