And why is Dr. Light a boy scout? Because he was prepared. More on that as the plot develops. Now, then.
When we left off in Issue 7, Mega Man was staring down the barrel of a loaded gun... a gun with eight bullets in it, and all of them Robot Masters. Dr. Wily's two cronies, Oil Man and Time Man, had put the hurt on Elec Man and the Sunshine Five, allowing Dr. Wily to tack on new control chips, making them loyal to him once again. Hardly a good situation.
Remember what happened the last time Mega was stuck facing the six of them? He ducked out of it, barely, and then they turned around and fragged his double to fulfill their programming. He knows what's coming, especially now that there's eight of 'em gunning for his hide instead of six.
Mega tells Agent "Rosie" Krantz (awww, how sweet, she told him her first name!) to go save Roll while he deals with the robot menace. Of course, he knows he's outmatched. He knows he'll probably kick the bucket. But guess what? Just as Time Man drops another Time Slow on his head and prepares for a Time Arrow decapitation, something happens. The soundtrack changes. And what a happy day it is, because suddenly Mega Man ducks the blast and is mobile once more.
Guess what, Dr. Wily? Elec Man and the Sunshine Five aren't yours to command!
HA HA HA! Suck it! Suck it, Wily!
Oh, this is a nice turnaround. It seems that Dr. Light isn't the complete trusting fool that his old partner thought he was. After the last debacle, he did some modifications with his original six Robot Masters, write-protecting their hard drives. No changes, no one stealing his Robot Masters on the sly.
And look at how pissed Wily is. Of course, I think that twitch in his eyebrow is from having to listen to Guts Man. Remember, this is the guy who likes to scream about his hugeness. It seems bad jokes fly out of his mouth all the time, and he has to suffer and listen to it.
From there, the fight quickly descends into chaos. It's a six-on-two free-for-all, and with three to one odds, I'll put my money on Elec Man and the Sunshine Five. Why? Because it's Elec Man; not only is he the only original Robot Master personally designed by Keiji Inafune, he's quick as lightning and just as dangerous. How he lost to Pikachu in that Nintendo Land Celebrity Deathmatch is beyond me... I guess the voters favor popularity over hard combat data.
Mega Man takes the opportunity to catch up with Agent Krantz and Roll, who is finally rescued and doing just fine.
Oh, good lord. That's just nasty. I enjoy these panels of the comic because Jesus, would you look at the fracas happening just off camera? There's no doubt that Elec Man and the Sunshine Five are doing some serious damage.
Of course, Roll reminds Rock with a slap upside the head that there's still a mad scientist to recapture. Mega Man closes in on an aggravated looking Wily, only to discover that...
Well, despite the setback of not having six more Robot Masters under his command, Wily still managed to pull a rabbit out of his hat for one more dramatic reveal-- he's not even there anymore! Angry, Rock starts punching the hologram emitter, which was built to resemble one of Wily's flying saucer ships. Agent Krantz gets him to calm down by reminding him that you don't destroy the material evidence proving your creator innocent.
From here, you can guess at the rest of the winding-down plot. Good guys win, Time Man and Oil Man are recaptured and set for reprogramming so they can be equally productive members of society, and with the evidence clearly indicating that he's innocent, Dr. Light goes free.
Awww, lookit the Ice Man. He's as nervous as a middle schooler trying to ask a high school sophomore out on a date. About the same height, too. Of course, Cut Man naturally assumes the role of Ice Man's best buddy, giving him a good ribbing over the deflected thanks. And Roll is clueless! Ohhhhh, talk about sexual tension.
I would love to see them do something with this down the turnpike. It's almost as cute as Spike the Dragon having a crush on Rarity in the newest and bestest My Little Pony series. Almost.
Agent Stern, AKA "The Man", has one last moment in the comic when he brings Dr. Light along for a family reunion. Mega Man jokingly asks if the Fed trusts Dr. Light and himself after this mess. Stern of course, says no. He's the Gibbs. He doesn't smile, he never apologizes, and he never lets anyone have a win over on him. Agent Krantz puts it into perspective for us, though: That's the closest he ever gets to saying thank you.
We return home where Dr. Light, with a de-armored Rock at his side, is busy reprogramming Time Man and Oil Man to be upstanding, tamper-proof citizens. Here, we enter into another one of those tender, touchy-feely conversations about how Rock and Roll are his family, his children, and how he cares for them a great deal.
