I have a confession to make. Before reading this book, I had never before read a Magnus: Robot Fighter comic. I had absolutely no experience with the character at all. And I was in my comic-reading prime during the glory days of Valiant Comics in the 1990s. I was a serious collector who was intrigued to go back and read back issues for characters who have been around for years. And yet, somehow, I missed him completely. So, of course, I had to jump at the chance to read the new reboot, now published by Dynamite Entertainment.
It starts off innocently enough, in the year 2045, in a town peacefully inhabited by robots and humans, Magnus is a history teacher and school martial arts coach. It’s nice to see him teaching students about peace (and hopeful that in the real 2045 we are still learning from Frederick Douglas) and training them to be warriors, some serious foreshadowing going on there. The town is run by a benevolent artificial intelligence, 1A, whom Magnus lovingly refers to as his own father. Magnus also learns that he will be a father himself, with a child soon to be arriving. In short, all is going great for him. So of course, it can’t last. And suddenly, Magnus finds himself in a world he doesn't understand or recognize, and he finally gets down to the fighting. There’s a twist in there that isn't the most well-hidden, but does the job of getting the reader and character to where we all want to be. Well, at least where the reader wants to be, Magnus was probably happier before.
And here is where my inexperience with Magnus: Robot Fighter comes through: I have absolutely no idea if this twist is part of his original mythology or something created for this new series. As I stated, it’s a somewhat obvious twist, and one that has been used very famously elsewhere in science fiction. That doesn’t mean it’s poorly done or a retread, but while it sets up the story and gets the reader to sympathize with Magnus, one wonders whether or not it was truly necessary as it negates most of the story. Because while we sympathize with him, it does slow him down from doing what we truly want to see him do, namely fight robots.
The artwork in the book is quite dynamic, which gives huge amounts of optimism once we do get down to "robot fighting". There is one panel, during the “twist” sequence that left me a little confused as to what was going on, but for the greater part of the book everything is clear. There’s almost a Neal Adams look to this one, high praise indeed, a connection made even more in my brain by the excellent coloring effects. There is excellent dark and bright contrast, and great character design.
Fans of Magnus are probably just happy to have the character back in their life. Other comic book fans looking for a new series to jump into will be contented with the setup here. Personally, I’d have liked a bit more action. So I’d give this book three stars, but am incredibly optimistic for the rest of the series.
MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER #1
Fred Van Lente (w)
Cory Smith (a)
Gabriel Hardman (c)
32 pages - $3.99
(Sam Moyerman is a professional demon hunter. He writes reviews on the hunt while camped out within the protective womb of hollowed monster husk.)
Who's excited to see Magnus and the other Gold Key characters back front and center at Dynamite? Maybe a crossover with Valiant Comics? Let us know below!
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