The Blue Ink Reviews Mega Man #49 – The Once and Future X

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not." -The Lorax, The Lorax

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As you may remember from the preview pages, the assorted Series 2 and 3 Robot Masters find themselves being awakened in Light Labs with the promise of a new lease on life. And a distinct lack of weaponry. To their stunned surprise, they find their Wily programming removed and replaced with something more benign. Under the supervision of Dr. Light, each and every Robot Master is offered a choice, to help humanity instead of fighting against it.

But not everyone is keen on the idea, Quick Man chief among them. Some feel too specialized to be utilized properly. Quick Man himself argues that his sole purpose for being created was to fight Mega Man. And without that? Well... better to burn out than to fade away.

Curiously though, Shadow Man decides to opt into Dr. Light's rehabilitation program. But then, he never really had a full set of Wily programming, and I doubt he's fully reprogrammed from his roots as a Ra Moon/Stardroid subordinate either. Something in the ninja-bot's smile just makes me leery that he's not done throwing wrenches into the machine.

And so, crushing Mega Man's little heart all over again, Quick Man, Needle Man, Gemini Man, Top Man, Magnet Man, Heat Man, Metal Man, and Crash Man decide that they would prefer to be deactivated instead. "To not be the real Quick Man, now that's a waste," the red speedster remarks glibly. You can't save everyone, especially if they don't want to be saved.

Now, then. How about Mr. X and Dr. Wily?

While Agents Stern and Krantz are tough gumshoes, they're still a part of the system and bound by its rules and regulations. Stymied by the sudden appearance of the "X Corporation" claiming ownership of the island which Wily Fortress 3 sits on, the police officers are refused entry by Madam Y. As a bonus though, Agent Krantz dismisses Y's request to have "eight pieces of technology" that Light Labs absconded with returned to them. The game of backscratching requires both sides to play, after all.

There's more going on than Krantz is comfortable with, and all of Stern's conspiracy theories seem to be panning out for a change. Still, there's little they can do except watch, wait, and get ready to move when the time is right.

Of course, for Mr. X, time is always the issue.

Note Mr. X's disdain for Wily's health and that eye of his. This is important.

In a particularly ominous mission statement, Mr. X tells Wily that he'll be working for him, and doing the exact same thing he was doing before. Only he wants Wily to do a better job of it. To make the world suffer and burn so that the future he has "seen" will not come to pass, and humanity will do away with robots.

Of course, once Wily accepts, he's promptly sucked through an interdimensional portal kicking and screaming by Sigma.

And that's where Worlds Unite steps in, and I bow out.

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Oh, Xander Payne. It had to be you. Statistically, there's a 15% chance it might be Serges from Mega Man X2, but my money's on Payne as the secret identity of Mr. X, thanks to that whole "I've seen the future" and "I'll prevent the robot apocalypse by doing whatever it takes" mantra that Mr. X has.

Plus there's that whole "X-in-his-name" thing. Serges doesn't have an "X" in his name. The real question then, is "if Xander Payne is Mr. X, are we looking at an older, wiser Xander who somehow traveled back in time and spent decades building up the X Corporation so he could strike at this particular moment?" And for that matter, why would Xander Payne ever work with Sigma and Robotnik if his ultimate goal is to prevent the future of 21XX, and hence, Sigma, from ever appearing in the first place? Is he hoping for a double cross? A double-double cross? And what if, by sponsoring Wily to cause even greater robotic havoc, Xander Payne is actually feeding into the future's certainty? A self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts?

As I've said in a previous Blue Ink Editorial (which I do very rarely, so far my record is once a year for those), I won't be doing the reviews on the Worlds Unite story arc this summer. If I've been following The Mega Man Network's news feeds correctly however, somebody else has already been lined up to take over reviewing the comics for the next big crossover event. I wish them all the best, and hope that they can deliver a meaningful experience for the viewers who come to the Network to get their comic update fix.

In the coming months you will see very little of me. But rest assured, once the insanity has died down and we're back to business as usual, I and the Blue Ink will be waiting on the other end of the line to welcome you back to fall, another school year, and more Mega Man goodness. And of course, Mighty No. 9 come September.

Capcom may have moved on, but the spirit of our heroic little robot endures. As do we.

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.