Archie Sonic the Hedgehog 246 is the two hundred and forty-sixth issue of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
The Conclusion! It's the most world-shattering story to ever hit Knuckles the Echidna, and it all ends here! As Team Fighters make their way to the Arctic, Thrash and Knuckles collide in an explosive final battle for the fate of the Echidnas. So why is Silver the Hedgehog in the mix? Find out in this exciting finale!
Endangered Species - Part Four
Recognizing Shard as the same Metal Sonic who kidnapped Amy and later attempted to kill Sonic and Tails, the trio attack him on the assumption that he's been rebuilt by Dr. Eggman and sent against them. Shard briefly tries to convince Team Fighters that he's there to help them, but to no avail-until the Krudzu Hybrid Hydra/Metal Knuckles fusion reactivates and seizes Sonic and Shard in its vines. Shard again appeals to Sonic, wanting to help him, and Sonic relents, suggesting that they start dragging the monster around Albion. Watching them go, Tails and Amy struggle to come up with a way to defeat the improved Krudzu, and Tails decides to approach the penned Devil Dogs. Meanwhile, in Downunda, a Warp Ring opens to admit Thrash and Knuckles, who are still engaged in an all out brawl. After exchanging a few blows, Knuckles grabs Thrash and throws him through a wall in the nearby Tasmanian ruins.
To Knuckles' shock, the building he threw Thrash into is occupied by a decrepit female Tasmanian Devil and another pair of Devil Dogs. The elder, horrified, points an accusing finger at Knuckles, while Thrash unleashes a sonic howl at his enemy before escaping through his Warp Ring yet again with Knuckles following. The elder then buries her head in her hands, obviously shaken. Back in Albion, Sonic and Shard continue to drag the Hydra around, with Sonic attempting to get information out of his robotic companion. Shard refuses to directly answer his questions, much to Sonic's annoyance, though he does admit that were it not for the trust others have in him he would gladly tell Sonic the truth. When Sonic then questions how he can trust him, Shard questions if he can trust Uncle Chuck, confusing Sonic further and making Shard think that Uncle Chuck's going to be upset with him. He then restates his mission to help Team Fighters, and Sonic reveals that their mission to rescue Sally has been difficult, citing the Hydra as an example. The two then exchange a bit of banter, after which Sonic guesses that his teammates have undoubtedly come up with a plan.
On cue, Amy appears in their path, and the two break from from the Hydra's vines, letting it slide up to Amy, who bats it through several buildings with her Pico Pico Hammer. The Hydra defiantly declares that it will take more than the four allies to stop him, at which point Tails deploys his newfound allies: the Devil Dogs. The savage Mobini eviscerate the Hydra, who is further damaged by a lightning strike, as the heroes look on in disgust. Elsewhere, in White Acropolis, Thrash emerges from his Warp Ring, only for Knuckles to emerge from his own ring close behind. The two enter yet another intense battle, breaking it off when Thrash causes an avalanche with his howl. Thrash summons up his Warp Ring and escapes, only for Knuckles to come through right behind him, the pair landing on Shrine Island along with some snow. Fed up with the chase, Thrash deploys his Warp Ring again off the side of the island, jumping through it and making his escape, though Knuckles manages to secure the ring. The Guardian glides back up onto the island and tries to activate the ring-but it fails to produce a portal.
Hearing another Warp Ring activate, Knuckles turns to see the rest of the Chaotix walking up to greet him. He stands numbly as the Chaotix greet him, and as Espio notices the empty Warp Ring and the group starts asking where the girls are and what's happened in their absence. In helpless rage, Knuckles punches the island, creating a large crack, and falls to his knees at the feet of his concerned friends. Back in Albion Sonic, Tails, and Shard finish dismembering the Hydra, while Amy delivers the final blow with her hammer, leaving only a tiny vine behind which Sonic grabs, intending to place it somewhere where it can't absorb any technology. Shard then interrupts, and Sonic thinks he's about to betray them, but Shard then reveals his true intention: to take the Hydra and find a way to use it to De-Roboticize Mecha Sally. Sonic questions whether such a tactic is even possible, and Tails believes that with Uncle Chuck's help they could manage it. Shard then questions what their plan was for when they captured Sally, and a chagrined Tails admits that they actually hadn't come up with a contingency plan due to having to deal with Robotnik's attacks. Shard, who cryptically remarks that one of his "bosses" is worried about the situation, responds that he'll inform them that the Hydra is a backup plan.
