"A friend loves you for your intelligence, a mistress for your charm, but your family's love is unreasoning: you were born into it and are of its flesh and blood. Nevertheless it can irritate you more than any other group of people in the world." Andre Maurois, The Art of Family Life
"Two men enter, one man leaves!" -Max Max Beyond Thunderdome
25 issues or so after we got our first look at the robot that Blues was, we finally get the showdown that's been building up for the entire time. It's a Civil War in the House of Light, a clash of ideals, and only one son can win.
Sounds like a round of Mario Kart at my family reunions.
While Wily and Doc Robot can only wait inside the lair and wait for the outcome, one way or another, Dr. Light and Roll are even worse off. Stuck at home with his lab trashed, they can offer no more help, no voice communications, no backup of any kind to their family member.
For Light, it's worse. He knows that Blues... Break Man... will be waiting there when Mega Man and Rush arrive. He has to live with the fact that his two sons are going to fight, and that one of them probably won't be walking away from this. Somehow, he manages to swallow his pain, his guilt and his grief, and console Roll. He may be a misguided scientist, but as a father, he's doing his best to make up for his past mistakes. He urged Mega Man to save Break Man if he could, but all he can do is wait and hope.
Now, let's focus on the fight. It's the whole focus of the issue, and believe me, it doesn't disappoint.
Mega Man tells Rush to stay clear of the fight and then asks Break Man a question before they get started: Why would his brother do all those horrible things, work with Wily, fight against him, and yet paradoxically worry about Roll and do other confusing things?
Blues counters with a few questions of his own:
If it wasn't clear to the readers before, here it is laid out. Blues feels betrayed. Replaced. Every flashback image tied to every question drives the nails home. Everything he was to Dr. Light, Mega Man has torn out from underneath him. When Mega Man answers "all of the above", well, I'd go nuts, too.
And that's what starts the firefight.
Why does Blues have to believe that they're just robots? Because if they're not, if Light built him and Mega Man to be his family, his sons, then it means that any last lingering hopes Blues had of ever coming home, of ever belonging, are dead and gone. And that's how he felt: Dead and gone. He has to believe that they're nothing but robots, because it hurts too much otherwise. The complex emotions that Rock, Roll, and Blues possess are hair triggers if misdirected, and with Blues, they've taken a decidedly skewed slant into the realm of Crazytown.
They fight with everything they have... well, almost everything. Mega Man reserves his special weapons for the castle itself, trying to keep things on an even playing field, Buster to Buster. In the end, though, Mega Man's done way more fighting than Blues ever did. It's no surprise who wins.
Blues tells him to finish the job, destroy him. But really, how could Mega Man ever do that? Blues insists he has no purpose, that Mega Man has supplanted him so entirely that his existence is meaningless. And Mega Man responds as only he, the comic's Paladin archetype, can. He holds out his hand to help Blues up and tells him that he's giving him a new purpose: Being Rock's big brother.
Then Blues knocks his hand away. Like a boss.
Blues still has some stuff to sort out by himself, and he needs time to do it in. But he blasts a hole in the ground and tells Rock the best way to get to Wily and Gamma is through the sewers. After one last parting remark of "Nice shot", he BWOO-WIPS his way out of the story (for now). Following his big brother's advice, Mega Man dives into the tunnels underneath the third Skull Castle and gets past the heaviest layers of defense...
But leave it to Wily to drop something big in his path regardless.
This guy always made me use the most E Tanks of any boss in the game. Ridiculous flying bricks...
Between recapping the issue and getting to the editorial portion of The Blue Ink, I took some time to grab some dinner, watch some LEGO Batman with my friends, and put my scattered thoughts in order. It helped me to get some much needed distance and perspective here.
Twenty or so issues ago, I asked the question "why didn't Blues just knock or kick in the damn front door of Light's lab when he saw his dad with Rock and Roll?" How much easier would it have been if they'd all just had about five minutes of shouting, crying, laughing and group hugging, and Blues had found out he hadn't been replaced in the slightest... he'd just been given a brother to hang out with and a sister to feel protective about? Why didn't he just do that, instead of running off feeling angry?
For the same reason he ran away from home in the first place, some might have replied... when has Blues ever done anything the easy, rational way? Never. Whether here in the comics or in the video games, he's the walking montage of Green Day's early stuff... he walks alone, he walks alone.
And then I thought about it a little more. Aside from it not fitting his personality, doing so would have had more dramatic effects. I once posed the question in an old fanfic, "what would have happened if Zero and the Maverick Virus had never been unearthed, and 21XX had happened without them?" The answer, my grumpy ass medical reploid had told an anguished Crimson Hunter, was nothing good. Similarly, using that same method of chronological causation reasoning, we end up in a similar scenario with Blues sticking around and not running off after seeing Rock and Roll for the first time. And the sequence of events has little to do with the games, and everything to do with the ongoing plot in the comic books.
Okay. So let's say that Blues stuck around. He doesn't escape to the Lanfront Ruins and basically die on Wily's doorstep. He never becomes Break Man. He never gets EM-proofed to Ra Moon's effects, and while it means he never has a showdown with Mega Man and ends up shooting Roll, he also never will get the chance to pass along the data on the protective coating to Dr. Light which Mega Man and pals use to stop Ra Moon once and for all. He would have simply shut down along with all the other robots, the world would have been doomed, and there would have been no assault on Lanfront.
While Break Man has walked a long and lonely road, the twisted and convoluted course his life has taken has placed him exactly where he needed to be at the critical moments in the Archie chronology to be of most effect. That's the deviousness of it. You can't change a blessed thing about the path his life has taken. You shouldn't wish to; any alteration in his past would affect not just his own personal future, but lead to the world's destruction.
With that knowledge in mind, my aggravation towards Blues for his hardheadedness is removed. Instead, sympathy takes its place. I feel sorry for him, and I know that he's still got some things to sort out, but he's suffered for a reason. His existence has, at the most critical points in the Ra Moon arc, kept the world spinning and most everyone on it alive.
Yet more proof, in reflecting on past Blue Inks, that Ian Flynn is very good at his craft. Here's to Blues... the unsung hero.
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.