“Worlds Collide”, Archie’s epic-length crossover between Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Capcom’s Mega Man comes to a conclusion. Sadly, solicitation summaries and cover previews released by Archie basically spoiled exactly how this storyline was going to end MONTHS ago, so I can’t say there were any surprises to be had in this concluding chapter. But even if I’d somehow managed to dodge all the hype material Archie’s been flooding the comic news sites with since April, c’mon… we all knew this thing was gonna end with Sonic and Mega Man going Super and trashing the doomsday device. It’s just a given.
Sonic the Hedgehog #251 (Archie Comics)
In this, the 12th chapter of “Worlds Collide”, Sonic and Mega Man face off against the Egg-Wily Machine-X as Doctors Robotnik and Wily use the Super Genesis Wave to completely rewrite both their universes. Super Sonic and Super Mega Man attempt to use Chaos Control to keep their universes from being reshaped in the images of their arch foes, but things don’t work out so well. At least for one of them, anyway.
As I’ve gone on at length in the last bunch of “Worlds Collide” reviews, Ian Flynn’s story hasn’t been especially innovative. It’s been a lot of fun watching these two characters interact, but so far its hit every crossover cliche along the way. This final chapter is no exception.
And yet, thanks in large part to the superb artwork of Ben Bates… It just doesn’t seem so annoying, anymore. “Worlds Collide” really dragged during its middle act, and while I can’t say the third act sprang any surprises on us, it has definitely felt like a surge in the right direction. Lots of action, lots of fun and who cares anymore that the whole thing has been predictable every step of the way? Super Mega Man just loaded Super Sonic into his Mega Buster and fired him at Doctor Robotnik and Doctor Wily to save the day. I got everything I needed from this arc.
But there was another agenda behind “Worlds Collide” beyond just seeing two blue video game protagonists team up, and it’s the bitter fruit of a long legal battle between Archie and one of their former Sonic scribes, Ken Penders. Essentially, a recent lawsuit ended in favor of Penders, granting him ownership of all original characters and concepts he created during his multi-year run on Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna. Before “Worlds Collide”, Archie attempted a crude form of clean-up to remove all Penders characters during their tedious, disjointed “Endangered Species” arc, but apparently those efforts just weren’t enough. While Mega Man’s universe is restored at the end of “Worlds Collide” to be precisely the same as where we left it before the “Worlds Collide” crossover began, Sonic’s universe is left in a more precarious position.
Archie’s already released solicit summaries and cover art for the next Sonic the Hedgehog issues and it looks like we’ll be entering reboot territory. The conclusion of “Worlds Collide” sets up the new situation well-enough, but it nevertheless reeked of “editorial/legal mandate” and was the only part of the arc to rub off as insincere.
Still, if you’ve been ignorant of all the Ken Penders/Archie drama, you may read the end of “Worlds Collide” completely differently than I did. And if so, then that’s a good thing.
- Wily telling Robotnik to take defeat with a grace and dignity. Now THAT’S a laugh.
- The predictable doublecross between Robotnik and Wily wasn’t the eye-rolling scheme-foil I thought it would be.
- Dat Ben Bates art.
- The arrival of the MM1 Robot Masters was neat, but they came too late in the game to feel like a big deal.
- Fuckin’ Ken Penders, man…
Is it Good?
So, looking over this entire 12-part epic, how does “Worlds Collide” hold together? Well, rereading my reviews of the first act, the joy of seeing Sonic and Mega Man together was enough to make me overlook the Crossover 101 cliches. The afterglow began to wear off during the second act and like I said before, the story really starts to drag around there. But then the third act picks up steam at a breakneck pace and where the script lacks, Ben Bates’s artwork picks up the slack and then some. In the end, “Worlds Collide” didn’t break new ground in the storytelling department, but it gave us everything it promised. It was a lot of fun and I hope Archie does it again, some day. Just, you know. Maybe go for a little less than 12 issues and 3 months, next time.