Shard then volunteers to take the Hydra spring back to New Mobotropolis so that the De-Roboticization process can be looked into while Team Fighters completes its mission, and Sonic admits that Shard has been a great help and entrusts him with the spring. Amy, who had visited Albion prior to its devastation at Robotnik's hands, mourns the city's state while Tails bids farewell to the Devil Dogs. As she bemoans also the sad state of Bunnie, Antoine, and now Knuckles as well, Sonic pulls her into a comforting hug, promising that they'll find a way to fix everything. He even suggests that the Krudzu might be useful in retrieving the Echidnas, but states that they have to keep going until they can find out. The team prepares to leave, and Shard offers to help repair the Tornado, which he was also instructed by NICOLE to place a monitoring device on. Tails is reluctant, but then Shard acknowledges the unpleasant circumstances of their previous encounter at Mount Mobius, apologising for 'the volcano thing'.
The metal Hedgehog and Team Fighters part ways, and Shard radios Secret HQ as he makes his way back, informing them that he planted the tracker. He informs Silver that the Tornado is heading for the Northern Tundra, and asks if that's significant, prompting Silver to reply that he's almost out of time.
As Shard flies towards home, the Hydra spring suggest that the two of them join forces and have lots of fun. After imagining the possibilities-which include becoming a Krudzu/Shard variant of Titan Metal Sonic, leveling New Mobotropolis, and defeating Monkey Khan, Shard declines.
- After briefly fighting, Shard and Team Fighters join forces against the Krudzu Hybrid Hydra.
- Tails convinces the Devil Dogs to help fight the Krudzu.
- The Krudzu is defeated by Team Fighters, Shard, and the Devil Dogs.
- Knuckles and Thrash's battle reaches its conclusion, but the Echidnas remain missing.
- The Chaotix return from their journey.
- Shard repairs the Tornado and places a tracker on it
- Team Fighters departs for the Northern Tundra to find the Death Egg Mark 2 and Mecha Sally.
- Shard takes the remaining Krudzu sprig back to New Mobotropolis with the intention of converting it into a de-roboticizing agent.
- Shard informs Silver on Team Fighters' whereabouts.
- This issue marks the final on panel appearance of Thrash before the reboot.
- This marks the final appearance of Albion in the series.
- Knuckles and Thrash both have no dialogue throughout the whole issue, despite appearing prominently.
- It is known that the majority of this story arc had to be altered due to behind the scenes issues. On the subject of how the story was originally supposed to play out, Ian Flynn has at least gone on to confirm that neither Shard nor the Krudzu Hybrid Hydra where originally intended to appear in the arc. (1)
- Sonic refers to Shard as the original Mecha Sonic in this issue: this was the name originally used for Metal Sonic v1.0 during its first appearance in Sonic #25, and later for its v2.0 model in the Knuckles Chaotix Special, with every other model thereafter being referred to as Metal Sonic, both to match the games, and because Mecha had since become the name designated to Sonic's robotisized form. The fact that Metal was originally referred to as Mecha was something that had been retconned in later issues, but this has apparently been re-retconned in this issue: according to Ian Flynn, Mecha Sonic is used to refer to the original robot created by the original Dr. Robotnik, to differentiate from the current Eggman line. Flynn later went on to state this was done so as to get around Sega's recent mandate that only one Metal Sonic can exist in the series.
Cameos and References
- Shard's line to Sonic "It's a secret to everyone", is a nod to the recurring line said in The Legend of Zelda series by certain characters.
- One of the locations in which Knuckles and Thrash battle, White Arcropolis, is a level from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
This issue has been reprinted in the following places:
- In Germany, this issue was intended to be printed in Panini Sonic the Hedgehog #10.
- "Endangered Species: Finale" takes place after the events of "Chaotix Quest" (SU: #46-#49) and before "Forged in Fire" (SU: #50).