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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Matrix: A Sword of a Different Color The Matrix
"A Sword of a Different Color"
Words and pictures: Troy Nixey
Painting: Dave McCaig


A crazy old man is found surviving in the ruins of the Earth’s surface.


Read the story at the Internet Archive


Didja Know?


This comic strip originally appeared on the official Matrix website in 2003. It was later printed in The Matrix Comics, Vol. 1 published by Burlyman Entertainment, a comic book publisher founded by the Wachowskis.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story




Heater (in flashback only, deceased)

Split (in flashback only, deceased)

old man (in flashback only, presumed deceased)


Didja Notice?


This story has a Don Quixote sort of motif. On page 7, panel 9 of the story, Don Quixote and a couple other knight-errant style books are seen in the old man's hideaway: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and Ivanhoe. These are real world classic novels.


On page 7, panel 10 of the story, Nac describes the crazy old man as "living in his own world...maybe he was better off for it." The old man's dementia is a bit like living in his own personal Matrix, created in his own mind.


The last page of the story reveals that the old man had a stash of cyclonite. Cyclonite is a real world explosive.


In the last panel of the story, we see that the package the old man left for Nac was a drawing of himself as a knight with the word "Freedom" written at the top, and a book called The Trojan War with a picture of a wooden horse on the cover. The old man had pieced together an old sentinel as a Trojan Horse and piloted it to a spot on the surface to attract a host of real sentinels and blow the whole thing up, sacrificing himself to take down a number of sentinels. The Trojan War is a story in Ancient Greek mythology about a war between the walled city of Troy (possibly located in modern day Turkey) and the Achaeans (Ancient Greece). In the legend, the Achaeans, having difficulty breeching the walls of Troy, built a giant wooden horse as a supposed gift to the goddess Athena and pretended to sail away. The Trojans brought the horse inside the wall as a trophy of victory and Achaean troops hidden inside emerged at night and opened the gates to let the rest of the Achaean forces into the city. The city was destroyed and the war ended.


Unanswered Questions


Did the old man survive his plan? The impression given is that he died inside the Trojan Sentinel when it blew it up, but we don't see him on panel for the explosion. Possibly, he could have exited the shell and hidden, though it's probably unlikely.


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