Dr. Starline is one of the main antagonists in the IDW Sonic the Hedgehog comics. He is an anthropomorphic platypus and a shadowy scientist who appears to be a fanatic of Dr. Eggman and his Eggman Empire.
Restoring Eggman's Memories
Dr. Starline had built his career studying the tyrannical scientist Dr. Eggman and took it upon himself to ensure the villain's return after he received amnesia. At some point, Dr. Starline hired mercenaries Rough and Tumble to kidnap Eggman, who was now a kindly handyman called "Mr. Tinker", and take him to an unknown facility where Starline intends to restore his lost memories.
After being strapped into an advanced device, Eggman begged his captors to let him go while claiming he is not who they think he is. However, Starline tells him that he is definitely Dr. Eggman but currently believes to be someone he isn't. The handyman protests and says he doesn’t want to be Dr. Eggman, causing Starline to respond by saying that Eggman wouldn't want to remain as "Mr. Tinker" neither as he lowers a visor to his captive's eyes and proceeds to induced him with electric shocks.
Later, after the Resistance defeat Metal Sonic on Angel Island, Dr. Starline finishes the first part of his captive's treatment to help him regain his memories and asks him if he feels more like Dr. Eggman. However, despite his treatments, neither Eggman's memories or old personality resurfaced, much to Starline's confusion.
Rough began to express frustration with Dr. Starline. Reminding the doctor that their deal was to hand over Eggman in exchange of weapons. Starline assured the mercenaries that they will get their weapons once Eggman's mind is fully restored and theorizes that he needs some sort of emotional or mental trigger. At that moment, Metal Sonic appears and Dr. Eggman suddenly regains his forgotten memories, returning him to his old villainous self again. Dr. Starline is delighted and starts informing Eggman of more recent events while helping him repair the damage on Metal Sonic.
Working with Eggman and Meeting Sonic
Starline uses this opportunity to try and join the Eggman Empire's ranks by impressing his mentor with what he knows about the Warp Topaz; a gemstone capable of creating gateways and traveling across space instantaneously. However, Eggman is uninterested, prompting Starline to instead show him a suitcase containing the seven Chaos Emeralds. Dr. Eggman agrees to hire the platypus and tells him that he needs a distraction for Sonic and his allies while he prepares his next plan. Starline replies that he already has something in mind and assists his idol in testing an artificial virus that can convert flesh into metal.
During the tests, Eggman inquiries how Dr. Starline found him living in a peaceful village when his empire had failed to do so. Starline explains the Warp Topaz allows him to peer through "windows" that shows him any location he wishes and demonstrates by creating a window to where Sonic and Tails were fighting Rough and Tumble. After the two doctors watch some of the battle, Starline asks if they can continue testing with the "Metal Virus". However, he was surprised to learn that the tests were already over, as Eggman had achieved the results he wanted and desired to move on regardless of their minuscule data sample on the virus.
Upon Rough and Tumble's defeat, Dr. Starline warped them back to Eggman's base then expressed his desire to face off against the Blue Blur. He traveled with Metal Sonic to another base at Frozen Peak after tipping off his location to Silver the Hedgehog and had Badniks move equipment out of base before Silver showed up with Sonic. Metal Sonic immediately attacks the heroes but they quickly get the upper hand against him before Starline warps the robot out of harms way. The doctor then introduces himself to his enemies and reveals to Sonic that he orchestrated Eggman's kidnapping and helped restore his memories.
Sonic and Silver attempt to reach Starline but even after getting past Metal Sonic the villain uses his Warp Topaz to send the duo to the other side of the mountain and off a cliff. Dr. Starline then opens a portal back to Eggman's hideout and was about to follow Metal through it until Sonic suddenly hits him with a spin attack. Seemingly at Sonic's mercy, Starline tells him that everything in relation to Eggman's plans are inside the base's vault and gives Silver the input code to access it. However, Starline had actually given Silver the self-destruct codes instead and lets Sonic know so he will race after him just as the base explodes.
Dr. Starline excitedly proclaims victory against his foes before being pulled through an opened portal by a furious Eggman who slams him against a containment chamber. The enraged doctor tells Starline that he must be the one to destroy Sonic since vanquishing his lifelong arch-nemesis would mean nothing if he didn’t prove himself superior first. The platypus manages to mutter an apology which causes Eggman to throw him to the floor and reveal via security feed that both hedgehogs survived the base's destruction.
Spreading the Metal Virus
A short time later, Dr. Starline rushed to warn Eggman that Sonic and Amy Rose have gained access to unguarded files about their activities through one of his old bases computers. However, Eggman remained unconcerned and told him enjoyed these "dramatic sudden deadlines" as Rough and Tumble are prepared for their assault on the heroes. Both doctors watch via security feed as the mercenary brothers are fooled into infecting themselves with the Metal Virus before transmuting the virus into Sonic. Impressed with the results, Starline asks Eggman what is the next step in his plan, and is shown a new flying fortress called the Faceship designed to spread the Metal Virus throughout the world.
