When Archie Comics acquired the license to Capcom’s Mega Man franchise, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before we’d get a crossover with Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog (whom Archie has been producing comics about for the past 20 years). And Archie didn’t waste any time, either! It seems like it’s been the better part of a year since Archie announced their big 12-part “World’s Collide” arc, but all that waiting has finally paid off. But is it any good?
Mega Man #24: Worlds Collide (Archie Comics)
To set the stage, I’ve been reading both the Sonic and Mega Man titles and they’re both very good.
Archie’s Mega Man, as I’ve read, has been struggling in sales and such a reality vexes me up and down. The book adapts the video games in chronological order with new stories in between to break up the monotony. Writer Ian Flynn has been tackling many of the moral and philosophical aspects of the Mega Man universe while also delivering action, comedy and just a damn good All Ages comic book. More people really ought to be reading it.
Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic has had a rocky history in terms of quality, but ever since Ian Flynn (there’s that name again) took over a few years back, the book’s been a very solid read. True, the arc preceding “World’s Collide”, the 4-part “Endangered Species”, was a catastrophic mess, but I can’t blame Flynn for that. It was the inescapable product of a lawsuit filed by ex-Sonic author Ken Penders; a situation far too complicated and moronic to bother going on about in detail. Bottom line, though, is that it’s also a good All Ages book which happens to be based on a video game.
This first part of “World’s Collide” (written by Flynn and penciled by Jamal Peppers) spins more out of the events of the Sonic title than the Mega Man title (strange, since this is an issue of Mega Man), as it follows Dr. Robotnik’s scheme to reignite the Genesis wave: A reality-altering energy that he used in an arc from a year or two ago. Also, you can call him “Dr. Eggman” if you like, but I’m not gonna.
“Part One: Kindred Spirits” is less about Sonic and Mega Man (who only make token appearances in the first few pages) and instead focuses on the relationship between Dr. Robotnik and Dr. Wily. This is done through an extended flashback that explains how they met and how they merged their parallel realities for mutual gain.
And it’s a freakin’ riot.
Watching Robotnik and Wily hook arms and dance in a circle, pour each other champagne, gossip about annoying blue midgets foiling their schemes and trading shop talk is just… perfect. Being the author of both Archie’s Sonic and Mega Man titles, Flynn naturally has a firm handle on both villains and his intuitiveness with the voices of each character really shows. While the old cliche’ of “heroes meet and fight before teaming up” is present in this first chapter (and ribbed in the editorial cartoon), Flynn glosses over it to instead focus on the two characters who get along swimmingly at first sight (and are the evildoers, no less).
What’s best is that, at least thus far, he avoids hackneyed moments of ego clashing between the mad scientists. None of that “The world will be mine!” “You mean OURS.” “Yes… of course” bullshit you see recycled over and over again in villain team-ups. When a point of contention comes between Robotnik and Wily, they either settle it with rock-paper-scissors or compromise down the middle. I’ve no idea how or if the villains will have a falling out later in the arc, but for now, Flynn’s avoiding resorting to such worn out cliches.
As for the story, while it’s all set up in flashback, that’s a necessary evil. People who don’t read Sonic the Hedgehog need to be caught up to speed and people who don’t read Mega Man need to be caught up to speed. Essentially, the two Doctors meet, form a new Zone called the Skull Egg Zone to build the Death Egg III and roboticize Sonic’s various friends with Wily’s Robot Master tech to turn them into the Roboticized Masters. It’s all a lot of “getting there, getting there…” but, again, Flynn does his level best to jazz up this unfortunate necessity with some fun interactions between the two villains.
- Hilarious interactions between Robotnik and Wily.
- Clever blending of the universes overall.
- Not as much of a “jumping on point” as some might hope.
- Set up, set up, set up.
Peppers seems to be finding his comfort zone when it comes to the Sonic characters and I imagine once we get to the parts published in the Sonic books, we’ll be seeing those artists getting their bearings in regards to the Mega Man characters. Despite a little bit of fugliness, no one is catastrophically off-model and Peppers throws in some great little touches here and there (like Robotnik gleefully twiddling his fingers “good bye” as Tails is roboticized). It’s a pretty good-looking book.
Is It Good?
Yes, even though in the end, this first part of “Worlds Collide” is the required set-up so that we can get to the good stuff later. Still, Flynn makes this as amusing as possible and you’re certainly left wanting more. I’d say pick it up, as this story arc looks to be a solid investment.
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