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DAY 16 - Comic Panel of the Week 3: 'Sorrow' [30DOS22]

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It's Thursday! Time for another Comic Panel of the Week discussion!

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Have fun!

Comic Panel of the Week

'Sorrow'

Sonic's been through some tough times during his run as a freedom fighter. In almost every comic book series, the blue blur has had to overcome some serious situations. Sometimes, those situations can result in the hero losing! Whether that's friends, territory to Eggman/Robotnik, or some other kind of drawback that reveals a more tragic side to the Sonic franchise.

Let us know the comic panel that hit you the hardest when Sonic was going through a tough time. It can't just be a situation where Sonic is under pressure or surrounded by badniks - we're talking about scenarios that result in true sorrow for Sonic and his friends

For me, I have to turn to Sonic the Comic Issue 76, where Porker Lewis - one of Sonic's Freedom Fighters - decides to quit the gang and turn to a normal life. This particular strip isn't harrowing in and of itself, but it really gave me chills because it is the result of a previous story arc where Porker ends up trapped on the Little Planet with the Brotherhood of Metallix... and you're never quite sure what happened while he was gone (Sonic and friends couldn't rescue him until the Little Planet returned a whole month later) but it was clear it was... pretty bad.

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What made this even more heartbreaking for me was Sonic's initial response to Porker quitting. Sonic rants and raves, calls Porker a coward and storms off, feeling like his friend has betrayed him for a simpler life.

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Now, you'd probably just think this was another 'example' of Fleetway Dickhead Sonic, but at this point in the STC universe, the Freedom Fighters are on the back foot from Robotnik's advances, and as the team leader, the blue blur has been having a hard time keeping it all together. To have his already-small band of fighters get smaller clearly puts a tonne of pressure on him. That, and in this universe Sonic tends to hide his true feelings in several layers of faux machismo, and is characteristically quick to judge (he is the fastest thing alive, after all).

So it's kind of a stressful time for everyone. By the end of this strip, Porker rescues Sonic and co from an unexpected attack, and the two friends make up. Porker moves on, and although he does continue to help from time to time from this point onward, he was no longer a member of Sonic's A-Team. It felt like the end of an era, to some degree.

What stories tugged at your heartstrings?

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Way back in Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog #177, Sonic managed to get a ride on a spaceship back home.

Unfortunately, an exploding star's debris caused the spaceship to crash.

The good news is that the ship was full of Bio-Pods, escape pods that travel out into space and find safe planets for their travelers to survive on until help comes by, and almost everyone escaped.

The bad news...

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is that the Captain chose to give Sonic the last Bio-Pod and go down with the ship.

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If I knew this was coming, I probably would've saved Father and Son for it lmao.

Anyways, in it's stead, I'll instead choose...something of an unorthodox one - from Archie Sonic #184 - Chaos Angel. Images are from ThanksKenPenders, btw.

So, as a recap to where we are at this point - Knuckles has been corrupted by Dr. Finitevus into the villainous Enerjak, and the good doctor has done so by manipulating Knuckles' selfish father, Locke into leaving the Master Emerald with him, allowing Finitevus to hex it, and use Knuckles' connection to the Master Emerald to retain him under his control.

Locke - in response - has invited Sonic and Julie-Su to Angel Island for his ingenious plan to fix the mess both he, and his corrupt, abusive brotherhood of assholes guardians created when they hoisted these lofty traditions and expectations onto Knuckles. The very powers Locke had microwaved into Knuckles have now been turned against all of Mobius, and this crazed unhinged god-like being is now threatening everyone and everything. But behind it all, it's still Knuckles. It's still the good-hearted, rough and tumble guy that everyone knows. It's still Locke's son in there.

So anyway, Locke wants to murder him. Sonic 'agrees' to this plan, against Julie-Su's wishes, and has Locke show them to this ultimate weapon, which is being guarded by Scourge and co. A fight begins to get the weapon, and Sonic eventually gets it and...

