WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Season 1 of Cannon Busters, now streaming on Netflix.
Netflix's Cannon Busters focuses on Philly the Kid, an immortal gunslinger who magically keeps coming back to life. We discover this is because of a deal he made with a mysterious devil when a war that ravaged the land of Gearbolt struck too close to home, killing Philly's family.
However, as the hotshot seeks revenge, the 12 episodes dive into something the comic didn't reveal much about (as it lasted only three issues), and that's Philly, its main protagonist, not actually being the most powerful hero in the property. As the series rolls on, this turns out to be none other than SAM, the cute robot who hired Philly to find Prince Kelby of Botica.
At first glance, SAM isn't that threatening at all, with an aesthetic resembling that of Sailor Moon characters. Short for Special Automated Model, she's seen early on as Kelby's best friend in the courtyard, keeping watch over him as the king, Bulgher, can't really allow anyone to be close to the boy for fear of assassination as turmoil rises in the kingdom.
When Locke eventually starts a coup and Kelby is secreted away to Gara's keep by his bodyguard, Odin, SAM decides it's up to her and a bot she meets along the way, Casey, to restore Kelby to the throne. This is why they link up with Philly, who's all too eager to join their mission and find the boy. Now, we see Philly get shot, gutted and murdered in various ways throughout the show, and with his unique pistols shaping him as a Han Solo-esque character, not to mention his ability to resurrect, one can easily assume he's the most powerful character on display. Even most of the people he meets in this space-Western admit, as much as they hate him, they revere him as some sort of legend.
And rightfully so, because when all his skills are thrown in with Bessie, a car that turns into a towering mech-bull, Philly's a one-man army. That is, until SAM unleashes her full power set, which is akin to that of a mini-Death Star. When assassins come after Philly's party on a couple of occasions, SAM changes into a killer robot who blanks out in war-mode. She then shoots lasers, with the potential to cut the landscape in half and cause near-nuclear blasts for miles on end.
This comes full-circle at the end of Season 1, when it's revealed she's a golem, the last breed of mech and magic known as Cannon Busters, fused together to protect Botica. Bulgher decommissioned the rest, though, along with banning magic years ago, as he didn't want these tools to be corrupted and turned into weapons. SAM was kept to take care of Kelby but when she turns into this death-bot, everyone, Philly included, is suddenly scared. When his plan to kill Kelby comes out as well -- as he blames Botica for the invasion that razed his village -- Philly's also targeted by SAM in a brutal battle.
In this melee, Locke sends his own golems after them, which leads to SAM destroying them as well in a firefight you'd expect to see in the Transformers franchise. It shapes her as a weapon of mass destruction and hopefully, she'll stay on the side of Kelby. With her mind going blank during these moments, we don't know if she can be hacked and co-opted, even by magic, or if Bulgher can find a way to send some of her own kind after her crew. Bulgher may have hidden other golems like SAM away, so Philly (who redeemed himself by season's end) will need her to become this instrument again if he's to get revenge against the real villain that destroyed his people, Locke, protect Gearbolt from oppression and recover the throne for Kelby.
Created by LeSean Thomas, Cannon Busters is now available to stream on Netflix.