The Return of Chaotix is a 6-part Sonic the Hedgehog story, the longest of its kind at that point. Beginning in Issue 67 and lasting until Issue 72, the epic ended the Brotherhood of Metallix story arc, save for one small epilogue.
Reunions and meeetings
Sonic the Hedgehog is at the Never Lake, waiting... Finally, after a month of waiting (two months to readers), the Miracle Planet reappears in the sky above. Without further ado, Sonic rushes up the chain connecting the two planets, but soon comes to a halt when someone comes closer - Porker Lewis has survived his month stranded! Sonic was worried about him, but Porker states he is OK, yet something doesn't feel right. Elsewhere, the Omni-Viewer succeeds in beaming the Chaotix Crew onto Mobius. As Espio the Chameleon bemoans his landing, their arrival doesn't go unnoticed as a Trooper patrol spot them. A Trooper Tank moves to exterminate its "live targets", but Mighty the Armadillo thumps it, slowing it down. The tank's response is to fire massive boulders the armadillo's way, knocking him down. Charmy Bee draws their fire while Espio uses his "spinning top attack" to trash one of the Troopers. Vector sinks his teeth into the tank's arm while Mighty smashes it to bits. It seems as if two of the Troopers are about to get away, but Sonic arrives to show Chaotix his stuff.
Vector reveals they are on Mobius because they believe the Brotherhood of Metallix are using the Miracle Planet as a base of operations. Sonic isn't worried, having permanently put an end to their plans already. Still, Omni picks up an energy screen on the planet and attempts to tune it out. To everyone's horror, the green Miracle Planet disappears to reveal a planet in the shape of a Metallix head! Apparently Porker had no idea about this, so Sonic rushes ahead, Chaotix in pursuit, all hoping to get to the bottom of things. Vector powers down Omni as Mighty declares the need for a plan. Sonic is about to tell Porker he doesn't need to join the party having just left the Miracle Planet, but is horrified when he sees a metallic injury on the pig's arm. "Porker" reveals himself to be a Porker Metallix, sent to destroy them all. Sonic is quickly punched off the chain but is rescued by Charmy. As Mighty struggles with the robot, Espio sneaks behind and kicks the Metallix in the head. The foe than charges his "death ray" but Sonic intervenes, using a Spin Attack to finish the job. Before Metallix can explode, Vector connects himself to Mighty with Link-Rings and punches the robot far away.
On the planet, Sonic finds the real Porker Lewis, but the reunion is soon interrupted by the Emperor Metallix and his bodyguards, who have just returned from Mobius through the Pirate Omni-Viewer. Despite Sonic's insistence on winning, the Emperor points to Mobius; he has just travelled through time to change history to create Planet Metallix!
Sonic vows to destroy every Metallix, but Vector activates "Emergency Code 'D'" and drags everyone away to escape, wishing to fight the Metallix on their own terms. On "Planet Metallix", the heroes arrive in Sector Gamma E-46 and Sonic is keen to hook up with any survivors. Mighty gets to the point, however, and suggests there may be no survivors of this disaster. Before Sonic can get into a scrap, Vector saves him again, wishing to get more information. Instead, they rush off down Route 865325-78654 and, thanks to Charmy, into a dead end. Mighty and Espio vow to destroy more Metallixes than each other, but the anticipation is broken by a hooded man from a manhole who encourages them to follow him. In the sewers, a man called Rob films Sonic and company, much to the hedgehog's chagrin. The Metallixes follow and order their targets to remain still, but "panic" when something seems wrong. Sure enough, a bomb destroys them all, and the hooded character explains that Rob was filming them so he could make holograms. He explains that they are The Underground, the last living people on Mobius and their leader is none other than Doctor Kintobor!
Overwhelmed by the state of the people forced to live in hiding, Sonic reveals that Kintobor used to be Robotnik and the transformation should have happened before the Metallixes changed history. Vector realises that they weren't affected by the change in history because they were off the planet at the time. The croc comes up with an idea and boots up Omni, revealing a plan to follow the Metallixes through time and right their wrongs. As Sonic, Porker and Chaotix leave, Kintobor hands Sonic an Anti-Metallix device.
The Chronotron Trail
The heroes zip along time, following the chronotron trail left by the time-travelling Metallixes and the Omni-Viewer's counterpart. Their journey is cut short when they are intercepted by a patrol of Metallixes guarding the timeline. Vector orders his team to attack and the Chaotix Crew get stuck into a battle to the death. As Vector attempts to get his team into battle formation, Sonic attachs his device to the head of a Metallix. Immediately, the Metallix in question believes that there are now more targets in the room and starts destroying his brothers. Before Sonic can leave, he notices a rotten egg in the hand of a broken Metallix and believes that it is important somehow. The hedgehog takes it with him, much to Omni and Chaotix's displeasure.
Soon, the trail ends and the heroes emerge in Kintobor's Laboratory, just in time to see Sonic's transformation on the gyratoscope. Sure enough, the machine explodes to reveal a streamlined, blue Sonic, just as Sonic remembers. Espio is confused as Sonic finally realises how the Metallixes changed time. Putting the egg back into Kintobor's fridge, everyone travels forward 24 hours in time. Sonic then makes sure things go back to how they should by grabbing an electrical cable and trips Kintobor up, just as he remembered. Kintobor, rotten egg in hand, falls into one of his machines and the explosion turns him into Doctor Robotnik. Sonic is mortified that he was the one solely responsible for turning Kintobor into Robotnik, but Porker tries to reassure him.
