When we last left off, Dr. Robotnik had gone with the simple, murderiffic solution to the Dr. Light problem: Shove him off a cliff. Well, okay, out an airlock into the abyss, but that's pretty much the same thing. And so what if he had Metal Sonic do all the heavy lifting? The moment was still as surprising as if he'd done the bootkicking himself.
Naturally, Mega Man's too far away to reach him in time, because when the Rush Jet got upgraded after the third Robot Rebellion, it definitely got nerfed. Sonic's in a panic because, hey, even he can't run on air, and that leaves the dark horse to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Enter Shadow, with the teleportation-riffic "Chaos Control." Gotta love the ability to open up rifts in the spacetime continuum for site to site wormhole jumps.
Landing back on his feet in the midst of the surrounded good guys, Dr. Light quickly recovers, asks Blues to pass over his helmet, and makes a call to Mega Man so our little boy blue will stop panicking and get back to work.
Oh, and did I mention that he can put together a Scrap Buster out of broken Robot Master parts in twenty seconds? I'm pretty sure he just put Tails' own efforts at Buster "Spinshot" refitting to shame right there. This also solves the age old question: Does Blues' helmet have a sunglass-shaped visor, or does it merely clamp over his existing sunglasses? It's the second option. It's nice to see that Proto Man sticks to the "Blues Brothers" curse: You never take off your glasses.
Reassured that dear old dad is alive and shooting, Mega Man, Tails, Rush, and Sonic decide it's time to finish up. Tails proves he understands the blue and red dot password system, hacks it, and sends them up to deal with the megalomaniacs. Of course, the guys still on the ground have plenty of troubles of their own still. Luckily for them, help is on the way from Mega City... and it's packing a fist full of justice.
Clearly, we have a difference of opinion here when it comes to killing. It's nice to have that clear delineation between Wily and Robotnik: Robotnik's a real bastard, and all Wily ever wanted was to be acknowledged as the greatest. This moment reminds me of Jim Carrey's interpretation of The Riddler: "Don't kill him! If you kill him, he won't leaaarn nothing!" Fuming over this one spot of contention, the two scientists agree to disagree... and the split between them widens even further.
We're treated to a lovely mixture of Robotnik and Wily death traps: Electric beams, electrified death spikes, disappearing and reappearing blocks, and... oh, crap. Those guys. Those Mega Man Killer guys. Enker, Ballade, and Punk are by far some of the most fun robots Wily ever slapped together.
Three against one would have been a problem for Mega Man, but he's got Sonic and Tails to run interference this time around. It leads to some hilarious moments of trying to out-buzzsaw Punk, knocking the red killer into Enker Bebop-and-Rocksteady style, aaand unfortunately, causing one of Ballade's bombs to smack Tails dead on. Those Ballade Crackers are no fun when you take one in the face, and that puts Tails down and out of the equation.
Mega Man takes down Ballade to finish up the fight, but the damage is done. Tails is on the wounded list, and they have to send him back to their pals below on Rush. I guess that means that Sonic and Mega Man are all alone as they confront the Chaos Devil...
Or are they?
We've known Duo was coming for issues now. The only question left was, what's going to happen when he finally shows up? The answer? He slams through the Wily Egg like the fist of an angry god!
Rest assured, if anybody can take on a mass of gelatinous semi-liquid made of pure evil, it's this frigging guy. Duo's given the short end of the stick in his singular appearance in Mega Man 8: He bounces around the room like a pinball, you shoot at him, the fight's done. He can do more. He can do loads more.
One of the "Legacy of Metal" co-authors, Magus, postulated that Duo eventually gains such zen-like control over his own energy and form that he can change to differing states of matter, on top of mastering instantaneous FTL (Faster Than Light) Teleportation. Whatever your personal belief in how much awesomeness Duo's composed of, there's one thing we can all agree on: He never quits.
He pauses long enough to tell Sonic and Mega Man that the Skull Egg Zone's caused a pretty drastic rift in the cosmic weave, and if they don't stop this, it might lead to the dissolution of both their worlds. Now it's starting to sound a little like Infinite Crisis, isn't it?
Taking over the Chaos Devil fight, Duo sends the two blue heroes on their way. He'll put down the beast; they have their own problems.
Like these guys, waiting for them behind a dual-emblem painted boss shutter door. You've got no friends left waiting to pinch hit for you, boys: This fight's all you.
I find that there's little to wax poetic about in this issue. That isn't to say it's a bad issue, I rather enjoyed it, especially since they finally were able to give Duo his due. Rather, there weren't any big surprises here that rocked me back on my heels and made me say, "Hm, that's an interesting take..." Of course, after Robotnik dropping Light off a cliff, how much more of a Wham Episode (Warning: TV Tropes --Ed.) kind of moment do you need? If anything, this issue was still reverberating with the aftershocks of that.
Aside from Duo, the one thing I enjoyed the heck out of was seeing Dr. Light whip up a Scrap Buster special and join in the fray. He's only human, you say? He's also a genius who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Wily spends forever trying to prove he's the superior robotics genius, but Light merely gets dropped into a situation that would cause lesser minds to panic, rolls up his sleeves, and pulls a miracle out of thin air.
The debate over whether or not Dr. Light is a visionary or a villain is forever ongoing in the fanbase, but I think it's valuable to take a look at him as he is here and remind ourselves that though he may have dreams of how things might be, he's not so much on the planning. He does his best work, I think, on the fly. He may represent the misguided naivete of humanity, but he also stands for all its best qualities: Loyalty, compassion, and adaptability.
When push comes to shove, he'll come through for you. That dogged tenacity that guides Mega Man, and later on, Mega Man X, had to come from somewhere. It's nice to see the source of that drive still burning brightly, shining like a beacon.
The star of Wily and Robotnik is fading. Their union of devilry is collapsing, the bonds of "Friendship" aren't so grand in the pinch, and the Cosmic Joke has reared its ugly head.
The star of Dr. Light and the force of goodness is ascendant. Two issues left to go supernova.
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.