Sonic the Comic-Online! is a fan continuation of the long running Sonic the Comic, resurrected in webcomic form; with the consent of several of the original writers and artists. It began in 2003 and releases on a slow update schedule, releasing on average two issues per year. It bears many of the hallmarks of the original series upon which it is based, making use of it's own distinct Sonic continuity, as well as continuing and beginning strips based on other Sega games. It has a rather broad selection of readers, primarily from the USA with the UK coming in second, and a smaller spread worldwide.The actual online community surrounding STCO is notable for simultaneously being branded fanatical and disinterested, which whilst being present in the majority of all the Sonic fandoms has been taken to new heights, as forum regulars have remarked on occasion of the perculiarity of actually discussing their own continuity.There is also a series of retrospectives covering classic STC, which are posted on youtube, as well as short reviews of new STCO issues as they are released.The article on the original run of Sonic the Comic can be found here.The Sonic based continuity of STCO is generally considered the dominant series, with the strips based on other Sega games taking a slight backseat.STCO abruptly begins at an undefined, but short, ammount of time following the final story arc of STC; Sonic and friends are attempting to recover the sunken Floating Island, the fate of Dr Zachary is revealed and a series of antagonists are set up as the upcoming threat; primarily The Syndicate, The Family, and Kane Broadcasting Company.This eventually leads into a virtually unrecognisable adaptation of Sonic Adventure 2, which culminated in the total destruction of the Special Zone (a bizare Not-Quite-Alternate Dimension).These events began the lead up to Kane convincing the population of Mobius that Sonic has been the real threat all along, whilst Grimer executes a final manouver in honour of the mentally handicapped (and presumed dead) Doctor Robotnik to turn Sonic's closest friends against him.Then Robotnik returns to power, built into a giant supercomputer to regulate his insanity, under the guidance of the Drakon Empire who are using him as a cover for their invasion force; another attempt at capturing the Emerald Mines on the Floating Island, and, thanks to a deal Sonic made to prevent the destruction of the Special Zone destroying Mobius, the Drakon Empire and Robotnik have the abillity to destroy Mobius on a whim.The next issue is scheduled to be released soon, but a concrete date is almost never put in place to avoid people moaning about Schedule Slip, but on average puts out an issue once every three months, with current attitudes being that once every two months is a possibility.
The Chaotix story "Rage Against the Machine" with Espio entering cyberspace takes from Shadow the Hedgehog, especially since the old Kintobor security program that's fighting off the bad doctor's Internet propaganda is a dead ringer for Shadow.
Adaptational Villainy: Many of the games canon charcters, such as Shadow, Rouge, Babylon Rogues, and Bean, are more evil than their game counterparts.
Ambiguous Gender: In "The Universe Game" the Void seems to be female in this continuity, although it was seemingly male in the game. The writer of that story explained that, having not played Sonic Shuffle (which the story is very loosely based on), he assumed the Void was female based on its somewhat feminine appearance.
Art Evolution: Due to having many artists it can be bumpy though. Also, when compared to Sonic the Comic it is easy to see that the characters are no longer simply their classic designs with an eye color change.
Art Shift: Sally became even more anthro. Now she looks like a Sega-Sonic character rather than a giant, anthro squirrel in a suit.
Broken Pedestal: Following the media smear campaign and everything else, Sonic became this to the remaining Freedom Fighters (except for Tails). Let's just say that, when you know the Sonicverse as a whole, it's pretty jarring to see even Amy hating Sonic.
Canon Foreigner: As will the original run, practically the entire cast, Johnny Lightfoot and Porker Lewis were in the first Sonic game).
Character Development: Sonic seems to be developing into less of a Jerkass and becoming more conventionally herioc. He's still far from the noble hero we all know though.
Civilian Villain: Max Gamble and Nack the Weasel both have allegedly gone straight become zone leaders and helping groups of people out of the goodness of their hearts, Nack helping the weasels and Gamble helping insect refugees from the Special Zone (who are certainly not Family members), the truth is that Gamble is working for Don Long-Legs head of The Family, and Nack is trying to take over the Ocean Falls Zone.
Continuity Nod: In issue 250 various characters from older issues popped up. In 255, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise (in a way that could also be taken as a Sonic Generations adaptation), various Sonic and Robotnik incarnations from the comics history appeared in Sonic's story.
Deal with the Devil: Sonic goes to the Drakon Empire to try and save Mobius from Dr. Zachary and Shadow.
Depending on the Artist: The eye colors of the characters. It can switch between the Fleetway-canon colors (Brown Eyes for Amy, Brown Eyes for Tails, blue eyes for Knuckles, etc) and SegaSonic colors depending on who's drawing it. More minor, but what designs are used; most fans use the modern designs but some fans stay true to the original comic and use the "classic" Sonic designs with eye colors.
