Knuckles' Best Power Has a Horrifying Secret Origin

Knuckles, the resident brawler of Sonic the Hedgehog, is famous for his tough-talking persona, brute strength and the ability to glide through the air. These abilities have been instrumental to his and his allies' survival in both comics and video games. While these powers might seem perfectly normal in a world where fast-talking hedgehogs can run at lightning speed and gadgeteer twin-tailed foxes can fly, they are actually the result of something far more disturbing.

Knuckles' surprisingly dark backstory is explored in Archie Comics' Knuckles the Echidna #25, by Ken Penders, Manny Galan, Patrick Spaziante, Andrew Pepoy, Mark Bernardo and Vickie Williams, thanks to the sudden arrival of Knuckles' father, Locke, a Guardian from the Floating Island and a member of the Brotherhood. After a quick, very sweet reunion, Locke whisks his son away with him to Haven, much to Knuckles' confusion and frustration. Warm and fuzzy feelings are pushed aside for the time being when Knuckles asks his father about the origin of Haven. And this soon leads to Locke revealing Knuckles' true nature rooted in genetic engineering, radiation and his father's own desperation.

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Both Locke and Knuckles are members of the Brotherhood, the Guardians of the Floating Island and Mobius Prime. For generations, the Brotherhood consisted of father-son pairings that guarded both worlds and suffered plenty of tragedies with fathers losing their sons in the line of duty. Before Knuckles was born, Locke received a dire vision of his son's future involving a terrifying creation of Robotnik's too great for his son to stop and a bright and deadly flash that seemingly signaled the end of the world. Locke turned to his grandfather Athair for advice, who told him that to save the future of the Brotherhood and the world, he had to create a savior.

In desperation, Locke decided that he would biologically enhance his son. He performed experiments on himself, altering his genetics to ensure Knuckles would be born with superior abilities. Not only that, but he also Locke placed his egg in the Chaos Chamber, exposing it to radiation from the Chaos Emerald. Locke's methods were controversial among the rest of the Brotherhood and were kept secret from his wife, Lara-Le. When Knuckles hatched, Lara-Le was shocked by her son's appearance. The signature spikes on his knuckles were the result of Locke's experiments, which explains their absences from all other Echidna on the Floating Island. While Locke had succeeded in creating the savior of the Brotherhood, granting his son powers beyond any Echidna, his actions would ultimately cost him his marriage with Lara-Le.

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Knuckles doesn't take this revelation well at first. He never wanted to be the Brotherhood's savior; he wanted to was to be Locke's son and nothing more. But surprisingly, Locke agrees. Tearfully, he admits that all he wanted was to have the father-son relationship with Knuckles that he never got to have with his own father. His duty as Guardian forced him to choose between saving the world and bonding with his son, and Locke painfully chose the former. But for now, he brought Knuckles with him to Haven for one reason: to finally bond together as father and son. In a poignant moment, Knuckles tearfully and happily embraces his father.

While his methods were certainly unorthodox – and maybe even questionable – Locke's drive to protect his unborn son and ensure his and his home's future are undeniable. Knuckles is at first pretty upset to learn the true nature of his powers – and the purpose for which he was created – but ultimately his mutual love for his father, and his sense of duty towards his home and the Brotherhood of the Guardians wins out. While Locke's decisions to enhance his son had consequences for the Brotherhood, Locke's marriage and his relationship with his son, they ultimately gave Sonic and his rebels one their greatest champions, Knuckles his incredible powers, and a means of bringing father and son back together.

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Hannah Rose (37 Articles Published)

Reader and reviewer of Comics here on CBR. She's a recent SCAD graduate with MFA in Sequential Arts, a BA in writing, and an unhealthy love for nostalgic pop culture of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. She watches too many horror movies and reads too many comics, and now she draws and writes about them for a living. She has a portfolio website and can be contacted via her instagram @hannahroseartist and her email [email protected]

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