From Sonic Retro
|First seen: Sonic the Comic #65 (1995)|
Doctor Zachary is an elderly, white-furred male echidna, and an enemy of Knuckles the Echidna in the Sonic the Comic continuity. He first appeared in Sonic the Comic #65. Within the Sonic the Comic continuity, Zachary is one of only two Echidnas known to still be alive. He has secret knowledge of the Echidna people, and may even know where they went.
When Zachary first returned to the Floating Island, he claimed he was being hunted by a dangerous robot (in actuality an Echidna Guardian robot he had reprogrammed, STC 65), and the surprised Knuckles was tricked into taking him to the Emerald Chamber. Zachary then had the robot invade the Chamber and destroy the Master Emerald (STC 66), absorbing its Chaos Energy into itself. He then boarded the super-charged robot and set off to devastate Mobius and get an unknown revenge on the other Echidnas, leaving the Floating Island to crash. However, Knuckles caught him before he could escape (STC 67) and decapitated Zachary's robot.
However, before Knuckles could take him prisoner, an inopportune quake threw Zachary from the island, sending him plummeting towards Mobius (STC 68). While falling, Zachary grabbed the decapitated robot's body and activated its flight system. However, one of the robot's wings was damaged, so Zachary was only able to soften his landing and it left him horribly injured. He would have died if not found by a Badnik patrol.
Doctor Robotnik took a special interest in Zachary, having previously believed that Knuckles was the only Echidna on Mobius, and saved Zachary's life by integrating him with Badnik technology, replacing his right arm with a laser cannon and the entire right side of his head and face. In return, Zachary was able to provide Robotnik with important information, namely that the Emerald Hill Folk were hiding out on the Floating Island (STC 98)
Zachary and Robotnik infiltrated the island (its forcefield having been damaged some time earlier, in STC 73). Zachary tracked down the place where the Floating Island's other Guardian Robots were stored and reprogrammed them with a piece of software that made them his "unstoppable slaves" (STC 99). With this new army, Robotnik and Zachary came to the Mushroom Hill Zone in the night and captured all of the Emerald Hill Folk (except Porker Lewis, who eluded them in the Island's tunnel network). When Knuckles returned to the island after a long journey away, Robotnik and Zachary managed to ambush both Knuckles and Porker in the Emerald Chamber, capturing them as well (STC 97).
Robotnik intended to use the Emerald Hill Folk (along with Knuckles and Porker) as organic components in a vast supercomputer, which ran on living brains instead of microchips (STC 98). Although Knuckles was able to escape, he failed to prevent Robotnik from carrying out this scheme (STC 99). Before the computer could be activated, an electromagnetic pulse caused by Super Sonic surged across the planet shutting down all of Robtonik's computer networks and Badniks. The Guardian robots, products of ancient echidna science, were unaffected, but the software that Zachary used to control them was destroyed and they ceased obeying him. Knuckles fought Zachary one-on-one, although Sonic the Hedgehog arrived halfway through to assist Knuckles against Zachary. Zachary tried to run away, but Knuckles struck a fault line in the ground, causing Zachary to fall into a chasm (STC 100). In the ensuing confusion over arresting Robotnik, Zachary burrowed into the heart of the Floating Island and disappeared. His final fate remained a mystery (STC 101).
On the sonicthecomic E-group, writer Nigel Kitching revealed that an unused plan for Zachary was that he was still on the Island when it sunk (during the last storyline), and was trying to release a gang of Echidna criminals that had been placed in suspended animation. See sonicthecomic Yahoo! Groups (Kitching admitted elsewhere that he hadn't taken Zachary into consideration when he wrote the island's submergence.)
On his first appearance, Zachary appeared to be polite and well-spoken, if somewhat emotionally distant. However, this was merely a front to hide his sociopathic and genocidal tendencies. He is completely mad and has zero empathy for others, even enjoying the prospect of killing and wreaking carnage on a global scale. He desires revenge on Knuckles' lost people for unknown reasons, and is not above eliminating any that get in his way. He specifically stated his intention to "warm up by destroying the people of Planet Mobius" and was willing to let the Floating Island fall out of the sky and crash onto the planet below "as a monument to [his] genius!" (STC 67).
Zachary is well educated and highly intelligent person, capable of advanced computer programing and software engineering. He is incredibly old, and this age initially made him quite frail and he preferred to act through intermediaries like his re-programmed Guardian Robots. After being rebuilt as a cybrog following his fall from the Floating Island, he gained increased stamina and strength, and his arm cannon allowed him to take a more active role in his pursuit for revenge.
Zachary also possesses extensive knowledge of the Floating Island and the lost echidna people, beyond even that of Knuckles.
The concept of Doctor Zachary and the story in which he first appeared ("The Homecoming", from Sonic the Comic #65 to #68) was created by artist Richard Elson. Elson also did a design for the character. The plan was that Elson would draw the strip, which would be written by Nigel Kitching, but because of Elson's other work commitments, it was drawn by Nigel Dobbyn instead. Elson did not show Dobbyn his original sketches, but did specify that Zachary should have white fur, because of his great age. In Elson's original design, he looked a lot older, more wrinkled and evil (See Interview with Richard Elson at Sonic the Comic - Online!).
Doctor Zachary was named after the character Doctor Zachary Smith, from the TV series Lost in Space. Though both have villainous tendencies, they are otherwise dissimilar.
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- Archie comics echidna villain Dr. Finitevus, introduced almost a decade later, has a similar look to Zachary. Certain characters from Archie's Dark Legion also resemble Zachary, as cyborg Echidnas that are skilled in programming and dedicated to Mobius' subjugation.
- Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood later introduced Imperator Ix of the Nocturnus Tribe; another technophilic albino echidna, suspected by fans to be partially based on Zachary and / or Finitevus.