In the Green Hill Zone, Sonic is supreme. His mastery of the bounce springs and the loop-de-loops is without question, and he even poured on a blast of supersonic speed to get close enough to Mega Man to disable his Mega Buster by removing one of the key circuits. Thankfully, not everyone was sitting idly by while trouble was going on. With the information that Proto Man took from the scene of the bank robbery heist, Dr. Light was able to tap into his knowledge of quantum mechanics and create a warp ring... which Mega Man promptly uses to lure Sonic out of his comfort zone and into a world of concrete, towering buildings, and no loop-de-loops. And since they're back in Mega City, he calls in his reinforcements.
With Tango, Rush, Eddie, and Beat on support duty, the tables quickly get turned on Sonic. The Blue Blur finds that a little green cat perfectly duplicates his destructive spin dash, which gives Mega Man time to down an E Tank from Eddie and recover after the whuppin' he took earlier. From there, it's nearly a turkey shoot. While Mega Man isn't able to land a direct hit with his Mega Buster (just as well, because I don't want to see what plasma... err, sorry, solar bullets... do to living creatures), he is able to distract Sonic enough that Tango can land in a few good hits.
And what makes it worse for Sonic is that with Rush and Beat around, Mega Man has him beat out on mobility. This leads to one of the best lines in this issue, when after being knocked off of Beat while in midair, Mega recovers by dropping onto the Rush Jet and flying clear. To quote Sonic, "The dog flies. Of course the dog flies."
Thankfully, Mega Man is more of a heroic Paladin archetype than the roguish Sonic, which means that he'll interject some much needed dialogue into the fight. And that's when the magic starts happening. After all, when people start talking, they stop shooting...
Hitting the panic button, our evil doctors tell Tails Man to stop recording the fight and dive in with guns blazing to take out the two blue bash brothers before they begin to bromance and beat down the bad guys. The natural "protect and serve" tendencies of both heroes kick in, and we get a nice little treat of Mega Man and Sonic saving people from cars blown all over by the high-intensity Storm Tornadoes of Tails Man. And in so doing, Sonic and Mega Man realize something about each other: They're both heroes.
With the innocents secured, they focus their attention on Tails Man. Sonic lays down a distracting whack to the head while Mega Man builds up a supershot, and then whammo, the paralyzing blast does what it has to... giving Sonic enough time to land a jump attack on the poor guy's head. The combination of supershot and superspin seems to destabilize the Roboticized Master greatly, and Tails Man is left sparking helplessly on the ground. With plenty of questions, Mega Man opts to try and Weapons Copy Tails Man' wind powers for some answers...
And suddenly, we discover that Mega Man really does have all the answers in him. In attempting to "Weapon Get" the powers of Tails Man, he instead pulls out all the combined Robotnik-Wily robotic programming. He doesn't get a power from it (so far as we know), but Tails is once again furry, free-willed, and hyper-intelligent. In other words, the deck got reshuffled, and the good guys are dealing.
Sonic's naturally super-relieved that he has his little buddy back in action, and we get some much needed explanations. Tails reveals that it was a big black guy named Bass who kidnapped him along with Metal Sonic, allowing Sonic and Mega Man to deduce exactly what the evil doctors were afraid they'd figure out, and they get their priorities straight. Only one thing left to do now: Go on back home and see what Dr. Light can do to help them out with the ultimate roundup.
Hmm, teleporting is safe for humans after Mega Man 10? Interesting. Teleportation in the Mega Man universe is always something of a puzzler. Some people in the fan community (including me) consider teleportation to be a technology that's unsafe for humans until some unspecified period of time well after the original Blue Bomber's stopped running around. Yet we see Wily use it routinely in the games, either by his own choice or by the actions of his underlings, and even Kalinka is supposedly teleported in Mega Man 4 by Proto Man.
There's plenty of arguments one way or the other on this contentious point, but let's leave that all aside and focus on the reality of the comic book, where there's plenty of room for re-interpretation. The Archie team indicates that Dr. Light solves the worrisome quantum problems that go along with warping a person from point to point and leaving their synaptic patterns intact sometime "years before", which means they plan to mention it again sometime down the pipe, perhaps even make a story arc about it. Bottom line is, in the "Worlds Collide" altered setting, it works. Although it does make Sonic a little sick to his stomach, which I find humorous, because this is a fella who routinely goes faster than 1,236 kilometers per hour (give or take, depending on temperature and humidity conditions).
