The Mega Man series from Archie Comics has recently gone on hiatus after fifty-five issues. So far, the first thirty-six have been collected into graphic novels, and I’ve read all of these. Perhaps because the main series of games is pretty repetitive, the series takes its time at adapting them. The ending of the Redemption arc sets up Mega Man 3, but there’s actually a Mega Man X story before the main events of the game occur. Also included are elements from side games, including Mega Man Powered Up and <a href=>Super Adventure Rockman. The former is actually a remake of the first Mega Man game with two new Robot Masters, both of whom appear in the comics. The latter is a Japan-only game from 1996, and it sounds like its plot is pretty directly replicated. Dr. Wily finds a hidden temple in the Amazon and establishes contact with an alien intelligence called Ra Moon, who revives the Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 and 3 and creates an electromagnetic field that affects electronics around the world.
Oddly, the comic sets these events BEFORE those of MM3, meaning this is chronologically the first time Mega Man encounters the bosses from that game. This kind of thing happens fairly often, with characters from later games showing up in the plot early on. Sometimes this makes sense, and other times less so. Also utilized in the comics is the idea that Dr. Light was able to turn the Robot Masters from the first game back to his side, and they help Mega Man on various occasions. Ice Man has an unrequited crush on Roll, which makes me wonder why he doesn’t consider her a sister when Rock does and they had the same creator.
The MM2 adaptation gives explanations for most of the stages: Wood Man’s is a park, Heat Man’s a geothermal plant, Air Man’s a series of weather monitoring platforms, etc.
New recurring characters not from the games themselves include federal agents Gilbert D. Stern and Roslyn Krantz, Dr. Light’s old friend Dr. Noele Lalinde and her own Robot Master Quake Woman, the Emerald Spears anti-technology terrorist group, and Plant Man’s creator Dr. Pedro Astil.
Worthy of note is the crossover with Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog series, which Ian Flynn has also been writing recently. I’m not as familiar with Sonic’s mythology, but the Worlds Collide collection is pretty fun, especially the interactions between Wily and Eggman.
They don’t trust each other, but as they have a common goal, they’re constantly compromising and patting each other on the back. They turn many of Sonic’s friends into Robot Masters and trick the two heroes into fighting each other. Eventually, they wise to the mad scientists’ plans and team up, and are joined by characters from both franchises.
Oddly, this includes Proto Man, even though he’s still working for Wily as Break Man at this point in the main MM series. The comic explains this, but it’s still weird. There’s actually been a second crossover, Worlds Unite, but it hasn’t yet been collected into a graphic novel.
I look forward to reading more of this series, and I hope it goes on to adapt the other games. Now we just need to get Mario back into comics.