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|Spiritus Ex Machina|
Cover for Volume 4 Trade Paperback by Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante and Matt Herms
Mega Man Volume 4 - Spiritus Ex Machina is the fourth Graphic Novel of the Mega Man comic book series by Archie Comics. It collects the entire "Spiritus Ex Machina" story arc, which introduces characters such as Dr. Cossack and Kalinka, as well as some of Archie's original characters like Dr. Lalinde and Quake Woman.
Direct market on-sale: 12/26/2012
112 pgs, $11.99 US, full-color
The explosive new chapter in the Mega Man mythology has arrived! What began as a conference to decide the future of advanced robotics turns to pandemonium when the Emerald Spears extremist group takes everyone at the A.R.T.S. hostage and threatens to blow up the robots present! It's up to Mega Man to lead Elec Man, Pharaoh Man and Quake Woman to save the day, but time is running out for our heroes! Collects Mega Man #13-16, plus tons of art and bonus features.
|Mega Man #13|
|Shipping Date: 4/25/2012 |
On Sale at Comic Shops: 5/15/2012
"Spiritus ex Machina" Part One: Mega Man joins Dr. Light at the Advanced Robotics Trade Show to address the future of thinking machines. New faces abound – who are Drs. Cossack and Lalinde? What sinister forces lurk behind the scenes? Meanwhile, Dr. Wily searches for something to give him the edge deep in the forbidden Lanfront Ruins. All this plus the debut of RUSH!
|Mega Man #14|
|Shipping Date: 5/30/2012|
On Sale at Comic Shops: 6/13/2012
"Spiritus ex Machina" Part Two. It’s pandemonium as the Emerald Spears extremist group has taken everyone at the A.R.T.S. hostage! It’s up to Mega Man and Rush to lead Elec Man, Pharaoh Man and Quake Woman to save the day! Meanwhile, Dr. Wily attempts to awaken the power of the mysterious Ra Moon.
|Mega Man #15|
|Shipping Date: 6/27/2012|
On Sale at Comic Shops: 7/11/2012
'Spiritus ex Machina,' Part 3. Time is running out for Mega Man and his friends. A new twist catches both heroes and villains off-guard, and putting Dr. Light and everyone at the A.R.T.S. in mortal danger! Meanwhile, Dr. Wily's growing army in the Amazon discovers a certain red-and-grey robot!
|Mega Man #16|
|Shipping Date: 7/25/2012|
On Sale at Comic Shops: 8/8/2012
'Spiritus ex Machina.' The epic conclusion! The debate over the future of robotics reaches an explosive turning point, and with multiple lives hanging in the balance, the Robot Masters race against time to save their creators. Will one make the ultimate sacrifice to save their comrades? And will Dr. Lalinde's tragic secret finally be revealed? Meanwhile, Dr. Wily welcomes the newest robot to his army - who is Break Man?
Part One: Shaping the Future
Dr. Light takes Rock, Roll, Elec Man, and Rush to the Advanced Robots and Trade Show (A.R.T.S. Convention for short) and upon entering, Rock and Roll are captivated by all the different types of robotics. As Dr. Light is explaining what all goes on at the convention, he is informed by Elec Man that the two (along with Rush) have taken off into the crowd to explore. Dr. Light shrugs it off and decides to go look for some old friends, and suggests that the Robot Master should go a look for their booth. Elec Man follows the direction, but suggest that he remind Rock that he's meant to be on display with Rush.
