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Carnival Night Conspiracy is a 6-part Knuckles the Echidna story, beginning in Issue 39 of Sonic the Comic. It marks the return of the Marxio Brothers and is part of the Sonic 3 & Knuckles story arc.

Staff

Story

Knuckles the Echidna is returning to the Floating Island after assisting Sonic the Hedgehog in the events of Robotnik's Revenge. On his way, a message is broadcast from the Egg-o-Matic he has commandeered; Doctor Robotnik has rigged his old ship to explode, taking Knuckles with it. Unbeknownst to the dictator, Knuckles can glide, doing so just before the Egg-o-Matic blows up behind him. Fortunately, Knuckles is already above the Floating Island and begins to descend upon it, only discover that a theme park has been built on historic lands while he's been away. Unwilling to draw attention to himself just yet, Knuckles his way around the Trooper guards and finds his way into the Zone. However, he's been spotted by a security camera, so the head of security sends out a construction Robot to deal with the intruder. The robot, although massive, is no match for Knuckles and crumbles apart with one hit. Knuckles then narrowly avoids being shot by a sniper rifle. On the roof of a building, three people bicker about who's fault it was for the missed shot, safely away from Knuckles. What they don't know is that Knuckles can climb walls. Reaching his attackers, we learn that it is the bungling Marxio Brothers, who decide to make Knuckles an offer he can't refuse.

Grouchio Marxio declares he plans to make Knuckles rich. Knuckles is understandably angry, having just been shot at, but Grouchio states he thought Knuckles was a simple intruding criminal. Since Knuckles is master of the Floating Island, Grouchio plans to cut Knuckles in on the profits from the new Carnival Night Zone, much to Chicio's annoyance. Knuckles orders the Marxios off his island but Grouchio convinces him that the echidna needs the money to repair his island in case his lost people ever return. Grouchio takes Knuckles for a tour of the Zone; Knuckles is reluctant but is amazed when he sees the scale of things. However, he spots the Troopers he saw earlier and smashes them, realising that Robotnik must be behind everything. Grouchio angrily reveals he bought the Troopers from Robotnik, the best money can buy. Knuckles then asks how they know about the island, but Robotnik has ended the secret about it, telling everyone its location. Soon after, Grouchio decides to give Knuckles a ride on their new rollercoaster. Chicio is worried, but Grouchio has a plan to dispose of Knuckles.

Knuckles is enjoying himself, although the harness is on far too tight. Chicio activates the first trap, a mechanical knight with an axe that very narrowly misses beheading Knuckles. Soon after, a variety of mud creatures spring up from the ground, but Knuckles quickly beats them, enjoying the exercise, even wanting to battle some more. In the next room, Knuckles punches the ceiling, causing a rockfall to crush a mix of skeletons and bats. Chicio's next idea is to switch Knuckles on to a part of the track that isn't yet finished. After several loops and a higher burst of speed, a bunch of ghosts are thrown in Knuckles' path so that he can't see the track is incomplete, sending him to his death. Just in time, Knuckles rips the axe from his carriage and latches himself on to the end of the track, using it to smash the carriage from his legs. The echidna visits the Marxios office, the three of them terrified that Knuckles is still alive. However, Knuckles loved the ride, letting them stay on the island.

Knuckles is given his own office, but he doesn't appreciate it, wondering why he needs it when he's not involved in the running of the Zone. The Marxios leave, revealing amongst themselves that they plan to get rid of Knuckles before they realise they're working for Robotnik. Grouchio receives a call from the Trooper patrol, claiming that Knuckles has left the Carnival Night Zone. The brothers rush over to him in their flying vehicle, wondering why Knuckles is leaving. The echidna says that he let the Marxios stay there, but his priority is to get rid of every trace of Robotnik from the island. Chicio gasps, worried that if Robotnik is defeated, who will pay for the Zone's running costs. Unfortunately, Knuckles heard him, meaning he now knows that the Marxios work for Robotnik. With no choice, Chicio transforms their ship into combat mode and fires a barrage of missiles at Knuckles, knocking him over. A massive metal fist then drops down on Knuckles and it would seem that Knuckles has been killed.

Grouchio phones Grimer, claiming that Knuckles has been dealt with. However, their conversation is cut short when Chicio realises that Knuckles has gone, burrowed underground. As they look for him, the first guests to the Zone arrive. Grouchio decides to leave Knuckles for now, but the echidna reappears, willing to wait for nobody. They shoot at him and seem to hit again, but Knuckles returns from underground and smashes the vehicle's underbelly, sending the Marxios scattering. Luckily, Chicio has already called for reinforcements. Sure enough, a mob of assorted Badniks is making its way towards Knuckles. As Harpio leaves to sort out the opening parade, Grouchio and Chicio greet the newcomers, passing off Knuckles' battle as an exhibit, reflecting his continuous fight against Robotnik. One member of public says they some people think Robotnik is still on the island, repairing his Death Egg, but Grouchio refuses to answer. As he leads the public into the Zone, Knuckles realises his time is running out.

Thinking quickly, Knuckles allows all the Badniks to get close before destroying them all with one punch. Grouchio isn't worried, as he has another twenty Badniks ready to fight Knuckles as soon as he steps into the Zone. The echidna isn't intending on entering the Zone, dropping down to inspect the ground. Without warning, he punches the grass and a massive fault line opens up between the Marxios and the public, the criminals on the side of the Carnival Night Zone. Before long, the entire Zone is floating in midair, only held up by the last remains of Chaos energy. Sure enough, the Zone drops down to Mobius and Knuckles orders everyone else to go home.

In the Emerald Hill Zone, a small boy is furious at his mother for not taking him to the Carnival Night Zone when all his friends have gone. Heading outside, wishing the Zone wasn't so far away, he's amazed when the Zone actually crashes down in front of him! As he runs back inside to tell his mum what he just managed to do, the bedraggled Marxios lay among the wreckage, wondering what will happen when Robotnik gets hold of them. Grouchio isn't keen to find out, wishing to return to Super Marxio World as soon as possible. Up in the sky, Knuckles stands guard, alone on the Floating Island once again.

Trivia

  • This story is Knuckles' first solo adventure.
  • When the Marxio's call Grimer, the aftermath of the conversation is recorded in Badniks Bridge.

Timeline

This was the first Knuckles the Echidna story. The next (although appearing simultaneously) is Knuckles versus the Cybernik.

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