Roots is a 3-part Knuckles the Echidna story, first appearing in Issue 94 of Sonic the Comic. It was later reprinted from Issue 211 to Issue 213. The adventure marked the final part of Knuckles' World Tour of Mobius before returning to the Floating Island.
In the Metropolis Zone, one of the last remaining pieces of park land is under threat and a protest has developed. At the front is Pyjamas, an older woman who seems to be having a vision of a tiny winged creature, possibly a butterfly. However, although her vision turns out to be correct, the "tiny" creature is actually Knuckles on his pterodactyl! Watching from his aerial steed, Knuckles sees the protest, before noticing that Doctor Robotnik has sent his Special Badnik Service Troopers to disperse the crowd. One robot prepares to bludgeon an elderly man, despite his pleas of wishing for a peaceful protest. Knuckles swoops in and lifts the Trooper up by its truncheon, before throwing him down. Fellow protestor Ebony wants to get in on the action, using magic to summon a ball of energy that completely wrecks some other Troopers. Knuckles is amazed, but Ebony insists it only takes fifteen years of total dedication and personal sacrifice to learn. Knuckles and Ebony return to the battle, completely destroying every other robot. Afterwards, Knuckles urges everyone to return home in anticipation of more Badniks, but the protestors are keen to save the trees. When Knuckles asks what is special about them, the trees answer his question.
Pyjamas reveals that the biggest talking tree is the Elder Tree and Robotnik wants to clear the site to make way for a tower block. The Elder Tree reveals the planet has been too polluted and it is time to call a halt. Knuckles is amazed that it can talk, but the wise plant states that only animals would think of speech as so important. The tree asks everyone to leave, worrying about further Robotnik troops. A child refuses to leave, but the crowd is soon joined by two nasty Armourillas and sorcerer Omen, keen to arrest Ebony and Pyjamas. As the rat starts to imprison Ebony, Pyjamas suffers a vision of running through a gigantic forest. Knuckles is insulted that there isn't a bounty on his head and tears into the cowboy Armourilla. As Omen continues to attempt to breach Ebony's shield, one of Knuckles' foes fires a missile in the echidna's direction - it misses and hits the Elder Tree, completely destroying it. Furious that their leader has gone, the other trees sprout new trees that completely engulf the park... turning it into the forest in Pyjamas' vision.
Despite the situation, the bad guys continue to persue their targets. The situation gets much worse when Ebony is captured and a missile launcher is pointed right at Knuckles' head. The trees continue to watch, disgusted that the creatures only think of destruction. They wonder if they should take over Mobius and Omen laughs them off, but Knuckles knows the true extent of their power. The small flesh creature attempts to plead with the trees, arguing that some of them were here to reverse the destruction caused by the rest of their race. Thinking hard, the plants use their branches to pull the villains up and throw them away from the park. As everyone disperses, one tree reveals that the Elder Tree will have his time once more.
Two days later, Robotnik has sealed off the entire forest with firm orders that nobody may enter. The area is a natural haven of beauty in the midst of Robotnik's empire and also the place where the Elder Tree will some day grow again!
- The "Next Issue" caption previewing Part 2, stating "Knuckles Talks to the Trees", was used both for the original run and the reprint.
- This story marks the introduction of recurring characters Ebony and Pyjamas. They would return in the Super Sonic story "Hunter & the Hunted".
- Omen also makes his first appearance, although he would feature in no more stories.
- Knuckles was given the pterodactyl in "The Good, The Bad and The Echidna". These adventures were seemingly separated by Knuckles' appearance in "The Monster Wakes", which also appears in Issue 94.
- The trees, as well as the closed-off park, returned in "The Battle For Mobius".
- Ebony's use of the word "magic" is contradicted in "The Order of Magick", instead calling it "magick".
- The first panel of Part 1's second page sees Ebony say "Pyjama s'", including the erroneous space.
- Knuckles knows about the Special Badnik Service, despite no previous dealings with them.
- The panel containing "three Ebonys" as she prepares to launch her energy attack contains a mistake - her boots are missing in the final pose. This was highlighted in a butchery. The shoes then remain off for the rest of the story.
"Roots" has received little attention on the Message Zone. Those that did discuss it praised the story, although mainly as part of the wider "World Tour" arc. One Boomer praised Kitching for leaving the story on an ambiguous note rather than a happy ending. Dobbyn's art was also complimented.
As part of a poll on the best Knuckles stories, "Roots" was one of many options to vote for. However, out of 35 voters, nobody chose it as their favourite, nor was it mentioned as a possible back-up preference.
Despite its apparent underwhelming reception, the story was important for introducing Ebony and Pyjamas, characters that would become vital in the popular Super Sonic's life.
- Roots - the identically-named Sonic story.