As many of you may know, I'm a bit of a Sonic nerd, having read the Archie comics since their inception. Recently I got into a discussion with someone over the nature of the character "Solaris" and in that discussion, I mapped out how I understood the Sonic multiverse to work prior to the Super Genesis Wave and the Mega Man Crossover. I thought that I should post it on my journal because it encapsulates my views on the matter and I have a place to point to should the discussion come up again. So without further ado, here it is:
First of all, you have Mobius Prime, which is a universe of its own right. This universe has alternate futures such as Light Mobius, Dark Mobius, and Silver's Future. It also has has pocket dimensions like the Special zone, The Twilight Cage, and possibly Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal's home, as it was affected by the Ultimate Annihilator
Mobius Prime existed on what was known as the Cosmic Interstate. In that nexus of reality, there existed multiple Mobiuses, each with subtle or extreme variations, but they all had the similarity of "Sonic fights Robotnik" in them. This was established in issue 19 and in Dan Slott's "Zone Wars" Storyline.
Established in issue 11 was the map of the Multiverse, which appeared as a figure-8 or as a Mobius Strip (the art was rather flat, so its hard to tell) on one half of the strip you had "the good," and on the other you had "the bad" which mirrored that one, which implies for every Sonic, there is an evil version of that Sonic. For example, since there's Sonic Prime and Scourge, there should be Batman Sonic and Owlman Sonic as well.
We also know that Mammoth Mogul destroyed this multiverse and Tails rebuilt it. How or if that changed anything is up to interpretation, but I"m inclined to believe that's why Zonic and Scourge and the other Sonics got the Modern Sonic design, as there seemed to be no explanation otherwise. Otherwise, it seemed the multiverse was left untouched.
Before tails rebuilt he multiverse, we saw that other universes outside of Sonic were involved in the Cosmic interstate, this includes the Image version of Earth, The Lost Ones' version of Earth, and possibly the DC, Marvel, and Popeye universes. Though its quite possible that these exist off of the cosmic interstate as the Freedom Fighters used that device they found to travel there, perhaps by flying off of the interstate to another realm of reality. The issue certainly doesn't show any path that leads to the world, but that they take a ramp after they enter it, so its VERY ambiguous. They are obviously connected in some way, because Dr. Droid is able to use the Master Emerald to affect them, and that Penders has said that Dr. Droid himself is a Robotnik, so he fits in the "Every world on the cosmic interstate has a Robotnik and Sonic."
Beyond that, Ian has confirmed that Mega Man exists outside the Cosmic Interstate, on a completely higher tier of existence
The hierarchy goes as this
1.) Mobius Prime is the planet
2.) beyond that is the universe Mobius Prime exists on
3.) Connected to that universe are zones like the Twilight Cage and the Special Zone, as well as alternate timelines like Light Mobius and (most importantly) Silver's Future
4.) Beyond that we have universes with their own connected zones that mirror Mobius Prime in some way (they all must have Sonic vs Robotnik, though)
5.) these zones are connected by the realm known as the "Cosmic Interstate" and policed by the Zone Cops
6.) And beyond that, we have other multiverses like the Mega Man Multiverse, which works differently than the Sonic one.
That's all taken from the books themselves, or from what writers who explained these things on their websites.
So now we have Solaris. Using this model of multiverse. Based on the powers he had in Sonic 06, should he have existed in the Archie Sonic Multiverse (which he did, according to Ian and the Encyclopedia), he would have existed as a being on level 3 of my scale, as he appeared to have power and understanding on that level, but not complete control. There appear to be clear limits to Mephiles's power. For instance, why are Sonic and Company even alive after Mephiles reforms and takes past, present, and future together? Obviously there's a limitation there. During the game, there was likely a number of alternate Mobiuses created and perhaps destroyed (we aren't quite sure what happens to the versions of Silver's future that change go. It was never brought up. However, despite there obviously being multiple timelines happening, with Multiple Sonic, Shadow, and Silver doing their actions in those timelines, only one Sonic, Shadow, Silver and the rest appear, and they appear to be the ones who exist at the end of the game prior to Solaris reforming, othrewise we should have had Blaze there. After all, if Mephiles fused with Iblis, then Blaze wouldn't have needed to sacrifice herself, and heck, Silver shouldn't be there either, because his future would have never happened, because Iblis wouldn't be around to torment his universe.
To me, having the characters who existed at the point in 4d-space/time the precise "moment" (for lack of a better word) SOlaris reformed, means that Solaris doesn't have total control of time and space. He really shouldn't, anyway, as he's supposed to be a Sun god, after all.
Another reason I believe that Solaris isn't a being that controls the third layer of my model is that if he is able to perceive all of time and control it, he should have been able to see that Sonic would somehow wind up at the point of his birth and he would be able to travel back in time and snuff Sonic out before Sonic could snuff him out.
But there's a simpler thing we can look at as well. There are canonically at least 2 Solarisis in Sonic. One who existed in the games universe in Sonic 06, and one who existed in the Archie universe (the story of which is only chronicled in the encyclopedia because his existence was wiped out. Both of these went through similar events and were wiped out just the same. Using the facts from the comic and what I've taken from the events and circumstances of the game, I can safely say that each Mobius and its connected worlds has a Solaris, however for every alternate future and past those worlds have, there is still only that one Solaris. For that Mobius to continue to exist, they would have to go through the events of Sonic 06 to wipe their Solaris from existence, otherwise that Solaris would wipe out their Mobius from the Cosmic interstate.
Its quite possible that the Mephiles from the Scourge Arc was from one such world, and was inhibited by the Zone Cops so that he wouldn't travel to another Mobius, quite like what Eggman did in issue 75. This whole thing hinges on the fact that the Solaris of Archie's theoretical Sonic 06 arc played out with Solaris and Mephiles affecting only Mobius Prime, like how the game one only affected that one specific game universe. There's no indication that if Mobius Prime falls, the multiverse falls. After all, the No Zone seemed perfectly fine during the events of "Genesis" and Zonic didn't seem too worried about it. Not only that, but the Super Genesis wave specifically affected multiple universes in order to rewrite all of reality.