Johnny Lightfoot was one of the founding members of the Freedom Fighters, and is one of the more stable and dependable characters. He was a constant presence in the strip until his death in Issue 176. The character of Johnny Lightfoot is based on the standard rabbit creature that could often be seen hopping away from a defeated Badnik in Mega Drive games. From Issue 21, he was adapted to a more humanoid form.
He has a large extended family.
An unnamed Johnny appeared in Issue 5, helping Sonic the Hedgehog to rescue Miles "Tails" Prower from Arachbot. He appeared to be a resident of the Green Hill Zone. In his first named appearance in Issue 8, now in the Emerald Hill Zone, he was part of the group taken to the Special Zone to learn about the origins of Sonic and Doctor Robotnik. As a result, he was sent forward in time by six months by the Omni-Viewer to find that Robotnik had conquered Mobius in their absence.
Johnny became a founding member of the Freedom Fighters; he started to wear clothes, including a signature red jacket, and fight with a unique-looking metal staff. He joined Sonic on yet another mission to the Special Zone, this time to rescue Amy Rose from the Egg Fortress. To his annoyance, he had to keep reminding Sonic about the mission when the hedgehog focused instead on denying Amy was his girlfriend. Once the mission was over, it was Johnny who argued that Amy should join the Freedom Fighters as she was not safe back in the Zone.
He later fought with Sonic and Knuckles the Echidna when Robotnik's armies raided Kintobor's Laboratory. Unlike the other Freedom Fighters, Johnny never had much in the way of his solo adventures or major storylines. In his one solo adventure, fighting Commander Brutus, he even openly expressed a desire to have his own solo adventure. Brutus' forces then attacked, and Johnny both held them off and tricked them into destroying a Robotnik factory in the Cotton Factory Zone. He was still captured though, and his brain patterns copied to Brutus' mind... only to turn Brutus good. Brutus erased the patterns and would later turn Johnny into a Badnik.
Johnny almost died in a mission in the Chemical Plant Zone, when Shortfuse the Cybernik deliberately left Johnny in peril to keep fighting Vermin the Cybernik. This led to Shortfuse being booted from the Freedom Fighters. After Robotnik was deposed, Johnny visited his relatives who'd returned to the Emerald Hill Zone - he was missing for several weeks ("us rabbits have a lot of relatives!").
A storyline in later issues introduced a villain called Agent X, one of Robotnik's minions. After several appearances, Agent X sabotaged the Freedom Fighter's attack on Robotnik's old Flickies' Island base and, after capturing them, revealed himself to be Johnny. It soon turned out that it was not the real Johnny at all: he'd been abducted and replaced months ago by an extradimensional shadow-like alien called Shayde, who had been using Robotnik to secretly build a machine that could bring his entire race over to Mobius as due to a rip in time and space, he had been captured & replaced by shadow-like aliens. Sonic, sent to the Shadow Dimension, saved Johnny and Agent X was destroyed.
Johnny would meet his end against the beastial Chaos, when he risked his life to reconnect the power to a weapon. Just as he succeeded, Chaos attacked him and killed him with a powerful blow. Sonic would feel guilt over this for the rest of the battle against Chaos.
In Sonic the Comic Online, a nightmare creature took the form of a malevolent, undead Johnny in order to feed off Amy's fear. She eventually got rid of it by facing her fear over Johnny's death. A later villain, a psychic gangster named Oscura, revealed that Sonic now had a phobia of being unable to save people, and tried to use the memory of Johnny's death to scare Sonic.
In Issue 250, it was shown that a statue of Johnny had been erected in the Metropolis Zone. It was destroyed by Badniks, but Amy vowed they'd rebuild it. It appeared again in Issue 254, partially rebuilt.
It was later revealed that, due to an accident involving time travel, Johnny had received advance notice of his death shortly into his hero career. Tails had attempted to stop this past version of his late friend from discovering the truth, but was unable. Despite this revelation, Johnny continued to be a Freedom Fighter for several years, telling nobody of what would transpire.
For a full list, see List of appearances by Johnny Lightfoot
Johnny's role in the comic rarely extended beyond a background character in the Freedom Fighters. As such, almost all of his appearances are in the first 100 comics alongside other heroes in the fight against Robotnik. Lightfoot does have a few moments to shine, such as his solo mission in Brute Force and when he was taken over by Shayde. His final (living) appearance was in What Price Victory?, although he has since appeared as varying degrees of nightmare.
- Nigel Kitching's tongue-in-cheek explanation in his original pitch for the Sonic Adventure adaptation for Johnny's death was "Johnny is dull, Johnny has always been dull and that is why Johnny must die". In his letter to fans printed in Issue 223 (originally planned for Issue 200) he stated that "I had nothing against Johnny, you understand, I just wanted to do a story where one of the heroes doesn't make it".
- Kitching has also said that he once planned Johnny to be in a love triangle with Sonic and Amy Rose. Though the idea was hinted at in a few stories, this storyline was never developed within the comic.
- Lew Stringer originally planned for Agent X to actually be Johnny, but Nigel felt that Johnny was "too nice a guy" to do that; the original plan would also have involved Robotnik, but he was involved in the Drakon Empire plot at the time.
- ↑ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sonicthecomic/message/9679
- ↑ Summer of Sonic Q&A
- ↑ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sonicthecomic/message/13696
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