- This issue's second story continues in Archie Knuckles Miniseries Issue 1
Heart Of Darkness
- A portal into the elusive Zone of Silence is finally opened, and the Freedom Fighters journey within to find Sally's father, King Max. Instead they are greeted by a terrifying masked horseman looking to "silence" our heroes forever!
Heart Of Darkness
- Writer: Ken Penders
- Pencils: Art Mawhinney
- Inks: Harvey Mercadoocasio
- Letters: Mindy Eisman
- Colors: Barry Grossman
- Editor: Freddy Mendez and Scott Fulop
- Managing editor: Victor Gorelick
- Editor-in-Chief: Richard Goldwater
The story begins with the Knothole Freedom Fighters looking on a monitor in Rotor's lab of a space-like zone. An unknown horse-backed being with a javelin slowly approaches the monitor. It flies by an asteroid, blasting it with a shot from its javelin, shocking everybody. Sally Acorn asks Rotor what exactly they are looking at. The view is from the Zone of Silence, after Rotor sent a camera there some time prior. Sonic recalls being sent into the zone by Snively, but it did not look anything like what is being shown on the monitor. Rotor believes Sonic was sent to a different zone than the one they are looking at. In Sonic and Robotnik's case, the dimension they were sent to allowed them to easily be returned back. On the other hand, any attempt to retrieve Maximillian Acorn from the Zone of Silence resulted in failure. The other issue is that Robotnik referred to the area as The Void, making Sally even more curious as to why he called the zone that name.
Rotor walks over to one of his consoles and activates the holographic sensor grid to get more details on Robotropolis, thinking something is up with Robotnik. The sensor grid brings up a 3D model of Robotropolis, and is adjusted for all signal wavebands. The Freedom Fighters witness as a ton of magnetic fields are being released by Robotnik, and they are having an effect on the Zone of Silence. Sonic volunteers to go to Robotropolis to stop Robotnik's plans. Sally agrees, but tells him not to rush into anything.
In Robotropolis, Robotnik is, indeed, working on a project. He and Snively have a great power emitter aimed at a doorway, firing and activating a portal. He orders Snively to turn the emitter to full power. Sonic runs into the lab and ties up Snively, just as he turns the machine up to full power. Robotnik turns around, witnessing Sonic kick the emitter. Using a laser on his wrist, he fires at Sonic, but misses as he avoids the shots. He then uses his Spin Dash and destroys the emitter. Robotnik calls out to duck, as the machine starts to overload. All three of them run and cover behind a console, right as the emitter explodes. Robotnik, looking at the damage, calls out to Sonic that, because of the emitter's destruction, all of Mobius will be destroyed. This leaves Sonic confused, as Robotnik claims that he has a world to save.
Sonic and Robotnik start to argue, with Snively stuck mumbling through the ropes he's tied in, as Robotnik claims that even Sonic cannot save the day. Despite their rivalry, Robotnik agrees to tell Sonic what exactly he is doing. He recalls when he just took over control of Mobius from Maximillian Acorn and looked over the numerous things left behind by Kodos, his mentor, after he disappeared. One of these things was the Zone of Silence, a dimension that Kodos considered to be a great place to put enemies. After Robotnik opened the zone, he realized that the zone kept growing and growing, causing a breach in his lab that nearly sucked in both him and Snively. Using the Photon Cannon — the same device Sonic destroyed — he was able to stop the growth of the dimension, but not close it, and only as long as he kept the emitter going. Eventually, Robotnik determined that the zone had to be destroyed in order to preserve Mobius, and fast, but one more problem remained as noted by Snively: what was to happen to the King.
Robotnik claims he was attempting to take care of the Zone of Silence, but Sonic had gotten in the way by destroying thee Photon Cannon. However, Robotnik has another way to close the zone: an Energy Inhibitor. By activating it in the proper place, it can save Mobius and have the King returned. Sonic does not fully trust Robotnik, but with the fate of Mobius at stake, he agrees to help. He is also curious about what happened to Kodos, but that is one thing Robotnik would not tell him. Sonic runs off back home, to do Robotnik's dirty work.
Not trusting Robotnik's technology, Rotor scans the Energy Inhibitor. He determines that it is supposed to do what Robotnik has said, but he cannot figure out how it works. He recommends that it only be used as a last-resort. Despite the risk of using the inhibitor, Sally feels that they must save her father. With the inhibitor at hand, despite Antoine's misgivings, Rotor activates the porta he had build himself to the Zone of Silence. Sally, Tails, Sonic and Antoine enter into the zone. As they enter the Zone of Silence, they start floating through an endless space. Although they get disoriented by this at first, they eventually adapt, and just in time, as the horse-backed knight and his Minions have arrived.
