Everybody breathe a sigh of relief: Mega Man finally looks like Mega Man again. Team Hero has gotten a significant boost, now that they've rounded up all of Sonic's pals, so the final blitz for the teleporter pad is on. Still no sign of Duo, so rest assured when Bigger Blue shows up, it's going to do something like crack the sky apart.
We've been wanting a decent fight since basically the start of this crossover, and after way too much time messing around with the Roboticized Masters, we finally get the Bacchanalian orgy of Rated E violence we've been salivating for. Against the good guys stands the amassed Robot Master army from Mega Man 2 and onwards, and as a last minute pinch hitter, the roboticized Rouge.
Suffice it to say, everybody gets a moment to shine in the punching fest, and there's more to squee about than I have scans to provide; I like to keep those to an insightful minimum, after all. But here are some of the highlights NOT in my images. Napalm Man and Omega (no, the Sonic Omega...) having at it with all barrels firing, Blaze going nova and annihilating every fire based Robot Master in a single glorious explosion, Sonic getting into a road race with Charge Man, Quick Man, Nitro Man, and Quick Man, making the latter trip and go into a tumble while shouting "I hate that hedgehog!" like Robotnik did in the SatAM cartoon, while Flash Man goes into another midlife crisis while fighting Silver. Everyone, say it with me: "So... much... hair!"
This moment with Sonic and Shadow is more hilarious for those who know the Robot Master weaknesses. Top Man's weakness in Mega Man 3 was the Hard Knuckle, so what does Sonic do? He dumps the entire cement mixer-shaped robot on top of the roller skating fool. I love it when they use the weaknesses for gags like this: To this day, nothing is guaranteed to make me giggle as much as looking at Cybermoon Studios' Mega Man 2 Robot Master weakness chart and seeing Metal Man punching himself in the face. Well, maybe Frost Man singing "Jingle Bells" in that old Andrew Dickman Flash short...
There's one very enormous two page spread where we get to see Sonic going all out in a swerving pattern around the battlefield, ducking and dodging fire, knocking Robot Masters around, and even taking the time to make faces at them. The thing he does to Strike Man is hilarious. "You tried to throw a baseball at me. Really?" His open armed askance implies. Naturally, you'll have to get this issue to find it for yourself.
Now, as exciting, cathartic, and welcome as this Robot Master violence is, we still have one last Roboticized Master to deal with. That Question Mark, remember? Rouge still needs to be rescued for a total victory here. Thankfully, she's as much of a pushover encased in metal as she ever was in her regular form, so cleanup is easy for Sonic and Mega Man.
However, the sad part of this ongoing battle is that the Robot Masters are regenerating as quickly as they're eliminating them. It seems that messing around with the time-space continuum allows the evil doctors to pull copies from various moments in time, basically an unlimited supply. So they have to deal with the problem at the source, which means it's time for Sonic, Tails, Rush, and Mega Man to make a blitz through the lines. With all of their buddies clearing a path, they get a straight shot for the flying Wily Egg up above.
And now it's time to pull back to the more elaborate subplot of this issue: What the heck is Dr. Light doing?
At the start of the issue, we find him doing rather well, having a not so friendly chat with Wily while Robotnik looks on. The evil doctors thought they'd have a spot of fun by throwing a Metool and a Motobug into his prison cell to see which one would mangle him worse. The robots ended up fighting each other instead.
While a flustered Wily is shut down cold, Light rattles off every failure of his former friend's where Wily thought he was in control, and wasn't. There are quite a few. Of course, he doesn't stop there-- he goes on to blab about all of Robotnik's oopsies as well. And this is an important mistake. Not only does Light indicate that he knows exactly what they're up to, but he knows a whole heck of a lot about an evil doctor who he's never met in person before as well. Wily's just angry, so he goes storming off; it's Robotnik who turns thoughtful as he follows his buddy to watch the carnage.
We return to Dr. Light in his cell, cobbling together a makeshift radio out of the busted down Metool and Motobug so he can try and reach anybody on Team Hero who might be tuning into the frequency. Well, someone is listening: Robotnik.
With Metal Sonic coming along, he returns to the prison block on his own initiative. "Well, aren't we resourceful?" he cheerfully remarks in silhouette. Light tipped his hand with all his earlier speechifying, and now Robotnik knows that he's not as harmless in a prison cell as Wily thought he was. No, he's something else. He's a smart old guy who knows how to throw a wrench into things... like, say, helping a saboteur attack critical systems. He's "quite resourceful."