Meanwhile, Rock and Roll are looking at various devices serving many upgrading purposes when all of a sudden Roll bumps into a blonde girl and knocks her over on accident. The girl was caught by Pharaoh Man, who glares at Roll and warns her to watch where she's going, "or else". While Kalinka insists she's alright, Roll frantically apologizes while Rock tells Pharaoh Man to leave his sister alone, Rush growling defensively, until Dr. Cossack tells Pharaoh Man to calm down and states that he knows them. Before he has a chance to introduce himself, Dr. Light comes over and hugs him by surprise, delighted to see his old friend and Kalinka. He asks if any of the "old group" is also at the convention, and Dr. Cossack states that Dr. Lalinde has been looking for him ever since it opened, and the mentioned doctor approached the scene and says otherwise. Dr. Light looks nervous, yet excited, to see her and shakes her hand, complimenting that she looks "as stunning as ever". Rock questions whether all scientists in robotics know each other, and Kalinka explains that isn't the case, but that's why the convention exists and says that Dr. Cossack knew Drs. Light and Lalinde when they were younger. When asked what Dr. Light was like back then, he points out that he had "less beard" and "less belly". Dr. Lalinde stands up for him and says he looks fine, but Dr. Light says that Roll keeps pushing him to exercise.
Upon the mentioning of Roll, Dr. Light asks Dr. Lalinde if she ever finished her own robot, and she responds by stating that she did, and introduces Quake Woman, a Geological surveillance robot. While Kalinka says she isn't a robot, Dr. Cossacks insists that she is still his "greatest creation" and that he'll explain the odd phrase to her when she's older. Dr. Light appears confused, as he thought Quake Woman's name was supposed to be "Tempo" and had more personality, but Dr. Lalinde says that she needed some alterations to her design, before changing the subject regarding the upcoming debate and meeting up with people. Light agrees, as he doesn't know who he's debating against, and then met up with Pedro Astil, whom he knew since three years prior regarding an expedition to the Amazon Rainforest.
Meanwhile, in the Amazon Jungle, Dr. Wily is determined to find the Lanfront Ruins, where a powerful EMP field is in place. After going as far as he can by car, he decides to go on foot instead, although he exhausts quickly. Back at the convention, Pharaoh Man questions Mega Man's name, saying it should be "Copy Man" because of his ability to copy is opponent's weapons. Rock explains that his main weapon is the Mega Buster, hence his name, but also questions Pharaoh Man's name because he "Isn't really a pharaoh". While explaining that he explores ancient tombs in Egypt, a security guard who was in an apparent hurry bumps into Rock, startling the helper robot initially. Rock apologizes, and the guard says not to worry and moves on, speaking into a communicator that "ES-20 is in place", referring to himself.
Elsewhere, guards all around were holding similar communicators and stating that they were in place. A man named Harvey replies back that he is satisfied and ready to "Get this show on the road" (ready to spring a plan to crash the convention into action). Somebody else walks in, by the name Xander, and says he's proud to get this 'plan' ready, and a panel is shown of various security guards tied up and blindfolded stuffed into a room.
Back with Drs. Light and Lalinde, Dr. Cossack is in a lecture hall getting a crowd ready to start a debate on whether advance A.I. in robots is constructive of destructive to humanity. Dr. Light, who is debating on the benefits of the topic, is surprised when he finds his opponent is Dr. Lalinde, who is debating against it. Dr. Cossack allows the debate to begin, and Dr. Light begins with stating how robots are able to do things to dangerous for humans. Dr. Lalinde explains that robots are simply tools and that they shouldn't think on their own. Dr. Light says that they are more complex than mere 'tools', and while she says they shouldn't be any more complex, she also states that science struggles to understand emotions in human beings and that people become attached to 'expendable tools', and she puts it. He argues that if that's the case, humans shouldn't interact with each other at all and states that he constructed Rock and Roll, his 'children' and that they give him the same fears and joys as any parent. She then points out how Dr. Wily stole and weaponized his Robot Masters, and how in retaliation, Dr. Light weaponized Rock to combat them and she questions whether or not he could bear it if he was destroyed. While Quake Woman seems unintimidated by the points, Rock appears interested while Rush looks worried.
Back in the Amazon, Dr. Wily made it to the ruins and entered. He questions why there could be an EMP field when the ancients had such primitive technology before falling into a shaft and, upon a rough landing, fell into a cave-like, enclosed area. Before he can comprehend what happened, he sees a massive supercomputer, likely causing the EMP field.
