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- "The Return of the King" takes place between Sonic the Hedgehog #56 — #57
- "Down and Out in Downunda" takes place directly after Sonic the Hedgehog #50
Archie Sonic Super Special Issue 4 was the fourth issue of the Sonic Super Specials.
- "The Return of the King" - Part 1
As dusk settles in Mobotropolis, the Knothole Freedom Fighters and Geoffrey St. John return to Castle Acorn. King Acorn greets the returned heroes as a menacing shadow slides around the landing site. Sally asks her father why he isn't in bed, but the king reports that his illness has subsided and he has finally regained his sanity, putting away the thoughts of dismantling the Robians. The heroes uncharacteristically question his plans for peace, proposing that Dr. Robotnik's original programming may be lying dormant in the minds of the Robians. The king is shocked, asking Sonic how he can agree to such a thing when his own uncle was roboticized. Sonic claims he can't trust him and Sally adds that Robians may stage a rebellion.
Disgusted and outraged by their words, the king's crystallization overtakes his entire body. Something in him changes and he orders the royal troops to mobilize, stating that they must dismantle all Robians. Several hours later, the Freedom Fighters and Geoffrey St. John are piloting their ship to Mobotropolis, having just returned from their trip to the Floating Island, when they see that the city has erupted into a war zone. Their ship is shot down and they crash land in the city.
- "The Return of the King" - Part 2
Unsure of what's going on, Sally tries to get the attention of the royal troops. The troops mistake them for normal citizens and ask them to stay out of their way. Sonic spins up a cyclone to hold a soldier in place while Sally questions him. The soldier is confused to hear that Sally doesn't remember telling the king to destroy all of the Robians and informs her that the Robians are trying to escape the city. The Freedom Fighters wonder how they could have possibly told the king these things when they only just left the Floating Island. Before they can get any answers, an explosion nearby startles them and they scramble into a nearby building.
- "The Return of the King" - Part 3
The Freedom Fighters find themselves held at gunpoint by a group of Robians led by Uncle Chuck. Sonic and Sally try to convince the Robians they haven't betrayed them. The Robians don't believe them and prepare to fire, but Sonic steals their weapons. Uncle Chuck agrees to help Sonic find the culprit when, suddenly, he is shot and killed by the royal soldier. Sonic is furious and prepares to kill the soldier with the Sword of Acorns, but his mother and father appear and talk him out of it, telling him that he'd be no better than Robotnik if he killed an innocent man. Sonic backs down and a bright light is released from the sword.
Everyone is slightly dazed and Uncle Chuck is suddenly alive again. In addition, the soldier tells the group that he can't remember anything since their arrival at Castle Acorn. Sally considers the situation, realizing the Mobians wouldn't ransack Mobotropolis just to hunt down the Robians and suggests that the Sword of Acorns lifted a curse from the soldier's mind. Considering the possibility of a massive hex being placed upon the entire city, the group realizes that only a wizard of great power could be behind their troubles.
- "The Return of the King" - Part 4
Sonic enters Castle Acorn with the Sword of Acorns in tow, demanding for Naugus to show himself. Naugus, possessing the king's body, congratulates Sonic for figuring out his plans and reveals that he took the form of the Freedom Fighters to drive the king into submitting to his hatred, allowing him to be overcome by the crystalline magic and become prone to Naugus' control. Sonic wields the Sword of Acorns, dispelling Naugus' illusions and freeing the castle guards from his grasp. Naugus flees to the roof, where he threatens to jump off and kill the king's body. Sonic calls his bluff, but Naugus jumps. Sonic jumps after him, grabbing the king's foot, and the pair is enveloped in another flash of light from the sword.
Sonic wakes up to find King Acorn standing before him, congratulating him for saving his soul from the foul wizard. Sally embraces her father, happy to see him back to normal. Meanwhile, several citizens try to pull the Sword of Acorns out of a stone it managed to get stuck in during its fall from the roof of Castle Acorn. The king grabs the sword and effortlessly pulls it out of the stone, mentally accessing the Hall of Limbo and locating the Crown of Acorns. With the crown resting safely on his head, King Acorn is restored to flesh and blood once more.
