A name that properly conveys that the comic will cover multiple character throughout the world
The world in question is an obvious parallel to the real world. The setting is 1919, but historically it's all mashed together- it's right after the first world war, but there's parallels to countries that come after it, technology is often modern although visually of the time, etc. Imagine the entire century after 1919 collapsing into that year.
To allow us the leeway to change things as we want, we flip the world horizontally, and replace location names with fantasy names, often constructed through an alternative interpretation of a country or location's ethymology. For an example, the United States in this are the Great United Waldsimia. So when I mention real-world locations, remember it's just since I've not thought their equivalent names yet.
Through an expansion of the content in the first 30 pages of the comic, we can get multiple chapter's worth of material. Woven in are other sources too of characters I want to reuse from other ideas I've had, so don't be surprised if you randomly see the expy of some other character appear and are like "I never used Pikachu, what's he doing here" or something.
The first change is to not introduce Akuma from the start. The comic opens with Vogalsienne sending his robot army to a pyramid in Mohrib (Cairo) to retrieve one of the Kowang-Jen Bells. Vogalsienne is our equivalent to Robotnik, although with more of a Dr. Doom flair- he always appears with a mask. Lalla Sherpherd, our heroine and replacement-Sonic, gives chase. She can't run fast like Sonic, her deal instead is just sheer good fighting skill and a good use of qi. Qi becomes an important element of this world.
Vogalsienne escapes with the bell, and Lalla is forced to get help from her friends Warren and Deborah Vuyverrin. They're our Tails and Amy parallel. We're ignoring the setup of the 10 years inside a plot hole, instead starting with them adults, married, and with a kid. The Vuyverrins are starting up a business, and 10 years ago, them, together with Lalla, Damona (Shadow), and the Venusian (a robot who can act as the stand-in for a lot of characters, currently mostly Mega Man), used to be an adventuring team - The Guild of Light - before a tragic event with Dr. Cheville (Queen Aleena) that resulted in her disappearance and her triplet daughters becoming orphans. Lalla has since then preferred to work alone, which is why she said nothing about Vogalsienne chasing the Kowang-Jen Bells, but now they work together to try and find them before he does. The Bells are our macguffin parallel to the Chaos Emeralds in these early stages, except their result is negative- the summoning of Kowang-Jen, our version of the Sprite Eater.
Deborah contacts Damona in her castle in Viniperia (Italy) (she's a vampire!) since one of the Bells is thought to be near her- the Bells, Lalla had discovered, are placed in intersections between ley lines, which are the currents of qi worldwide. When she goes to get the Bell, she's interrupted by wannabe-warlord-dictator-general-shithead, Trace O'Brady (Ashura), and amidst their fighting, someone else, The Wind, takes the bell- but is caught by the arriving Vuyverrin couple. They're then however overwhelmed by a troop of ghosts from the self-declared-independent state of Seiloon (Bowser's Kingdom), near Yurre (China). They're saved by Akuma, finally making his appearance. Akuma's a wandering warrior, and is currently working for the Valdjiu government (non-specific country from the Indian region), as a scout for the Nadabrovitchka Tournament they do annually. The Emperor trusts him, since he knows Akuma prizes a good fight above all, and so will pick the best warriors he can find.
At this point, the original comic went straight to Bowser vs Robotnik, but we're going to detour a while. We want to play with some of the tournament characters ahead of time and establish characters further, so:
-Akuma hears of a tower where an ogre, Limonacre, is waiting for anyone to defeat him. He joins the waiting list together with Johann Schmidt (Yoshi), a journalist who can also do some fighting, and Lita Zoose (Lita), whom he starts crushing on when he witnesses her defeat the ogre in such a way that the tower ends up destroyed. Akuma convinces his two new friends to join him in the tournament, and also considers the idea of a battle tower/dojo where someone can just wait for new challengers to come and fight them.
-Lalla and Warren go together to a coastal town where rumours were heard that could lead to another Bell. They meet Scarlatte Blackjack (Bunnie Rabbot), a roboticist who's distantly related to the Vallenoir Hospital family (Bunny Hospital), who's there for a local fishery festival; together, they all stop a bizarre criminal plot of jewel smuggling inside fish by the Armour-breaker Mafia (Beagle Boys). After this, inspired by Scarlatte's use of mechanical armour, Warren begins the construction of his Naldin Suit (Metroid Tails) in secret.
