We’re up to part 3 of “Worlds Collide”, Archie’s big crossover arc between Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. With this third installment, we finally get what everyone’s been waiting for: The showdown between the two blue protagonists. While some might be mildly irked that “Worlds Collide” didn’t lead off with the battle between Sonic and Mega Man, I appreciate that author Ian Flynn took his time getting us here, as the setup just made the payoff all the more worthwhile.
Sonic the Hedgehog #248 (Archie Comics)
In case you’re just tuning in, Dr. Robotnik and Dr. Wily have spent the past two issues joining forces, rewriting time and space and using their own troops (Metal Sonic and Copybot) to trick their arch enemies into fighting one another. With this being a Sonic title and all, the fight takes a Hedgehog bias as the battle rages across the Green Hill Zone of Sonic’s world (I don’t think Sega allows us to call it “Mobius” anymore) and Sonic decidedly takes the upper hand in the brawl. Of course, the issue ends with Sonic making an express trip to Mega City in Mega Man’s world, and with the next chapter being published in the Mega Man title, we can expect to see Sonic take his lumps there.
This issue is mostly fighting, but once again, since the last two issues were setup, setup, setup, I am officially A-OK with this being an all-fights issue. Flynn still manages to advance the plot in increments, as Wily and Robotnik seize another of the Chaos Emeralds for their nefarious plot and Dr. Light starts to unravel just what the Genesis Wave has done to time and space, but the lion’s share of part 3 is devoted to the action.
In that regard, Jamal Peppers comes out on top with what he has to work with. As iconic as Green Hill Zone is, it is a very, very, VERY bland location. Sonic utilizes the terrain to his advantage on a few occasions (utilizing loops and springs for extra propulsion and a crumbling platform to knock Mega Man off guard), but the end result is still just a lot of grass and little else. Part 4 will hopefully offer a bit more in terms of setting, with the action being moved to the densely populated Mega City.
Now, environment aside, Peppers does great work with the characters. Not just the action stuff, but things like body language and facial expressions (the “acting”, so to speak). Sonic is a smug, intolerable little bastard and over the course of the fight, Mega Man slowly drops his goody two shoes demeanor and starts to lose his saintly patience. While I’m used to Sonic being an incorrigible dick, as that’s sort of his shtick, I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to seeing him take his medicine in the next installment.
With this issue, we also start to get a feel for just how the Genesis Wave has left both worlds. From the looks of it, we’re at the contemporary setting of the video game franchises. Sonic’s only supporting cast members are those from the Sega games (so no Freedom Fighters like Sally or Rotor) and Bass is a seasoned enforcer of Wily’s (even though the comics haven’t even made it to Mega Man 3 in terms of their game adaptations, yet). “Worlds Collide” is trying to draw in a wider audience for both titles, so limiting the arc to just the characters game fans are familiar with isn’t such a bad idea.
Of course, for those of us who haven’t been keeping up with the games, we’re kind of at a disadvantage. I haven’t played a Mega Man game since Mega Man X (1) on the Super Nintendo. I do not know who that green robot cat is. On the Sonic side of things, the only reason I know who guys like Silver the Hedgehog are is because of their use in the Sonic comic. I haven’t played Sonic ’06 (and apparently I’m better off that way).
- Fight! Fight! Fight!
- Lots of Mega Man characters you won’t be seeing in the book’s main storyline for a long time.
- Green Hill Zone is a boring setting for a fight.
- Less Sonic characters and a diluted version of his universe may prove disappointing.
From a storytelling standpoint, I think this take works more in the favor of the Mega Man readers than it does the Sonic readers. The Mega Man readers are getting to see characters like Bass who aren’t going to be showing up in sizable roles in the comic for a while (again, it’s only made it past Mega Man 2 in terms of game chronology). Sonic fans, on the other hand, are losing a lot of characters and setting depth, as quite frankly, the Sega Sonic universe is scarcely a fraction as rich as the Archie Sonic universe.
Is It Good?
In the end, I suppose none of that really matters. Flynn isn’t hiding that everything will return to normal by the end of this arc (as all plotlines were put on hold practically in mid-sentence when “Worlds Collide” began), so we’re not really going to lose anything in the long run. Let’s just enjoy it for the crossover fun.