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Yeah. Of course he destroys it. This is Sonic the Hedgehog, he was never going to willingly agree to kill one of his best friends when he knows Knuckles was being manipulated, he just baited Locke into revealing the weapon to make sure Locke couldn't use it. Sonic then rushes off to the Master Emerald in a last ditch plan to save Knuckles, leaving Locke and Julie-Su behind. Sonic, Julie-Su, and even Locke's former mentor all call him out for his shitty behaviour, that Knuckles' state was a result of Locke's actions, and the shitty nature of the Brotherhood of Guardians, and he has no right to just try to obliterate the 'son he so clearly hates'.

Now, before I move on, I think it's good to take a moment to make it clear - Locke is HORRIBLE. Every single member of the Brotherhood of Guardians are awful, terrible, controlling assholes who were quite happy to let Eggman rule over Mobius because "it didn't effect them", and no matter what Penders says, Locke was an abusive, horrible father. 

Thankfully - this is Ian Flynn writing this arc, so instead of everyone bending over backwards to justify how shitty Locke is, instead Ian made these last 20 issues in part to call Locke out and make it blatantly clear how much of an absolute scumbag he was to Knuckles throughout this comic. Instead of Penders' attempts to portray Locke's abusive actions as 'father knows best', Ian rightfully called them out for how horrible they all were, and used Enerjak Reborn as the perfect conclusive to this - where Knuckles is corrupted into Mobius' worst enemy thanks to Locke's actions, and Locke is called out for every horrible thing he's done, which finally breaks him.

Which leads us into the issue in question:

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Sonic's last ditch plan is here, he uses the power of the Master Emerald in order to transform into Super Sonic, and take Enerjak head-on, using his past experience with Perfect Chaos to attempt to use his own positive energy to nullify the negative Chaos Energy that the doctor had placed inside of the Master Emerald. 

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However, despite Sonic managing to crack through some of Enerjak's more regal personality, causing more of Knuckles to emerge, it's not doing nearly enough to break Enerjak's hold over Knuckles' psyche. That's when Julie-Su confronts Fini, and the doctor mockingly taunts that while he has no idea how Sonic managed to use the Master Emerald without being corrupted, it doesn't matter - while the hex remains within the Master Emerald, Knuckles' natural connection to it will continue to keep him under Enerjak's thrall, and to grind salt into the wound, Fini reveals that the hex can only be broken through someone giving up their life.

Julie-Su, and Archimedes have no problems doing so, but ultimately, Locke reappears, stepping up to finally do what's right for his boy. That he sees now that all of this was his fault, and that it now lies on him to free his boy from this curse.

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And with that, Locke finally sits down atop of the Master Emerald, and does what he has to do. Unable to give Knuckles a final goodbye, or any parting words due to the state he's in, Locke is ready to free his son from this fate.

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With that last enactment of Tikal's prayer, the hex is finally broken over the Master Emerald, forcefully rejecting Enerjak from Knuckles, and causing Locke to disappear into nothingness. 

In his last act, Locke atoned for his crimes and actions with his life, giving himself up to free Knuckles from the unbearable weight and expectations that the Brotherhood had piled onto his shoulders, and that Fini had weaponised against Mobius. Their last conversation together was one of anger, hatred, and argument, and now Knuckles will never ever get the chance to fix that.

And Knuckles responds just about how you'd expect. By immediately slugging Finitevius in the face, and looking to tear him apart:

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Finally, buried by guilt for what he did under Enerjak's control, with Locke dead, with the Brotherhood gone, with the echidnas and dingos whisked away from Angel Island, Knuckles has finally become the final guardian of Angel Island, and now, he's determined to remain there forever, in order to pay for his crimes.

It's such an insanely good pay-off to all of the awful crap Penders had done all throughout his run. Ian being a reader clearly took all of that and put it away for this somber payoff, and damn if it didn't pay off well.

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I know this seems abit odd for sorrow but this strip always stuck in my mind as being a sad moment as its effectivey the death of a clever, good guy who was in many ways a friend and mentor to sonic. And it happens so quickly in a moment of bad luck 

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I've really struggled to remember a genuinely sad moment from Fleetway that I read (and trying to avoid what others have said). Having checked the few moments I could think of, they tended to get glossed over or the character hadn't really been developed enough to earn the moment.

