First off, this is part 9 of the “Worlds Collide” crossover story arc between Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Capcom’s Mega Man. More importantly, though, this is the 250th issue of Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, making it the longest running comic book based on a video game (in America, at least; I dunno about the rest of the world).
Sonic the Hedgehog #250 (Archie Comics)
As we begin the third and final act of “Worlds Collide”, Mega Man teams up with all of Sonic’s supporting cast to take on every single Robot Master ever (except the MM1 guys). It’s massive. Meanwhile, Dr. Light tries to convince Doctors Robotnik and Wily that rewriting time and space isn’t perhaps such a good idea. Dr. Robotnik considers his side of the argument, then promptly chucks him out of the Wily Egg to a splattering fate.
As Act II of “Worlds Collide” was winding down, I was beginning to lose interest in the arc. It felt bloated and telegraphed and the seams were starting to show. If it was going to win be back, Act III was going to have to do something pretty impressive.
While I can’t say this installment really upped the ante in the storytelling department (it’s just a really big fight, honestly), I can say it looked HUGE. Artist Ben Bates was doing some great work over on IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, but got called away after only four issues to do something important for Archie. Naturally, I figured it had to do with the “Worlds Collide” arc and I’ve been waiting patiently for Act III to see if losing him on TMNT was worth it.
Bates blows this issue out of the water, making a war between Sonic’s cast and the entire roster of Robot Masters as humongous and spectacular as possible. Plenty of ambitious two-page spreads and montages pepper the milestone issue, all nuanced with a great sense of action and personality. Yes, yes, it’s one big long fight scene and that’s not exactly “deep” storytelling, but Bates makes it all look so good, I don’t care.
The more story driven half of the issue takes place inside the Wily Egg, as Wily and Robotnik consider getting rid of Dr. Light once and for all. There’s a good mixture of humor and menace in these scenes, with Light trying to act as a voice of reason and, unsurprisingly, failing to be heard. As silly as the two villains have been acting throughout this arc, the issue does end with Robotnik displaying some true cruelty and I think author Ian Flynn strikes a good balance between “funny” and “evil” when it comes to the bad guys.
Like the previous installments, this one is loaded with cross-company in-jokes, mostly displayed in the pairings between Sonic’s cast and the Robot Masters. it’s a lot of amusing stuff and I think these sorts of gags have been Flynn’s strongest point during the arc.
- Ben Bates is stellar on the arc.
- Lots of mayhem and carnage.
- Robotnik acting truly evil.
- Still not much in terms of story.
- Rouge the Bat.
Is It Good?
Act III certainly starts off with a bang. My interest was waning toward the end of Act II, but they managed to hook me back on again with pure spectacle. While I still hope that this crossover throws some curveballs in the end, as it’s still a lot of predictable cliches, I think artist Ben Bates really upped the game.