Heading inside, Sonic, Tails, and Mega Man find themselves in an active warzone. They arrive too late to be of any help, and Bass and Metal Sonic escape through another Warp Ring... taking an unconscious Dr. Light in tow with them. We get another long explanation and group introduction, which is thankfully montaged, and then Tails gets to work using the facilities of Light Labs to trace where they escaped to. Most of the groundwork is laid for him, thanks to Light's successful Warp Ring generation earlier.
Tails opens up the portal, and then it's time to elect the strike force. They decide that Mega Man, Proto Man, Sonic, and Tails are going through... with Rush tagging along for mobility and moral support, while Roll and the others stick around at Light Labs to make sure they have a way home afterwards. At long last, four issues in, the good guys are ready to take the fight to the bad guys.
With eight issues left to go in the "Worlds Collide" arc, imagine how big of a fight they're in for.
It's important to try and distinguish our two blue heroes from one another. The teams at Sonic Division and Mega Man Division do that quite well. Sonic just kept pouring on the hurt when they were in the Green Hill Zone. Sure, he'd goad and taunt Mega Man every so often, but by and large, he's not much for talking. When they found themselves in Mega City and our Blue Bomber had the advantage, however, Sonic only got whacked around twice. And both times, it was Tango the buzzsaw kitty who did the pounding. Mega Man mainly played distraction, and after unsettling Sonic, he was the one who opened up dialogue. In so doing, Mega Man proved himself the superior hero of this little crossover epic.
Yes, you may now proceed to flame me in the comments, it's your right. But take a look at the evidence. Did Mega Man land a single Buster shot from his "lemon shooter" (as Sonic called it) on the Blue Blur? No; he pounded the terrain around Sonic quite a lot, but he somehow always refrained from landing a direct hit.
When he had the opportunity, it was Mega Man who lowered his weapon first. It was Mega Man who started talking... not taunting, talking... and got them to realize they were being played. These are the qualities of a Paladin, a knight who lives by a code of ethics and stands by them.
Sonic is an opportunist, a street brawler of the highest order. When you're fighting a hopeless conflict against an empire with a robotic army and a human "Overlander" overlord, those kinds of guerilla tactics are quite handy. But in a one-on-one fight, it's Sonic who comes out looking like the heel.
I like to think the mark of a real warrior is not being able to fire for maximum effect and devastation: It's knowing when not to shoot. Mega Man has that in spades. Later on, while they're confabbing with Tails in downtown Mega City, he even has a crisis of conscience. He was fighting a living creature. Sure, Sonic may not be human, but he's still a biological organism who thinks and feels and has all those squishy parts. As he says, he "tried to shoot Sonic." He didn't succeed, but imagine if Mega Man had the same level of killing intent that Sonic did.
To Sonic, Mega Man was just another robot; something to be pounded, scrapped, and then torn open so the tiny animal inside could escape. Mega Man hesitated from relying on the full power of his rage mode, and we know he's capable of it. He did it in the first Robot Rebellion. He did it in the second under the duress caused by Wily's eight-part malware protocols. If he'd pulled that out when he was fighting Sonic, we might have been one Blue Blur short for the rest of this story. Thankfully, the writers at Archie know better.
By playing Mega Man straight, with his ethics and morals intact, they ensured that Team Hero would be at full strength. Sonic does what Sonic does, and you can always rely on him to be full of vinegar when it's time to fight. But Mega Man is the true conscience of this temporary fighting force, and moreover, the powerhouse. It's Mega Man that has the capability to free the Roboticized Masters from their enslavement. It's Mega Man who can paralyze the bad guys enough for Sonic to land truly damaging blows. It's Mega Man who knows when to shoot to kill... and when to hold back.
Could Sonic have beaten him? Perhaps. Mega Man was never really fighting with everything he had. But what would that have proven, that Pyrrhic victory? It's dangerous territory, when good guys start fighting one another. Their powers and abilities always pale to the conflict between their minds and their hearts.
I'm happy to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that things are, while still messed up, on their way back towards a more even keel. From now on, they'll be fighting alongside one another, trying to put things back to rights. It won't be easy, but it's always good when you know who the real villains are. I guarantee that it will be Mega Man who proves himself to be the bigger man by the end of this crossover. Perhaps Sonic will learn something; it's just too bad that they'll forget everything after they hit the cosmic reset and put up the wall between their universes again. Sonic could do with a little more Paladin-styled Mega Man in him. We all could.
For the Blue Ink.
When he isn’t writing “The Blue Ink” reviews for The Mega Man Network, Erico (The Super Bard) spends his days keeping track of the “Legacy of Metal” fanon, dabbling in cooking and tea-brewing, and exploring the human condition from his Iowa stomping grounds.
The views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mega Man Network.