You would think that deep in the heart of enemy territory, the main strike force of Mega Man, Sonic, Rush and Tails would start to get along a little bit better. You'd think that, and you'd be disappointed. Sonic can't lay off the wisecracks about Mega Man's unfortunately shaped armor codpiece, and the Blue Bomber comes back by making fun of Sonic's twiggy limbs... which, let's face it, look even more twiggy when Yardley's doing the sketching.
Thankfully, they're able to turn back the idiocy a tad when a Snakey from Mega Man 3 shows up in the jungle depths to ruin their day. Well, almost, they still get into a comparative argument about who's more awesome before Sonic shuts off his fast running mouth enough to remember they're on a rescue mission, and Mega Man's been saving a lot more people than he has.
Oh, and then the Shadow Men show up, but you knew that was coming.
As you'd expect, the confusion over which Shadow Man is which causes some momentary confusion. To make matters worse on them, it seems the knock-off Shadow Man actually possesses a paralyzing weapon, which he uses on Sonic. Shucks, and my bet was on teleportation. Using Espio's camouflage power he got earlier, Mega Man sneaks up on Shadow Man and lays the smack down with that marvelously Storm Eagle-flavored Tail Wind. Sonic uses his newfound freedom to come to the aid of Tails and Rush, who had their hands full with the ninja Robot Master.
News flash, Sonic, you do have an ego. Shadow Man's is quite justified: He's a pain in the neck to fight in the video games, and in the comics and manga he's been in otherwise, he's even worse. Megs frees Shadow from his altered state, and what does the dark Hedgehog do with his freedom? Well, he gets revenge.
And then he leaves. This part is chuckle worthy. What, you were expecting Shadow to be grateful? To join up with the heroes? Not hardly. Just be thankful he isn't waving an enormous missile-launching handgun around when he poofs off.
The flash of his Chaos Control teleportation acts as a momentary imbalance in the Skull Egg Zone, which gives the heroes a vision of what was. Sonic finally connects the dots in a time-out moment, and we get an explanation of the previous Genesis Wave. Now more dedicated than ever to fixing the situation, which now includes the multiverse, they set off again... after Sonic wishes for a chili dog.
Dr. Wily and Robotnik are still gloating over the captured Dr. Light in the heart of their inner sanctum when they get the news from their robotic flunkies that they have trouble in River City, and it starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Population... as in, the population of their servants is fast dwindling. They run off to deal with the situation, which gives a certain espionage agent we've all learned to ignore a chance to sneak in and throw a monkey wrench into the works.
She elects to keep Dr. Light in the capsule, all the better for the evil doctors to consider him neutralized, and then pumps him for info on how to wreck the Wily Egg's systems up for the eventual showdown. What's humorous about this is that she came pursuing Shadow... and Shadow just left the building. Nothing quite like running to the rescue of your friend, only to find out that they rescued themselves. And then we leave Dr. Light and Rouge to their business, and get back to the heroes.
We see them at a waterfall, where Wily's famous disappearing/reappearing blocks are aggravating Sonic to no end. Sure, he could just let Tails fly him up, but it's the principle of the thing, dernit! He never gets the chance to master the pattern, as the doctors dispatch the roboticized Silver and Blaze after them. Temporal freeze weapon and fire weapon? Check.
It takes a little scuffling, but the good guys are getting awfully good at this business, and the most unusual members of Sonic's cadre are restored in short order. They're weakened from their ordeal, however, and so they're forced to stay behind and get back their strength, promising to catch up when they can. Team Hero forges on, eager to catch up to Team Chaotix and Proto Man, who are...
I feel so reassured now. And to think, watching them go through the mountain pass, Knuckles Man and Rose Woman were almost ready to jump down their throats. Luckily for the scouting patrol of heroes, the Doctors have other plans. They're to go after Sonic and Mega Man. Oh, and if they need to, they can blow themselves up doing it.
That'd make it kind of hard to restore them afterwards, I think.
There are a few things you learn early not to do. Don't back a wild animal into a corner. Don't mix beer and wine, ever. Don't change horses midstream. This issue has a few moments like that as well... and we'll get to that. First, everybody caught the Star Wars reference on the cover, right? Just checking. (Nope-- we were all too caught up looking at the Mega Man 10 reference. --Ed.)
The funny thing is, all the things that you're not supposed to do are done by the bad guys in this issue. They originally dispatched a force of five Roboticized Masters to go after Proto Man, leaving three (Team Chaotix) to deal with Team Hero. When Team Chaotix was back to normal, they then hastily reassigned first Shadow Man, then Blaze Woman and Silver Man, to handle them.
This is a little like throwing good money after bad. It should have become clear to them after losing the first three that "gee, this isn't working." According to the Evil Overlord rulebook, they should have sent an Alpha Strike of ultra powerful bad guys after them right then and there. They didn't. Instead, they've been throwing piecemeal forces at the good guys, including the Genesis Unit earlier on. Now, they're down to two Roboticized Masters and their army of Robot Masters... and instead of keeping Knuckles Man and Rose Woman where they were, almost ready to ruin Proto Man's day, they instead tossed them into the meat grinder.
Well, in spite of what Dark Helmet says in Spaceballs, good doesn't have the monopoly on stupidity and dumbness. Even more hilariously, they left Dr. Light awake in his cage. The least they could have done was to put him in a medically induced coma, but nooo. So now they have Rouge mucking around in the fortress Jeffries Tubes, ready to cause all sorts of mayhem because Dr. Light was able to give her a discerning engineer's perspective on "this is how you make this place stop working so good."
If the theme of this issue is dumb mistakes, then the moral of Issue 7 of the crossover is this: Don't ever rest on your laurels. It's a mantra I've brought up before, mostly in application to Mega Man during the "Time Keeps Slipping" and "Wily's Revenge" story arcs, but now we see how it works on the villains as well. Get them a little flustered, and suddenly all their plans, all their schemes come crashing down around them.
Luckily for us, Wily and Robotnik are terrible at coming up with ideas on the fly.
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.