Everyone returns to the present day, where they discover Mobius to look how it should - green, blue and full of life. Although they're still in control of the Miracle Planet, Sonic proposes a visit to Citadel Robotnik.
Sonic recounts the whole story to Robotnik, who finds the whole thing ridiculous. Porker is confused; if the Metallixes went to stop the creation of Robotnik, yet were created themselves by Robotnik, shouldn't they cease to exist. The quandary is answered by Grimer, since he was the one who created them. The robots were designed by Grimer, although Robotnik had one small hand in their creation - the self-destruct program! Sonic is incredulous, demanding to know why Robotnik sent him to handle things when he could have destroyed them all remotely. Robotnik laughs, his original plan being for the Metallixes to destroy Sonic, then the robots could be de-activated. Porker realises that since the Metallixes couldn't remove that part of their programming, they changed time so that it was never there.
Paying attention to none of this, Charmy suspects that a massive rain storm is soon to happen, judging by the cloud moving their way. Sonic is terrified, noticing that the "cloud" is actually "thousands of Metallixes, blotting out the sun"! The Sonic robots burst through the walls of Citadel Robotnik and a monumental battle begins. Porker hides behind Robotnik's desk, unable to take any more of the fighting. Robotnik rifles through his draw and finds the self-destruct device but is too slow, caught personally by the Emperor. The huge Metallix begins to crush the device, forever ending any hope of destroying the threat, but Sonic moves fast, grabbing the button out of its hands and presses it, de-activating the Metallixes forever. Unhappy that the amazing victory ended so fast, Sonic leaves the building with Chaotix (and Porker some way behind).
Robotnik heeds Sonic's words, knowing that the Brotherhood nearly wiped out all life on Mobius. Grimer is reluctant to give up now and already has the plans for a new breed of Metallix. Unfolding his blueprints, Grimer presents a Knuckles version of the Metallix!
Look out, there's lots of trivia!
- Chaotix arrives on Mobius for the first time, making it their first meeting with Sonic. They would later meet Sonic again in Heroes & Villains, while Porker's next meeting is not until On The Run. Chaotix do not return to Mobius until Fate of the Special Zone, a Sonic the Comic Online story.
- The Special Badnik Service make an appearance in the guise of a Badnik tank. Despite its toughness, they are fairly easily disposed of, compared to fellow SBS soldier Commander Brutus.
- There are no other official sightings of the Link-Rings, despite them being a large gameplay point in Knuckles Chaotix.
- Espio references their last adventure with Knuckles in Total Chaotix, Sonic stating that he taught Knuckles (everything he knows).
- Sonic and Chaotix avoid sharing the fate of Mobius by mere minutes. If they had still been on Mobius, they would have been caught up in those events. Still, since the Metallixes did not change the events of the Gyratoscope, Sonic would have still been around, perhaps without the confidence (or practice) to defeat his foes.
- The heroes escape down one of the routes, but may have been served better by powering up Omni.
- This story marks Kintobor's last appearance on Mobius, although this technically never happened. He would later reappear in the events of Shanazar.
- The Anti-Metallix device is said to alter the Metallix's visual inputs. However, it must also do something to its hearing, as the rogue Metallix refuses to stop despite his brother's plea for calm.
- The Omni-Viewer apparantly has a sense of smell.
- The lines "Ready when you are, Doctor K" and Sonic's following line are the same ones uttered in origin story The Origin of Sonic. A later "egg" joke is omitted.
- It is revealed that Sonic and Chaotix travelled back through time to change Kintobor, showing that there were two Sonics in the room. The cable Kintobor trips over is now taut across the room, whereas it was slack and on the floor in The Origin Of Sonic - a minor alteration of history.
- If they could go back in time to save Mobius, it should be said that they could head back to the Miracle Planet and stop the Brotherhood from planting the Alpha Device.
- The Miracle Planet is shown to be in space, although earlier in the story (and other stories), the planet just seems to be in the sky above Mobius and people do not have to enter outer space to travel between the two.
- The word 'program' is mistakenly spelled as 'programme' (as in a TV programme or a series of events at the theatre or football match).
- The biggest problem with the time travel is that if Robotnik had not existed, then Grimer would probably have had no reason to create Metallixes, meaning the robots should not exist. It is said that they were of Grimer's design, but he would have had nobody to present the designs to.
- Porker realises that the robots could not remove their own self-destruct program, despite knowing it was there. However, Commander Brutus managed it just fine and took great pride in revealing this during his revolution.
- The line "Blotting out the sun, Metallixes, thousands of them!" has been said to be a popular one in the Message Zone, along with the iconic full-page splash.
- Porker's breakdown is partially revealed here, terrified after his month-long stint as a hostage. Four issues later, Porker quits the Freedom Fighters, seemingly encouraged by Cedric the Elephant...
- When Robotnik is picked up by the Emperor Metallix, he already has his thumb on the button and could press it during the Metallix's speech.
- In the same panel, both speech bubbles seem to be pointing at the Metallix, apparantly suggesting that the Metallix is Robotnik's master.
- Such an important button perhaps should not have been hidden in a draw full of paperwork. The button could also have been pressed accidentally at any time, ending plans such as Robotnik's control of the Miracle Planet or his attempt to get the Master Emerald onto the Death Egg.
- The new "Knuckles Metallix" does not reappear until Issue 108's story The Evil Empire where it is used to capture Sonic and then fight him in a Trial By Combat.