True Blue, Part Seven: San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition
Welcome to the seventh installment of True Blue, our weekly recap of Archie Comics‘ crossover event between the Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man series, “Worlds Unite.” Each installment, we’ll recap the notable moments of the latest chapter in “Worlds Unite” with Archie Action Editor Vincent Lovallo, and take a look at what lies ahead for the next chapter of the crossover event. This week, we're digging even deeper with more details about the future of Archie Action, Mega Man and Sonic Boom straight from San Diego Comic-Con.
Previously in "Worlds Unite," our heroes had been searching for Sigma and his hideout, Lost Hex. The group, traveling aboard Sky Patrol, had been searching the area Wily and Eggman directed them to, and were met with swift resistance from Sigma's new robot army. Fortunately, the team of Freedom Fighters and Robot Masters makes short work of the mechanized opposition, but the Deadly Six prove to be a bit more trouble than expected. Even as defeat loomed, the Zeti were able to overcome the odds and take control of Mega Man and his friends to do the fighting for them.
Sonic the Hedgehog #274 picks up immediately, and puts the gang smack dab in the middle of yet another all out brawl. The issue is packed with action, but few revelations about the grander scheme Sigma has in mind. Though a few more hints are dropped in regards to Sticks' whereabouts (as if you didn't know), the most pertinent reveals come at the end of the issue when the Zeti are defeated by a special weapon developed by Wily and Eggman to short circuit any robots. However, it stalls out after just one use, leaving the entirety of Sky Patrol vulnerable to the newly evolved Sigma and his majorly massive army of resurrected Mavericks. Looks like there'll be more brawling to do next chapter, but that's okay. A little action never hurts.
ComicsAlliance: There was a little more division in the ranks in this issue between some of the Zeti, and Snake Man also seemed to be goading on the good guys in a similar vein. With Shadow Man also hinted at as not quite being fully reformed, are these more hints that there might be some conflicts between teammates further into the story?
Vincent Lovallo: That's more of the Zeti's personality as it is.They don't always get along very well. Even though they're seen as a team, that doesn't necessarily mean they like each other. Zavok considers himself the self-appointed leader, and has a bit of an ego in that he thinks he's better than everybody else. I wouldn't necessarily say it's going to lead to something, but it is part of who they are.
With Shadow Man, I'd say keep a close eye on him because the things that he does will definitely be leading to something later on. Snake Man's just always been kind of a jerk. That's just how he is.
CA: We finally see Wily and Eggman come together to save the day with their robot scrambler, which knocks all the machine characters out and free from the Zeti's control. It also frees the Zeti from Sigma's armor and influence, but the Conch is still destroyed. Even though they're out of the game at this moment, they're still free from any control. Are we going to see any ramifications of their freedom in this story or down the line?
VL: A little bit. There's still some time until we see the fallout from all of that. I can't give too much away, but stay tuned.
CA: Sigma's new evolved form is finally unveiled at the end of this issue, and he looks like a massive Jaeger from Pacific Rim. He's also got an incredible army of what looks like every Maverick that ever existed. When putting something like that scene and spread together, how intensive is the research to make sure every character isn't just in there, but is rendered appropriately? This is the first time we're seeing a lot of these characters, so introducing them accurately must have been a challenge.
VL: Ian Flynn is a mad man. In addition to already knowing most of the lore for Mega Man and Sonic perfectly already, he researches this stuff intently. In his scripts, he broke it down by tiers of who's in the front row, and which characters are where on the page. Kudos to Edwin Huang for drawing it, and Gary Martin who inked it, and Gabriel Cassata who colored it; I have to give credit to everybody.
All the Robot Masters are organized and listed, and we have plenty of reference for the artists as some of these characters are huge, and you can't fit them all right in the front. With something of that magnitude, because it's so complex, we organize everything.
CA: By the end of the issue we see that Mega Man and the Freedom Fighters are clearly going to need some help, so it's a good thing Sticks is out there recruiting. Are we finally going to start seeing these other crossover guest-stars?
VL: Yes, we're definitely going to start seeing some new faces joining the ranks. Obviously people know we are delving into some other Capcom and Sega properties, and you can expect them to start popping in very soon.
CA: With Sonic Boom coming to a close just after "Worlds Unite" finishes, are we ever going to see Sticks' absence addressed with the rest of the Sonic Boom characters, or even see what they've been up to since the event started?
