|Sonic the Hedgehog #243|
Tracy Yardley, Matt Herms
Terry Austin & Various
Endangered Species - Part 1 - Sonic and Team Fighters have arrived at Albion, ancestral homeland of the echidnas. And it's under siege! It's up to our heroes to stop Lien-Da's forces from conquering the war-torn city. But that will be hard when Metal Knuckles arrives!
Endangered Species - Part One: On the Brink
Three days prior to current events in Albion, a female Echidna is instructing her class on Echidna history while trying to regain the attention of a distracted student who is gazing out the window dreamily. The teacher explains that their kind originated in Albion thousands of years previously, and that their particular ancestors formed a colony in Downunda some time after that. In spite of encroachments by both the Dingos and the Tasmanian Devil Dogs, as well as the near disaster of the White Comet impact, that colony eventually became Angel Island. Then, as a result of the Day of Transit, all of Echidna kind on Mobius-with the omitted exception of the New Megaopolis Dark Egg Legion-were reunited on Albion. The teacher once again asks her student to take his seat, only for him to announce the presence of the Death Egg Mark 2.
Fast forwarding to the present, Team Fighters looks down on the smoking Echidna city, Sonic noting that Knuckles will not be happy when he learns that Dr. Eggman is attacking the Echidnas. Amy Rose angrily complains about Eggman's cowardly tactics, attacking civilians in an effort slow down his pursuers. Worse, it appears to be working, as the Death Egg is not visible above the war-torn city. Deciding that it would be best to continue their pursuit later, the group head in for a landing, only to be narrowly missed by a laser beam. Their assailant is then revealed to be Metal Knuckles, who Sonic notes is at least a new one for Eggman. He launches into a Spin-Dash attack against the robot, only to be knocked out of the sky. Metal Knuckles then goes for the Tornado, angering Tails, only to be dislodged by a blow from Amy's Pico Pico Hammer. Tails notes that Metal Knuckles hit the plane's fuel tank, and directs T-Pup to try and stem the fuel loss while he lands the plane. The landing is far from smooth, and the plane crashes into the city. They all survive the crash and Tails then informs Sonic how badly damaged the plane is. They go to see the situation in the ruins, leaving T-Pup behind to keep an eye on the plane. Amy then notices that there's a residential area on lockdown, suggesting they go check out the situation. Once in the area, Tails say it looks pretty bad, while Sonic claims "dibs" on an incoming tank. Sonic then spin dashes through the tank while Tails and Amy attack some Legion troops. In the next panel, Remington, leading a small resistance group, orders a group of Legionnaires to surrender quietly. Sonic and the team go over to greet Remington after they're done with the tank, with Remington saying Sonic needs no introduction, and thanking them for destroying the tank. Remington then tells the team that it's a pleasure and honor having them there and that he's been trying to reach Angel Island for days to no avail, telling Sonic that he'll happily take all the help he can get. Sonic tells Remington that anyone besides Knuckles might be hard to come by, questioning the situation. Remington then briefs Sonic on the situation saying things were stable up until a few days ago, telling Sonic that things were going well, all things considered.
Remington then flashes back to 3 days ago, saying that Eggman went on ahead while Lien-Da stayed behind, along with her troops, saying that the only "Eggman Tech" she kept was Metal Knuckles. Remington then tells them that although his troops are well organized, even they can't stand up against that kind of firepower, and that the Legion captured the Lara-Le and most of the citizens. Remington then explains that the few they could rescue were secured back in the residential area. Sonic then judges Remington's defenses, saying that they're good, but won't hold up against heavy artillery. Remington then explains that he's been organizing an escape to the mainland and appeal to the king. Amy then says that she knows the king will help them and that now that they're here, Remington and the others can bump up their time table. Remington then thanks them and says that having them there helps more than they know. Remington then tells them that he hopes for better support from Angel Island, but Sonic tells him that the Island is more rustic than Albion at the moment, saying that Knuckles was all that was left. Amy then angrily elbows Sonic, then he apoligizes and asks if there's any better way to break the news. Tails then tells Remington that they need to focus on the present, asking what he needs to do. Remington replies that they need to rescue the matriarch, and as many citizens as they can and that with a few preperations, they should be ready to move.
