Matrix Comics: Sweating the Small Stuff (No. 3 from Vol. 1, Series 1)

Spoiler warning!

I recommend reading the original comic. It is very short - this summary isn't much shorter than the real thing, which is only 8 comic pages long. Also, the graphics from the comic help to tell the story.

One thing this comic reveals about the Matrix is that people apparently realize the "fakeness" of the Matrix (Matrix code) even if they don't want to with all of their heart, mind and soul. (Or, is the main character lying - did he actually take a red pill?) Also, this comic compels us to ask the question, "Where do redpill humans get their red pills from?" I always assumed the hovercraft hackers were able to "create" these pills just like they could create "lots of guns" for Neo and Trinity to take into the Matrix, but if that were so, why do drugs need to be "run" for anyone? Or, perhaps Marlowe is a crooked Zioinist providing these drugs to the general Matrix population? If that were so, what could they possibly pay Marlowe with since nothing in the Matrix is real anyway?

Plot Summary

Dez tells about how he wishes he had a "normal" life like everyone else, but that he keeps seeing things that make him think he's losing touch with reality. His girlfriend Mia, on the other hand, ran drugs for a "psycho" named Marlowe and kept "living to do it again". Dez wants to settle down and live the "white picket fence" dream, while Mia calls him a moron and asks, "Look out your window and tell me if you see any white picket fences."

Mia gives up drug running for gun running (from distributors to cartels) in order to be with Dez more. This doesn't make Dez completely happy, since he still doesn't feel a sense of normalcy with machine guns laying on his dining room table. He says he feels like he's being watched or followed. Mia sarcastically thanks him for the "sympathy paranoia" since she is the one who should feel paranoid, not leaving her drug running on the best of terms.

Dez complains that, for the past six weeks, everything he sees, touches or tastes seems fake somehow, and Mia accuses him of taking the drugs she used to run (and says "That's why Marlowe was accusing me of holding out on him."), which he denies. The comic's graphics show several different pictures of the same spoonful of sugar dropping into coffee, each graphic looking more and more like Matrix code.

He explains that everything he sees is not molecules or atoms, but numbers, and that guys in black suits seem to be watching his every move, as if he were a threat to them. He says that's why he wants Mia with him.

At that moment, his front door explodes, and gunmen "armed to the teeth" barge through. Dez assumes it's the men in black suits and runs, but soon he realizes they're after Mia when a gunman yells, "Marlowe says hello". When the smoke clears, Dez sees Mia raising a machine gun at them, laughing. Just then, he sees the "truth" of his world - the fakeness of his reality fully reveals itself, and it scares the hell out of him.

After coming out of his "daze", he stares in the gunmen's faces (this time not seeing Matrix code) and sees that they are all afraid. Mia shoots and kills them all. Hearing helicopters approaching and realizing it must be men in black suits, Mia grabs Dez's arm and begins to run. The comic concludes, "At least Mia and I will be running together. When it comes to reality, you take what you can get." Behind the text is a graphic of a house with a picket fence, represented in Matrix code.

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