- "Down and Out in Downunda"
As the citizens of Knothole celebrate their victory over Dr. Robotnik, the Freedom Fighters ask Bunnie and Antoine to reveal how they escaped Downunda. They explain that they were taken to a prison camp in the Great Crater, run by the villainous Crocbot. They were locked in a cell with Barby Koala and Walt Wallabee while Crocbot explained his plot for revenge and warned Bunnie that any attempt to use her cyborg strength would cause Antoine's prison collar to explode. Once Crocbot left, Bunnie noted that his goons weren't thinking about her organic limb and sliped her hand out of her shackle. She found herself unable to release Antoine's collar, but Barby elected to use her claws to tear it off.
A terrified Antoine screamed as Bunnie messed with his collar and the door to their cell was blown off its hinges. The Combot guard looked inside and found no remains, reporting to Crocbot that his prisoners perished. Unbeknownst to the Combot, Bunnie was simply hovering near the ceiling while holding up her three compatriots. The group destroyed the Combot as well as the robots guarding Guru Emu, Duck "Bill" Platypus, and Wombat Stu. With the Downunda Freedom Fighters reunited, the group located the facility's loading dock, where Crocbot's cronies were loading the rare ore needed to power Robotnik's Ultimate Annihilator on to an airbus.
Crocbot took his Combot Commander aside and handed him a thermo-nuclear time bomb, instructing him to take it to Robotropolis. He reveled in his opportunity to take down Robotnik and claim all of Mobius for himself when the Downunda Freedom Fighters arrived and swore vengeance for Antoine and Bunnie's "deaths". While they distracted Crocbot and his robotic minions, Bunnie and Antoine sneaked their way on to the airbus. Noticing the Combot Commander aboard the ship, the duo broke into a room that turned out to be the communication center. While trying to access the ship's systems, Bunnie accidentally opened a video log from Dr. Robotnik, explaining the details of Operation: EndGame. Antoine suggested they blow the ship up, but Bunnie cautioned him to be patient. She continued checking the database and found the bomb installed in the Combot Commander.
The ship arrived in Robotropolis and the Combot Commander made his way down to the lower deck. As he exited the command room, Antoine appeared and goaded him into running down a hallway where Bunnie ambushed the 'bot. They stole the bomb from the Combot's remains and scurried out of the airbus as it landed, hiding in the rafters as Dr. Robotnik began enacting the final stage of his plan. Bunnie and Antoine conclude their story, knowing that the others are aware of what happened next. Everyone cheers for Antoine and Bunnie when Hershey Cat arrives to show everyone a postcard sent by the Downunda Freedom Fighters, relating to the group that Crocbot has been defeated. The group toasts to their fortune and that of all the Freedom Fighters across Mobius.
- Guru Emu: "*Sigh* Whatever happened to 'Peace and Love?'"
- Bill: "No problem -- we love to smash these 'bots to pieces!"
- Combot Commander: "I'm-Going-Below. Stay-Alert, My-Fellow-Com-Bots. Remember, Robotnik-Still-Employs-Inferior-SWATbots-In-Robotropolis."
- Antoine: "Speakeeng of wheech, who was zat SWATbot I saw weeth your momma last night?"
- Combot Commander: "WHAT?! WHY--YOU--"
- Antoine: "Nyah Nyah Can't catch me!"
- Combot Commander: "WE'LL-SEE-ABOUT-THAT, FURBALL!"
- Bunnie: "Who ya'll callin' furball, tintop?"
- Combot Commander: "uh-oh."
- Ixis Naugus takes over Maximillian Acorn's body.
- Naugus, as King Max, nearly starts a civil war between the Robians and Mobians in Mobotropolis.
- Naugus's plans are discovered and foiled by Sonic.
- King Max is restored to his original form by the Crown of Acorns and Sword of Acorns.
- In a flashback, Antoine and Bunnie team up with the Downunda Freedom Fighters, escape Crocbot's prison camp, and return to Robotropolis.
- "Down and Out in Downunda" reuses two images from Sonic the Hedgehog #50. Images and portions of dialogue from this story were, in turn, used in Sonic Super Special #6.
Cameos & References
- "The Return of the King" is likely a reference to "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King".
- "Down and Out in Downunda" is a nod to George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London".
- In "Down and Out in Downunda", Bunnie describes Crocbot as "the vilest creature since General Sherman" referring to Union Civil War general William T. Sherman, infamous for his "total war" tactics.
- Guru Emu is colored lavender instead of blue.
This issue's stories have been reprinted in the following places:
- "Return of the King" was reprinted in Sonic Select Book 3
- "Down and Out in Downunda" was reprinted in Sonic Archives Vol. 13 and Sonic Legacy Book 3
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