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The Autonomy Bug

The Autonomy Bug

First Published
Scott Gray
Original Publisher
Reprint Publisher
Roger Langridge
Alan Barnes
The Eighth Doctor
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The Autonomy Bug is a Doctor Who comic strip. It has been printed through various publications.


At the request of a friend, the Doctor visits Blueberry House, where Doctor Andrelina Hastoff is in charge of rehabilitating robots suffering from ‘severe programming deviancy’. While she discusses her work with the Doctor, one of her cloned assistants ‘accidentally’ locks Izzy in the robot congregation chamber, where Izzy is nearly attacked by the mad robots.

The robots realise that Izzy is human -- just as they believe themselves to be. The depressed Emperor Zero tells Izzy that they are all human beings who have been locked up by robots, and the Doctor, watching, realises that the robots have formed their own society. They aren’t insane, they’re sentient; and just like children, they are developing emotions that they aren’t sure how to deal with. Hastoff, however, insists that their deviancy is the result of an undetected virus, and reveals that she has purchased an Adjuster from Kallulio Prime with which to electronically recondition the “deviant” machines, returning them to “normal”. The Doctor is horrified, and realises that Hastoff had Izzy locked in the congregation chamber in the hope that the robots would harm her, giving Hastoff an excuse to use the Adjuster on them all. When he threatens to shut her down, Hastoff tries to kill him with the Adjuster.

He is saved by Izzy, who has decided that, by this time, the Doctor must be in trouble, and she and Zero break out of the congregation chamber to look for him. They find the Doctor being chased by the Adjuster, and Zero gives his life to destroy its guidance systems so that it careers off a balcony and sinks to the bottom of the bay. Angered by Zero’s death, the robots storm through Blueberry House -- but although they capture Hastoff, they don’t kill her. As the Doctor had hoped, they understand mercy; they are maturing, and one day they will be accepted by humanity as equals.


  • The Doctor Who Comics website, had this to say about the strip:

I’m a great admirer of Roger Langridge’s artwork on the lighter one-part stories, but I can’t help but feel that here it works more against the story, somehow making it less engaging and more difficult to follow. There is an interesting idea behind the strip, but the whole is played perhaps too lightly to make it work.