Part 10 of “Worlds Collide”, Archie’s epic crossover between Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Capcom’s Mega Man. The storyline is reaching its endgame, and while I can’t say it’s shocking me with any surprise twists, I will say that “Worlds Collide” Act III has significantly ramped up the tension.
Mega Man #27 (Archie Comics)
As this installment begins, Shadow the Hedgehog narrowly rescues Dr. Light from a freefall while Sonic and Mega Man invade the Wily-Egg for the final showdown. Tails is injured in the battle and is sent back to his friends alongside Rush (who are all fighting an army of Robot Masters on the ground). Meanwhile, Roll sends the space cop Duo through the portal to the Skull Egg Zone to help Sonic and Mega Man defeat Robotnik and Wily.
For an arc with so little, well, PLOT… there’s a surprising amount of stuff to follow in this installment. In regards to everything I mentioned in the above paragraph, Sonic and Mega Man contend with the trio of Mega Man Killers, Duo takes on the Chaos Devil (the fusion of the Yellow Devil and Chaos), Bass and Metal Sonic are unleashed, and Robotnik and Wily finally have their falling out. It’s impressive how much stuff Ian Flynn and Ben Bates managed to fit into just 22 pages.
And yet, it all reads at a fluid pace. Dr. Light’s freefall from the Wily Egg is decompressed and very suspenseful, as neither Mega Man nor Sonic can make it to him in time. I mean, it’s only 3 pages, but its laid out really well. Then there’s all the banter between Sonic and Mega Man as they work their way through the traps of the Wily Egg, arguing over whether the base shares a closer likeness to one of Wily’s castles or one of Robotnik’s Death Eggs. It’s great fun to read and adds levity to one of the tenser chapters in the storyline.
The way Bates laid out the pages is really cool, too. It reminds me of the old Leonardo microseries from Mirage (of Ninja Turtles fame). There’s a “picture in picture” style, as the action involving Sonic and Mega Man takes up the top 3/4 of the page, while a panel at the bottom follows Duo as he draws nearer and nearer to the frontlines. Eventually, Duo breaks through his bottom panel and enters the above action in a great, triumphant moment. It works so well, it doesn’t make a difference to me whatsoever that I’ve no clue who the hell Duo is.
But the usual critique still applies: “Worlds Collide” is playing its crossover by the numbers. Robotnik and Wily are both about to doublecross one another, the oldest crossover cliche behind “heroes fight when they first meet by accident” (a cliche this arc is also guilty of) and I really wish Flynn had resisted going there. I’m sure you can play out in your head just how the rest of this arc is going to go.
- Bates’s artwork is just so good.
- Wily confronting Robotnik about trying to kill Dr. Light was a great scene.
- Though I wish Bates wouldn’t draw Sonic’s and Tails’s faces when they’re in spin-ball mode. It’s weird.
- Great as the aforementioned Wily/Robotnik scene was, the “villains turn on each other” shtick is an ancient cliche.
Is It Good?
The first Act of “Worlds Collide” had me hyped, the second Act dulled my enthusiasm, but Act III is really gearing things up. It’s still paint by numbers, but the suspense is rising and the infusion of Bates’s excellent artwork has really made a difference. Though man, they keep referencing all these Sonic and Mega Man games I’ve never played…