Need To Know

You don't actually need to know this stuff to understand the comic. It's not hard to guess. But if you're lost, this might clue you in a little bit.

      State of the Galactic Community
The Zurg/Star Command conflict with civilians stuck in the middle.

There is a constant state of Cold War that nobody ever addresses in the series. At the end of the episodes, Zurg loses the battles, but he never loses the war. He is never overthrown. However The Galactic Alliance still considers each blocked attack a victory. While Star Command and Zurg play cat-and-mouse Zurg continues to hurt people. When it comes to diplomacy the single pitch offered to unsure allies is that refusing to be a part of the Galactic Alliance means they will have no protection against Zurg, even though a permanent solution is never discussed. Unfortunately this also means Star Command is spread much too thin. There is constant criminal activity all over the galaxy from all sides. From Zurg attacks to traffic violations, Space Rangers try to cover it all. They can't seem to decide whether they're police or military.

Team Lightyear
Star Command's Finest      

Stranger still, Team Lightyear, considered the best fighting team in the galaxy, take on seemingly odd jobs. They don't exclusively go after Zurg, or take on criminals who are at large. They also go on traffic duty, attend diplomatic events and they also have never had to kill anyone. This is presumably what makes them so revered, Buzz Lightyear always finds another way to resolve issues. They are often in the public eye, as Buzz Lightyear is Star Command's poster child. They have saved the galaxy multiple times from threats of all kinds. They have more than earned their credibility, and are all genuinely talented and motivated rangers.

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      Robots  
A workforce with no union.

Robots come in three flavors, sapient, sentient and nonsentient (though it's debatable where that line is drawn.) The cognative power of a robot is completely based on what they were built for. Robots like XR or XL, autopilots and clerks are in places where organics could also function. Less sapient robots do jobs like security, servitude and other automatized jobs. Completely nonsapient robots are used as soldiers. Star Command has them, but the most notable example of this are Zurg's "hornets." They are cheap but plentiful; basically an endless stream of targets for Space Rangers. They are Zurg's only organized fighting force.

Organics, humanoid and nonhumanoid alike, seem to treat all tiers of robots in the same way, which is to treat them as subhuman. Examples of this are everywhere. A very poignant example is XL, XR's predecessor. Star Command's scientists (the LGMs) first attempt at building a robotic Space Ranger. He was mentally unstable and therefore immediately shut down indefinitely, put to a robot death, despite being for all intents and purposes a whole person. (He was later reactivated by Zurg in hopes that he would give Star Command hell for the sake of revenge, which he has.) Supposedly it was this experience that lead Commander Nebula to believe a robotic Space Ranger is a bad idea, and why the LGMs had to sneak an authorization form in with a vacation request to gain permission to try again, leading to XR's conception.

Both XR and XL consider Commander Nebula to be their father despite his cold attitude toward the both of them. XR is treated better than most robots in the galactic community because of his team's open-mindedness and because of his status as a Space Ranger. However, a running gag is that he is constantly being blown up, thrown around, used as bait. He is jokingy referred to as the "eXpendable Ranger" and is the only crew member on any Star Command ship not granted a seatbelt. 85% of his job is to endure abuse.

      XR  
The eXperimental Ranger Star Command's only robot ranger, but the second to be built. 

A Zurg attack caused the LGM's "mind link" to be disrupted during XR's activation, resulting in his existence being considered less than perfect; however Buzz Lightyear himself saw potential in him and two other rookies, and they became a team. Despite this XR is more often than not on the edge of being fired or deactivated permanantly. He seems not to take his job seriously and makes a lot of mistakes, each of which he has been thoroughly punished for in one way or another. He is always on trial, and therefore always on defense. XR is almost never candid, and relies on tactless and desensitized humor to be his outward personality. He seems to have an inferiority complex, being treated as lesser in almost every aspect of his life (and maybe the fear of following his brother's fate) leads him to act out, constantly voicing unnecessary opinions, employing sarcasm, cynicism and always trying to assert his place in the team. He also desperately seeks approval from Commander Nebula and Star Command is the only home he as ever known. He brags about himself, acts like an authority on many topics and is shamelessly selfish. He is also very pleasure-seeking, always turning toward what he consideres to be high quality living, gambling, women and preferring to avoid pain whenever possible. He is not a hedonist, but he tries to find his own joy wherever he can. However, this is all behavioral. At the end of the day he is a Disney protagonist, and where many  might simply continue without hope, XR constantly strives for a better life. While he's not naturally kind he always attempts to do the right thing and has a real sense of duty and love for his friends, even if he rarely shows it.