This is a critical moment here that displays the one major difference between Wily and Robotnik. For all his blustering, for all his opportunities, Dr. Wily never went for the final solution.
Over the edge and towards oblivion goes Dr. Light, and the question comes... will Mega Man be fast enough to catch him, from his starting point on the other side of the giant hole in the ground? Let's hope so. I don't want to see what Mega Man would do if he saw his creator murdered in front of his eyes.
People have destroyed small countries for less.
They certainly took their sweet time building up to the awesomeness of the crossover, didn't they? I look at Issue 9, and the past four issues just sort of blur together into a mess I'd prefer not to revisit. This is where the fun kicks in. A Mega Man and company that looks like I expect them to. Gags and really well thought out combat. And to top it all off, something I can wax poetic about in the closing editorial remarks. This week, we're going to talk about Dr. Wily and Dr. Robotnik.
We ask ourselves, who is more awesome? Who's more capable? Most of the time, I keep them on the same level. But like I said above, there are some things that Wily never attempted. There was a line he wasn't willing to cross. Robotnik just crossed that line, and in a very big fashion: He's decided that for ultimate victory, he'll throw Light to his death. The only way he could make that decision in a more visceral way would be if he leveled a laser pistol at Light's head, pulled the trigger, and left the good doctor's corpse to fester and rot.
This being a comic aimed at kids, though, we try and keep gun violence of that sort out of it. They tried gun violence in Shadow The Hedgehog, and look how much that hurt them (Probably a good part of why that game was never adapted in the comics. --Ed.).
Why is Robotnik able to make this transition? More importantly, why doesn't Wily? They both already have misunderstood genius and world-dominating megalomaniac on their resumes, what's wrong with a little murder for flavor, right? On the panoply of felony offenses, murder's rather minor to the sort of mass mayhem, terrorism, enslavement, and cosmos-altering experiments they're both famous for.
And yet it's so important, because its presence... or absence... keys us in to what's going through the minds of Mr. Gray Mustache and Mr. Orange Mustache. For all his blustering, for all the destruction he's caused, Wily is motivated for an entirely different reason than Robotnik.
To Wily, all his plans since the day he hijacked the six original Robot Masters were geared towards proving that he was the greatest. With all his opportunities to put Dr. Light six feet under, it wasn't what he wanted. He despises his former friend in the sense that he spent forever in Light's shadow, and wants to prove to himself, to Light, and to the world that he's better than all of them. His snarling speech in the prison block with Light is the best indicator. "You're scared, Thomas! Scared your lack of ambition will finally leave you eclipsed in the shadow of my brilliance!"
Robotnik, on the other hand... well. To start with, he comes from a version of earth where an alien race eliminated most of humanity after being mistreated, which means that he's already part of an endangered species. His ultimate goal was never about proving that he was the greatest; it was always about control.
From the earliest days, when he hijacked the Roboticizer from Uncle Chuck and used it as a way to enslave the Mobian populace to his will, he's been fighting a battle to make himself ascendant. He is by far the more menacing megalomaniac. He already knows he's the greatest, most brilliant mind on his world. He doesn't have to prove that to anyone, though he may spout it off just to remind them from time to time.
Robotnik wants the world firmly under his heel, and he'll do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. And if that stirs some facet of remembrance in you from earlier issues of Mega Man's comic book run, then that's good. The phrase "whatever it takes" was also used by the most dangerous villain Mega Man's ever gone up against in the Archie series so far: Xander Payne, terrorist.
Some issues before, I made the argument that Mega Man was a better all-around hero than Sonic, because of what motivated him, what he fought for, and the fact that his Spinshot basically made Sonic obsolete. Here in Part 9 of the crossover, Ian Flynn has again thrown down the gauntlet in bold fashion and declared something very loudly.
Wily may cause all sorts of havoc and hell, but when the chips are down, it's Robotnik you want to watch out for. He's willing to go to an extreme that Wily isn't. In a knockdown fight, you never want to limit yourself or hold back. Wily could have ended the threat of Light permanently, but he didn't.
If it came down to it, Robotnik would throw Wily under the bus a lot quicker, and a lot more forcefully than Wily ever would. Robotnik is willing to take a life in cold blood to ensure his rise to godhood. He'll be the real threat in the final part of this run, you can be assured of that.
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.