Truth be told, I'm not certain sorrow is quite the correct term for this, but it certainly makes me feel pity.1603142771_Screenshot2022-06-16221103.png.924a43bd9df3016a16fb1b6b5dbbd43f.png

Amidst the triumph of Issue 100 and Robotnik being defeated, a confused and separated Super Sonic roams the streets. Powers gone, memories lost, alone. Fleetway's Super Sonic was chaotic evil, so this is a sympathy for the devil moment, and I guess it touches on a bit of an adult fear. The distressed look on his face really adds to it.

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Metal virus, the easiest and safest choice.

I would like to talk about Cream's story arc, who went from losing her pet chao and having nightmares about them, to losing her mother and being completely traumatized for it... but I want to focus on Sonic only instead.

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Sonic and Tails discovered that running very fast can cure the virus. Sonic is convinced to be completely healed from it, though as soon as he's about to high five with Tangle, he sees the metallic goo returning on his skin again, and realizes that the virus is not really gone.

Now, we have a moment of this big videogame mascot who has always been optimistic and carefree, starting to question if everything is really going to end well this time too. He's starting to doubt that thing will go well, he's losing hopes.

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A few issues later, and he's actually tormented by the fact that things are going worse and worse, and it's also his own falut. (this actually reminds me a bit of that Lost World scene when he was unable to save Tails)

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And for a little while, he's experiencing being powerless and harmless like any of those innocent citizens being turned into Zombots by the virus. This is probably the most desperate moment he's got in the whole arc, and probably one of the moments where Sonic has been closest to losing in the whole series.

Other characters went through much worse emotional moments than Sonic did, as other people pointed out already, but this is Sonic, and unlike in other past comics, in IDW his personality and character are more faithful to his game incarnation... it's just weird to see him into such a hopeless and sad situation, losing his optimism and not being able to do anything against the main threat. Offcourse, he's still the main character, everything will go well at the end, the Metal Virus saga ended and everyone returned normal, but still.

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Hmm. It might just be because it's one of the most recent things I've read, but...

This one is about Nate Morgan. (I've heard this is a controversial character, but I'm not far enough in to know why. I've liked him in his introductory issues.)

Nate is an old Overlander who's been living in the frozen tundra for many years. Long ago, when living among the Overlanders, he was a respected scientist, until the man who would become Dr. Robotnik encouraged him to do an experiment that led to an enormous explosion and caused him to be banished. Nate was nearly killed by Mobians, until the father of the current King Acorn intervened and had him brought to Mobotropolis. He became a respected scientist again, enhancing the technological progress of the city by leaps and bounds over the years. But he was set up yet again, this time by royal wizard Ixis Naugus. Naugus orchestrates a deadly battle between Overlanders and Mobians, and makes it look like Nate was responsible. Rather than forcing now-King Max and Queen Alicia to make a decision on who to believe, he decides yet again to go into exile. He travels far, and that's how he ultimately ends up in the frozen tundra.

...This isn't the sorrowful moment I'm talking about though. This is all context to explain why the moment is so brutal.

In the tundra, Nate saves a mutant snow-beast called Eddy from death by installing cybernetic enhancements in him. Eddy has been Nate's only friend for who knows how long. The two of them have been living in a fortress, which, eventually, Naugus invades. Sonic and Tails, following Naugus, have arrived as well. Sonic has asked Nate to come back to Mobotropolis, but he wants nothing to do with it. He wants to stay in the tundra with Eddy. Sonic insults him, calling him a coward, making jabs at his species... but Nate remains calm and collected, not rising to any of the jabs or giving Sonic an inch. Eventually, the inevitable battle with Naugus happens. Nate manages to seal him in the Zone of Silence, but there's an avalanche, and the fortress ultimately begins to collapse.

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Eddy is holding it up while Sonic busts them out... but Eddy can't escape. Sonic's on his last legs, too exhausted to do anything. Nate decides he's the only one who can save his friend...

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But ultimately, there's nothing he can do.

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Y'know, the panel that I think had the biggest impact was this one

 

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This should have been a moment of pure celebration. Instead they found a way to turn it on his head and have Sonic (and me) actually feel bad for Eggman. Losing his grip on sanity, ripping off his trademark stach, devolving into incoherent babble, it was just hard to watch. You actually could feel the weight of the franchise fall onto his shoulders and it was just too much to bear.

