- "One Step Forward ...": Sonic's 25th Anniversary begins HERE with a double-sized Gatefold cover! Dr. Eggman's newest creation threatens all of Mobius, forcing Sonic to team up with the evil Ixis Naugus. It's a race against time with a world-changing ending you won't believe! The prelude to "Genesis" starts here with this anniversary issue!
One Step Forward...
- Writer: Ian Flynn
- Pencils; Tracy Yardley
- Inks: Terry Austin
- Colors: Matt Herms
- Letters: John Workman
- Editor: Paul Kaminski
- Editor-in-Chief: Victor Gorelick
- President: Mike Pellerito
- Special Thanks To: Cindy Chau and Jerry Chu at SEGA licensing
Sonic looks up at the sky in disbelief at the Death Egg Mark 2, realizing that Dr. Eggman's plan to rebuild it was in front of him the whole time. He remembers how Dr. Eggman focused on building up the Eggdome before he went insane (FCBD: 2010), Tails mentioning how it's weird that Eggman and Snively have not attacked since the fall of the Iron Dominion (Sonic the Hedgehog #212), and the Arctic Freedom Fighters and Beauregard Rabbot mentioning large fueling stations (Sonic the Hedgehog #215, Sonic the Hedgehog #218). Sonic realizes that the EggDome was not a bunker, but really the Death Egg in disguise. Ixis asks Geoffrey St. John if the Death Egg is a legitimate threat. Geoffrey responds that while he never had any personal experience with it, as he was guarding Maximillian Acorn at the time of its original launch (Sonic Quest), they should not take Eggman lightly. Sally Acorn proposes a truce with Naugus to combat the bigger threat, to which Naugus agrees, and flies up towards the Death Egg using his wind magic, laughing maniacally. Sonic reacts to this saying that no one can naturally be that creepy, and that it has to be an act. Sally responds that he has the right idea though, and tells the Freedom Fighters to get to the King Frederick Airfield, and prepare to storm the Death Egg. Sally, Sonic, and Tails take the Tornado, while Antonie, Bunnie, and Amy take the Freedom Fighter Special, with Geoffrey being towed along so he can have an eye kept on him. After NICOLE establishes a link between the two vehicles, Sally asks Antoine what their status is. Antoine says they are ready for launch, and that everything is secure, revealing Geoffrey under watch by Amy, Piko Piko Hammer in hand, who he does not find that threatening. She tells him to keep telling himself that. The two ships then fly off, ready to charge the Death Egg.
On board the Death Egg, Eggman, Snively and Lien-Da monitor the growing power for Operation: Clean Sweep when Snively warns of incoming resistance. Eggman gleefully asks if Sonic looks worried, but is shocked to realize that it is Ixis Naugus. When Snively warns that the Freedom Fighter aircraft is approaching, Eggman's confidence bounces back as he orders all automated defenses to activate but to not hit Sonic. When Snively asks why not aim at Sonic, Eggman snaps back saying he would not be able to hit the hedgehog anyway and to shoot down the rest of the resistance. As the two planes make their way to the Death Egg, Tails shoots through the patch that was used during the invasion and final showdown. Meanwhile, Ixis Naugus flies up to the Death Egg and uses his crystalline magic on it to no effect, to Naugus' surprise. Snively informs Eggman that the power ring internal matrix surrounding the Death Egg is resisting Naugus' magic to which the doctor proudly tells Snively that with enough slave laborers, you can collect enough rings to do anything. Sonic and Sally share a kiss as they enter the place and explore it, all while one of Eggman's robots seals up and repairs the hole, cutting them off from back up. Eventually, they find an elevator and Sonic states that he forgot about it everytime he came here. Eggman greets the two via intercom and compliments the hedgehog on not losing is stubbornness against the Iron Dominion. Sonic wants to fight him personally, but Eggman sends up a new Silver Sonic, saying that he has to prove he "still got it."
Sally freaks out, saying that it is more fierce than the one from Station Square. But Sonic celebrates, saying that the original nearly turned him into ground beef, and starts to fight the new Silver Sonic. Part way through the fight, Eggman compliments on how Sonic's putting on quite a show. Sally says that Eggman's simply stalling for time, but Eggman tells her to "let him have his fun" and says that she was the one made it all possible by not being ruthless enough to end him when he was down, that she inherited the weakness from her father and that if Sally's father had not taken the original Ivo Robotnik in all those years ago, none of this would have ever happened. He finishes by gloating how all the victories the Freedom Fighters had won were because of Sonic's superior abilities, which made up for Sally's weaknesses. He is interrupted by Snively, who says that stage one is complete and warns that this will affect them all.
Eggman merely tells him to grow up and that he will not feel a thing. He tells Sonic and Sally that it was fun, but the weapon is charged, and he must get to firing it and bids farewell to the two. Sally tells Sonic that they are out of time and must go on, but Sonic is not done with "tiny" here. Frustrated, Sally goes on ahead and asks NICOLE where Eggman's voice came from, but a double barrel gun deploys right in front of her and Eggman says "Ah-ah! That's far enough." Three shots are fired. Sonic yells out for Sally and gets clobbered by Silver Sonic's uppercut as Eggman, holding a glass of champagne, presses the firing button. As everything starts to go white, Eggman does a victory pose as a ring of light spreads throughout all of Mobius from the Death Egg. Tails and the others flee while Naugus, back on the ground, looks on in disbelief. Sonic dodges Silver Sonic MkIII, calls out "...Sal...?", and finds her broken goggles on the floor, and her hand (which is shaded). He tears up and screams out "SALLY!" as everything goes to white...
Sonic asks Eggman "You needed a Chaos Emerald for THAT?!". Eggman sticks his tongue out at Sonic and says: "You're just mad because I won!" while the Death Egg paints the panel white as it preps to do the same to the rest of the panel.
- Amy: (to Geoffrey) Y'know, the timing is a little too perfect. If you're helping Eggman too--!
- Geoffrey: Oh, I shoot one bloke in the back, and now I'm guilty of everything?
- Ixis Naugus: I will not let my kingdom fall to that villain! (flies up to the Death Egg, laughing maniacally)
- Sonic: It's got to be an act. Nobody can naturally be that creepy.
- Geoffrey: (under watch by Amy) You're not all that threatening, luv.
- Amy: Keep telling yourself that.
- This is the comic series' ninth milestone issue.
- This issue has the first ever gatefold cover in the Sonic the Hedgehog series of comics, as well as the first gatefold cover ever used by Archie Comics.
- This is also the first Sonic the Hedgehog issue to have a variant cover.
- Coincidentally, this issue came out on the 20th anniversary of the Sonic game series, as well as the same month as when Sega released the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Despite the Death Egg II being a slim model of the Death Egg, the original Death Egg appears on the cover instead of the newer version.
- This is the first appearance of any Silver Sonic since Sonic the Hedgehog #98.
- Despite being shown on the cover, Rotor does not appear in the issue.
- The first footnote on page one incorrectly labels the flashback from the 2010 FCBD special as having taken place in the 2011 special.
- In the recap pages inside the cover, "villains" is mispelled "villians."