"Endgame" is the name of a
1997 story arcof the "Sonic the Hedgehog" comic bookpublished by published by Archie Comics. It officially encompasses issues 47 through 50, although "" directly leads up to the events. It has been revered as the high point of the comic's runFact|date=February 2007.
The story's roots begin in "Sonic the Hedgehog" issue #41's "And One Shall Save Him", in which Sonic, Sally, and
Geoffrey St. Johnembark into the Zone of Silence and successfully retrieve King Acorn. Shortly afterwards, though, the King begins to turn to crystal as a result of having been trapped in the Zone for so long. After failing to cure him using Magic Rings (as depicted in the " Death EggSaga" mini-series) and a spare Chaos Emeraldprovided by Knuckles, Sally believes that they need to find the true Crown of Acorns (the King apparently was not wearing the real Crown when Robotnik banished him to the Zone), which is located in the Hall of Limbo. However, after using a Ring to find out, Sonic discovers that the Sword of Acorns has a magical link to the Crown, but they don't know where the Sword is. Knuckles embarks on a quest of his own to find the Sword.
Sometime after Sonic speaks with King Acorn inside the monarch's mind using Dr. Quack's Dream Watcher (in issue #43), the Freedom Fighters meet around a campfire with the Wolf Pack Freedom Fighters (from the "SatAM" episode "Cry of the Wolf"), and accusations begin to fly. The Wolf Pack's leader, Lupé, suspects
Drago Wolf; Drago suspects Sonic's Uncle Chuck; and Geoffrey suspects Uncle Chuck and Sonic. When Geoffrey attempts to kill Sonic on the spot, Antoinestands up for the hedgehog and accuses the skunk of being the traitor. This act surprises Sonic and Tails, and at the same time, Bunnie reveals her love for Antione.
Meanwhile, Knuckles succeeds in finding the Sword of Acorns, but it doesn't take him to the Hall of Limbo, so he decides that only royalty can use it, so he calls up the
Freedom Fightersto tell them that he will give it to them on Angel Island. However, Mammoth Mogul, having seen these developments, telepathically messes the communication so that Knuckles is deceived into believing that the Freedom Fighters will come attack him and the Chaotix(because Knuckles took too long retrieving the Sword), while the Freedom Fighters are tricked into thinking the Chaotix is planning to keep the sword. Upon the Freedom Fighters' arrival on Angel Island, Mogul's henchmen pose as the Chaotix to rile them into battle, and then they pose as the Freedom Fighters to do the same with the Chaotix. Soon, both of the real times are duking it out, with the exceptions of Sally and Archimedes the Fire Ant, who formulate a plan to expose the true menace around here. Mogul (who is now in possession of the Sword) and his minions eventually show themselves and Mogul reveals his tactics, at which point the good guys reappear and gang up on him and his troops, during which they reveal how they figured out his plan (one of those points being the revelation that Sonic and Mighty the Armadilloare old friends, probably a reference to the " SegaSonic the Hedgehog" arcade game). They manage to defeat Mogul using the island's Chaos Emerald, and he leaves behind the Sword. The Freedom Fighters return to Knothole with the Sword, but shortly after returning, Sally is surprised to see her father seemingly already back to prime health. Meanwhile, it is revealed to the readers that Mogul has in fact left the Freedom Fighters with a fake Sword and he still has the real one (and he still has it until issue #56).
Taking the Fall (Sonic #47)
King Acorn tells Sally that he believes Sonic is a traitor. The Princess does not believe this, but during a mission to infiltrate Robotnik's lair, as she is climbing down a building, a figure greatly resembling Sonic shows up and cuts her rope, causing her to plummet to the ground below. While this is going on, Sonic himself faces off with Robotnik, who retreats along with Snively, but not before leaving the hedgehog preoccupied by setting off a laser cannon on the ceiling. Sonic manages to deflect the lasers with a piece of glass.
The Freedom Fighters bring the unconscious Sally back to Knothole for medical treatment, but Dr. Quack pronounces her dead shortly thereafter. Sonic returns, having been left behind on the outskirts of Robotropolis, and is promptly arrested by St. John for the murder of the Princess. King Acorn sentences the hedgehog to life imprisonment at the Devil's Island Gulag.
Sonic the Fugitive (Sonic #48)
As Sonic is being transported to the Gulag, the plane carrying him is shot down by SWATbots, and the hedgehog is able to escape. He attempts to take refuge in a cave nearby, but thanks to a tracking device on his shackles, St. John tracks him down. The two duke it out for a while until finally Sonic escapes the cave by jumping out of an opening in front of a waterfall.
Back in Knothole, Antione begins to suspect Drago, so he and Bunnie follow him and find him discussing his deeds with
Hershey the Cat. They continue to follow Drago, but he and some SWATbots catch them in the act and ship them off to Downunda.
King Acorn, meanwhile, rounds up the citizens of Knothole to tell them that is time to move on, and then introduces his reinstated warlord, at which point Robotnik makes his entrance and announces his takeover.
Escape to the Floating Island (Sonic #49)
Sonic manages to survive his jump down the waterfall (thanks to an impossible stunt in which he makes a solid track out of a ball of mud from his shoe), but it doesn't change the fact that St. John is still after him. He signals for Dulcy, who, as a dragon, can sense the purity of truth in Sonic's story. Dulcy brings Sonic to Angel Island, hoping to find help there, but Knuckles rudely greets them by knocking out Dulcy and getting into another fistfight with Sonic before finally St. John shows up.