The knight orders the Freedom Fighters to surrender or face the consequences. Sonic takes the situation less than serious, expecting a better greeting, while the whole situation makes Antoine quite nervous. The knight grows impatient, and prods Sonic with his javelin, demanding an answer to his question. Sonic decides to even up the odds and takes out the Minions with his super speed, leaving the knight stunned as how Sonic handily he defeated his minions. Unfortunate for Sonic, his super speed does not deter the knight, who aims his javelin and prepares to fire on him. Sally notices the knight preparing to fire and runs at him, knocking him off his horse. The force knocks off the knight's helmet, revealing to Sally that the knight is actually her father, Maximillian Acorn.
Sally is stopped from the shock of the situation, giving Maximillian the chance to hit Sally back with his javelin. Sonic goes to stop him, but is halted by Tails and Antoine. Despite not knowing who they are or who he is, they do not want Sonic to attack their King. The King orders Sonic to surrender again, with Sally in a daze and the Energy Inhibitor beside her. At the end of the King's javelin, Sonic takes one shot and dashes for the Energy Inhibitor, just missing the blast from the javelin. He grabs the inhibitor and activates it, causing a massive explosion in the zone, thus stopping the Zone of Silence's growth. The Freedom Fighters are launched back, however, Rotor notices that they are going to miss the zone exit. He runs into the portal with a grapple and fires it at the group. They grab the lifeline in time and return home.
As they walk out of the portal, they realize that they may be safe, but not the King. Sonic, however, insists that they will just have to return to the drawing board, and figure out how to rescue him again.
A Sense Of History - Part Three
Knuckles, continuing his search for the Chaotix and the mysterious Archimedes, recalls the formation of the ominous Mount Fate from his great-uncle Dimitri removing the power of the Chaos Emeralds in the Floating Island. The one thing that confuses Knuckles is how Mount Fate is connected to Archimedes. He thinks that maybe the answers lie in what happened after the formation of the mountain, and starts to recall the histories he had been told...
After Dimitri absorbed the power of eleven Chaos Emeralds with the Chaos Syphon, he held Edmund, the Chief Magistrate and his security guards hostage, tied to the his own chamber's wall in Mount Fate. Despite what he had done, the island remained floating and he had infinite power in his hands. Edmund could not believe what he had saw, denouncing Dimitri as his brother. Dimitri, however, was not scathed by the comments, having been driven mad by his immense new powers. Dimitri had taken full control of the Mechanauts in Echidnaopolis, similar to Robotnik in the present, enslaving all the echidnas on the island. His plan also included setting up sails on the island and taking control of all the denizens on the planet. Dimitri then mentioned that the only thing that could withstand his power was the walls of the chamber. Unknown to him, the wall was prone to Fire Ants, which had already eaten away most of the walls.
The effort of the Fire Ants caused the foundation of the chamber to start to collapse, freeing the hostages. Despite what he had done, Edmund tried to convince his brother to follow them out, but was too late as Dimitri was bested by a falling roof. The others escaped Mount Fate, as it collapsed. The Chief Magistrate realized that they owed their life to a simple creature, and not to technology. Realizing that their society focused too much on science, the Chief Magistrate thought that they should revert to their roots.
In the shadow of Mount Fate, the Chief Magistrate officially renounced technology. Following that day, the large cities on the Floating Island were demolished and created the office of Guardian to protect the sole remaining Chaos Emerald on the Floating Island, starting with Edmund. This tradition passed on through generations, up to the present day with Knuckles. Back in the present, however, Knuckles thinks that there is still one point about the legend that he has forgotten about. He eventually remembers it, which is the Grand Conservatory.
Not wanting to totally get rid of all their advancements, the echidna culture had gathered examples of their culture and buried them in an underground city, which was located under Mount Fate. It then finally comes to Knuckles that that city could be the location of Archimedes and the Chaotix. He marches on, using the lessons he learned from his past to help his future, unaware of the laughter coming from Mount Fate.
- Art: Patrick Spaziante
Sonic leans back in the editor's chair, decreeing that Knuckles will appear in the comic less often. The editor yells at Sonic, causing him to flee the scene.
- The "Knight" of some sort reveals himself to be King Maximillian Acorn
- Kodos is mentioned for the first time as Robotnik's mentor.
- The emergence of Dimitri as Enerjak is foreshadowed by the laughter at the end of the story.
- This is the first issue edited by Justin Freddy Mendez-Gabrie.