And above all, Sonic had to actually feel bad about what he had just done. Thats crazy.

 

Also, it set up one of the doctors biggest wins, in reasoning his way back to sanity.

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The ones I would have picked are already listed so I'm going with this.

Sonic saves Tails from drowning in a swamp early in the comics life (after initially thinking it was 2 foxes due to the tails). Fast forward in time to a point where Robotnik is pretty much a god and has created a timeline where Sonic never existed.

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Poor Tails :( 

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I haven't been reading comics (I want to, but I keep forgetting! And we don't go to the comic shop), but--

Spoilers, maybe??

Spoiler

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I can't help but feel sorry for Kit and Surge now. To be kidnapped, wiped of your memories, and to be brainwashed into a role sounds horrible... how do you recover from realizing that the way you are now was all planned?

There's also something real sad about seeing them in the early phases of their "tests". They're completely clean slates- whoever they were beforehand is gone.

And for Kit's, it's just insidious when you see him all enthusiastic about wanting to see Surge-- this relationship was pretty much built into him, and it's just plain twisted. It's hard to see any good interaction between them as truly wholesome when he was "built" to support her and likely crave her validation. It's probably exactly how Starline thinks of Sonic and Tails.

 

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The IDW series likes to kick the dog repeatedly with Whisper when all she deserves is hugs. Seconds away from blowing Eggman's head clean off and she's not even allowed to avenge her best friend. You can really tell how frustrated she is on top of just being plain miserable.

Luckily Omega is a good emotional support robot.

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Poor, poor Jules Hedgehog. This is a man who will never eat or sleep again… and soon comes to his lowest point;

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I know it’s a cover, but the emotions are there; this poor, broken man, who has suffered through brutal inter-species warfare, near-mortal wounds, being turned into one of the very monsters his son swore to fight, forcibly turning others into monsters like him, losing his free will, being forgotten, then having to deal with him and his wife being alone in the world, and finally being left totally alone when basically all the monsters are changed back, except him. He’s had a fair few moments of happiness, like when many other Robians were there for him, but now he’s alone. Not only alone, but dead. The threat of death has happened to a few other Robians over the years, but their deaths weren’t confirmed until much later. Seeing this man at his lowest point, the point of death, is massively heart wrenching. Sonic is desperate to save him, and Charles can technically save him… but his spark is gone. 
 

I’ll also give mention to this:

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Seeing a mentor figure here so vulnerable and confronted with his greatest mistake is another great tear jerker. His machine of wonders has in reality become a machine of monsters, enslaving and disfiguring potential millions, petrifying those incapable of being turned. Now he is face to face with a woman far more disfigured than himself, one who he had to change into a monster on his own orders, the orders of his own machine. Who knows what other cruelties Chuck was forced to commit before he was freed? 

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It's hard to beat a lot of the Metal Virus related scenes shared so far in the thread.  While some of them definitely illicited more of a reaction from me, I'll go with one that hasn't come up yet.

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Of course, the scene of Cream losing her mother was about what you'd expect, but it was surprisingly more restrained than Whisper losing Tangle.  Instead, Cream almost immediately falls into this quiet depression that is utterly haunting.  It could be interpreted as her hyper-focusing on helping the efforts to save everyone, but it also slightly comes across as a complete shut down, where she's just doing what she's told because she literally cannot comprehend what is happening around her anymore.  It might just be a blessing that they didn't dwell on how she was handling things too much, and luckily the scenes where she does appear count for a lot (see the aforementioned one where she stops Whisper from killing Eggman).

God, the Metal Virus arc was such a fantastic new scenario to let the cast of characters really express themselves in ways we haven't seen before.

 

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I want to chime in with another example from the Metal Virus arc. Most would think that witnessing most of world including her two Chao friends and mother would be the extent of the Cream trauma train. Issue #27 pretty much says "challenge accepted".

