Sonic and Mega Man's crossover adventures in Archie's "Worlds Collide" is at an end. Because the story wove through the Mega Man, Sonic Universe, and Sonic the Hedgehog comics, we were blessed with three chapters per month instead of the typical one. The downside is that the 12-part miniseries blew through in no time at all. At least we had fun!
Mega Man #27, Sonic Universe #54, and Sonic the Hedgehog #251 conclude the harrowing tale that begin way back in April. Sonic and Mega Man storm the Wily Egg battle station, tear through the last of Eggman and Wily's defenses, then square off against the devious doctors in one final, space-time-bending showdown with the fate of two universes in the balance. Unfortunately, the outcome isn't rosy for all parties involved.
Part Ten resolves the rather cold-blooded cliffhanger from Part Nine -- realizing that Dr. Light had been leaking information on the Wily Egg's weaknesses and defenses, Eggman decided to toss him out the airlock. With everyone on the surface seemingly unable to rescue him in time, Light resigns himself to his impeding death. Shadow the Hedgehog thankfully pulls off a last-second rescue using the power of Chaos Control teleportation.
Not one to let a near-fatal experience slow him down, Light quickly scrounges up some spare parts lying in the wreckage and fashions a makeshift buster cannon to use against the time-cloned Robot Master army. Very resourceful! It's about time Santa in a lab coat got his hands dirty and dove into the thick of battle personally!
All this was done without Wily's consent, and he's absolutely livid that Eggman tried to murder his longstanding rival. Despite his megalomaniacal ambitions, Wily still respects Light due to their academic and professional history. You could consider their relationship like that of Professor Xavier and Magneto: both possess similar dreams for the future, although their methods lie on opposite extremes. It's clear that there are lines that even Wily refuses to cross.
Eggman has no such moral boundaries, thus his action drives the final wedge between the two doctors' straining partnership. The honeymoon is officially over. No more tandem bicycle rides.
Meanwhile, Sonic and Mega have infiltrated the Wily Egg and soundly stomped the Mega Man Killers -- Enker, Punk, and Ballade from the Mega Man Game Boy games. Their progress is momentarily halted by the Chaos Devil, but they are saved by the timely arrival of Duo, who chooses to face this threat alone and allow our blue heroes to push ahead.
Metal Sonic and Bass finally take to the stage in Part Eleven, providing the toughest challenge our heroes have faced yet. Though Sonic and Mega initially try to fight their respective doppelgängers, they decide to switch partners in the hopes that their foes would be ill equipped to handle the change. It doesn't work as planned.
The solution is to double-team Metal and Bass individually. Mega taps into his acquired Roboticized Master weapons for one last time as Sonic focuses his speed for precision strikes. They are victorious, but no sooner do they bump fists than the doctors' final creation, the Egg-Wily Machine X, barrels through the wall and effortlessly claims victory.
So begins Part Twelve, the final chapter.
With Sonic and Mega incapacitated and their comrades all locked in combat, there are no obstacles to prevent Eggman and Wily from triggering the Genesis Wave a second time, now powered by all seven Chaos Emeralds. If successful, they can completely rewrite history and ascend to godhood -- if they don't backstab one another first.
The scales tip in our heroes' favor when the original eight Light Robot Masters -- Time Man and Oil Man included -- finally join the fray. As they put the pressure on the time-cloned army, Light, Proto Man, and Knuckles head up to the Wily Egg to free Sonic and Mega and to offer additional support. Eggman and Wily draw more power from the Emeralds to supercharge the Egg-Wily Machine X, nearly ensuring their victory.
Then Super Sonic and Super Mega Man save the multiverse.
I cannot adequately express my sadness upon reaching that final page. I said it before, but "Worlds Collide" was a dream come true, a meeting of my two favorite childhood videogame heroes. And even though it's over, I know I'll be going back to re-read it many times, most likely once the graphic novel compilations release.
The final chapters kept the pressure on without a moment of respite. From the Robot Master grand battle to the storming of the Wily Egg, every page was filled with enough action to make a grown man weep. Besides that, there were so many clever little details, like Rouge the Bat excitedly trying to yank the giant diamond off Jewel Man's head, or the Chao Met hybrids hanging about the Egg-Wily Machine X construction chamber.
There were some elements that soured me, however. Duo had been hyped early on the series, but he ends up as little more than a diversion. We barely got to see his fight against the Chaos Devil! Similarly, the Light bots arrived so late in the story that it felt like the only reason they appeared was to satisfy a cameo quota.
Something I expressed apprehension towards during Act Two was how Sonic's role was greatly diminished while Mega Man became a walking powerhouse who grew in strength and ability. After the introduction of Mega's "Sonic Shot," Sonic didn't seem to serve much of a purpose anymore.
Thankfully, Sonic was given plenty of opportunities to shine in the final act. His domination against the time-cloned Masters proved that he was still a force to be reckoned with. Mega may have been the resourceful strategist who weighed his options and acted accordingly, but Sonic was the speedy loose cannon whose unpredictability was his greatest asset. I'm glad the comic was eventually able to find that balance.
The biggest point of contention will likely be the final issue's "non-ending," which doesn't provide the clean, bittersweet farewell that some readers may have expected. Without spoiling the details, the actions taken in those last pages will have serious repercussions in at least one of the main comic series.
"Worlds Collide" was written not only to appeal to longtime Archie readers but also to attract videogame fans who may never have given the comics a chance. To that end, none of the comic-exclusive characters or events were mentioned outside of offhand references. This helped newcomers follow the story without having to brush up on extensive comic lore.
The goal, I gather, was to turn those newcomers into full-time readers. If you want to see what effect Eggman and Wily's time-space manipulation has on their respective universes, you'll have to keep following the comics. I can understand how it would be more appealing to new readers that the crossover was entirely self-contained, but I admire the efforts to make the events of "Worlds Collide" work within the established canon.
No matter what you feel about the resolution, you've got to admit that the journey was pretty wild. Act Two's radical change in art style was a little too much for me, and I was disappointed by how several characters got shafted, but overall, this was one of the best comic series I've ever read, purely speaking from a fanboy perspective. I don't know if I would want to see another major Sonic-Mega Man event for fear that it might dilute the impact of the original, but I wouldn't be against a one-shot comic or two, something with a more jovial and relaxed atmosphere.
The first four issues of "Worlds Collide" will be compiled into a graphic novel this November, and the remaining issues will receive their own collections next year. I cry for you if you were waiting until those released to get your fix. But if that's what it takes to enjoy the greatest of videogame crossovers, so be it! More people need to read this!
You did good, Archie. You did really good.