"Nothing has more strength than dire necessity." -Euripides, Helen
It was a Robot Master free-for-all when we left off in issue 29, and the fireworks continue right off page one. Mega Man would have a tough go of it if he were fighting by himself, but with Guts Man, Cut Man, and Bomb Man forming The Wreckers for support, he's a little better off. Still, he's puzzled. There's more going on than meets the eye, and eager for answers, his confusion is made worse by Metal Man trying to keep a lid on the crowing of Bubble Man and company. As soon as he picks up the Metal Blade, courtesy of some timely assistance from Bomb Man, the fight quickly becomes one-sided. Metal Blade in hand, the Blue Bomber dispatches its originator and Bubble Man in short order, then picks up the Bubble Lead to put out Heat Man's flame charge. Flash Man manages a brief moment of surprise with the Time Stopper, but Cut Man and Mega Man disarm him (literally) and put the fight to an end. To the surprise of the four Robot Masters sent to intercept them, Mega Man and The Wreckers leave them defeated, but alive, and proceed on.
Of course, what's Wily doing? For one, getting some fresh fruit in him, after Break Man gets back from his scavenging.
News of Mega Man's arrival causes him to crush the banana in his hand, and then he does the unthinkable: He uses Break Man's yellow scarf as a napkin. There are some things you don't do, like that old Jim Croce song. You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, and you definitely don't use Break Man's scarf as a napkin. Still, he gives Break Man new marching orders: Observe and report.
Mega Man and company check in with Light long enough to hear that things are getting worse, which only affirms their need to speed things up. As soon as they hit the ruins, though, the last of the second rebellion Robot Masters hit them hard, minus Quick Man.
The fighting comes to a quick stop once they start talking, and soon the remaining Robot Master decide maybe it's worth at least seeing what's up. After all, there's a difference between protecting their creator and having the entire world fall apart. Meanwhile, in the shadows of the nearby foliage, there's other things to worry about.
Finally revealing his true allegiance, Shadow Man decides he's had enough of these goody-goody robots interfering with Ra Moon's machinations. Remember, in this continuity, Shadow Man was found deactivated in the ruins, as much of a relic as Ra Moon himself was. Shadow Man was always a beast to take on in Mega Man 3 if you didn't have the Top Spin, and he definitely proves his chops here. One by one, with his elite ninja fighting skills, Shadow Man disables both Mega Man's team and the Wily Robot Masters. He's in his element, blocking shots, dodging punches, and hurling Shadow Blades like a madman. In the end, only the timely interference of a wounded, but not incapacitated Quick Man allows Mega Man to land a wounding blow, using the sacrifice of Quick Man's attacks to make his own. Quick Man gets a kunai in the back, but Shadow Man gets a Crash Bomb in his. Shadow Man retreats, and the battered Wreckers and Mega Man pick up the injured Wilybots to catch a few hours' rest and recovery. And that's when Break Man shows up.
From Break Man, Mega Man finally gets the whole scoop: The alien intelligence Ra Moon is behind it all, Wily's up the creek without a paddle, and though the Mega Man 2 Robot Masters can be trusted, the same can't be said for any of the new ones. At least he knows a shortcut. The only problem is...they're not the only ones who do.
Thanks to his snooping, burrowing, attack/spy combination weapon the Search Snake, so does Snake Man, who's paired up with Needle Man. And so does Ra Moon, who quickly hijacks the pair and takes total control over them. They will be his weapons, his line of defense against the intruders.
And as always, things get a little hairier.
We all have our favorite Robot Masters, the ones we begin to personally identify with. When I was younger, I used to describe what kind of day I was having in terms of stages from Mega Man 3: "Ah, the weather's lousy. It's a Gemini Man day. Today's great? It's a Snake Man day!" The Magnet Man days were the ones filled with the most promise, though.
The team-ups present in this issue are terrific to watch: Having the Wreckers on hand allowed Mega to disable the first wave of attackers in short order, and of course, now he has the Metal Blade... which remains as always, the most hilarious and effective weapon, especially when Metal Man attacks himself. (God, I want that picture of him punching himself in the face again...) Even more awesome to read was Shadow Man taking them all to town. The guy's a beast, and he'll be the deadliest Robot Master to take on for a good long time. Without the Top Spin, he's a tough cookie, but the way he fights is classier than the just as devastating Elec Man. Elec Man, you can predict. Not so with Shadow Man. Like a true ninja, you never know what he's going to pull out of his hood. Pirate Man is years away from coming into existence, so we can forget that old joke to rescue us.
Shadow Man's sudden blitz on the Lightbots and the Wilybots is a warning, and (to pardon the pun) fair foreshadowing of the troubles they have ahead of them. How powerful are the Robot Masters from the third Robot Rebellion? The answer is, pretty powerful. Shadow Man may be their deadliest member, but the others aren't exactly slouches either. All of them love to get in your face.
From the perspective we have, we can see that getting to Ra Moon and Wily is not going to be easy. In fact, it's questionable if they'll all make it, or if they'll start dropping off like flies, sacrificial style, so Mega Man and Break Man can storm the tower with minimal damage. I'd personally stake a wager on the dropping like flies angle; I get that kind of vibe from this mess.
The humorous moments are there in this issue: Wily wiping banana detritus on Break Man's scarf, Metal Man complaining about getting pwned with his own weapon again, and Quick Man pulling his own Big Damn Hero moment. Overall though, only two things are confirmed:
Stopping Ra Moon is going to take everything they have... and Wily will find some way, with Ra Thor, to make it worse.
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.