Worlds Unite Weekly Reviews, Part 9: Sonic Universe #78

by Mighty No. X

Last issue, many of our heroes took the risk of traveling to unknown worlds in order to recruit powerful allies, and this issue shows us the first half of those worlds and allies.

Can't help but think the Ginyu Force wouldn't take Magna's breach of etiquette any more kindly.

Sonic and Break Man travel through a Genesis Portal and arrive in the cheerful Miracle World. This world plays host to Alex Kidd, the rock-paper-scissors fanatic whom Sonic replaced as SEGA’s mascot in the early 90s. Alex and his friend Stella are confronted by Magna Centipede, who has enough limbs to throw rock, paper, and scissors at the same time.

Outraged by his attempt at cheating, Alex and Stella easily destroy Magna Centipede just before Sonic and Break Man approach them. As soon as Sonic introduces himself and the situation, Alex and Stella are more than willing to join the fight.

The action then moves to the world of Ghosts 'n Goblins, where the intrepid but fragile knight Arthur is preparing to fight villain Astaroth. The demon king sends the gargoyle monster Firebrand to fight Arthur, but the two are interrupted by the arrival of the Shadow Hunters, Geemel and Zain, from Mega Man Xtreme. Arthur mistakes them for allies, but they attack him instead… and just like in the games, Arthur is left in nothing but boxer shorts, hiding in the corner.

Thankfully, Zero and Bunnie burst in and stand their ground against Geemel and Zain, but the heroes’ power is nothing compared to that of Asteroth. Furious at the arrival of these invaders, Asteroth vanquishes the Shadow Hunters with a single blow.

After the heroes explain the situation, Asteroth calls an uneasy truce, commanding Firebrand to accompany Arthur to Lost Hex.

"Now I don't feel so special no more." =(

Knuckles and Quake Woman reach the world of Skies of Arcadia, filled only with islands in the sky. The Blue Rogues, a group of Sky Pirates,  is doing its best to repel Duff McWhalen.

Vyse, Vyse, baby...

Defected prince Enrique, aged Drachma, and lighthearted Gilder all fail to bring it down, but in the end the heroic Vyse delivers a decisive blow. The crew agrees to join the heroes, setting sail aboard their ship Delphinus towards the Genesis Portal.

Like Guile's theme, Sticks will go with anything.

We return back to the Street Fighter world, where Sticks and her Street Fighters make short work of Magma Dragoon and destroy his Unity Engine. On the other side of the world, however, Blizzard Buffalo is hard at work installing another Unity Engine when he is interrupted by the nefarious leader of the Shadaloo, M. Bison himself. Bison grabs Blizzard Buffalo in a chokehold, extracts information about Sigma, and then crushes the Reploid’s throat; in his anger, Bison is clearly bound for Lost Hex.

"What? No, I never had another comic by Archie... wh- what are you talking about? You must be dreaming..."

In the ethereal world of Nightopia, NiGHTS and its dark counterpart Reala are engaged in an airborne battle with Storm Eagle and Storm Owl. Tails and Air Man warp in to lend airborne assistance to NiGHTS. Afterwards, Tails easily recruits NiGHTS to join the battle against Sigma. Although Reala is more hesitant, it is commanded by its master Wizeman to join NiGHTS and defend Nightopia.

Finally, Sally and Wood Man arrive in the mythical version of Japan depicted in the beloved game Okami. Blizzard Wolfang attempts to take down another canine in the form of Amaterasu, a manifestation of the sun goddess, but Amaterasu easily defeats him with the power of the Celestial Brush.

Would it be blasphemous to ask a sun goddess to 'sic' the bad guys?

Amaterasu takes an instant liking to Sally and Wood Man; although she can’t talk, her companion Issun certainly can, and introduces Amaterasu and himself, agreeing to join the heroes.

As she returns to the portal, Sally worries about the welfare of Cream aboard the Sky Patrol. Meanwhile, Sigma holds the Sky Patrol in his hand, and prepares to crush it…

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I stand corrected; last issue I thought that our introductions to each of the guest characters would be brief. As it turns out, the grand exploration of worlds I hoped would be in the second act ended up being the feature of the third. I’m a little disappointed that the Deadly Six fight wasn’t condensed and this issue wasn’t included in the second act. Four issues of fighting with all of these characters, with all of their introductions out of the way, could have been amazing.

I’m surprised by how well this issue presents all of its worlds, both in terms of story and artistic presentation. This issue could have been an aesthetic mess in the hands of less capable artists, but everything looks surprisingly on-model and even elevates the characters compared to previous depictions; I wouldn’t mind seeing this design of Alex Kidd in the next Sonic & All-Stars Racing game instead of his classic design. (This appears to be the same design, actually. --Ed.)

The writing is also excellent. Each of the worlds, along with its denizens, is effectively established over the course of only about three pages. It’s exciting enough to see so many long-gone or dormant franchises get their day, particularly when Flynn’s care in depicting the worlds is obvious. I’d honestly love to see an ongoing book depicting all of these worlds, but unfortunately the commercial viability of such an endeavor would be far less than Mega Man.  

Viewed from a different perspective, though, the writing in this issue is incredibly dense (writing this article took about three times as long as any of my previous reviews), which I imagine might present a problem to young readers and those unfamiliar with the franchises involved.

Easter Egg Watch (forgive me for the many I’ve probably missed):

  • This isn’t the first time Alex Kidd has encountered an opponent with more than two arms; a similar foe appeared as the final boss of Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle. Also of note is that the issue uses “rock-paper-scissors” instead of Alex’s signature “jan-ken-pon.”
  • Geemel laughs by exclaiming "kekeke"; he gave the same abnormal laugh in Mega Man Xtreme.
  • Firebrand says to Arthur that Arthur’s quest is about to end. This might be a reference to the game Gargoyle’s Quest, of which Firebrand was the main character.
  • The book uses the name Tidal Makkoeen instead of Duff McWhalen for the infamous whale Reploid.
  • Blizzard Buffalo made the unfortunate mistake of placing his Unity Engine in M. Bison’s stage from Super Street Fighter II.

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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.