Of course, Dr. Light tends to speak from the heart without any consideration for the ramifications.
Well crap, it's Blues! It's Blues, and he just... overheard that. Well, something tells me that's an awful kick to the junk. I can see what's racing through his wild, super-hair gel crusted head right now. "You've been replaced. They're more special to me than you are."
This is a recipe for disaster. Why did Blues choose now to come back to Light's lab? He's been gone for years, right? If we're following canon, he ran away from home because he didn't want Light fiddling with his systems. We would call this some very inopportune timing. Instead of a tearful, complete family reunion between Blues, Dr. Light, and Rock and Roll, we'll instead have to deal with a more tragic series of events. And who's responsible? Dr. Light.
Of course, nobody is responsible for Dr. Wily but Dr. Wily.
He never sees it that way, though. To him, Dr. Light is to blame for all his troubles. That's one of the key signs of a madman; you always blame everyone else for your problems. Nothing is ever your fault. You're a victim of circumstance, of scheming by people you thought were your friends. And when you have no friends and a world full of enemies, what do you do?
Well, if you're this guy, you finish building your new Skull Fortress, you make yourself an entirely new set of Robot Masters, and you do the same thing you do every night, Pinkie...
Try to take over the world ("Wahahahaha!" --Ed.).
Now, when faced with a battle as epic as the one Rock found himself up against at the end of the last issue, there are three outcomes: One, the hero loses. Two, the hero wins after much pain and suffering. And three, which the team at Archie Comics went with, is the same solution they used to defeat the Copy Mega Man in Issue 4: The world turns upside down, the fight turns into a comical brouhaha, and we more or less shrug our way through it. No muss, no fuss, just a clean solution with plenty of opportunity for comedy.
To be fair, they validate it. I'm of the mind that if you change the rules of the game, you'd best have a good reason for being able to do so. By explaining that Light modified them to be tamper-proof after the events of the first Robot Rebellion, the sudden turn of events is given credence and authority.
In the last issue, I felt that they'd purposefully "nerfed" the Robot Masters just to show how badass Oil Man and Time Man were. Nerfing, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is when something in a game, usually a character or an item, is altered so it is weaker and not as potent. I'm sure you all can derive your own examples, so I won't go into making a list.
Now in Issue 8, it is Elec Man and the Sunshine Five who do all the heavy lifting. In a sense, even though the comic is called Mega Man, he isn't the star of it; it's Elec Man! God, how much do we love this lightning bolt-masked hero? Plenty!
If the last issue was a disappointment, this one was an apology. Things were resolved, new plot hooks were introduced, we got to see Blues, and we definitely got some characterization. I love characterization. It's why I wrote Guiding Rainbow's Light. Without any Mavericks, without any Robot Masters, without any combat scenes, all I had left were people, situations, exposition, and most importantly, characterization.
Light is slowly, but steadily, becoming a wiser individual. His foresight gave the heroes the winning edge in this toss-up and sent Wily running for the hills. He hints that he's already making new "Items" if Dr. Wily should decide to cause trouble again. Mega Man is happy that things turned out for the best, and happier still that he didn't have to go all crazy hero on things. Ice Man is happy that Roll is safe, and Roll is oblivious that the little Eskimo carries a frostbitten torch for her. Wily still needs Prozac and counseling, and Elec Man and the Sunshine Five have a growing sense of individuality and confidence. After all, they did what Mega Man couldn't; they whupped all kinds in this issue.
But what does this mean? Recall that I didn't much like Issue 3 either, the pacing of it. It took Issue 4 for me to get over the shortfalls of its predecessor. Here again, it took Issue 8 to get past the mistakes of Issue 7. Is this a pattern? Look for patterns in the chaos, friends. Like Carl Sagan says, Pi is the secret of the universe, for there is a pattern in Pi we haven't decoded, and therein perhaps lies the truth of divinity, the brushstrokes of a master, order hidden in the chaos. Will the third issue in any four-issue story set be the weak link? Will there always be some sort of rushed or forced quality to the "Third of Four" which they overlook in favor of the whole? Is the Third of Four nothing but space for empty furthering of the plot before the resolution?
As they say, twice is a coincidence. Three times is a pattern. So I shall be looking for the pattern, this Third of Four rule in the next four issues. We shall see if I have deduced the pattern of the writers and storyboarders at Archie Comics, or if they shall turn the world on its side once again and shake up the Scrabble tiles.
Until Issue 9, 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.