During the debate, Dr. light asks Dr. Lalinde about how Quake Woman had the same level of personality as Rock but was meant for use in more unstable, dangerous environments. She says that Quake Woman was exactly the kind of robot that should be avoided when all of a sudden, the power dies out and a voice announces that Dr. Lalinde is right; all advanced robots need to be prevented. Rock hops to his feet and begins to change into Mega Man (The same way he changes weapons) and Harvey appears on the screen, ordering his soldiers (under the alias of Emerald Spears) to attack. All over the convention, the soldiers disguised as guards order all the humans out of the building, but all robots to stay put. Pharaoh Man asks Elec Man if he could handle a power outage, and he responds by saying that it's more 'exciting' than charging another person's cell phone. Elec Man asks one of the guards (unaware of the situation fully) if he could direct him to a power conduct. The 'guard' points a gun at him and orders him to stay back, and says that the Emerald Spears have taken the convention over, again telling all humans to leave and all robots to remain put.
Meanwhile, Kalinka and Roll are in hiding, and Roll is more concerned with keeping Kalinka hidden and safe. Kalinka suggests calling her father to check if he's alright, but Roll assures her that he's safe with Mega Man around.
Back with Elec Man and Pharaoh Man, the soldier shoves a woman out of his way, whom is caught by Pharaoh Man. Angered, Elec Man charges himself up and tells the soldier to leave the people in the convention alone. She points his gun at Elec Man and dares him to attack, knowing he can't fight back. While Elec Man wants to electrocute him, he states that he can't, for that would violate the First Law of Robotics. The soldiers moves on, and Elec Man states that he wishes he had Dr. Wily's coding back in his system, but Pharaoh Man tells him to let it go.
In the Lecture Hall, Mega Man charged to the front of the crowd with Rush and Dr, Light demands to know his plans. Harvey responds with saying that he and Dr. Lalinde will assist him and the Emerald Spears by "ending the future of advanced robotics."
Short Circuits - "Super Fanbot": Auto goofs around after everyone leaves.
Part Two: First, Do No Harm
Harvey Greenleaf begins communicating with the people in the debate room, telling the humans to flee and the robots to stay. Mega Man and Rush charge to the doctors and the video screen but are stopped by some of the Emerald Spears. Harvey tells his men to leave Doctors Cossack, Light, and Lalinde in the room. Rock tries to stop the men but cannot break the first rule of robotics. He realizes he is powerless. Dr. Light begins to distract Harvey by debating with him in circles while Mega Man, Rush, and Quake Woman join Elec Man and Pharaoh Man. The split up to find and disable the bombs hidden in the building, as well as "defeating" the Emerald Spears men without hurting them. Quake Woman and Elec Man both disable a bomb and Pharaoh Man is close to another while Rock and Rush manage to trap two Emerald Spears men in a room.
Roll and Kalinka are in hiding while the Emerald Spears keep the robots in line. Kalinka calls her father, Dr. Cossack, who tells her to stay with Roll and do as she says. She later uses her phone to see if the police are coming but picks up on Harvey's transmission. The noise attracts some Emerald Spears soldiers, who begin to chase them.
Harvey is losing the debate with the doctors, and Xander has had enough. He pulls Harvey aside and kicks him in the face, assuming control of Emerald Spears and threatening to destroy the robots and the doctors.
Dr. Wily is examining a strange device in the Lanfront Ruins when a number of cords steal his laptop from him. They stab it and steal its information, which includes blueprints and plans for Wily's Robot Masters. Suddenly Quick Man emerges from the core of the machine, his last memories of his fight with Mega Man. Wily is surprised and tells Quick Man of what happened and uses the machine to instantly restore his set of Robot Masters. Heat Man, Quick Man, and he are later exploring the ruins when they find an ancient Robot Master (Shadow Man) and bring him to the computer to be restored. The computer and his Robot Masters are constructing a new base. Another Robot Master appears from the core, this time Magnet Man, who brings a message from his builder—Ra Moon. Ra Moon says that Wily's lab and army will be ready soon.
