The Blue Ink: Archie's Mega Man #18 - Vagabond Blues

"Who has not felt how sadly sweet, The dream of home, the dream of home, Steals o'er the heart, too soon to fleet, When far o'er sea or land we roam?" -Thomas Moore, The Dream of Home ----------------------------------------

Blues left home because he was afraid that Dr. Light would erase his memories and personality entirely when the doctor replaced his power core. It was a choice between staying alive as someone else, or remaining true to himself at the cost of his life. Blues chose a death on his own terms, and became a wandering vagrant, lost in a world that didn't know what to make of him. Robots thought he was human. Humans thought he was a little boy. And Blues drained one E-Tank after another from his duffel bag in the vain hopes of clinging to life for just a little longer.

In this issue, we were given a treat: The world from the perspective of Proto Man. To him, the world is a lonely place to which he never really belongs. He is the outcast, the outsider, a neutral observer who can never really break from a sense of decency. As much as his survival instincts tell him otherwise, Blues must stand up and do the right thing.

What drives him more, I wonder? Is it simply the First Law of Robotics which causes him to intercede, or is a sense of morality beyond the Laws at play in his fractured mind? Nobody asked him to rescue children from deep wells or car wrecks. Nobody asked him to use his super-strength to lift debris, or to power up his plasma cannon and put a biker gang down before they can harm some innocent civilians. But he does it all the same, sparking all the time.

"Bed in the bush with stars to see, bread I dip in the river..." In many ways, Blues makes his own drifting existence harder than it has to be. Light taught him to respect life, to appreciate humanity. He can do no less than what he does, even if it means he will perish.

In Blues' absence, Light is crushed. Wily tries to console him, and discovers that Light saw him as his son, whole and real, and not just a robot. It is a state of perspective that drives the more pragmatic robotologist mad, but most of all, Wily just wants to get Light out of his funk. After all, if Light doesn't pull himself up out of the doldrums, then everything they planned, Wily planned, is for naught.

Light finally comes to terms with the lessons of Blues: Children should be allowed to be children. Weapons of war and robotic "life" need to be kept separate. The future Robot Masters that they will build will be less human, not more. That way, the pain of loss will be decreased. Wily is pleased, and why shouldn't he be? Finally, Light is seeing reason.

Still, in the back of Light's mind, there is still that hole that Blues left behind. He lost his son when Blues disappeared, and Light is a man who needs a family. When he makes Rock and Roll, some years later, they lack the weapons systems that Blues was activated with. They are children of silicon and steel, and children alone. Only the intervention of destiny causes Light's peaceful plans for his children to be disrupted again. As we know, everything works out.

But what about Blues? After years of wandering aimlessly, trying to make his life mean something before he dies, he realizes that perhaps there really is no place like home. He was a fool to leave it. Light is his father, he loves him, and he wouldn't do anything to ruin that...

As we know from comics past, when Blues returned home, he saw that Light had moved on. He had replaced Blues with two more robotic children. His siblings, siblings Blues had no idea of, have taken his place. And just like that, in Blues' mind, he is homeless. It is a wrongful realization he comes to, but he's guided by it all the same.

He crushes his glasses as he leaves, a symbolic gesture that he is abandoning the few scraps of his old life. He is on his own now. To Hell with the world. To Hell with Light.

With nowhere else to go, Blues makes for the Lanfront Ruins... a graveyard of ancient technology. Where better to die? Elephants and Sasquatches have their own hidden places of death, why should robots be lacking a similar mausoleum? He reaches the edge of the territory before Ra Moon, safely in the heart of the ruins, detects him and deactivates him. When Blues wakes up next...

It is Wily he sees. It is Wily who has fixed him. It is Wily who remembers him, and kept him whole. So events play out as they must, and the stage is set for a battle between brothers.

The sins of the father have taken roost.

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Oh, boy! After that wonderful little backstory, which had reminiscing of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm in it, it's time for something a little less serious. It's time for some humorous side-story. In other words, "Who else but Guts Man?!"

Ice Man, who's on assignment at a glacier helping the scientists take measurements of a failing ecosystem in the midst of global warming, calls back home to Dr. Light for a little extra assistance. And who does Light send? Certainly not Elec Man. Not even Fire Man, or Time Man. No, he sends GUTS MAN, who has more muscle than brains. In a glacier, a high Constitution Score may come in handy, but you also need Wisdom and Intelligence. And Guts Man has neither. He stuffed all his points into Strength.

Well, you can imagine what happens after that. He hardly listens to Ice Man, and though he's well-intentioned, he only ends up making a bigger mess of things than they were to begin with.

Oh, I love the look of horror on Ice Man's face here. Somebody should really take that and make an internet meme out of it (there's your cue, folks! --Ed.). It's so perfect. Finally, Ice Man is forced to take drastic measures, and turns his big buddy into a Guts-Popsicle so he can't do any more damage. He calls Light and tells him to come pick up Guts Man, but assures the Doc that it isn't urgent... after all, Guts Man is on ice.

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If things were different, they'd be different. We all know what has to happen: For the sake of the story, Blues has to be ignorant of the fact that Light loves him no matter what, that he really does miss him. Blues has to believe he has no home to return to, nobody to give a real damn about.

In a perfect world, Blues would have stormed into Light's lab on that dark night and demanded to know what the hell was going on. Light, Rock, and Roll would have then proceeded to GLOMP and tackle hug the hell out of him, and Blues would have realized he wasn't replaced; his family just got bigger, and he had a brother to hang out with and do hero time stunts with.

But it didn't happen like that. It couldn't happen like that. Just as in that train wreck of a prequel trilogy to Star Wars, Anakin couldn't have gone to the Jedi Council and said, "look, I love this woman, I'm afraid that she's going to die, and I need your help. Oh, also, I'm a havin' a babbeh." But he didn't. He didn't even say that to Obi-Wan, his bestest bud and bro in the whole damn galaxy. So what did we end up with? A lot of bad acting and events that went worse than they should have.

See, this is why you shouldn't keep things bottled up, Blues. Just look at you. Now you're the right-hand man to the world's most-wanted man!

The story of Blues is a cautionary one to us: It gives us a checklist of what to do and what not to do when things get serious. Do tell the people you love about your worries and concerns. Don't run off at the first sign of trouble; confront them on it. Unless they're the type who'd pull a gun on you, which Light isn't. Don't assume you know everything by the first glance, unless you suspect your husband is cheating on you and you catch him buck-nekkid and having carnal relations with your neighbor.

Most importantly, don't run off from the one guy who can fix you, and does care a whole hell of a lot about you. But, regardless of Blues' failings to recognize these lessons, the stage is set. He is with Wily, Wily is set for the coming battle, the Third Robot Rebellion...

And we hold on with breathless anticipation for the coming duel between brothers.

For the Blue Ink.

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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.