Worlds Unite Weekly Reviews, Part 4: Mega Man #50

by Mighty No. X

Welcome to "Worlds Unite Weekly Reviews," your source for crossover reviews every week. There is a major issue I have to discuss about the Mega Man comic, of course, but I’ll do so at the end rather than the start.

The jokes write themselves, but I can't put any of them here.

We’ve spent three issues watching villains and heroes cross over from one world to another, but finally the fourth issue of Worlds Unite actually has worlds unite. As Sonic Man and M’egga Man fight, their worlds begin to fuse into one. The two once and future heroes are locked in combat, but the other heroes of both worlds quickly realize that they are all pursuing a common goal. Just as Sally Acorn meets Dr. Light, a portal opens and the X and Boom characters arrive, and the heroes quickly accept them to their ranks as well. 

That's one way to see where you're going.

It’s not just the heroes who are uniting, but the various features of the worlds as well. As it were, Xander Payne’s prison begins to fuse with what appears to be Chemical Plant Zone from Sonic’s world. Payne has apparently been exposed to something called “tachyons,” which allow him to generate Genesis portals using his robotic eye. He quickly steps into a portal of his own creation and is not seen for the rest of the issue.

"Except for the silly-looking mustache-things... that was all us. Uh, forget we said that..."

As horrified citizens from each world watch, Sonic Man and M’egga Man hit each other with the most powerful weapons each has on hand. Rather than being destroyed, the two revert to their original forms, and experience a vision courtesy of Wily and Eggman; Sigma is the one to blame for their imprisonment and the one who must be destroyed as a consequence. This is a problem -- the doctors wanted this to happen when the two were brought to Sigma’s headquarters. As it stands, it’s clear to Sigma what is taking place, and the doctors flee for their lives. When Sigma realizes that the doctors have tried to escape, he sends the Deadly Six in hot pursuit.  

On the bright side? He'll probably just send them one by one.

As various locations from the two worlds begin to fuse, Sonic and Mega Man update their friends on the situation and on the need to confront Sigma. As it turns out, Mega Man has no idea who Sonic is, and Sonic recaps the events of Worlds Collide for Mega Man. Although Rock is skeptical at first, he and the others are placated when Sonic refers to Roll and Dr. Light by name. The heroes unite as an army, ready to fight whatever might come their way… but Sigma reveals that he has formed an army of his own.

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Given that this is the 50th issue of the Mega Man book, it adds an extra story to the end featuring a conversation between Rock, Roll, and X. It seems as if some kind of military complex has been convened for the purposes of planning the fight against Sigma, where X and Rock join up for a round of target practice.

"Wily... Wily never changes."

X remarks on Rock’s non-combat body, and Rock explains how Wily forced Light to convert him into a fighting robot. X reflects back on the Day of Sigma, as he was forced to join the fight.

I guess you could say that Zero gave X a "peace" of his mind.

X recalls the (oddly tender) moment when he insisted on fighting alongside Zero. X mentions that Light gave him the X-Buster, and Rock and Roll realize that he is in fact their sibling. X compliments Rock on being able to keep on fighting, recalling his own failure to do so during Mega Man X7; of course, Rock modestly explains it away by attributing it to his programming.

HIT THE TARGETS!

X reveals his true insecurity about the future: he is so remorseful for the chaos of 21XX that he considers warning Light not to build him at all. In a rather touching moment, Rock says that if Rock himself can’t fight in the future, he wants X there. And with that, Zero and Break Man call them to another room, and their conversation ends.

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The world we live in is full of sorrow and tragedy of all kinds, in many cases with far more importance that any fictional franchise. At the same time, the last few weeks have put both the Sonic and Mega Man fanbases in a terrible situation. Just when SEGA needed a new Sonic game to reclaim Sonic’s reputation, the company announces a third Sonic Boom game, while Capcom can now stall on a new Mega Man game for a few more years with the excuse of Mega Man Legacy Collection, well-done though it might look.

And of course, Archie is pulling the plug (at least temporarily) on the one thing that Mega Man fans had to look forward to, the Mega Man comic. Flynn did some truly amazing work on the franchise, linking and empowering individual stories and creating a moving and evolving tale of a young boy forced into war; it’s a terrible shame that it will be gone, possibly forever. At the very least we have the show to look forward to, but there’s no guarantee it will even materialize.

The comic’s pseudo-cancellation also frames Worlds Unite in a different light. Rather than simply being a diversion before the Cossack catastrophe, the crossover is now the Blue Bomber’s possible last hurrah. With only three issues of the regular book left before its disappearance, we’ll see more of Rock here than we will after the crossover.

Thankfully, this issue is rather good; the idea of fusing the worlds together is an exciting evolution of the pocket dimension from the previous crossover, and the character interactions ring true. It’s nice to see comic-exclusive characters like Sally Acorn and Mayor Dorado appear; rather than just being a complete time-out from the actual comic stories, the crossover feels more integrated because of these appearances. The art is serviceable and every panel is kept at a fairly high level of quality.

By far my favorite part of the issue was the side story with X and Rock. This is the right way to have X and Rock meet; not in combat, where X is obviously superior, but in conversation, where the two perhaps represent a contrast between optimism and realism. By having Rock give X the dedication to not erase himself from time, Flynn gives the interaction meaning beyond the shock value of seeing the two icons together.

I’m looking forward to the next act of Worlds Unite, and hope that it serves as a worthy finale for Mega Man in comics, whether temporary or permanent.

Look for a review of the first “Battle Book” soon.

Easter Egg Watch:

  • Although the day Sigma revolts is referred to as the Day of Sigma, it follows the plot of the original games rather than the Day of Sigma film.
  • The Federal Prison that holds Payne is merging with a combination of Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, and Marble Garden Zone from the classic Sonic games.
  • Vanish Blocks of all types begin to appear as Sonic Man and M'egga Man battle.
  • Sigma's army consists of a variety of Mechaniloids, mostly mini-bosses from throughout the Mega Man X series, including (but not limited to): Bospider, D-REX, Batton M-501s, Thunder Slimer, RT-55J, Shadow Devil, Egregion, and Raider Killer.
  • This might be a stretch, but the practice range X and Rock use seems a little reminiscent of the Super Smash Bros. series' "Hit the Targets" stages.
  • During X's flashback, the unnamed navigator from Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X is reporting to Zero.
  • Mega Man refers to the Wily Walker both he and X fought in their own respective times, but the line also foreshadows Zero's emergence from stasis and the havoc he could wreak without X and the Maverick Hunters there to keep him in check.
  • Mega Man's line about X protecting the future feels like a callback to the last line of the "Mega X" episode of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon.
  • The conversation between Mega Man and X also seems to nicely bridge X's attitude on fighting with Mega Man X8, where he seems to have accepted his role.
  • The similarities between Zero and Break Man/Proto Man and their relationship with their respective Blue Bomber is lampshaded.
  • The versions of Sonic and Knuckles seen in the "Short Circuits" strip at the back are from Sonic Boom, making this one of the few (if only) appearances they're said to have in this crossover.
  • Maybe not an Easter Egg, but said "Short Circuits" has Sonic telling Mega Man "By the time he figures this out it'll be your 100th issue." This issue came out the day after the hiatus was announced.

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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.