Short Circuits - "Positively Shocking": Elec Man gives out funky new hairdos.
Part Three: Desperate Measures
Rock is busy "trapping" a few of the Emerald Spears to defeat them without breaking the first law of robotics, with the help of Rush, while Elec Man, Pharaoh Man, and Quake Woman are trying to disable the bombs and have defused all except a few. Meanwhile, Xander is threatening the doctors by telling them that he'll detonate the bombs, not caring that there are some people still inside. He explains that he resents Dr. Light the most, as it was one of his Robot Masters that maimed his left eye. Dr. Lalinde tries to stand up for him and say it wasn't his fault, but when Xander questions why she's so willing to stand up for him when she debated against giving robots free will, she explains that if they build a robot to do dangerous jobs, and those jobs take their toll, tools are lost and not 'sons and daughters'. (Based on an experience she had, where Quake Woman was badly damaged in an accident, presumably almost destroyed) It was at that moment that Dr. Light realized that Quake Woman seemed distant because Dr. Lalinde took away her personality.
Back at the Temple of the Moon, Dr. Wily is using Ra Moon to repair and reprogram Shadow Man, while Quick Man questions why he needs to repair "some ancient Robot Master" when he already has so many other robot designs. Shadow Man is successfully repaired and appears surprised that he's functioning, and at first thinks Dr. Wily is a threat and summons a Shadow Blade, ready to throw it. Wily is impressed by how quickly he responds. The Proximity Alarm goes off, meaning something has wandered into the EMP field. He sends Shadow Man, Quick Man, Magnet Man, and Flash Man to investigate, thinking it's a good time to test them out. Air Man questions why Wily is doing all this instead of rebuilding his lab, but Wily assures him that they can afford a little more prep time.
Roll and Kalinka are caught by one of the Emerald Spears, who thinks that the two are sisters (And that Roll is human) and leads them outside to safety without a fight. Once outside the convention center, Roll uses Kalinka's phone to contact Agent Krantz, sending her the video of Harvey they previously recorded to her and telling her about what's going on.
Needle Man emerges from Ra Moon, and is greeted by Dr. Wily, who asks him to help with some of the 'heavy lifting' around his lab. Needle Man seems a bit confused as how to do so, as he has no hands, and Crash Man (who has drills instead of hands) emphasizes with him. Quick Man returns with Shadow Man, Magnet Man, and Flash Man, and says that a Robot Master entered the EMP field. Wily is shocked and overjoyed to find that the Robot Master is in fact Blues, who is completely deactivated. At that moment, Ra Moon explains that Blues deactivated (His power core still intact) because his EMP field deactivates any machinery that isn't of his making. He also says that his mentioned EMP field can be extended with enough time and power. Dr. Wily is fascinated knowing that, but decides to focus on fixing Blues.
Back at the convention, Xander detonates the bombs, but at first, none of them explode. When he sees why, he finds almost all of them had been disabled. Enraged, he orders his men to attack all of the robots in the convention. At first, Megaman can't fight back, but then the Spears begin shooting at people, endangering lives, he, Pharaoh Man, Quake Woman, and Elec Man start to fight them head-on. He lets them know, and soon, they're all fighting back. Xander, even more enraged, shows the doctors how their robots are attacking the Emerald Spears, but Dr. Light retaliates by explaining that his men were the ones endangering lives and that Megaman and the others are trying to save them. Unwilling to give up, he detonates the few bombs that are left.
Roll and Kalinka are still talking to Agent Krantz about what's happening, then they see the explosion as they're hiding behind a car. Inside, near where the bombs were set off, Mega Man and the others are near the lecture hall, which has caved in, the doctors and many people still trapped inside.
Short Circuits - "I Want My Mummy": Pharaoh Man's sarcophagus is mixed up in delivery.