Meanwhile, at the newly set-up Legion outpost in the city, Lien-Da is submmitting a report to Eggman, while he agrily says the report is late. Lien-Da saying that her excuse was that it took an extra day to get the communication tower online. She then briefs the doctor on her progress, telling him that they had captured most of the citizens, along with the matriarch. Eggman then questions what the matriarch is, Lien-Da explaining to him with annoyance that the matriarch is the current head of government. Eggman then asks if they had been legionized yet. Lien-Da then worrily says no, and that she's waiting until she's dealt with Remington and his resistance. Eggman then says that she knows what's at stake if she fails, Lien-Da assures Eggman that it won't come to that. Eggman says, that for the Echidna's sake, it better not come to failure, telling her that he's en route to the Arctic refueling station, then the transmission ends. Lien-Da then walks into a makeshift prison made by the Legion, telling them that she just finished speaking with Eggman, and that they had a bright future ahead of them. She then gave a lecture about herself being leader, then Lara-Le uttered words of dismay to Lien-Da, saying that Knuckles would be the one to protect them and that he would not allow them to get away with this. Lien-Da then histerically replied that Knuckles was the Guardian who couldn't stop them from being enslaved, the one who was nowhere to be found during the Day of Transit, and the one who had not shown himself in Albion. Lien-Da then questioned why they should listen to Lara-Le, explaining that Lara-Le had no governing experience, and that she was only chosen due to her connection to Knuckles. Lara-Le then said that she put her faith in the Guardian who fought against Eggman instead of allying with him and protected their society, and not the cowards who terrorized them, fell apart in their own Civil War, and had been reduced to a handful of fanatics and flunkies. Lien-Da then grabs Lara-Le by he face and told her that she was lucky that she was alive because she was needed for her status. Then she said that Lara-Le wouldn't be half as pompous if she knew what Knuckles was, but got interrupted by a panicking Legionnaire who was yelling that they were under attack. Then, Sonic dashes in through a wall while Remington, Amy, Tails, and Remington's soldiers are leading a full-on assault, with Remington exclaiming that most of the civlians were in the Prison Eggs in the courtyard , and ordering his men to get them out while he and Team Freedom keep them covered. Then a tank smashes through a wall when Sonic claims it for the smashing, then Tails swoops in and destroys the tank to in front of a disappointed Sonic. Reminton orders the civilians while he and his men provide cover. One of Remington's troops informs him that the matriarch and her advisors aren't amongst the civilians, Remington then says they must be inside and orders his troops to get the civilians to the neighborhood and then straight to the docks, and that he and the team would cover them and catch up while in the background, a Legion troop gets on a turret and swivels it around, ready to fire. Remington and the trooper are then blasted by the turret, then Remington angrily orders someone to take out the turret while he fires his blaster. Tails then flies up and pulls a surprised Legion troop off of the turret. Amy and Sonic are then fighting the Legion and Amy regards that the Legion just isn't the same as fighting Badniks, and Sonic says that that's what he's been saying the whole time. Remington then runs toward Sonic and Amy, informing them that the matriarch and other high-level targets must be inside, while Sonic suggests that they beat everyone in the base. Lien-Da then asks a Legion troop if Sonic is actually there, the Legion troop confirming with a yes, when Lien-Da claims that Eggman is setting her up to fail. Lien-Da angrily asks the Legionnaire if the defenses are back online, and he nervously replies that they had gotten them back online the in the morning. Lien-Da orders the Legionnaire to activate them, and he complies. Next, out in the courtyard, one of the defense devices activates, and Sonic asks if it's a good thing or a bad thing. The device fires and Sonic jumps back screaming that it's a bad thing. The machine then zaps Remington's men and the Legionnaires, then Tails tells the team that it's a paralyzing defense grid and that Eggman's army has built up a resistance. Then Amy smashes the machine with her hammer, saying that she had her own resistance. Sonic then approaches Lien-Da, while she tells him that the situation in Albion wasn't his concern and that he shouldn't have come. Sonic then tells her that whenever Eggman or his "goons" are oppressing anybody, it becomes his business. As he jumps toward her, he narrowly avoids an attack from Lien-Da with her new powers. Sonic questions when she started being able to use electrical powers, and smuggly responds saying that Eggman didn't just stop at her pretty face when he rebuilt her. She claims that she has too much at stake to let him ruin things now, and hat he was about to be a dead hedgehog. Sonic compliments that her powers are a "neat trick" but that it's not enough to stop him. She agrees, but says that Metal Knuckles should tip things in her favor. Sonic agrees that it might make things harder. Metal Knuckles then hits Sonic hard, and he slips into unconsciousness...
Meanwhile, on Angel Island, NICOLE is talking to Knuckles after he is done fixing a video screen, then Nicole picks up a distress signal and puts it through. It appears to be Remington sending the transmission, having set it to loop the feed. Knuckles proclaims that he is the Guardian and he has to protect his people, even if it was hard to look them in the eye. Then, he says that he has to "rally the girls" and get moving.
- This marks the first time that Metal Knuckles appears on the cover of a comic.
- On the fan art section in this issue, a picture of Sonic pointing at a box and then at the next panel Metal Sonic appears, taking Sonic's place, is a reference to the Super Mario Bros. series, where an item box turns Mario into metal.