Back in Knothole, Robotnik reveals to his new prisoners that the King Acorn who just spoke with them was in fact merely one of his Auto-Automatons, and then leaves them with a teaser for a weapon with which he will use to annihilate all the living beings on Mobius.
Over in Robotropolis, Dr. Quack delivers Sally's death certificate to Snively, but is forced by Snively to do whatever he commands. Dr. Quack cannot fight back as Robotnik is holding his wife and children hostage.
Elsewhere in Knothole, Drago reveals to Hershey that he tricked her into murdering Sally. He had made her wear a Sonic costume with eye pieces that made the optical illustion of anyone whom the wearer would see would look like Snively. Therefore, when Hershey cut the rope, she thought Snively was the one climbing it, and she is much shaken up about this.
In Downunda, Bunnie and Antione are chained in a dungeon with Walt Wallabee and Barby Koala of the Downunda Freedom Fighters.
CrocBot, the local sub-boss, (who is now fused with a tank as a result of his defeat in Tails' 3-issue mini-series) has managed to capture all of the Downunda Freedom Fighters and is torturing them daily. He plans to soon kill Bunnie and Antoine, then send their remains to Tails as bait to get him to Downunda so CrocBot can exact his revenge.
The Big Goodbye / For Whom the Bell Tolls (Sonic #50)
In Robotropolis, Robotnik awakens from his slumber chamber (after having a dream about his backstory) and goes to test out his new weapon, the Ultimate Annihilator, on an unfortunate
Overlanderwhom the SWATbots captured. Robotnik is proud of this, feeling that victory will soon be his, but unbeknowst to him, Snively has other plans.
On Angel Island, Knuckles teams up with St. John to capture Sonic upon being informed of Sally's death. Sonic is soon caught by Espio, but luckily Dulcy wakes up and tells everyone that Sonic is telling the truth. Upon this, Sonic, St. John, and Knuckles join forces and head back for Knothole.
Over in Downunda, Bunnie, Antione, Walt, and Barby manage to escape their prison cell and rescue the rest of the Downunda Freedom Fighters. The Downunda Freedom Fighters then proceed to fight off CrocBot while Bunnie and Antione stow away on his shipment to Robotropolis. In the shipment, they find information from one of Robotnik's journal tapes about the Ultimate Annihilator and form a plan to stop Robotnik.
Over in Knothole, the ComBots are leading groups of furries into
roboticizationchambers (designed like the machines at the end of each level in the first "Sonic" game. Tails and Rotor try to escape and seek help from other Freedom Fighter groups using their water vehicles, but Drago has destroyed said vehicles. Just as he's bringing the two to the roboticization chambers, though, Sonic, Knuckles, and St. John parachute out of an airplane above and begin to fight off the SWATbots.(edit: Knuckles did NOT use a parachute) Drago attempts to escape with Sonic in hot pursuit, but he soon runs into Hershey, who gives him a savage beating before confessing to Sonic that she was duped into killing Sally. Understanding her pain, Sonic proceeds to Robotropolis.
When he gets there, Sonic eludes some missiles and takes out some SWATbots and Snively before running into Bunnie and Antione, who tell him that they're going to plant a bomb to sabotage the Ultimate Annihilator. Sonic continues onward to Robotnik's war room while the other two find the Ultimate Annihilator, but Robotnik has not activated it and is preparing to wipe Knothole out of existence. Sonic reaches the war room and destroys the SWATbots therein, but is too late to stop Robotnik for vaporizing Knothole. Antione and Bunnie, meanwhile, plant the bomb and vamoose. The Annihilator crashes it, and Robotnik finds out from his computers that the war room will soon be obliterated, taking everything with it. Sonic and Robotnik, however, proceed to duke it out until finally the Annihilator goes off and seemingly kills the both of them. However, Sonic reemerges along with the war room before fainting from exhaustion.
When Sonic wakes up, he finds himself back in Knothole, under Dr. Quack and Rotor's medical care. It turns out that Knothole hasn't been destroyed after all, but rather now exists in a temporal rift three hours in the future (until issue #71). Dr. Quack explains the Robotnik found Knothole thanks to the neutron chip in the Dream Watcher (issue #43) and then had Snively capture Dr. Quack and force him to work on the Annihilator. However, Snively had changed the settings so that the weapon would only affect Robotnik. Dr. Quack also reveals that Sally isn't dead after all, but merely in a coma. Upon hearing this, Sonic runs over to her memorial and (in a nod to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs") kisses her cheek, which revives her.
Development and reception
When writing the story,
Ken Pendersplanned that Sally was originally slated to have died in the event, but fan reaction to Sally's death was massive, and Sega of America also wished to keep her alive for promotional purposesFact|date=February 2007. As a result of this, the 40-page story originally planned to run in issue #50 was trimmed down to 27 pages, resulting in a rather rushed conclusion. However, Penders would eventually publish the story as it was meant to be in "Sonic Super Special" #6, printed in July 1998.
The storyline was met with mixed reactions. Readers with positive reviews expressed it in letters that were published in later issues, but online reviewers left negative reviews, mostly due to the aforementioned cuts made to issue #50, to the point that
Daniel Drazencited the arc as the worst multi-issue story running in "Sonic the Hedgehog" comics during 1997. By comparison, in [http://www2.andrews.edu/~drazen/belltoll.txt his review of it] , he stated that the remake in "Super Special" #6 was "as close [to perfection] as this project is going to get".
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