Worlds Unite Weekly Reviews, Part 1: Sonic Universe #76

by Mighty No. X

Welcome to "Worlds Unite Weekly": I am Mighty No. X, and this is your source for reviews of the latest chapter of Worlds Unite every Friday until the event concludes.

I wrote the first installment of this column a few weeks ago, about the Free Comic Book Day book, but I didn’t formally introduce the column so I thought it would be a good idea to do so now. For the most part, the structure of my reviews will be like "The Blue Ink": I’ll give a summary of the issue’s events, followed by my opinion. I’m also a big fan of looking for Easter eggs in comics, and will include any that I find at the end of each article.

The issue and crossover begin with what many people may be most excited to see: X, Zero, and Axl in the heat of battle. Although the Sonic and Mega Man segments follow immediately after their most recent comic book issues, the X we see here falls from much later in the timeline than his Dawn of X appearance, fighting in a new conflict with Sigma sometime after Mega Man X7. Sigma and Vile (who has apparently been resurrected once again) have long since become the deranged villains we know and love, and X has become the leader of the Maverick Hunters.

Although X manages to break into the center of Sigma’s fortress, Sigma himself quickly escapes into the Sonic universe, leaving behind a bewildered X. As it turns out, Sigma has learned how to wield the Genesis Portals, which were introduced in the Free Comic Book Day Worlds Unite preview.

Almost every Sonic game is considered to have already taken place in the Archie canon except for Sonic Lost World (with Sonic Unleashed currently ongoing), and now we see why this one game was the exception: Its events are just taking place now, as told through a set of journal entries by Dr. Eggman. In the games, Eggman invaded the alien planet of Lost Hex and used a mystical conch to enslave the sextet of monsters known as the Deadly Six (also known as “the Zeti”), who naturally had the power to control machines.

During the game, Sonic destroyed the conch and allowed the monsters to escape Eggman’s control. Here, things play out a little differently as the conch is destroyed by Eggman’s robot comic relief, Orbot. As it turns out, he has been infected by the Sigma virus and serves as the vessel through which Sigma entered this world.

Controlling Orbot, Sigma directs Eggman to build him a new vessel. It’s a bit surprising that Sigma would allow a human to do this for him, but his faith doesn’t seem misplaced: Eggman successfully crafts him an impressive new body, dubbed “Sigma-1.” When Eggman tries to stall by claiming exhaustion, Sigma gives him a partner to aid him in his work: Dr. Wily, fresh from the portal into which he was dragged at the end of Mega Man #49. With that, Sigma takes control and imprisons the two of them in an Egg Capsule overnight.

It’s not clear whether Wily remembers Eggman, given that his world was successfully restored at the end of Worlds Collide, but Eggman certainly remembers Wily and is less than pleased to see him. Despite this enmity, the two unite to develop a scheme that will overcome Sigma, Sonic, and Mega Man. As they work on this, they are forced to build a factory for what Sigma calls “mechaniloids” and construct a set of high-powered armor for the Deadly Six. Although the Deadly Six try to use their power to take control of Sigma, he activates a mind-control device within the armor, turning the Zeti into mindless pawns.

Part of Sigma’s plan involves installing “unity engines” in the Sonic and Mega Man worlds. Eggman and Wily suggest to Sigma that the Deadly Six capture Sonic and Mega Man, turning them into Sigma’s minions and using them to install the engines. Although their true intent is to use the heroes’ power to overwhelm their newfound overlord, Sigma sees no issue with this and allows them to proceed with their plans.

Up until this point in the book, Sonic and Mega Man have been having fairly ordinary days. As he is wont, Sonic is looking for the last Chaos Emerald to reunite his shattered planet. Despite being traumatized at the end of Mega Man #49, Mega Man and the Light Robot Masters are enjoying a leisurely afternoon outside Light Labs, which is being rebuilt. Rock drives a truck from the labs into town, assuring Roll that he is safe and that the worst of their issues are behind them.

Unfortunately for the two of them, the Deadly Six succeed in besting them and claiming them for the villains, and the issue ends on a shot of the two heroes trapped in capsules, at the mercy of the doctors.

 *****************************************************************

The first issues of any crossover need to establish a number of details in a short time: The villains must congregate, a plan must be plotted, and the heroes must be alerted to and unite against the threat. The first issues of Worlds Collide weren’t afraid to spend time explaining the formation of the Skull Egg Zone, and Sonic Universe #76 also spends a great deal of time on Sigma’s arrival and Wily’s reunion with Eggman.

The one key difference between Collide and Unite in this regard is the reader’s understanding of the plan in play. In Collide, it was fairly self-explanatory what Wily and Eggman were plotting: A Death Egg, Chaos Emeralds, Robot Masters. It was like the first half of a Mega Man game attached to the endgame of a Sonic title.

Here, Sigma’s intentions aren’t so clear; we genuinely don’t know what he has in mind. We know there are “genesis portals,” “unity engines,” and Sigma’s vague threats about becoming inconceivably powerful, but we still don’t know how the dots come together. It makes for a more interesting read, and I have to say I like the start of Unite a little better than the start of Collide because of this.

This chapter certainly has its issues, however. The artwork throughout is always a little bit off; none of the artwork looks explicitly terrible, like Mega Man during the early second act of Collide, but I would be hard-pressed to say anything looked perfectly on-model. The Sonic and Mega Man segments are fine but add little to the overall story; coming in from MM49, it’s hard to imagine how Mega Man could have gotten over the shutdown of eight Robot Masters so quickly.

I grimaced a little when I saw the segments with Eggman’s diary, as the pages were covered in very lengthy exposition, but I ended up being pleased with these segments. Eggman legitimately sees Sigma as a threat, and the journal entries sell Sigma’s credibility well as a more serious enemy than the heroes have faced thus far. Although Sigma and Eggman get significant screen time, Wily feels less important. Given that Wily has a much stronger connection to Sigma than does Eggman, I hope that later issues give Wily more time.   

On the whole, though, I am hopeful for later installments of Unite. The solicitations have me a little concerned the final act will be overly large and disjointed, but we’ll see when that arrives.

Easter Egg Watch:

  • The truck Rock drives into town is the truck from the intro of Mega Man 7
  • Although it is implied that Wily came directly from the portal in Mega Man #49, he is no longer wearing a hospital smock and seems to be uninjured.     
  • Sonic Boom characters don’t appear in this issue, but the small “Short Circuits” panel at the end of the story is written by Bill Freiberger, executive producer for the Sonic Boom TV show, and references that show’s slapstick humor.    
  • Sigma’s new body is referred to as “Sigma-1.” I’ll bet any number of Energy Crystals that this is a reference to Chaos from Sonic Adventure, who appeared in forms Chaos 1-7; Chaos 7, known as “Perfect Chaos,” was the final boss of that game.    
  • Vile appears with a new design featuring a ball and chain. As it turns out, this design was the original appearance for Vile envisioned in early concept art for the original Mega Man X. Thanks to LBD for letting me know about this, I would never have caught it myself.

-----

Mighty No. X is a member of The Mega Man Network's User Content Submission System, and the views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mega Man Network.