WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange #20, by Mark Waid, Javier Pina, Brian Reber and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
Artificial intelligence as long been one of the more intriguing topics in the Marvel Universe, giving rise to interesting characters. Of course, the one that first comes to mind is the villainous Ultron, who's battled the Avengers time and again. However, in Doctor Strange #20 we discover the MU's first A.I., and what makes it so weird is it's also the newest Ancient One.
Strange uncovers details about the A.I. that illustrates just how advanced the rest of the cosmos is compared to Earth. When the Sorcerer Supreme tries to imbue himself with more spells using technology, he has no choice but to summon Kanna, only to be pulled into an intergalactic war on Dakkar-7.
There, a demonic alien, Chondar-2, is attacking the Talugarians on the planet to steal a relic: the Ancient One. When Strange and Kanna analyze it, it's revealed the Talugarians created this entity, a robot, so it could collect magical knowledge from across the galaxy. However, they had no idea it would become sentient. The more sorcerers with which it interacted, the further it evolved, becoming not only a repository for magic, but a teacher.
Strange realizes it's similar to his former teacher, the Ancient One, except this robot is more of an archive than anything else. Still, he's fascinated by how it acts like a Kumar Taj library, as well as a Sanctum Sanctorum in one. He feels its power and knows it could be a grand weapon if wielded with the right intention, which is what propels Strange into action to protect it from Chondar-2.
However, it's too little, too late, as Chondar-2 possesses the robot, and a magical brawl erupts. Strange feels as if he's fighting his mentor again, as well as enemies like Baron Mordo, based on the A.I.'s abilities. This Ancient One isn't made from flesh, however, so it can endure a lot more damage, leaving Strange scrambling for cover. Luckily, Strange pretends to concede defeat, and misdirects the robot before using his magical arsenal to slay the Ancient One. His sword takes out the amalgamation, but sadly, with Chondar-2 perishing, so does the vessel, meaning this Ancient One's time has come to an end.
They perform a funeral and, in the ceremony, it's apparent how badly Strange is hurting, as he knows this entity could have been a strong ally in the war against supernatural foes. Still, the people of Dakkar-7 are simply happy the robot hasn't been unleashed to wreak havoc on other worlds. For Strange, though, it's bittersweet victory, and another huge loss. Ultimately, however, he had to do what was best for everyone else and, as Kanna hinted, Ancient Ones don't often remain dead. That means there's a chance they could meet this one again.