-It must be sorted with Laura O'Brien (Trinity), but ideally I'd add an adaptation of her first arc here. Assuming there's no issues with that: Trinity is a ditzy adventurer who's developed a weird technique where she uses her qi to shrink in size, something Akuma heard of. When Akuma arrives he finds her worried, however- her friend Mack Hyespud (a character of my own that I'll reuse for JonJon's role) is missing, so Akuma joins Trinity and Trin's friend Katarina Kosha (another character of mine that's here being slotted in Chasupi's role) in looking for Mack. They decide to search on a new casino that popped up at record time, where they strike up friendly conversation with Paul Gosling (Donald Duck), who's visiting as his grandfather Siller MacAungel (Scrooge McDuck) is having a meeting of millionnaires with Col. Yatate (a character of my own), Elias Darber (Walt Disney), Joe Macchianera (The Phantom Blot), and Tom B. Matrix (Matrix). Matrix turns out to be the one behind the casino, a bored young millionnaire with wishes of conquest, and has built the casino as an elaborate trap to emprison the other millionnaires and take over their estates. Trinity stumbles upon this, and Matrix, apparently emboldened in his moment of triumph, challenges Trinity to a fight- but it was a trap to lure her in the range of his virtual prison machine (a fancy name to be decided), a machine that traps people in a simulation world. Everyone in this world is either also a prisoner, or is a program.
Trinity finds Mack, and also Zee, a fashion journalist who wanted to investigate something more serious and got caught, her bodyguard Landstander, a mysterious member of a bizarre cult, together with Marie Cheville (a mashup of other Sonics you've used parallel to the main one- SA2 Sonic, Sonic Underground Sonic, etc), one of the Cheville triplets, Hazzerd (Vege), a stoic scholar-fighter, and Romano Cavazzano (a character of mine), a monkey monk. They fight against Matrix' virtual soldiers, while in the real world, Akuma, Katarina, and Paul accidentally find the systems keeping the simulation working, and Katarina tries to them down- which triggers a failsafe chain reaction where the Casino will demolish itself! Luckily Trin and those inside the simulation find a way to break it from the inside and escape, but Matrix and his mooks escape before they can be caught. Everyone quickly escapes the Casino, and Akuma finally gets to tell everyone about the tournament. Trin isn't interested, but as we'll see, Marie Cheville will make an appearance, and Joe Macchianera also appears interested.
-The Venusian has been travelling for years and now has been having fun serving as the bodyguard of Anita Ghianda (Sally Acorn), a celebrity from Monte Euclide (Monte Carlo, serving as a parallel to the Kingdom of Mobius). A mad scientist named Dr. Nicholas Hen (Dr. Wily) has been sending robots to try and kidnap her for a ransom, as he hopes to get enough funds to establish a base in a deserted island. One of the robots actually succeeds, and so the Venusian joins forces with her friend Ondrej Dlouhé (a character of mine) in trying to find her, giving chase to three of Dr. Hen's robots. Meanwhile Anita manages to sneak out of the base herself, and using her sharpshooting skills, disables Dr. Hen's computer at a distance, allowing the Venusian to track them. As they all celebrate over dinner later, The Venusian gets a call from the Vuyverrins, who'd been looking for his new phone number, and is dragged into the search for the Bells; meanwhile, Dr. Hen is broken out of prison by a mysterious figure who'd been called by his daughter, Daisy Hen (Jenny Wily).
