Archie Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 23 was the twenty-third issue of the main Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- "Ivo Robotnik, Freedom Fighter!" - Part One
While out collecting berries on the edge of the forest, Sally and Tails notice that Sonic is frantically dancing instead of helping them. Sonic explains that Rotor's ants found their way into his shoes and are making his feet unbearably itchy. He returns the ants to Rotor and asks why he keeps them as pets. Rotor says he thinks they're interesting to watch and they like living on his ant farm. Sonic asks why they keep running away if they like living in the farm when Robotnik and Snively surprise the Freedom Fighters, attacking them with a portable Roboticizer. They set their sights on Rotor when the entire group is sucked up by a giant hose into a spaceship. Once they land inside the ship, Robotnik tries to head back out immediately. He's caught by a massive alien, who tells them that he captured them with his Umbilicus and plans to keep them on his ship forever.
- "Ivo Robotnik, Freedom Fighter!" - Part Two
The alien captor reveals that he is Car-Heem, an avid collector from the planet Weeet. Robotnik's attempts to get off the ship anger Car-Heem, who decides to dispose of him. The Freedom Fighters convince Car-Heem that Robotnik part of their group and necessary for their survival. The concept intrigues Car-Heem, as his species is trained to live a solitary life in space. He places them in a recreation of the Great Forest to study them. Sonic asks Car-Heem to get them some food, intending to break out while the alien is preoccupied. Unfortunately, Sonic is unable to break the container holding them.
Days pass, and the Freedom Fighters are hard at work. Robotnik refuses to help until they point out that Car-Heem is observing them and might destroy him if he doesn't pretend to be a Freedom Fighter. Later, Sonic recalls that Rotor said about his ant farm: that Rotor watches them because the ants are "interesting". He proposes that they stop being interesting to try and make Car-Heem get rid of them. Robotnik volunteers to build a vehicle to help them escape their prison and use the Umbilicus to return home. Sonic asks how they can trust him, and Robotnik simply tells Sonic that he's a Freedom Fighter now.
- "Ivo Robotnik, Freedom Fighter!" - Part Three
Sonic plays dead, prompting Car-Heem to remove him from the habitat. He runs inside Car-Heem's space suit to distract him while the others escape. Robotnik flies their escape vehicle to the control panel of the Umbilicus, revealing his treacherous intentions: he opens the ship's door, sending Car-Heem and Sonic flying out into space. The Freedom Fighters, outraged at Robotnik's carelessness and cruelty, restrain Robotnik and use the Umbilicus to catch Car-Heem before he floats too far away, rescuing him and Sonic. Car-Heem, having learned the error of his ways and vowing to collect comic books instead of creatures, agrees to return the group to Mobius. Later, Rotor decides that he wants to follow the example Car-Heem set and releases his pet ants. He asks his friends if they're proud of him, but they're too busy itching at their ant bites to talk.
- "The Vol-Ant-Teer"
On his way to bed, Antoine is scared by a hideous shadow. He looks outside and finds the source: Tails sulking by the campfire. Tails tells Antoine that he lost a Power Ring Sonic entrusted to him and he's afraid he'll never be allowed on another mission again. Antoine quickly promises to retrieve the ring for him and asks where he lost it. Tails tells him it's probably in his backpack in Robotropolis. Antoine, momentarily petrified with fear, confidently informs Tails that he'll retrieve the backpack and heads out to find it. Bunnie, woken up by Tails and Antoine's conversation, asks Tails what they were talking about. Before Tails can finish talking about how brave Antoine is, Bunnie is already gone.
Antoine enters Robotropolis through the sewers, peeking up from a manhole to examine his map. Unbeknownst to him, he is nearly run down by a robot car when a steel girder lands in front of it, causing it to crash. Antoine obliviously complains about the noisy streets and moves on. Locating the rooftop where Tails left the Power Ring, Antoine begins climbing up a ladder on the side of the building and is spotted by SWATbots. They follow him up the ladder, but it falls just as Antoine reaches safety. A badly damaged SWATbot tries to message Robotnik, but loses power before he can reveal the identity of their attacker. Antoine soon finds himself above a trench of toxic ooze on the outskirts of Robotropolis. He decides to crawl through a pipe to reach the other side. Detecting Antoine's presence, Robotnik arrives with Snively in a hovercraft and attempts to ram the pipe Antoine is crossing. The pipe is suddenly lifted out of the way, causing Robotnik to crash into the sludge below.
Arriving safely back in Knothole, Antoine presents the ring to Tails, who tells him that he's a hero. Bunnie has reappeared and compliments Antoine on his bravery, but Antoine disagrees and says his actions were foolish. He tells Tails to never do anything like what he did and asks him to not tell the other Freedom Fighters about what happened. Tails agrees, saying it will be their little secret. After Tails leaves, Antoine thanks a flustered Bunnie for her assistance with a kiss on the cheek, calling it their own little secret.
- Sonic: "Quick! Take the Freedom Fighter oath!"
- Robotnik: "I, Ivo Robotnik, promise to fight for freedom, justice, and good manners and oppose all evil tyrants...especially those with cheap red costumes and pointy heads."
- Sonic: "You are now a Freedom Fighter!"
- Snively: "Congratulations, sir! Let me be the first to shake your..."
- Robotnik: "Shut up, Snively!"
- Sonic and the Freedom Fighters teach Car-Heem to be respectful to other species.
- Bunnie protects Antoine on his trip to Robotropolis.
- This issue featured the winning submissions to the caption contest from StH #14.
- Planet Weeet is seen in Sonic #169, when A.D.A.M. uses the powers of Turbo Tails and Super Shadow to obtain the planet's Cyan Chaos Emeralds.
- Interestingly, Bunnie spends the entirety of The Vol-Ant-Teer in a pink skirt, something she has never done before or elsewhere.
- The second story "The Vol-Ant-Teer" is similar to the Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Hooked on Sonics" in the fact that Antoine goes to Robotropolis alone. This story is also similar to the second story, "The Map", in SSS#1, because Antoine carries out a covert mission in Robotroplis.
References and Cameos
- The Umbilicus may be a nod to Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which the Umbilicus was the tube-like tether that kept the Satellite of Love chained to Deep 13 and allowed items to be transported between the two. It was introduced in Season 6, which was reaching its end when the comic was released.
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- Sonic Archives Vol. 6
- Sonic Legacy Book 2
- "Ivo Robotnik, Freedom Fighter!" was reprinted in Sonic Super Digest #7
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