Establishing Character Moment: Sonic gets one in "Drowned" the first story of the series, in which while helping Ebony and Porker search for the Floating Island, he acts like a complete and utter asshole to them both. Though somewhat subtle, this along with the angry glare he recieves from Ebony, makes it pretty clear to the reader that Sonic's Jerkass nature isn't going to be tolerated for much longer...
Everyone Has Standards: Even Sonic is pretty disgusted when he gets a chance to see just how much of an ass he was in the past.
The Faceless: Don Long-Legs he always is hidden in the shadows.
Fake Ultimate Hero: In the print series, this was Tails main trait in the Nameless Zone, as his letters home had claimed that Sonic was his sidekick. Deconstructed for a little while as Tails became more confident, and finally inverted when Tails really did become the Hero of Mobius.
Heroic BSOD: Amy has been suffering one since the Kane arc because of finding out about Sonic's questionable decisions and the actions of the Neo Metallix posing as Sonic.
Heroic Resolve: So long as something exists to menace Mobius, Sonic will never give up.
Hero with Bad Publicity: This trope has become Sonic's downfall - the Kane Broadcasting Company uses their footage to convince the population of Mobius that Sonic is actually a villain who might be worse than Robotnik, and the worst part of it is, the footage they have to back up their claims, while very one-sided, is still genuine. Sonic's base can spy on every zone in the world, Sonic himself is a bit of a dick, and his super form is a monster who's already caused havoc before. Not to mention the fact that he created Robotnik... This smear campaign worked so well in conjunction with the Big Bad's evil scheme that Sonic is now a complete outcast, loathed and feared worldwide; even the Freedom Fighters (sans Tails) no longer trust him.
The Man Behind the Man: Grimer was the one who gave Kane the information to ruin Sonic with a smear campaign and he tipped The Family off about the Special Zone imploding before it imploded, allowing the mob to wreak havoc on Mobius, he was also behind the Neo Metallix.
Mood Whiplash: STC #250 ends with Sonic ostracized from Mobius but still determined to protect it from Robotnik's invasion while STC #251 starts with Sonic complaining about being bored and having nothing to do.
To be fair, the writer of the #251 lead story explained in the Message Zone that he wasn't aware of precisely how #250 would end and would have changed the beginning of #251 if he'd known.
Mythology Gag: One story has Amy fighting a group of Badniks undercover as Tails Dolls. Yep, like that one from Sonic R. That one that players say is cursed.
Only Sane Man: Sonic more often than not these days. I blame the immigrants from Shanazar.
Omnicidal Maniac: Dr. Zachary and Dr. Robotnik fall under this as Vichama, but pale in comparison to Super Sonic.
The Plan: Dr. Zachary's escape in 'Prisoner' was planned by Knuckles in an attempt to find out the location of his lost race. If the Omnicidal Maniac didn't escape no one would complain.
Reality Ensues: This comic basically points out that a Jerk Sue, Nominal Hero would only be tolerated as long as he fought the bad guys and didn't do anything morally dodgy. Once the Kane Network reveals all of the more morally ambiguous things Sonic has done, everyone loses their patience with him and stops overlooking his behavior.
Schedule Slip: Apparently they have enough scripts to last a few billion years; it's just that the artwork takes a long time to get finished, resulting the almost annual issue releases, and sometimes seemingly (or genuinely) aborted story arcs.
Schizo Tech: Echidnas, their empire appeared rather tribal, savage, and mystic, but at the same time developed technologies that sometimes surpassed Robotnik's creations. For instance the Guardians, combat robots-cum-mecha battlesuits designed to protect their facilities ( such as the Floating Island ). Oh and the Floating Island itself.
We Used to Be Friends: Sonic and Amy (although it is implied Amy still trusts Sonic on some level, it's just impossible to be sure about him given the circumstances)
Wham Episode Sonic's fall from grace and "exile" from Mobius in which he was disgraced in the eyes of every Mobian after a malicious smear campaign by the Kane Broadcasting Company, Sonic is now a fugitive, accused of being a terrorist.
What the Hell, Hero?: Let's just say that the other Fredom Fighters are not impressed by Tails still believing in Sonic following the Kane Network's revelations about him.
When All You Have Is a Hammer: Averted: Sonic's natural tendency is to just plow through his enemies with sheer force and speed, but when faced with an enemy who this doesn't work against he tends to get more tactical and use his powers more creatively (grabbing hold of them and super-vibrating himself, creating cyclones with his speed, angling his attacks so that his momentum is transferred to the enemy, or timing the attack to strike at the point where the enemy is most vulnerable).