Part Four: Whatever It Takes
Mega Man is horrified that the last bomb had been set off, but assures himself that Roll would've gotten herself and Kalinka out of the convention before it went off. Quake Woman and Elec Man come rushing towards him (while Pharaoh Man is helping a man who was caught and injured in the explosion) and Elec Man frantically tells Mega Man that the doctors are trapped under the rubble that was formerly the lecture hall. Mega Man then decides to copy Quake Woman's Quake Drill, and orders her to help him dig and for Pharaoh Man to lead them down (as he was built for navigating dangerous tombs). Elec Man asks what he's supposed to do, and Mega Man tells him to direct the robots to get everybody out of the convention center, which he does.
Xander is in the security office and notices that Mega Man and the others are beginning the digging. Two of his soldiers enter the room, concerned about the bomb going off, but he argues that they were disarming the bombs and had to do something. Without hesitation, he grabs one of their guns and rushes towards the remains of the lecture hall, and begins shooting at Mega Man as they dig. Mega Man threatens to "hurt him" if he gets in the way, but Xander keeps shooting until he sees Elec Man, and is immediately infuriated at recognizing him.
A flashback is shown of Xander (without his eyepatch and having both eyes), on the police force confronting Dr. Light's first line of Robot Masters (who are under Dr. Wily's reprogramming). He charges forth despite his commander's orders to stay put, and Elec Man attacks him by electrocuting his right eye. He is rushed to the hospital and his brother, Theo Payne, begs the doctor to save him and jumps at the chance to give Xander an implant to compensate for his missing eye. Upon waking up (presumeably hours later), Xander is enraged at seeing the new implant.
Back in the battle, Xander pulls off his eyepatch and reveals the implant, screaming at Elec Man and shooting at him furiously. Mega Man uses the Quake Drill to make the ground under him and a few of his soldiers unstable and make him fall, where Rush grabs the gun from his hand and chews to pieces.
Outside, Agents Krantz and Stern arrive at the convention center. Roll and Kalinka come rushing over, panicking (with Kalinka even in tears) and Roll frantically tells agent Krantz what happened. Agent Krantz calmly tells her to calm down while Agent Stern comforts Kalinka, and Roll shows her the videos they obtained about the Emerald Spears.
Inside, Mega Man, Quake Woman, and Pharaoh Man are continuing to dig, and after nearly being crushed under some unstable rubble, they find the doctors alive, who are overjoyed to see their creations unharmed, and are generally unhurt themselves except for Dr. Cossack, who has a broken leg. Quake Woman seems as emotionless as ever, but Dr. Light tells Dr. Lalinde that she's still "Tempo", and still her little girl. Dr. Lalinde agrees and tells Quake Woman that she'll return her personality after the ordeal is over, but Pharaoh Man interrupts when he spots a second bomb that wasn't disarmed, still active but damaged by the first explosion.
Meanwhile, Elec Man and Rush are staring down Xander and a few of his Emerald Spears soldiers as Elec Man tells Xander he's sorry for taking his eye, as he 'wasn't himself' at the time. Xander has his eyes focused on Rush as suddenly Elec Man turns to tell off a robot getting out of line, and all of a sudden, Xander grabs a nearby gun and shoots Rush with it, damaging the robot dog's leg and distracting them both long enough for them to bolt out of an escape tunnel and are not seen again for the rest of the issue.
The group thinks over how to disarm it for several moments until finally Quake Woman and Mega Man decide to vibrate the components apart using their drills, and to use the rubble to contain the blast if it goes off. Everybody else exits out the tunnel created by the two robots. As Elec Man, who was previously nursing Rush's injury and grumbling to himself about how he resents the First Law of Robotics, asks where Mega Man and Quake Woman are, the last bomb detonates. Dr. Lalinde and Dr. Light worry for their creations, but Rush begins frantically digging into the rubble and seconds later, Mega Man drills his way out along with Quake Woman.
