|Sonic the Comic #96|
4 February 1997
- Editor: Deborah Tate
- Features Editor: Audrey Wong
- Designer: Gary Knight
- Production: Sarah Colley
- Consultant: Richard Burton
Sonic the Hedgehog - "Hero Hour"
In the Mootant Village district of New Tek City, a villainous hippopotamus called the Yob robs a bank. Sonic shows up to stop him, but the local residents don't want Sonic's help: they have their own heroes, the Zed Monkeys! However, much to Sonic's irritation, rather than immediately stopping the Yob the Zed Monkeys stand around talking about their powers. Then, at 10 o'clock, they stop for "Hero Hour", in which they must pose and flex their muscles by the order of their mentor, Professor Zed. This is when all the crimes take place, but of course the Zed Monkeys are powerless to stop them. As the Zed Monkeys let the Yob get away, Sonic runs after him and takes him out with a single Spin Attack, leaving him for the police to arrest.
Sonic decides to visit Professor Zed's School for Gifted Monkeys on the outskirts of the city, where he finds Professor Zed to be a bodybuilding chimp teaching wannabe heroes to "follow a regular Hero Hour"! Sonic bursts through the door to confront Professor Zed, but he is stopped by the Zed Monkeys. While they try to stop him with their (rather pointless) powers, Sonic creates a vortex around Professor Zed... who is revealed to be a tiny weasel in a padded foam rubber suit. He is really Madmeano, the Zed Monkeys' old enemy, who tricked them into performing Hero Hour so that his buddies could commit crimes without the Zed Monkeys' interference.
As Madmeano is handed over to the police, the Zed Monkeys tell Sonic that they will stop performing Hero Hour... instead, they will have an Agony Hour every day, when they stand around feeling sorry for themselves because their mentor turned out to be a baddie. Sonic immediately leaves, more determined than ever to find a way to escape the Special Zone.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Zed Monkeys (Cycleclips, Greyjeans, Armpit, Chimpolene and Snow Monkey)
- Madmeano (aka Professor Zed)
- Junior Zed Monkeys (boy and girl)
- Tek City Police Department officers:
- New Tek City residents:
- Two cats
- Sonic the Hedgehog is still trapped in the Special Zone, having travelled there in Sonic the Comic #84, "Heroes & Villains, Part 1". He will eventually return to Mobius in Sonic the Comic #100, "The Final Victory".
- The Zed Monkeys, Yob, and Madmeano are based on characters from the X-Men franchise by Marvel Comics (specifically the X-Men themselves, the Blob, and Magneto respectively), although none of the STC characters appear to have super powers. Mootant Village is named after the mutant subspecies from the same franchise.
- Cycleclips tells Chimpolene that his power (to get angry and scowl a lot) is a "great responsibility". This is a reference to the motto of yet another Marvel superhero, Spider-Man: "With great power comes great responsibility."
- This story was reprinted in Sonic the Comic #213.
Knuckles - "Roots, Part 3"
The mystical Elder Tree has been destroyed. In their rage, the Ancient Trees use their powers to create a huge forest in the middle of the Metropolis Zone. Omen and the two cyborg gorillas manage to ambush Knuckles, Ebony and Pyjamas.
However, the Ancient Trees see the conflict as proof that "the flesh creatures think of nothing but destruction". They decide to erase them from Planet Mobius altogether! Omen scoffs at the notion, but Knuckles respects the Trees' power and believes the threat is genuine. He expresses regret at the destruction that his kind has caused and points out that some of them have tried to do better (the protestors, in particular, had sought to help the Trees). When Knuckles asks them what the Elder Tree would have done, they accept that violence is not the answer. Instead, they merely use their powers to hurl Omen and his associates out of their park with a warning not to return. The heroes have won, but they were too late to save the Elder Tree. The Ancient Trees say not to grieve, though, as the Elder's time will come again. Ebony and Pyjamas are confused, but Knuckles smiles knowingly before he leaves.
Epilogue: Two days later, Doctor Robotnik has fenced off the forest with firm orders that none may enter. And in the spot where the Elder Tree once stood, new shoots and life begin to grow, indicating that he will some day grow there once more.
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Ancient Trees
- Cyborg gorillas (red and green)
- Dog with dreadlocks and sideburns
- Young chimp
- Elderly chimp
- Knuckles is making his way back to the Floating Island with the great chest of documents that he received from Captain Plunder in Sonic the Comic #79, "The Ghost Ship, Part 6". He will eventually return home in Sonic the Comic #97, "Victims, Part 1".
- This story was reprinted in Sonic the Comic #213.
Tails - "Furtual Reality"
After seeing an invitation to "meet his adoring fans" in the Casino Night Zone, Tails eagerly flies off to see them. However, when he arrives, he finds everyone wearing odd visors and carrying strange-looking guns. And when they see Tails, they start shooting at him! One laser damages a building, causing a chunk of wall to fall to the street. A park patron standing underneath insists that the falling debris isn't real... until Tails pushes him out of the way, and knocks off his visor.
The patron is surprised to see Tails - the headset made him look like a Badnik. Max Gamble, the park's owner, gave out the headsets and told everyone they were playing a virtual reality game, and that nothing they saw through the headset was real.
Tails visits Max in his high-rise building (it's in the phone book), grabbing him by the tail and lowering him down to street level. Max tries to order the visored patrons to shoot Tails, but they aim for him instead because he's a bigger target. ("Maybe we'll get extra points for him!") They continue to chase Max until the batteries run down on the power packs.
As Tails prepares to leave, two park patrons run up to him to get an autograph. He begins to think the journey wasn't wasted after all, until they reveal that they really want Tails to get Sonic's autograph!
- Tails mentions how he recently helped out the Casino Night Zone, which was depicted in Sonic the Comic #80, "Fleabyte Returns", and Sonic the Comic #81, "Shock Tactics!". "Shock Tactics!" was also the first appearance of Max Gamble, in which Gamble swore revenge on Tails for humiliating him.
- This story was reprinted in Sonic the Comic #187.
Sonic's World - "Mock the Doc"
Every night at six o'clock, every family across Mobius is forced by law to watch Doctor Robotnik's TV broadcast, for fear of being taken away and turned into badniks. However, one night, the signal is interrupted and replaced by a new game show: Mock the Doc. The show, presented by Matthew Corgi, features regular citizens (such as Teddy Gormless and Bill Walrus) dressing up like and then making fun of Doctor Robotnik.
The show is an immediate hit with viewers, but when Robotnik finds out he orders Grimer to track the signal to its source and then send Troopers to interrupt the broadcast. However, when the Troopers arrive, they are confused by the appearance of the fake Robotniks. Each contestant gives orders to a different Trooper, and on live television, the Troopers blast each other to pieces for following a "fake master".
Furious, Robotnik decides to handle the matter personally, but when he arrives in the studio he finds his Troopers destroyed and the show's crew members escaped... and, if that wasn't bad enough, they left one camera still rolling, to show Robotnik's humiliation to the entire planet!
- Doctor Ivo Robotnik
- Matthew Corgi (Only appearance)
- The young hedgehog girl watching the TV asks her mother why she can't watch Zone and Away on Channel Six. This is a reference to the Australian soap opera Home and Away.
- This story was reprinted in Sonic the Comic #195.