As a last resort plan, the remaining heroes (& Eggman) brainstorm that the chaos emeralds can be used to cure the planet of the virus But the problem is that each one is guarded by members of the Deadly Six, thus needing the group to split up.  Gemerl is assigned to Zeena and insists Cream stays behind, but Cream jumps in the portal regardless; determined to get her family back. Although they faced a complication with Zeena's ability to take over Gemerl they were able to defeat her, but the victory was bittersweet.

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While Cream has fallen victim to the Metal Virus she doesn't face it alone as Gemerl remains by her side, as he tosses the emerald through the portal as they both fly off watching the sunset.

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Honestly it's a miracle that Cream was able to regain her sunny demeanor after all of this.

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I'm gonna have to also go with what Dr. Detective Mike posted, because it's genuinely one of my favorite things in all of Sonic media. I wish I also had more memories of the various Sonic comics, but I don't, so I'm gonna have to post this one. I love the Chaotix, and seeing Vector sacrifice himself to save the others and Espio is just extremely touching, especially with what he says to Espio before he seals himself inside with the rest of the zombots. 

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It's just a really nice moment to get, and something that I love IDW especially for, is getting the Chaotix a lot more often together and having them feel impactful to one another. You don't get these moments in the modern games, and in a majority of them Espio/Charmy don't even show up and it's just Vector filling a roster slot in a spin-off. Over-all, this is just a great moment and really shows what Vector is willing to do to help save the day, and how much Espio, Charmy and Vector mean to one another. 

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This one might seem random, and needs a bit of context first.

Bunnie is my favourite of the Freedom Fighters, because of course. Great character who honestly needed more screentime in literally every iteration of Sonic she was in. ANYWAY, in Archie, by the end of the original continuity things were mixed for her--on one hand Antoine was in a coma(!) but on the other hand she was actually deroboticized(!) by Naugus of all people, and was REALLY happy about that as you can imagine.

Spoiler

Of course, this wasn't exactly going to last even before the reboot forced the comic staff's hand, as the last time we see her before the reboot she was just about to join the Legion and get new cybernetics anyway, but still.

As sad and frustrating as the circumstances of the reboot were and how it arguably would have been better to go with a clean break instead of drawing things out, I actually don't mind the temporary memories the characters are given of the old continuity. I like the scenes we got out of it, and next to Sally's (considering it turns out she remembers the entire time she was Mecha Sally), the most upsetting is...

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Ouch. I guess it's at least bittersweet since Antoine was okay now, and you could argue the spoiler tagged bit above makes it moot, but...it still hurts, man.

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For once, my procrastination of reading IDW Sonic has benefitted me, as I don't need to scour through the many, MANY Metal Virus moments. So I'm gonna go with this, instead:

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For context - in the latter parts of Endangered Species (the last major story in Archie Sonic before the crossover and subsequent reboot) Knuckles finds that the home of the echidnas is eerily quiet. There's not a single other echidna in sight. And as it turns out, that's thanks to Ken Penders Thrash the Tasmanian Devil sending them ALL off-world as revenge for their past misdeeds, which naturally angers Knuckles. A lot.

So they get into a tussle that sends them here, there and everywhere thanks to the Warp Rings Thrash has, until he finally gives Knux the slip upon arriving back at Angel Island. The Chaotix arrive seconds after from their journey, all happy thanks to finding Mighty, and start wondering where "the girls" (i.e. Julie-Su and Saffron) are.

As you can see, Knuckles ultimately breaks down from all this. In the span of just a few hours, he's lost not only his girlfriend, but his entire species. He has no idea where they are, and no way to reach them. They're gone.

And that's the last we see of poor Knuckles in this continuity. Him breaking down, immensely sorrowful that he's lost all the echidnas. Any thoughts he had about them were about to be washed away, thanks to a pair of mad scientists and they're fancy Genesis Wave.

...Though I guess that could also be a silver lining for him? I suspect that'll vary for everyone.

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I know that this is a controversial choice, but for me, it would have to be when Sonic and Tails were fighting each other during the House of Cards arc in the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics.

