|Sonic Universe #4|
- "The Ultimate Lifeform": The all-out battle-turned-alliance between Shadow and Rouge takes a new twist... and there may be no turning back! Transported from G.U.N.'s secret base to the surreal Special Zone, the reluctant allies meet the zone's mega-powerful master, Feist. What will Feist require of them? Can they successfully complete the challenge as well as their other missions and tasks for G.U.N.? What would failure mean to Shadow, who considers himself the "ultimate lifeform?" This action-packed issue co-stars Hope Kintobor and Omega, and features the first assembly of "Team Dark." It also paves the way for the next intriguing saga, which promises to bring back everyone's favorite red echidna!
The Ultimate Lifeform
In G.U.N. headquarters, Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat are preparing to head to the Special Zone and pick up a special Chaos Emerald. Rouge asks Shadow if he's ready to head off into unknown territory, but Shadow shrugs it off by saying it is just another mission like any other day. Hope Kintobor and Abraham Tower have prepared a machine to take them into the special zone without any problems, but then Hope says she's only a little sure. Rouge comments that she is really talented but not as smart as Robotnik, and Shadow explains that they have to be thankful for that. The machine then sends them to the Special Zone.
In the zone, they suddenly meet Feist, who tells them that he is the creator of the zone and used the Chaos Emeralds to harness it. Rouge's data scanner goes off the charts, but Shadow acts cold and demands the Chaos Emeralds, and Feist brings up a large pathway to find the emerald. Shadow decides to speed it up and tries to use Chaos Control, but it does not work. Feist explains that he is the ruler of the zone and limited out all Chaos Energy. He pressures the moment by explaning they have only thirty seconds to complete the challenge. Rouge grabs Shadow and they head down the stairs. They travel the course, but they fail to reach the emerald in time and both are sent back to G.U.N. HQ.
Abraham asks what happened, and Rouge explains that they did make it to the Special zone and that it's ruled by Feist and how he does his challenges before stating that they have failed. Abraham and Rouge argue over the failure, but Shadow decides to take the blame, feeling bad because he isn't getting good enough at all over the past few days and walks off to the gym.
Shadow arrives at the gym and begins a sparring match with E-123 Omega. Omega explains that when he gets cleared for active duty, he should also go with him and confront Feist by blasting him, but Shadow punches him off angrily and storms off outside, leaving Omega to question himself if he did something.
Later, Hope finds Shadow on Guardian Mountain. Hope tries to cheer Shadow up by saying that she can see Soleanna from the height, but Shadow doesn't respond. Hope explains that it is OK that he didn't get the Chaos Emeralds but Shadow shrugs it off because he was built to complete all tasks he was given and not supposed to fail. Hope explains that she has also failed really badly, and tells Shadow about the war in Knothole after Dr. Eggman and Snively invaded and she left to explore the world, but Shadow comforts her by telling her that Sonic and the others didn't know. Hope cheers Shadow up by saying that he can plan his next strategy on Feist because he now knows how Feist works. She hugs Shadow and tells him that she too is also lost in the big, empty world like him. After remembering Maria Robotnik, this cheers Shadow up.
Later on, Hope gets the systems going and Shadow, Omega and Rouge are in the portal. Abraham questions if they are ready, and Shadow says they are ready, calling themselves "Team Dark." The portal then teleports them back to the Special Zone, leaving Hope to question as to why they called themselves "Team Dark," and Abraham says it will become evident in time with a look on his face.
Omega asks if he can blast Feist after arriving, but Shadow and Rouge deny it. Feist looks down and taunts the trio and they demand the challenge. This time, the challenge is a large cuboid maze. Shadow and his team then move into the maze. After they find the emerald in the center of the maze, it is immediately covered by a box of jewels. The trio then attempts to destroy as many as possible. Shadow goes to the top of the jewel pile to get the emerald from the newly-created opening, but fails to get it in time. Feist once again gloats over their failure, but then Rouge tells Omega to go ahead with "Plan B." Omega then shoots missiles mercilessly at Feist while Shadow and Rouge grab the emerald. Feist is reduced to just two mad eyes and two hands and he angrily shouts at the trio, but Shadow uses Chaos Control to get out of there before Feist can attack them.
At G.U.N. HQ, Team Dark celebrates their victory and Shadow gives Abraham the emerald, with the Commander saying that with two emeralds, G.U.N. will be tougher than ever.
30 Years Later...
Knuckles and Julie-Su are on top of their building. Julie-Su explains they need to go and they walk back inside their house. Knuckles and Julie-Su ask Lara-Su if she can watch over things while they head out, and Lara-Su responds by saying "I'm a guardian! I'm ready for anything!"
Shadow, Rouge, Omega and Hope are playing "Go Fish" when Shadow thinks of a joke. Tower is doing battle with Feist who asks him to look up his species. Tower reads that pandas "Eat, chutes and leaves" (a pun of eats, shoots and leaves). Shadow cracks up while the other members remained unhumoured and continue with their game of Go Fish.
- Sonic Checklist
- Fan Letters
- In the comic, Feist appears as a large, overweight panda, but in the Off Panel, he was shown quite muscular and tough. However, this might not be canon because it was part of Off Panel.
- The 'trials' that Shadow, Rouge, and Omega face are actually special stages from Sonic 3D Blast and the original Sonic the Hedgehog, with the Chaos Emerald as the goal.
- Additionally, the second trial bears a striking resemblance to the 4th Special Stage in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.
- This was the last issue to feature "Off-Panel" until issue 7.
- When confronted with Feist for the first time, Rouge's data scanner is going wild. This can be a reference to the popular line "It's over 9000!" in Dragonball Z.
- When Hope and Shadow are on the cliffside, Hope mentions Soleanna, the city in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
- Shadow, Rouge and Omega heading into the Special Zone are known as Team Dark, the team that they were in Sonic Heroes.