The Blue Ink Reviews Mega Man #28 – One Shall Stand...

1268269_ful 1268268_ful "We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." --Carl Sagan

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So, that happened. That whole "Worlds Collide" thing, that is, and sure enough, the Cosmic Reset that Mega Man used via "Chaos Control" dropped us right back where we left off... with Mega Man and Break Man having themselves a fine duel, while Team Demolition (Guts Man, Cut Man, and Bomb Man) licks their wounds. You might recall, although it's been a long time, that Mega City was celebrating the birthday of Mega Man with that whole rename the city after him ceremony. Break Man, being the party pooper that he is, had decided to go and mangle things up.

It takes Mega Man a while to reorient himself. Missing time? Check. Slightly woozy feeling? Check. Aaand we're right back to it. But wait, perhaps what we need here is the diplomatic approach!

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Well, perhaps not. We leave Break Man and Mega Man still duking it out whilst the comic jumps back to the Lanfront Ruins... because, after all, there's still that whole Dr. Wily side of the equation to deal with, right?

Wily is also temporarily unsettled by the reversion to the normal timeline, but he has his recorded lab notes to fall back on. He double checks his records, and there's no mention of a Chaos Emerald, Dr. Robotnik, or any of that stuff-- just the plan he'd been working on prior to everything going wonky, using Ra Moon to wreck the world with an EMP wave and take over. He seems poised for ultimate victory... but there's one problem. The machine has a mind of its own.

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With the aid of some tentacled electroshock, Ra Moon manages to fulfill his entire evil villain monologue very quickly in real-time, force-feeding the knowledge into Wily's brain. The truth?

Ra Moon predates the Ice Age, was worshipped as a god by a proto-civilization in the Americas, and would bide his time until humanity had advanced sufficiently. His plan? Trigger the EMP wave, allow the world to devolve into chaos, and sit back and watch as humanity tears itself apart.

See? We start doing funny things when the power goes out.

Enraged, Wily soon realizes that every means he might have on the spot of stopping Ra Moon is useless. There's only one thing he can do, which is to run and head for the hills... or in his case, his next backup Skull Fortress. Call the man crazy, but I think it shows a high level of shrewd pragmatism to understand that he'll always need a fallback plan.

Back in Mega City, Dr. Light and Roll try desperately to push through the crowd of cell-phone carrying, videotaping buffoons watching the fight going on overhead who fail to grasp that debris from blown up skyscrapers can kill them on impact. As soon as Light tells Roll that Break Man might actually be their long lost older brother, Blues, our favorite blond-haired deuteragonist jumps into gear and makes her way up the side of the building, using the fire escapes. It's amazing that it's still standing, given how much firepower's getting thrown around.

She arrives just in time to barely warn Mega Man, and then do something incredibly stupid that still manages to stop the fight dead in its tracks:

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Point of reference: If you're going to jump in front of somebody to take a bullet for them, first make sure you're wearing more, or an equivalent amount of armor than the intended target. Mega Man likely could have survived getting shot in the back... especially since Break Man has proven he's more than willing to do so once before, back before the crossover happened. All complaining aside, Roll acts on impulse. One shall fall. She's not about to let it be either of her brothers.

There isn't time to mourn Roll's noble, if misguided sacrifice: Ra Moon's triggered his planet-wide electromagnetic pulse.

♪ You got The Pulse... you got no poweeer, yeah! ♪...sorry. --Ed.

Cell phones turn off. TVs go dark. Lights fizzle and spark to lifelessness. Emergency rooms become death rooms with no monitoring equipment to keep patients alive. Cars crash into sidewalks full of pedestrians, trains derail, and planes fall out of the sky. For the planet Earth, and all human civilization, this has just become a very bad day. In one fell swoop, Ra Moon does more harm to humanity than any scheme Wily's ever cooked up.

And who's going to stop him? Robot Masters the world over keel over and shut off. Quake Woman, Splash Woman, Ice Man, Cossack's bunch, even Team Demolition fizzle and sputter out. Mega Man, clutching Roll to his chest and brandishing his Mega Buster, goes through apoplexy and holds dark. The only mechanical things left moving are the Robot Masters which Ra Moon had a hand in building... or rebuilding.