Later, everyone is outside and Dr. Light is talking to Agents Krantz and Stern. Rock asks Agent Stern if the Emerald Spears were caught, and he states that all of them were captured save for three, and compliments him on good work. Rock asks if he still views robots as trouble, and Stern replies stating that it just matters on the choices they make, like people.
Back at the Temple of the Moon, Dr. Wily has finished repairing Blues, who is just starting to wake up. He recognizes Dr. Wily right away, and the doctor states that he had a power failure at the edge of the EMP field and that he repaired him. Blues misinterprets the statement at first and asks if Dr. Wily had altered him, but Dr. Wily tells him that he completed Blues, giving him top-of-the-line weaponry and replaced his solar core with a nuclear one. Feeling his question was unanswered, he asked if his core programming was changed, and while the answer is no, Dr. Wily asks if that was the reason he ran off, but Blues says he doesn't want to talk about it, and says he owes him a debt of gratitude. Upon being called "Blues", he tells him not to call him that as it reminds him of his past with Dr. Light. Dr. Wily offers the name "Proto Man", as he is the prototype of all the Robot Masters after him while he gives Blues his new Protoshield, but Blues is still unsure. After a bit of thinking, Dr. Wily comes up with "Break Man", which Blues seems satisfied with. Dr. Wily then introduces him to the rest of his robot army, the Robot Masters, now including Needle Man, Magnet Man, Gemini Man, Hard Man, Top Man, Snake Man, Spark Man and Shadow Man.
Short Circuits - "No Show": Dr. Wily attempts to visit the expo, but changes his mind after seeing an explosion.
- Beside the reprint of issues 13-16 and Short Circuits (with their titles revealed), the graphic novel also includes:
- some cover sketch/concept galleries;
- some script and pencil selections;
- Dr. Lalinde's, Quake Woman's, Xander Payne's character concept art; and
- character profiles of Pharaoh Man, Dr. Cossack, Kalinka, Dr. Lalinde, Quake Woman, Harvey Greenleaf, Xander Payne, Ra Moon, Lanfront Ruins, Needle Man, Magnet Man, Gemini Man, Hard Man, Top Man, Snake Man, Shadow Man and Spark Man.
- This volume marks Ra Moon's first appearance in the comics.
- The idea of a robot expo may have partially been inspired by a scene of Mega Man cartoon from episode 2: "Electric Nightmare".
- Emerald Spears' name is based on Ruby-Spears, an entertainment company which produced the Mega Man cartoon in the 1990s.
- In the Short Circuits segment of issue 13, Auto's song is modeled after the opening of the Mega Man cartoon.
- Xander Payne is possibly a nod towards xXx movie protagonist Xander Cage, played by Vin Diesel.
- Despite the fact that Pharaoh Man is allied with Mega Man, Archie labels him as a "menace to society" on the cover of the first comic in the story arc and portrays him as an ill-tempered and menacing character throughout. Although he never uses any weapon besides his fists, the "evil" variant cover shows him charging up a Pharaoh Shot.
- Pharaoh Man's mugshot on the standard cover of the same comic heavily resembles his artwork for the Mega Man Anniversary Collection. However, starting from the second issue, his eyes are smaller and less anime-styled, likely a result of the fact Archie was the first to model him in a different expression than anger.
- Archie's first original Robot Master, Tempo (a.k.a. "Quake Woman"), debuts in Issue 13 and is shown on the cover of Issue 15.
- Quake Woman's Robot Master serial number is provided in her biography to be DLLN-001, but writer Ian Flynn has stated at the BumbleKing Forums that this is incorrect. According to him, it is actually LMN-001.
- The background in the panel where Mega Man copies Quake Woman's weapon resembles the schematic drawings that are present when Mega Man copies a weapon in the cartoon series.
- The cover of Issue 16 is an homage to the cover of the Comic BomBom Special #118 - Rockman 10 Years History Book.
|Mega Man series|