VL: There will definitely be a resolution for Sticks' journey. They know that she's gone, and towards the end of "Worlds Unite" you'll see the payoff. After the crossover, we still have one more issue of the monthly Sonic Boom series, and we're looking for ways to continue that franchise in other books as well. It's not the end of the Sonic Boom cast, per se, just the monthly series.
CA: We touched briefly about Mega Man going on hiatus, can you elaborate a little bit more for what that means for the characters in regards to "Worlds Unite," and if there's any update on a potential "light at the end of the tunnel" for the future of this series?
VL: Towards the end of "Worlds Unite," Mega Man is pretty much picking up where he left off from his last adventure. We are building up to something, and you're definitely going to see the stage set. As for Mega Man #55, we're going in a little bit of a different direction. I don't want to give anything away just yet, as it's kind of super secret right now.
As far as what we're doing with that series, we're still planning things out. We might be able to do a little bit more than what we had been doing.
CA: Back to the ending of Sonic Boom, is the trimming back of the Sonic line due to there being too much Sonic, or do the core Sonic U books resonate a bit more?
VL: Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe definitely have a very strong place, in terms of rankings. We feel like Sonic Boom might work better in certain places, whereas something like a monthly release might not be the best plan for such a book. As we found out.
CA: You'll be cutting back the Archie Action line basically by 50% with these two books coming out of the monthly rotation. Is this something fans should be concerned about, or is Archie Action still going strong?
VL: Archie Action is still going strong. We have a lot of things lined up. There are a lot of great stories to tell in Sonic and Sonic Universe, and we also have some other things lined up down the road completely unrelated to Sonic and Mega Man that I hope we can talk about soon.
CA: In that vein, with all these other Capcom and Sega characters coming over for "Worlds Unite," are they just hanging out to play in the sandbox for now, or are there bigger plans for these franchises in the works?
VL: I can only say maybe. I can't give anything away, but this event has opened doors and possibilities for things we might be able to do down the line. Maybe.
CA: Even though you've only been in charge of the Archie Action for a relatively short time, what are some things you think the line has done well, and what are some things you hope to improve in the upcoming year or so?
I think we've been pretty good maintaining a solid storyline, both with Sonic and Mega Man, and keeping them pretty accessible to readers of all types. Even if you've never picked it up before or are a lapsed reader, I think we're telling these stories very well.
I hope we can continue to expand on both of these characters' worlds, and delve into things we haven't touched upon before. I want to be able to introduce some new things people aren't expecting, while still providing more what the fan's love about Mega Man and Sonic.
CA: Mega Man's going on hiatus, Sonic Boom is ending, and Archie just got rebooted. With the former reigning longest-running comic in history now departed, that leaves Sonic the Hedgehog as the new heir to the throne. Do you feel any pressure now that no comic has a longer consecutive run anymore?
VL: It's something to be proud of, and it's not something I think anyone was really expecting. I can't believe we're almost at #275, and #300 is right around the corner, too. We're going to keep planning big events for these milestones and hope people really dig them.
If you're at SDCC, and are eager to see if some of those "maybes" and "stay tuneds" get resolved, Vincent Lovallo will be taking part in an Archie Action panel alongside Archie Comics' president Mike Pellerito, Sonic Universe artist/writer Evan Stanley, Mega Man artist Edwin Huang, and Archie SVP of publicity Alex Segura, on Sunday at 1PM in room 32AB.
Now, get an advanced look the next chapter of "Worlds Unite" in our exclusive preview of Mega Man #51.
MEGA MAN #51
Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Edwin Huang, Gary Martin, John Workman and Gabriel Cassata
Mega Man #51 CVR A Reg: Patrick “SPAZ” Spaziante
Mega Man #51 CVR B Variant: Diana Skelly, Rick Bryant and Gabriel Cassata
Covers Unite Variant (pt 8 of 12): Ben Bates
IS ALL LOST?! The evil Sigma unleashes an unstoppable army in “Worlds Unite” Part Eight: Sonic, Mega Man and X lead the unified army against Sigma’s horde of resurrected Mavericks! Sigma has now taken command of the Genesis Portals, threatening to fuse together even MORE worlds! With our heroes’ time and strength running out, Sticks returns with reinforcements—and you’ll never believe who she recruited! Featuring cover art from the legendary Patrick “SPAZ” Spaziante, and variant cover art from Sonic rising star Diana Skelly and part 8 of the epic 12-part connecting variant cover series by artist Ben Bates!
On Sale Date: 7/15 | 32-page, full color comic | $3.99 U.S