- "I Never Promised You a Chao Garden": The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance as the reason behind Eggman's kidnapping of the sweet, peaceful Chao named Cheese is further revealed! Sonic, Tails and their friends face their biggest challenge yet as they struggle to save the planet from mass destruction!
I Never Promised You a Chao Garden
- Writer: Joe Edkin
- Pencils: Tracy Yardley
- Inks: Andrew Pepoy
- Colors: Ben Hunzeker
- Letters: Tom Orzechowski
- Editor: Mike Pellerito
- Managing editor: Victor Gorelick
- Editor-in-chief: Richard Goldwater
- Special thanks to: Robert Leffler and Dyna Lopez at SEGA Licensing and SEGA Studio USA
Scarlet Garcia reports over Station Square State Park, where a forest fire has broken out and Sonic is rescuing a rare spotted owl and its eggs. He finds himself surrounded by flames, but leaps his way out of the fire. At the Thorndyke Mansion, Chris, Cream, Tails and Amy watch Sonic on the news and cheer for his success. Their celebration is interrupted when Chris notices that Cheese is upset. Cream explains that Cheese misses spending time with other Chao.
Cream goes on to say that Cheese was happy when other Chao came through the Master Emerald to stop Chaos from attacking Station Square. Once Chaos was defeated, he returned to being the protector of the Chao. The echidna that accompanied the Chao, Tikal, offered to let Cheese join them back in Sonic's home world; Cheese declined, wanting to stay with Cream on Earth. Cream explains that she feels like she was being selfish by keeping Cheese away from home, but without her mother around she felt uncomfortable on Earth without Cheese. Chris tells her that he understands, explaining to Cream that before Sonic and his friends arrived he was often lonely when his parents were away.
Chris thinks back to how his grandfather, Mr. Tanaka and Ella tried to keep him from feeling lonely, particularly his sixth birthday. When Chris found out his parents wouldn't be able to come, the group decided to invite all of his friends from school over for a camp out in the back yard. Helen, Danny and Frances spent the night with him while Chuck told the group stories about how alien life could be living far away in space. Scared of aliens attacking, the children mistook Ella for a monster late in the night. Later on, Chris asked his grandfather if he really thought aliens existed. Chuck assured him that if he ever met aliens they would become fast friends. Chris finishes his story, explaining that Sonic and his friends have let him get rid of his loneliness. Sonic arrives and Cream thanks Chris.
Meanwhile, Decoe and Bocoe watch as Dr. Eggman plays with a Chao. Eggman explains to his hench-bots that, when they kidnapped Cheese, he took a clipping from the Chao's wing to create his own clone Chao. The robots don't understand how a Chao is going to help them conquer the world, but with the press of a button the Chao transforms into a more fearsome form - a Dark Chao. Eggman explains that a certain radio signal causes the transformation and shows his robots that he has created a Chao Garden full of default Dark Chao. The mad scientist reveals that he intends to sell these Chao to the people of Station Square, turn them evil, and be crowned king of the world. Decoe points out that he will only conquer Station Square at most, but Bocoe warns him not to interrupt the boss when he rants.
After an incredibly successful ad campaign, Eggman reaches maximum penetration of the market and sells his Chao to nearly every resident of Station Square. Sonic and his friends are wary, certain that Eggman is planning something devious behind the scenes. Cheese tries to interact with the clone Chao, but notices that they all say "Choa." Cream wonders if Eggman has found a way back to Sonic's home world. Chris freaks out, not ready for his friends to leave, but Sonic calms him down by reminding him that they're just speculating and that they'll be friends forever. Cream interrupts their talk to explain that Cheese has found that the other Chao speak a different language and probably aren't from their home world.
A month after the first wave of Dark Chao went on sale, Lindsey Thorndyke brings her own Chao home to Chris, telling him that it keeps causing problems on her movie sets. Meanwhile, seeing a report on the Chao fever sweeping Station Square, Dr. Eggman decides that it's time to set his plan in motion. With the press of a button, his base sends out a radio signal that makes all the clone Chao go hostile. Lindsey's Chao transforms, throwing furniture at Sonic and his friends. Tails throws Sonic a ring and, with help from Amy, manages to capture the Dark Chao and tie him up. The gang shoves the Dark Chao in a garbage can and races towards Angel Island, hoping that the Master Emerald can calm it down. Before they can reach the island, however, the group finds the city overrun with berserk Dark Chao causing mischief and mayhem.
- Amy Rose
- Chao (Flashback)
- Chaos (Flashback)
- Perfect Chaos (Flashback)
- Christopher Thorndyke
- Chuck Thorndyke
- Cosmo (Cameo)
- Cream the Rabbit
- Danny (Flashback)
- Dark Chao (First appearance)
- Doctor Eggman
- Ella (Flashback)
- Frances (Flashback)
- Helen (Flashback)
- Knuckles the Echidna (Flashback)
- Lindsey Thorndyke
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Mister Tanaka (Flashback)
- Nelson Thorndyke (Mentioned)
- Scarlet Garcia
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Tikal (Flashback)
- Vanilla the Rabbit (Mentioned)
- Vector the Crocodile (Cameo)
- Decoe: How is one evil Chao going to make you emperor?
- Bocoe: Is it even registered to vote?
- Dr. Eggman: Have you ever dreamed of owning a Chao just like the one you've seen with Cream the Rabbit?
- Decoe: I wish I had a Chao.
- Dr. Eggman: Until now, you'd have to spend thousands of little green pieces of paper and build a dimensional portal to get your very own Chao.
- Bokkun: Building dimensional portals is hard!
- Dr. Eggman: But not any more because now you can get a live Chao for a fraction of what you might expect to pay.
- This is the first issue of Sonic X to feature a Sonic-Grams column, dubbed "Sonic X Grams." This column did not return until Sonic X #31, where it became a regular feature.
- This issue is the first Sonic comic by Archie Comics to be penciled by Tracy Yardley. His first pencil work for the main comic series was published just two months later in Sonic the Hedgehog #160.
- Tracy, however, is credited in the comic as 'Tracy Yardly'
- The demonic Chao's appearance is the same as the Dark Chao, which first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2.
- Chao Gardens were introduced in Sonic Adventure and have been shown as a raising area for the Chao in Sonic media.
- During Chris's flashback, his grandpa tells him stories about aliens. Cosmo, a character featured in the Sonic X anime, appears with Sonic and his friends.
- The name of the story is a reference to the novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.
- The flashback in which Tikal offers Cheese a chance to live with his own kind never occurred in the Sonic X anime series. This event would be impossible in the show's continuity due to how abruptly Tikal and the others departed after Sonic's battle with Perfect Chaos.
- Cheese is referred to as both a male and female in this issue.