"Evil begets Evil." --Priest Vito Cornelius, The Fifth Element
Some days, there's just no escaping certain realities, like being outgunned, outnumbered, and out of time. Mega Man is certainly feeling the pressure of all those factors as he pushes into the depths of the Lanfront Ruins, following the secret route provided by Break Man. While his erstwhile older brother remains behind to repair the Generation 2 Wilybots and two-thirds of The Wreckers, the Blue Bomber proceeds ahead with Rush and Guts Man to make their surgical strike.
Naturally, trouble finds them. Snake Man and Needle Man had been keeping them under observation, and they make their attack in the dark.
It's a close encounter of the ugly kind, but with some quick thinking on the part of Rock, and the fact that Ra Moon sent Needle Man ahead first with the weapon that Snake Man is weak to, it's a short one. Megs and his two compadres forge on, emerging above ground in the heart of the ruins. With nobody around shooting at them, Mega Man takes the opportunity to call home and see how the situation is worsening.
Though the Robot Masters are doing what they can on the homefront, it's only a matter of time before it's all a wash. The EM wave Ra Moon is generating is getting worse, and it'll fry everyone, mechanical or biological alike soon enough.
Mega Man doesn't have the time to angst poetic about it, because that's when Gemini Man strikes. And an odd thing happens: Gemini Man, capable of splitting himself in two, with one being more intangible than the other, manages to partially escape the "takeover" effect created by Ra Moon's interference. The physical Gemini Man is hijacked by Ra Moon as his slave, but the holographic one retains Gemini Man's personality, which remains loyal to Wily and his vision of a better world.
The distraction caused by their arguing gives Mega Man the chance to hit the overtaken copy with a solid shot, putting him down. It also ends the Ra Moon hijack. Gemini Man gives Meggy a warning, then makes a hasty retreat, giving Mega Man a bout of confusion. It shouldn't be confusing by now, though: Break Man already explained that the Series 3 Robot Masters weren't entirely secure, thanks to Ra Moon having a hand in their construction.
And speak of the devil. Just when Mega Man needs an army to fight an army, in comes the prodigal son, dragging the entire extended family with him. They definitely have their work cut out for them as they blast their way into the central Lanfront chamber: Ra Moon and his Series 3 goons are packing plenty of firepower as well. It's an evenly matched fight, in spite of Team Hero having superior numbers. Perhaps Ra Moon's hijacking of the Series 3 Robot Masters gives them an edge... and of course, the big old sphere has his own means of attack as well.
In comes Wily. Having being hidden in a nearby room for weeks, he emerges at the sound of the ongoing fight and decides that it's time for drastic measures. He's been working on a new Robot Master, Ra Thor, for some time, and the sucker's finally finished. Only one problem with this timely intercession. Ra Thor was made out of technology derived from Ra Moon. It's sort of like battling a tidal wave by throwing a bucket of water at it.
Just like that, things go from bad to absolutely terrible. With Ra Thor, Ra Moon, and the Series 3 Robot Masters standing against a weakened force, it seems like the fight to save planet Earth is lost. Even Break Man gets in on the despondency.
But Mega Man isn't buying it. Like any good paladin archetype, he doesn't know how to give up. He just keeps swinging for the fences. So take a page from your little brother's book, Break Man, and remember that quote from Galaxy Quest...
"Never give up. Never surrender."
There's little for me to wax poetic about, and maybe it's because I'm more focused on bringing my Thanksgiving turkeys this week than the Blue Bomber, I find myself struggling to find a theme to follow here. This resulted in a good thirty-five seconds of contemplative thought, which gives us today's issue to focus on:
The Untouchables had probably the most visceral example of escalation, as said by Sean Connery: "They reach for a knife, you pull a gun. They put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue!"
Escalation rarely has a happy ending: In the Atomic Age, escalation was thankfully something whose presumed ultimate end was kept at bay, because nobody wanted to have kids who glowed in the dark. In the case of this comic, escalation refers to Ra Moon's antics. In the beginning, it sat quietly, using Wily while resting under the guise of obedient AIbert Wily flunkie. Then it usurped Wily and forced our resident bad guy to hide in a closet. Then it sent out a planetwide EM pulse and caused the great Technological Apocalypse. Then, slowly but steadily, it's been increasing the power of the EM wave, turning it to biological killing levels. Escalation.
Mega Man's gone up against many enemies in his time. Xander Payne and the Emerald Spears radical faction remain my favorite, just because they evoke so many great issues and questions to espouse on at length. Chances are good we'll be seeing them again in the wake of these troubled times. But in terms of "Wow, things just got real", Ra Moon definitely tops things. He's escalated the crisis to... well, crisis level... and more importantly, the folks over at Archie have used the plotline of Super Adventure Rockman to really turn things on their heads. The "Blackout" storyline pushes the "hero out to save the whole freaking world" element of Mega Man to the forefront. Any time Mega Man has to go up against trouble in the future, I'll end up comparing it to what happens here. So congratulations, Archie crew. You've upped the ante...
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.