We’re just trucking along in the latest Archie Mega Man arc, which began in issue #13. The “Spirit ex Machina” storyline is approaching its climax in #15, as Mega Man, Pharaoh Man, Elec Man, and the original character Quake Woman must disable bombs planted inside the Advanced Robotics Trade Show to prevent the deaths of all the robots in attendance as well as their creators. All the while, they have to avoid harming the human Emerald Spears terrorists behind the whole operation.
For a kids’ comic, this current arc tackles some really heavy subjects in regards to humanity and ethics. Last year, I had written an article that questioned the logic behind granting robots personality and self-awareness. I was observing the events of the Mega Man series through the eyes of Dr. Wily, painting him as a tragic hero in the face of Dr. Light’s naive and misguided attempts to turn machines into friends and family. While the comic approaches the subject from a much different angle, it echoes many of the arguments I originally presented.
By giving a robot a “heart,” we are forming an emotional bond that could potentially impede rational judgment. On the other hand, robots with a “heart” can potentially enrich people’s lives in ways that simple tools never could. It’s a very deep debate, and I’m stunned that the comic is handling it so eloquently.