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Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 204 was the two hundred and fourth issue of the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
It's Sonic vs. Monkey Khan yet again! But it's more than hot-headedness this time as Sonic fights not just for his city, but to save the very cybernetic-simian he's forced to fight! Even if Sonic can save his friend, will Khan's dark secret destroy him anyway? Its monkey mayhem as only Archie can deliver! PLUS: "Friend in Deed Part 2": Knuckles' melee against a surprise traitor continues... and as the brawl rages on, so do the emotions within, as Knuckles realizes that he can win the battle but lose so much more!
- "Heavy is the Head" - Part Two ("Iron Khan")
The Iron Queen directs the mind-controlled Monkey Khan to attack the Freedom Fighter and Chaotix members present and he quickly scatters the group. The orphans beg him to stop and he goes after them - Sonic snatches them out of the way, having just returned from carrying Bunnie to safety. Sally rushed to him wanting an update on Bunnie and Sonic explains that he left her to rest at Freedom HQ. Considering Khan's aggression, Sonic asks the orphans if they'd been throwing rocks again but Sally explained the situation; Snively had removed Khan's Power Ring headband and the Iron Queen had used her technomagic on him the same way as she had Bunnie, as without the headband he was far more susceptible to her powers. Sonic asserts that Khan needs to be contained and is eager to jump to action, though Sally hesitantly asks him to try not to hurt Khan unnecessarily. Sonic draws Khan's attention and, while dodging attacks, attempts to force Khan to realize his actions. However, the Iron Queen gleefully explains that Khan's cybernetics are too extensive; her control is absolute. Snively punctuates this by snapping the power ring headband to pieces. While Sonic gets hit in the stomach by Khan, the Iron Queen continues to taunt him, stating that her "pawn" will destroy the Freedom Fighters, adding the shocking revelation that she had Khan destroy the resistance in the Dragon Kingdom in the same fashion.
Sonic and Sally quickly discuss the nature of Khan's headband, as Sally recalls that when they'd first met, Khan had created the headband out of a simple Power Ring. Sonic reasons that with another headband, Khan may be able to resist the queen's control. He orders Sally to stall Khan, while he heads to the Lake of Rings. He is nearly blindsided by Khan, but Antoine manages to briefly hold him off for a time, angry that Khan's neglect to share info had lead to this attack. Antoine is knocked away, and Sally launches a kick at Khan, yelling at him to fight the queen's control rather than them. She is knocked off her feet by a sweep of the Atom-Bat. Mighty and Vector pounce on Khan, attempting to slow him down - Vector gloating that he had told Julie-Su they didn't need her help, and Mighty regretfully preparing to attack - but Khan uses the dramatic "Tumultuous Thunderclap of the Enraged" technique and sends the two flying.
At the lake, Sonic impatiently waits for the ring, but it's not coming any time soon. NICOLE explains that it takes a lot of energy to generate a ring, which means it requires a lot of time, but as Sonic emphasizes how little time they have, NICOLE attempts to reroute power to the lake. Suddenly, Khan speeds towards Sonic, and just before he's able to strike, Sonic grabs the newly-generated ring and slams it down on Khan's head. Khan reverts and is left sitting in the lake, ashamed by his actions. Sonic now realizes why Khan was so angry concerning the "king" prophecy; Khan believed he had failed to live up to that name. This is also why he was reluctant to reveal why there weren't any Freedom Fighters to contact in the Dragon Kingdom and why he was angry to find the people of New Mobotropolis celebrating. The Iron Queen, pleased by her success in demoralizing her enemies, informs Snively it's time to leave.
The others quickly show up, and Khan glumly explains how he had thought that with his crown, he'd be able to resist the Queen; however, unable to control his anger, he lost his focus, making him easy prey to her spells. He adds that even after he realized the destruction he'd caused, he tried briefly continue the fight, but was unable to handle being so alone, comparing it to his imprisonment in the vault. Sally tries to comfort Khan, but Antoine is enraged, as Khan had not explained that he himself was a liability against the Iron Queen and as a result, Bunnie was nearly killed. Sally tells Antoine to knock it off, but Khan accepts the blame. Suddenly, the orphans appear and explain how, when they lost their parents to Robotnik, they'd felt it was their fault. However, they add that they support each other and give each other strength. They tell Khan that they'll be strong for everyone, if Khan is strong for them. He agrees and they shake on it.