What would Hot Rod do?

Congratulations, Break Man. You got your wish, after all... you're the last son of Light left standing. Was it everything you wanted? I hope so. There's little that the prodigal son of Dr. Thomas Light can do except stand on the rooftop and watch in horror as the world falls apart around him. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

One shall stand, Break Man. Time to be the hero.

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The concept of what happens after civilization falls apart is one that's been hammered to death. What causes it? Zombie apocalypse? Natural resource shortage? Overpopulation? The collapse of government? A global epidemic? World wars? We've lived through them all, and if it's any indicator, we'll probably survive the next one; it's just a matter of what gets lost in the process.

When Roman civilization fell (having collapsed from the inside), we got the Dark Ages, and only started crawling out of it around the time of the Renaissance, though the Black Death slowed things down by a century. Nevertheless, the so-called "End of the World" is big business for books and movies. Anymore, I just roll my eyes. It's not so much the end of the world, as it is like the song says: "The end of the world as we know it."

There were shades of Ra Moon's betrayal during the "Worlds Collide" arc: Dr. Light listed this as one of Wily's terrific failures. In the years to come, Wily will learn that nothing good ever comes from outer space. Ra Moon? A bust. The Stardroids, especially Sunstar? Self-serving. Duo? Oh God, keep him away from me. And then, depending on your take, the Evil Energy, and whether or not it was a one-off or the inspiration for some of the grislier elements of the Maverick Virus coding-- that is, if you believe Wily was responsible for the Virus at all... there's plenty of room for interpretation there, believe me. Capcom does love to make a mess of things.

A world-wide "electrical shutdown" is of particular interest to me, however. They used it on The Day the Earth Stood Still (the original one is still the best, thank you very much), only that wave spared emergency services and didn't cause planes to crash. Ra Moon's EMP wave is far less discriminating, and thus, far more deadly.

What makes Ra Moon's tactic particularly effective, aside from ensuring that there'll be a lot of fatalities in the aftermath, is that it denies his enemies (which is everyone) any chance of mounting a counterattack. Sorry, folks. No guided missiles, no lasers, no planes, no tanks... just bombs and guns, like he said. And I doubt bombs and guns are enough to stop Ra Moon and his Robot Master flunkies.

They are his flunkies, make no doubt about that. Shadow Man appeared to be as ancient as Ra Moon, since they found him in the ruins, and one thing was perfectly clear in his expression while he was trudging around with the others outside the Lanfront Ruins. The wave won't affect them... "as long as they're with Ra Moon." In other words, his servitude to the cause might not be self-chosen. It might be he's a dark horse that can be turned to the side of good.

As for the side of good, all they have left, really, is Break Man. The only reason he's spared is because Ra Moon permitted him to be "reactivated"... in other words, his immunity might not be permanent. Perhaps Light can study it and figure out an anti-EMP shield to protect Mega Man and pals for a rush on the ruins. Perhaps. And that's assuming Break Man comes clean, and the others are willing to work with him after all the havoc he's caused. He did just shoot his sister, so they may not be in a forgiving mood.

The problem with Mega Man in general is trying to either find new ways to make Wily more menacing than his usual "destroy Mega Man and prove my l33tness" machinations, or to create new villains which can be just as, if not more, awesome. Sigma was a gangbusters villain at first, but he quickly devolved into the running joke of the X series. "Oh, yeah. Sigma's back. Terrific." That's why having Lumine as the final villain in X8, or Colonel Redips in Command Mission (with no mention of Sigma!) were such marvelous things: There aren't nearly enough villains to be found.

What keeps me coming back in the comics? Certainly, it's because I love character development, and this series has boatloads of it... but it's also because Archie has significant leeway to expand the Mega Man universe within the comic continuity. And look what they've given us! Detectives Stern and Krantz! The Emerald Spears and Xander Payne! And now, Ra Moon. When you only have apples, sometimes you need to grow a new tree.

This issue was only a prelude to the Super Adventure Rockman-based "Blackout: The Curse of Ra Moon" story arc, but it's a good, solid lead-in piece. And that image of BReak Man standing over the wreckage and ruin of Mega City is going to stick in my mind for a long time. This is his chance to prove himself; I pray he takes it.

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.