by Erico Three down and three to go. At the start of Issue Three, Rock is teleported into Elec Man's domain without fanfare or applause. There's work to be done, and the Blue Bomber is all business. Of course, Elec Man isn't exactly sitting on his laurels; tapping into the controls of his facility, he tries to fry poor Mega on his climb up to the control room, and he does it while Wily is calling in and wasting his time. Now that's efficiency!
"Hey, relax. Stop bothering me for progress reports! I'm slagging him now as we speak."
The theme for this issue is overconfidence, and we get a heaping pile of it at the start. Elec Man is forced to put Wily on hold when Mega Man calmly strolls into the control room without any damage at all. Mega Man: 1; electrified ladders: 0.
Come time for the showdown, Elec prepares to blast him, but he never gets a shot off, because Rock is already hurling a Rolling Cutter his direction, and poor Wily gets to watch in a panic as the most powerful Robot Master of the set is... well, my original guess was decapitated, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Aw, seriously? You just jostled his armbands and forced a feedback loop of his own power against him? How disappointing. I was expecting heads to roll there! And Mega Man was expecting more time to lord it over his former friend's corpse, but Light has his finger on the button and he's pushing it. Onward, young hero!
Our next stop is Ice Man. Mega seems surprised at the quick transfer, and the lack of communication from home base, but he shrugs it off and plows forth. So Light wants him to finish this mess up and be done with it? Can do!
Back at home base, Roll is suddenly concerned. Is something wrong with her brother? And why is Light so nonchalant? Instead of acknowledging her fears, he goes back to work on a side project, fiddling away with his screwdriver and keeping his own counsel.
With what's become the characteristic speed of the comic strip, Mega Man dispatches Ice Man with a single shot. He's getting better at predicting these patterns... or is Light the one figuring out their weaknesses, as he's transferring Rock from point to point? Either way, the home team definitely did their research.
Ooh. Ouch, man. What a horrible thing to say. Remember I mentioned the theme of overconfidence in this issue? Well, now it's really beginning to rear up.
Our Blue Bomber is now saying jerkish things to his fallen adversaries. He's swung to the far side of the curve here, going from reluctant and unsure hero to trash-talking bully. He just doesn't see it yet; Mega hasn't hit rock bottom, and that's the first step: Admitting you have a problem.
In Fire Man's domain, Mega runs through at a speed I normally attribute to the awesomeness of Zero: Gun blazing, not stopping, running jumping and climbing with the thought, the belief, the truth that he is untouchable. He is working it harder, making it better, and doing it faster to make himself stronger. When he gets to Fire Man, the boss doesn't even get to monologue! The Blue Bomber just drops the ice and gets done with it.
There. Overconfidence. And with overconfidence comes so many other nasty things. There is always a bigger fish, always someone better than you. He's setting himself up for the fall, but the source is surprising.
After being BWOO-WIPPED back home, Mega finds himself trapped in a cage of Magnet Beam energy. Aha... now we know why Light was so busy fiddling with this gadget of his and acting indifferent. He knew of the problem, and made a solution. So he traps Mega in a box, and in a fit of anger and a swelling superiority complex, Mega fires off every weapon he has trying to break free. He was just doing what Light told him to! He was the big damn hero! He was... he was...
Aw, he scared Roll. That fear in the eyes of his sister is the thing that snaps him back to reality.
Agonized, Mega Man begs Dr. Light to take away his weapons, seeing the monster he's become. Light refuses. He disables the field, and gives Rock a pep talk while the Blue Bomber cries his eyes out. Cries. Yup, there's those robot tears again. He tells Rock what a special little boy he is, but that he knew trouble would come from this. He knew Rock would need help.
OOH! PROTO MAN! Get excited, people! It's Proto Man! Even if it's just in a memory flashback, it's Proto Man! So Light finishes up his little pep talk, hands Mega the Magnet Beam for the cause, and tells him to get back out there. Roll has some more choice words for our hero, but that's her job. Sisters are always good at making brothers feel lousy.
Rock takes a much deserved break, sipping down an E-Tank with a bendy straw while Light reviews the data that he collected out and about fighting the six Robot Masters. He discovers the location of Wily's lair... an old robot factory where the original six Robot Masters were made. Well, time to put the drink aside, Mr. Hero, and get moving again.
And so we come full circle. Remember the start of Issue 1, when we led off with that flash-forward of Mega Man attacking Wily's fortress? We're there now. And with one issue to go in this story arc, that'll make the dive into the depths rather fast-faced. They've got three Guardians, the six Robot Master repeat, and Wily himself to do in 35 pages or less.
Looks like Mega Man has his work cut out for him.
The comic is continuing in the tradition of trying to write every issue around a theme, and doing a fairly good job of it. I was hoping that they'd slow down the pace of Robot Master combat to allow a little more successful back and forth after the second issue, but that's a disappointment again this time.
And if they're turning Rock into a one-hit wonder just for the stage bosses, will they give the fortress Guardians a similarly hollow period of combat? I'd wager yes. As I said in the last review, this is the weakness of a comic book format for a game like Mega Man: You either spend an entire issue on a single boss or you try and crunch them together as they've done here.
The writer and artists are trying, though. They put in things to make it interesting whenever they can, and try to expand the characters. Their focus on Rock's emotional state throughout the first game is particularly well done so far; he's had his rise, he's had his fall. All that's left now is iron determination.
I would predict that Issue 4 won't surprise me much: They'll wrap up the arc, and then the question comes of whether they stick to the games, or will they deviate to allow room for some original story arcs? Eventually, the writer will have to come up with his own stuff. I'm hoping it's sooner than later. I appreciate what they're doing, just as I appreciated Bionic Commando Rearmed, but the time comes when you need to pull away from the beaten path and take the road less traveled by. To paraphrase Frost, that makes all the difference.
Yes, I am definitely looking forward to when they deviate into new territory. That'll be the test of their true potential.
For the Blue Ink.
When he isn't writing "The Blue Ink" reviews for The Mega Man Network, Erico (The Super Bard) spends his days keeping track of the "Legacy of Metal" fanon, dabbling in cooking and tea-brewing, and exploring the human condition from his Iowa stomping grounds.
The views expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mega Man Network.