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Vichama kills Knuckles the Echidna!

Vichama Is Coming Home is a 3-part Knuckles the Echidna story spread over a number of issues. The first part was in Issue 242, the second in Issue 243 and wasn't finished until The Complete Vichama, a collection of all the story's parts. A Tikal story, Emergency Program One, was a vital part of this story's telling and appeared in the middle of it all in Issue 245.

Staff

Story

Knuckles the Echidna and Tikal are visiting the Waterfall Forest Zone, an area of Mobius that used to be lush and brimming with life. Now it is a desertous void, completely empty of any life. Worse still, a message that has been following them has been carved in the sky above: "Vichama is coming home." Knuckles explains that ancient scrolls depict Vichama as a "God of Death" that was vanquished millenia ago along with this great temple. In its place, the echidna tribe built the Temple of Tikal, their own monument to the dead. Tikal has visited here but has decided it's all ancient history. Knuckles isn't so sure, with the scrolls describing possession of mortals. He wonders whether Vichama had just inhabited the body of an echidna. Waiting. Hiding. As the pair head back to the Floating Island on one of the Guardian Robots, they are shocked to discover that Vichama's temple has risen again in their absence. Tired of waiting to see what threatens his home, Knuckles touches down at the entrance, ready to see what they're facing. In the cold and damp corridors, Knuckles impatiently hurries forward and reaches the massive inner chamber, one full of the voices of dead ancestors. Too curious to heed Tikal's warnings, Knuckles hurries forward and places his hand in a light, hoping to find all the answers.

Knuckles hesitates, wondering if it's all a trick to stop him protecting the island. Before he can choose, he's attacked by Tikal who's been possessed by Vichama. The God of Death marches forwards and touches the light, freeing him from Tikal's body and giving him form. Finally, the true God has returned, armed with dozens of dead echidnas from millenia ago. Knuckles, the island's guardian, attempts to reason with the ghosts but, failing that, begins punching them. Realising there may be "millions" of them, Knuckles steps back with Tikal and glides off the platform. He then punches through a wall and begins a chase, Vichama very much enjoying this little game. The echidnas land in a pit of Kohenyu skeletons but leap into a Zoom Tube to get away from them. Back in the Emerald Chamber, Knuckles plans to use the Chaos Emeralds to put a stop to Vichama's rampage and encourages Vichama to reveal his big, bad plan. Vichama, acknowledging himself as the God of Death, says there is no death and kills Knuckles.

After the events of Tikal's story, Knuckles remembers back to the ancient past, where Pochacamac puts the finishing touch that would grant immortality to one echidna. The spiritual leader tells Knuckles that as long as his essence remains in the Guardian Emerald, he can always return to the mortal plane - as long as "someone" from the spirit plane willingly comes to the mortal plane in exchange. Knuckles is sent to prepare the army as Pochacamac summons Vichama. Back in the present, Tikal is surprised that Knuckles is still alive. A Guardian Robot explains that this is what happens every time the Guardian dies. When the island was in disrepair, Knuckles lost many of his memories. Suddenly, Knuckles smashes the Guardian Emerald, taking a shard of it with him. Confused, Tikal orders the Guardian Robots to get into flanking positions, hoping to catch Vichama off guard. The action is pointless, he's already here! Vichama quickly catches Knuckles once more, but the echidna is prepared, realising that Vichama only has immortality because Knuckles does. Now that the echidna doesn't, Vichama can be defeated. Worse still for him, the army of the dead s furious and tackles Vichama, presumably ripping him apart.

In the aftermath, Knuckles reveals that the memories he had were just Vichama's and have faded with him. Everything else is gone. Later, on the edge of the island, Knuckles laments living a thousand lifetimes just for "a few rocks". Tikal talks sense into him, saying they are amazing gems that can't be destroyed or the evil inside will be released. They're also too powerful to be abandoned. Realising that anyone who found them could be more powerful than Vichama, Knuckles gets ready to protect his home for one last lifetime.

Trivia

  • The development of this story made it one of the most awaited strips in STC history. Smith's reason for not producing the final part sooner was that the complicated art style, as well as illness, made things almost impossible. Corker took over the colouring to end the series.
  • The delay in completion meant that The Prisoner, a Knuckles story set after his death but before his resurrection, began before this one could finish. Knuckles' appearance left people confused that Vichama was gone and Knuckles was alive.

Timeline

The previous Knuckles the Echidna story was Solitary. The Prisoner occurred during this time. Since the last part was published later, the next story is Skeletons in the Closet.

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