Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog & Mega Man: "Worlds Collide" Parts 1-5

Many months ago, Archie Comics announced that it's two video game-themed licensed characters Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man were going to participate in a whopping 12-part comic book cross-over that was stretch through much of summer 2013. This was pretty big news for video gamers and fans to the two comic books. I paid little attention to it because I don't normally read their books and I rarely play anything but Tetris and Poodle Jumper. In other words, I really had no plans to read any part of this cross-over.

But then around Christmas I noticed that Archie Comics was publishing a new quarterly digest called SONIC SUPER DIGEST and I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about Sonic and his various friends and enemies. I found myself enjoying the stories and I quickly learned enough about the characters to get a basic understanding of what's going on.

After reading the second SONIC SUPER DIGEST, I decided to take a chance and read through the entire Sonic/Mega Man cross-over, "World Collide." I gotta admit, it's has been a trip and a half for this novice fan! I thought I would give my impression of the first half of the cross-over, which includes the following titles (in this order): MEGA MAN #24, SONIC UNIVERSE #51, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #248, MEGA MAN #25, and SONIC UNIVERSE #52.

"World Collide" starts off with an action-packed battle between the two title characters. You start off wondering if you miss something, but quickly switch over to some comical dialogue between the two big-and-nasties from each series, Dr. Eggman (Sonic's nemesis) and Dr. Wily (Mega Man's nemesis). We quickly flash-backwards in time and learn how the two villains met and pledged to re-shape their respective worlds to suit their twisted whims. We readers watch as the two mad doctors create their own pocket dimension (named the Skull Egg Zone) and build a giant headquarters that floats ominously over their robotic minions.

They then use something called a chaos emerald to magically transform their home worlds -- resurrecting several of Mega Man's old enemies and transforming most of Sonic's friends into Roboticized Masters that they control for mischief. The various robots are then split into teams with two different goals. Half of them are sent out to collect more chaos emeralds. And the other half are sent off to distract Sonic and Mega Man and misdirect them into thinking that each other is evil.

This is the thing that most comic book cross-overs are made of: Misguided heroes who fight each other to a stand-still -- filled with funny dialogue and action-packed battle moves -- until eventually figuring out that they're being tricked by the bad guys. It takes a few issues for our heroes to realize that they were being distracted by Dr. Wily and Dr. Eggman. Once they do, they agree to join forces against their perennial foes. Not only that, but they figured out a way for Mega Man to de-roboticize Sonic's friends -- which will come in handy at some point in the future!

Unfortunately, they realize what's up a little bit too late. Dr. Wily and Dr. Eggman have two of their henchmen kidnap Mega Man's father after the scientist figured out how to open a portal to their villains' pocket dimension. Of course, this just give Mega Man even more reason to take the fight directly to Dr. Wily and Dr. Eggman. Mega Man and Sonic (joined by their friends Tails, Proto Man, and Rush) hop into the Skull Egg Zone. One battle later and the quintet discover Dr. Eggman's and Dr. Wily's floating headquarters. Unfortunately, they quickly discovered themselves outnumbered by all of Sonic's roboticized friends!

And that's where chapter five of twelve ends. Uff da!

I have been pleasantly surprised how easy this story has been for me to follow given bottom-barrel understanding of both Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man. It took me a while to figure out what was happening with the chaos emeralds, but that confusion quickly subsided.

"Worlds Collide" has been an enjoyable series to read. The dialogue is fun and crisp. The artwork is beautiful. And each issue races into the next with some new exciting twist.

I strongly encourage you to pick up the issues listed above and then follow along for the rest of the storyline. Hear are the rest of the books featuring the "Worlds Collide" cross-over (in order): SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #249, MEGA MAN #26, SONIC UNIVERSE #53, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #250, MEGA MAN #27, SONIC UNIVERSE #54, and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #251.

Updated to Add: For more reviews of this cross-over, check out the following editions of the Riverdale Podast. Jonathan did reviews of parts 1, 3, and 5 (here, here, and here). I'm always amazed by the amount of time, resources, and heart that he puts into his show week after week. Check it out!

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