Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Capcom’s Mega Man are two of the most beloved and enduring video game characters of all time. Archie Comics will be combining the best of these two blue gaming superstars in their “Worlds Collide” story arc, and have released a prelude as part of Free Comic Book Day 2013. But how well do these iconic game series translate to the pages of a comic book? Everything you need to know is right here in Geek Insider’s review of Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Prelude. Archie Comics are No Strangers to Sonic The Sonic the Hedgehog comic books have actually been around for quite some time. Archie Comics originally started the series in 1992 based not on the Sonic the Hedgehog games, but instead on the immensely popular children’s television program of the same name. The series has since grown from the confides of a simple TV show tie-in and has introduced its own original characters, worlds and storylines. Archie then went on to create the Sonic Universe series in 2009 which focused on other Sonic the Hedgehog characters and further expanded the comic “universe”. The lineup grew once more in April of 2011 when Archie began publishing a new comic series based off Capcom’s Mega Man character. Needless to say, the moment a Mega Man comic was even announced by Archie, rumors began to circulate over the very real possibility of a Mega Man/ Sonic cross over event. Now in 2013, we have the first official instance of the two characters existing in the same space with Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Prelude. Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Prelude is just that; a prelude. The book contains two separate stories which each focusing on Sonic and Mega Man’s individual activities prior to the cross over. First up is Mega Man’s story in which the blue bomber is celebrating his birthday on account of it being the Mega Man series’ 25th anniversary. Mega Man’s Story Stays Faithful to the Video Games While celebrating his birthday in Mega City with his robotic friends, the young android is attacked by the mysterious Break Man. Little does Mega Man know that Break Man is in fact his older brother Blues who went rouge after being damaged in a weapons testing accident. The entire strip is basically one big fight in which Break Man outwits and defeats Mega Man’s friends Cut Man, Guts Man, Bomb Man and Rush, before getting in a blaster battle with Mega Man himself. Despite the abundance of action, Mega Man’s short tale manages to introduce most of the series’ main characters, as well as their personalities, while still finding the time to fit in a gripping conclusion. Writer Ian Flynn clearly takes pride in his work and respects the legacies of the video game character’s he’s representing. The scenes where Break Man shows compassion towards Mega Man over his dog’s injury, and Break Man’s recollection of his origin, are subtle yet surprisingly powerful moments considering the comic is aimed towards a younger audience. The artwork is the real star of the show in Mega Man’s story with big, colorful characters filling up each and every panel. Each drawing is nice and clean with think, bold outlines and simple backgrounds. After reading so many intricately detailed and atmospheric super hero comics such as Avengers #10 and Action Comics #20, the bright and bold approach to comic art as seen within Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Prelude is extremely refreshing. Sonic Shows Off His Expanded Comic Universe Sonic’s story is a little less accessible than Mega Man’s, mainly due to it being the culmination of several intersecting story arcs. As mentioned earlier, the Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe comics contain myriad new characters who have battled with or against antagonist Dr. Eggman over the last 20 years. This particular Sonic strip is easier to get into than your average mainstream super hero comic, but it does contain characters that new comers won’t recognize Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Archie’s Sonic comics existing in their own “universe”. In fact, a greater range of characters allows for an enjoyable level of depth that sets the comic series apart from its video game counterparts. Sonic and his gang of freedom fighters raid Dr. Eggman’s newly built space station, the “Death Egg II”, in order to rescue rebel leader Sally Acorn from being turned into a mindless cyborg. From the start it’s clear that Archie’s Sonic world is very different from that of Sega’s games. Sonic is deadly serious throughout the story and his concern about Ms. Acorn has made him irritable and even rude towards some of his freedom fighting friends. Achie Comics Shows Us A Darker Sonic Most of the strip takes place in a dark, dank underground passage deep beneath Sonic’s version of the Arctic Ocean, before moving into Dr. Eggman’s ominous space station. During this time Sonic and friends are almost drowned by a pod of cybernetic killer whales, shot multiple times by Eggman’s robots and are viciously attacked by the now robotic Sally Acorn. Artwork is very similar to that found in the Mega Man half of the book, except being generally darker in its tone in order to match the equally darker tone of the story. The dialogue is still simple and easy to understand, but the themes and very nature of the storyline is much more dark and mature than one would expect from a Sonic the Hedgehog comic book. This isn’t to say that Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Prelude is unsuitable for children – quite the contrary – it’s a comic that takes its young audience seriously and cleverly delivers simplified versions of of real world conflicts and concepts. This is the reason I found the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series so enjoyable as a child, and is exactly the same reason I’ve enjoyed Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Prelude. Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Begins in Mega Man #24 Both the Mega Man and Sonic stories end with the activation of Dr. Eggman’s “Genesis Wave” which will reboot both heroes’ dimensions and create them again as one single world. I want to know if Mega Man discovers the truth about his brother Blues. I want to know how Sonic will save Sally Acorn and destroy the Death Egg II. And I’ll definitely be reading the Worlds Collide story arc which debuts in Archie Comics’ Mega Man #24. Hopefully all the comic loving Geek Insider readers were able to pick up Sonic and Mega Man: Worlds Collide Prelude on Free Comic Book Day 2013. If you did, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and stay tuned for more Geek Insider comic reviews!