We’re up to part 5 of “Worlds Collide”, Archie’s mega-crossover between Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. As Act 2 begins, Sonic, Tails, Mega Man, Proto Man and Rush journey into the Skull Egg Zone where Doctors Robotnik and Wily await. Along the way, they’re menaced by Copy Robot the Genesis Unit (Buster Rod G, Hyper Storm H and Mega Water S) who are determined to keep the heroes from reaching the Death Egg III.
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Sonic Universe #52 (Archie Comics)
With the obligatory “heroes mistake one another for villains and fight” shtick out of the way, Act 2 looks to really be picking things up. The Skull Egg Zone is a wacky mish-mash of levels from both Sonic and Mega Man’s histories and it’s a blast picking out all the recognizable elements. I especially enjoy the throwback to Mushroom Hill Zone (fused with the mechanical appearance of one of Mega Man’s levels), as that was always my favorite Zone from any Sonic game to play around in (the Sonic franchise kinda peaked at Sonic 3 & Knuckles, didn’t it?).
Artist Tracy Yardley, the man who visually streamlined and revolutionized Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic, fires on all cylinders with this issue and it’s hands down the best-looking installment in “Worlds Collide” thus far. He makes Copy Robot look like such a smug little douche, I love it. His chubby, tan, awkwardly sneering face reminded me of the freakish troll-goblin-weirdo rendering of Mega Man we got on later NES era US box art.
I’ll cop to being more of a Sonic fan than a Mega Man fan, so many of the Mega Man references past the NES era are completely lost on me. I never played The Wily Wars, despite owning a Sega Genesis, so I can’t say I’ve much attachment to the Genesis Unit Robot Masters. That being said, Flynn and Yardley make the battle with them as fun and exciting as possible (though I found Mega Man’s battle with Copy Robot more entertaining). Hyper Storm menaces Tails, Buster Rod gets an earful of snark from Sonic and Mega Water gets in over his head against Proto Man. And when Mega Man starts using a power copied from Tails (during his stint as Tails Man), things start to really get good.
Another character from a Mega Man game that came after my time (Mega Man 8) is Duo, who gets a brief cameo. I think I do see a slight chink in the armor of this crossover, as Flynn expects readers to be equally well-versed in both the lore of Sonic and Mega Man. While I know my ins and outs of Mobius, post-NES era Mega Man confounds me. And on the other end of the spectrum, I imagine folks who haven’t paid mind to Sonic since the Genesis days are befuddled as to who Silver the Hedgehog, Blaze the Cat and Shadow the Hedgehog are.
As “Worlds Collide” takes place within the contemporary timeline of the video games and not the current chronology of the Archie comics, being caught up to speed on the comics isn’t going to do you a lot of good. Is Duo significant? Why is he meditating in outer space? How did Dr. Light even transmit a distress message to him, anyway? I haven’t touched a Mega Man game since Mega Man X (1), so all of that is lost on me.
And yet, who cares? The action moves a mile a minute and Flynn works in funny cross-franchise gags on every page, so even if you don’t “get” every reference or recognize every character, there’s always something to enjoy. I particularly dug the “platforming” montage where Sonic and Mega Man befall the traps from each other’s levels.
- Yardley is an awesome artist
- So. Many. CHARACTERS! Your favorite is bound to show up.
- A minutia fan’s wet dream.
- If you don’t know everything about both franchises, prepare to do some homework after reading.
Is it Good?
The action’s really gearing up and Flynn is going all out with smooshing the universes together. No, I didn’t recognize the Genesis Unit, but that didn’t make their fight any less fun. And for those of you equally obsessed with both franchise, then you’ve nothing to worry about. For the rest of us, there’s Mega Man Knowledge Base and Sonic News Network.