 

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So for context, Tails' parents, Amadeus and Rosemary, were creating an uprising against the Kingdom of Acorn and this causes a huge rift between Sonic and Tails since Tails is trying to help his parents with the uprising, while Sonic is trying to stop his parents.  But apparently, prior to this point, Sonic and Tails' friendship has been on the rocks and Sonic has no idea why Tails is suddenly acting aggressive towards him.  So later on, after Tails' father is arrested and put into prison, Tails and his mother try to break Amadeus out of prison.  But then Sonic comes to the prison to put Amadeus back in prison and it was at this point that Sonic callously says that Tails will get over his father being in jail (geez Sonic, what makes you think that it's okay to put Tails' father in jail for possibly the rest of his life and not have Tails be upset at what you just did to his father) and of course, Tails was so upset at this statement that he starts attacking Sonic viciously.  While Tails' parents escape to the royal palace to confront Elias, Tails and Sonic continue fighting each other and they go outside to continue fighting each other.  It was at that point that Tails screams at Sonic that he was upset at Sonic dating Fiona at the time and he believed that Sonic betrayed him because of that (yeah, that seems like a dumb reason for these two to fight, but anyway).  Once Sonic discovers why Tails was upset, he has a sit down with Tails and apologizes to him for being so insensitive about the whole thing and thankfully, the two make up.

Even though the way this story was planned out was a bit odd, I chose this moment because it was Sonic and Tails fighting each other.  Throughout the years, Sonic and Tails have practically been inseparable and seeing them fight each other like this was quite upsetting.  What made this particular moment so sorrowful was the fact that Sonic realizes the error of his ways and was really sorry that he hurt Tails like he did.  It shows that even Sonic has his insensitive moments and how he could accidentally hurt people who are close to him because of his insensitivity and this moment has him realizing his flaws.

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I''l bring the last issue of the Countdown to Chaos arc, the moment Sally and Amy regained their memories, Sally regained all the memories of what she did when she was roboticized, that made she break down

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When I was reading for the first time, this panel hit me right in the feels

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The Egg Bosses of the reboot era of the Archie comic are some of my favorite additions to the Sonic roster, definitely making up for what we had to lose and doing a lot to flesh out the world the comic was steadily developing and revealing to us over its three year run. They were already becoming a thing prior (the Dark Egg Legion) so this is basically building off of that without being chained to anything legally unusable. Some of them do just serve Eggman because they want the power or have some bizarre fascination with him, but then you have the more gray cases where some are just trying to survive.

So in come Clove and Cassia, a pair of pronghorn deer siblings. Cassia, the younger (I admit I mixed them up a few times when I first read these stories until near the end) has a health condition severely affecting her ears and eyes, which led her sister Clove to seeking help from the worst person possible: Eggman. This leads to the two working for the Eggman Empire, in exchange for cybernetic enhancements and treatment for Cassia. Aleah Baker's three-part "Hidden Costs" storyline (StH #277-279) have them face off with Sally and Bunnie, who question their motives as well as gain new insight on people they wouldn't have thought of as having different reasons for fighting for Eggman.

Clove confronts Sally, realizing that whatever Sally's after it isn't the "Gaia temple" her unit was assigned to, as well as realizing Eggman's been wasting his time on the wrong temple anyway. But she chooses to be quiet about it because it means less conflict for her team.

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Meanwhile, Bunnie is after the real prize: the Chaos Emerald and in the process runs into Cassia. Cassia gets under her skin for not knowing Bunnie's reasons for getting her cybernetics, Bunnie meanwhile chews out Clove for getting her enhancements presumably just for shallow reasons only to learn otherwise.

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It creates some common ground for the two off them, Bunnie talking about how hard it was to adapt but her friends got her through it and while Cassia curses her luck because the enhancements didn't solve her health problems.

On the way back, Sally and Bunnie realize how difficult all of it must be, no matter what they did in their part to protect the world, there are still desperate people out there who are forced to turn to Eggman.

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The real gut punch comes from Clove's check-in with Eggman who reveals an unsettling truth:

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All that just to try to help her sister and it turns out to be pointless. Eggman doesn't know anything, nor does he care, all of it is just a way to keep them under his thumb. This was a mistake and they're stuck with it.

It ends with Clove just going to hug her sister, as she now has to find another way out of this.

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Man.

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