Dr. Starline inquiries as to how Eggman was able to build new fortress so quickly, to which he responds that it was thanks to his incredible intelligent and a large workforce of Badniks created specifically for building. The pair board the Faceship and Eggman offers Starline a tour of the aircraft, which Starline eagerly accepts. He shown by his mentor that the Faceship is powered the seven Chaos Emeralds that he provided earlier, and is then led to the mixing vats where large amounts of the Metal Virus is manufactured by blending it's various ingredients together. Dr. Starline notices that the ship still doesn’t have enough of the virus to infect the entire world, but learns from Eggman that he only intends to unleash the virus at key locations on the planet and let those infected (know as Zombots) to spread the condition worldwide instead.
Starline watches through tears of joy as Eggman uses his Faceship to dose the citizens of Windmill Village and orders the newly-converted Zombots to infect other towns nearby. But Starline's excitement soon faded as he questions Eggman's decision to invade Flora Forest Village, since it held no strategic value. The doctors continued to monitor the epidemic and soon discovered that Eggman's command over the Zombots had been rapidly declining since they left Windmill Village. When Dr. Eggman decides to deal with this major problem later on, Starline confined in Orbot that his idol was not the efficient conquer he was led to believe. He thought Dr. Eggman's constant failures were because of a powerful adversary like Sonic, but it now seemed Eggman was unable to adapt his plans for the long term due to his impatience, arrogance and carelessness. Orbot tells Starline that Eggman's failures are actually more 50/50 between Sonic and the doctor's own incompetence, but this does not help Starline's concerns.
Alliance with the Deadly Six
Later, Dr. Starline began searching for a way to regain command over the Zombots and discovered a document that recounts Dr. Eggman's failed scheme on the planet Lost Hex. Upon learning of the Deadly Six and their ability to control technology, Starline believed that they could be used to reassert dominance over all the rogue Zombots. The doctor uses his Warp Topaz to meet with Zavok on Lost Hex and offered him to make amends with Dr. Eggman by helping him retake control of the Zombots in exchange to have access to the Eggman Empires resources. Zavok accepts Dr. Starline's proposal with secret intent of betraying him later on.
As the Faceship approaches the last village unaffected by the Metal Virus, Starline and Eggman head to the Zombot infested Barricade Village to test out different radio frequencies in hopes of communicating with the Zombots. Eggman was getting annoyed with how time consuming the tests were and thought he should of broadcast recordings of himself relaying orders from the Faceship. But Starline reminded him that he agreed to using tight-band broadcasts as they were the best next step. Dr. Eggman noticed the passive aggressiveness in Starline's voice and told him if he wanted to keep his position as apprentice, then he needed to show more support in their endeavours. The platypus replied that in hindsight, it would have been better if Eggman had built a failsafe for the Metal Virus growing beyond his control.
The doctors continue to squabble until Sonic suddenly arrives and soon engages Dr. Eggman in battle. Starline had dreamed of seeing their confrontation firsthand, but after his experience working for Eggman, he felt uninterested. He remembered Metal Sonic's post-war attempt at world domination, in which Metal believed that having overwhelming power would assure victory even without a more carefully devised plan. Starline thought the robot failed because it was designed to counter Sonic, but witnessing Sonics fight with Eggman before him, the doctor now believes that failure was because Metal Sonic had already copied Eggman's data and used the same brute-force strategy as its creator. He then concludes that Dr. Eggman simply does not measure up to his own legend.
Upon Eggman's defeat, Dr. Starline manages to save him from Zombots by finally finding the correct frequency to command them. However, Sonic quickly destroys both of scientists hovercrafts before the villains warp back to the Faceship. Starline was unable to memorize the working frequency, and with Eggman not willing to try again with the broadcasts, he decides to briefly visit Zavok again to insure that the Deadly Six are ready to assist them. He already knows the Zeti are planning to betray him, so he uses the Warp Topaz to acquire the Cacophonous Conch from among his Eggman memorabilia in order to keep them in-line.
Dr. Starline appears to have great admiration for Dr. Eggman and his empire. He believed that Eggman's repeated failures for world domination were purely because of his arch-nemesis Sonic the Hedgehog. However, his faith in Eggman was shaken after learning more about the doctors own faults, which made him question his past beliefs. Starline is a well-spoken individual of high intelligence and was dedicated in bringing about the return his idol who had obtained amnesia after his war with the Resistance. Despite this however, Dr. Starline seems to have no trouble in forcing Eggman to remember his past through means of torturous treatment, making him quite sadistic. Starline also prefers to keep things subtle when carrying out his plans and likes to be thorough with his experimentation.
- Dr. Starline was originally designed to be a spiritual successor to previous villainous doctors in Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Namely Dr. Zachary from Fleetway's Sonic the Comic and Dr. Finitevus from Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog.
- His design also takes inspirations from Jareth the Goblin King, Michael Jackson's appearance in the music video to the song Thriller, and a "steampunk Benjamin Franklin".
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