-Vogalsienne's spy robots witnessed Akuma's fight against the ghost forces of Seiloon back in Viniperia, and Vogalsienne is interested in his ability to handle qi, so he decides to capture him for study. He starts by sending his main henchwoman robot, Julianne Vogalsienne, to capture him, but Akuma's not seduced by a woman who doesn't fight. He rethinks things and instead sends his generals to start attacking a village near where Akuma was. Akuma had gone to meet Lalla, hoping to bring her in to the tournament after hearing of her hero-ing and fighting through the years, but she's not interested. In hearing the attack, however, the two of them set forth to defend the village. During it, Akuma's lured to a clear trap despite Lalla's warnings, and is shocked unconscious and taken away. Lalla gives chase into Vogalsienne's base on an active volcano, and starts breaking in, and succeeds at reaching one of the inner factories, but gets overwhelmed when Vogalsienne's robots prove too much. Just as things seem to be going for the worse, Akuma, who'd waken up in a capsule, has meditated and accumulated enough qi itno his fist, and Vogalsienne only too late realises Akuma's plan of simply punching the capsule open in a massive blast- Akuma's first display of his Burst Fist technique. Joining forces despite Lalla's complaints, the two of them manage to break through Vogalsienne's base and escape, while Vogalsienne gives up on the chase for now- he's managed to get enough information on Akuma for future projects, and besides, he's finally figured out the location of the Bell his spies saw get stolen in Viniperia...
Vogalsienne invades Seiloon, where his robot army easily overpowers the Seiloon forces of the Great Ox-Sage (Bowser). Before the final fight though, Rev Arael (Sephiroth) appears and proposes an alliance instead, between various criminals, to collect all the Bells and use the threat of summoning Kowang-Jen to gain power over the Grand Lodge of Nations (World Council). Vogalsienne surprisingly agrees to it, and so does Ox-Sage, but suspiciously- very obviously there's no trust, just a fear of missing out and being the one left out and attacked by this alliance.
The new group of villains starts exchanging information and plans, and Vogalsienne takes a liking to Dr. Hen. Together, they read up on how there's an ancient army of Djinn, ancient beings with immense fighting prowess, most of them since locked away into various artifacts- and two of them just so happen to be in the treasury of the Ox-Bull Sage. Deciding it's best to not raise a stir, they decide to hire a third party to steal these artifacts- an unsavoury criminal Captain, John Jaguarbreath (Peg-leg Pete), and have him steal the jars containing the djinni from the treasury. Jaguarbreath by his turn has his planner, Donna Bill (Julie-Su), devise a plan. She hires a team of petty criminals and thugs, and also our old friend The Wind. Together, they storm Seiloon, with the brutes serving mostly as a distraction as The Wind sneaks past them and into the treasury. He's found by the Southern General Quan, the Vermillion Bird General, but manages to out manoeuvre him and extract the artifacts, while Jaguarbreath retreats happily leaving most of the mooks at the mercy of the Seiloon government.
Now in possession of the djinn, Vogalsienne and Dr. Hen devise a plan to stop the heroes that've been causing them issues. They learn that Marie Cheville is visiting Vuyverrin & Son, and most of the heroes looking for the Bells will be there. Using a projection machine that mixes the use of technology, qi, and magic, they augment the Red Djinn's basic hypnosis abilities into full-on projection, and send him to attack the heroes. The Djinn possesses Lalla, who becomes corrupted but incredibly powerful. Marie Cheville and Damona join forces in fighting her, eventually overwhelming her as midday approaches and Damona's vampiric powers rise up, together with Marie's surprising amounts of power- Dr. Cheville was a pioneer in the fields of energy use and cybernetics, and the Cheville triplets are actually cyborgs with immense energy production. Once Lalla's overwhelmed, Damona calls on the services of a friend, and Mithraea Elagabalus (Princess Celestia), a sorceress, comes to Vuyverrin Inc with Bella Spickle (Ministry Twilight Sparkle), her student, and tries to lock the Red Djinn inside a ring, but the Projection Machine prevents it and instead recalls him back into the vessel Vogalsienne and Dr. Hen have. The Ox-Sage is furious and blames them for the theft, but they just say they bought it in the black market and didn't know of its origins. This pushes Ox-Sage over the line and he decides to betray the other villains. Vogalsienne meanwhile, in a display of goodwill, reveals he's found where the next Bell is- the energies indicating a Bell are clearly showing the presence of at least three of them in Sfi Nassan, the capital of Valdjiu, and so Vogalsienne announces he's placed a few of his robots in the roster for the Nadabrovitchka Tournament as well as himself as a means to scout the place and try to figure the best approach to steal the Bells.
The Tournament fast approaches, and amongst our heroes, plenty have decided to join- even Lalla, at this point looking for some action, frustrated at how she couldn't fight Vogalsienne alone. Old and new faces come together, and the tournament begins...