Sally gives Khan a hug, adding that they'd all made mistakes in the past but had to keep sight of their goals. Khan apologizes for having withheld information while Antoine apologizes for his behavior; Sonic coyly teases the latter about his past cowardice. Sally takes the children back to Rosie and plans to check on Tails, and Antione heads to Freedom HQ to check on his beloved. Sonic tells Antoine he'll give him a lift in a minute, and takes a moment to go over what they know about the Iron Dominion. Confident that their goal is now clear, Sonic leaves, telling Khan to "have fun" finding his dropped Atom-Bat in the lake.
At the Eggdome's Detention Level, Snively presses his face to the door of Robotnik's cell, bragging about his recent accomplishments. Eggman mumbles and rants incoherently. Finding no satisfaction in gloating to someone who can't understand him, Snively quickly stalks away, unaware that among Eggman's ramblings, the code to unlock the door was uttered...
- "Friend in Deed" - Part 2:
On Angel Island, Espio has Knuckles at knifepoint, holding him at the edge of Shrine Isle. Fearlessly, Knuckles asks if Espio would really steal the Master Emerald for the Iron Queen, but Espio turns the question around and asks if Knuckles would ever allow him to do so. Knuckles bluntly states that, as Espio should know, he would give up everything he has to prevent anyone from stealing the emerald. Upon hearing his answer, Espio concludes he has "conflicting orders" and frees Knuckles.
Espio then attempts to leave, but Knuckles asks him to stop, desperate to know answers and saying that he can't help Espio without a hint. Espio is hesitant to talk, but eventually explains that his clan, lead by the Bride of Constant Vigil, is bound with the others to serve the Iron Queen as she is the Bride of the Four Houses; thus the only way out would be to somehow break the allegiance of the clans to the queen. Knuckles then figures that by defeating the Queen, Espio will be free of his duty, but Espio says that he'd still be bound to the Shinobi Clan. Espio attempts to further explain, adding that Lightning Lynx was formerly exiled from the Raiju Clan and that the Bride of Conquering Storm is at New Megaopolis now. Knuckles struggles to keep up with the details and wants more information, but Espio is conflicted, knowing he should not be explaining anything at all. He attempts to leave and ignores Knuckles' question as to what exactly the Bride of Constant Vigil had wanted him to do. He warns Knuckles to beware the Iron Dominion, and vanishes into the trees. Knuckles quietly wishes Espio good luck, calling him "friend."
- Sonic: Remember your old yellow streak?
- Antoine: Oui. I recall it all too well.
- Sonic: Because I totally could bring it up right now.
- Antoine: I know.
- Sonic: I've got a list.
- Antoine: Stop eet.
- Sonic: I'm going to go check on everyone. Have fun trying to find your atom-bat in the lake!
- Monkey Khan: (looks at the Lake of Rings) Oh... yeah.
- Eggman: ...must do away with Kodos... no, Crabmeat, that's my cookie... more ore for the Ultimate Annihilator... hate that hedgehog... cell block override authority epsilon-gamma-gamma... want to ride the pasha... tastes like clucky... (cell opens)
- Knuckles: You'd really steal the Master Emerald. You'd really give her that much power and drop the entire island into the ocean. You'd really do that?
- Espio: ...I would have to do this, right? I'd have to destroy you before you would let me take the Master Emerald?
- Knuckles: Do you even need to ask? Of course you would. I'd give up everything to stop you.
- Espio: Then I have conflicting orders.
- Knuckles: (to Espio) Wait! I'm getting all turned around again! What are the other clans?
- Espio: I've said too much.
- Knuckles: But if orders are conflicting, then what did Constant Vigil want you to do? Espio?
- Espio: (turns invisible)
- Knuckles: Good luck out there, my friend. And be careful.
- Monkey Khan begins an attack on New Mobotropolis under the Iron Queen's control.
- Snively destroys Khan's headband.
- Khan is revealed to have destroyed the resistance groups in the Dragon Kingdom while under the control of the Iron Queen.
- Sonic use a Power Ring from the Lake of Rings to restore Khan back to normal.
- Eggman mutters the code that unlocks his cell.
- Espio gives Knuckles a hint on how he can beat the Iron Queen.
- In StH: #203, Monkey Khan had green markings on his body, but in this issue the markings are blue.
- While rambling, Eggman makes references to several past events and characters.
- Eggman's access code of Epsilon-Gamma-Gamma is an acronym for EGG.
- The phrase "two plus two... ten... in base four" is a reference to the video game Portal, as, the game's Main Antagonist, GLaDOS, says this upon being damaged for the first time by the player.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- "Heavy is the Head: Part 2" was reprinted in Sonic Super Digest #7
- "Friend in Deed: Part 2" was reprinted in Sonic Super Special Magazine #6
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