There’s something very special about classic heroes. You give them to the right set of creators and they still work, sometimes even decades later!
A good example has been Dynamite Entertainment, who has been bringing back Turok, Magnus, Solar and Doctor Spektrum and other classic comics characters recently, and that’s something special for a long-term comics fan like me.
I’m also fascinated that they’re considered a group of their own under a “Gold Key” banner. Man, does that term bring back memories for me! And yes, I’m that old! The Gold Key characters come to Dynamite after a time at Dark Horse Comics, and a run as part of the Valiant universe in the ‘90s.
And who better than Dynamite to bring Magnus: Robot Fighter back, given their recent excellent record with classic characters?
Here’s the basic premise of the comic: “In the blink of an eye, young martial artist Magnus has everything taken from him …his father, his wife, his entire life. He’s suddenly thrust into a futuristic world he doesn’t understand, populated by humans and robots living together in oppression! Can Magnus fight to get his life back … and once he learns the truth about himself, will he want to?”
Previously in MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER: “Transmech Catchers. Soft Robots. Computers that are guns. Ultraviolent versions of video games that aren’t actually video games because everybody that plays will probably die. Welcome to The Butcher Bloc, from acclaimed creators Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies, Conan The Avenger) and Cory Smith (Fathom, TMNT)!”
THE WRITING MAKES MAGNUS HUMAN
Van Lente has written great comics I’ve loved a lot recently, including everything from Archer & Armstrong at Valiant to Brain Boy from Dark Horse. When I see his name on a book, I buy it!
As I read more and more of his work, I’m impressed with the quality of it and his ability to pitch curve balls at me. For example, this comic starts out in a way I didn’t expect. With a “Robot Fighter” title, I expected big, shiny city there at the start. Nope, there was nothing close to it!
Even with all the Magus books I’ve read over the years, I never was quiet clear on his motivation. He was busting up robots left and right, but I didn’t understand why he was doing that while having a robot trainer. Well, Mr. Van Lente has cleared all that up in the first few pages of what I’m convinced will be a landmark first issue. I finally get it now!
In this issue, we see Magnus interact with Leeja in a very comedic way, and it works with the characters. Not everyone can build comedy into sci-fi, but Van Lente is more than able to do it! Then, too, there’s this wonderful exchange between the two near the book’s conclusion. Magnus: “You’re not as big of a jerk as I originally thought.” Leeja: “Yeah, you don’t suck either.” You can cut the romantic tension with a knife!
Magnus continues to blossom as a person just as much as the book does from month to month.
There’s also a good balance between action and dramatic moments, as always. The fight with the Transmech Catchers is a good one, making Magnus and Leeja work together. Keeps my attention the entire issue!
THE ART CONTINUES TO MATCH THE STORY
Whether we’re looking into a rural classroom, a mechanic’s shop, a forest or a bustling, huge city, Smith’s art makes me feel like I’m actually there, watching the story in person.
Smith does a great job of portraying both action and facial expressions. When Magnus is battling, it’s as engrossing as when he’s talking with humans. Very nicely done!
I also enjoyed Gabriel Hardman’s cover. It’s perfect for Magnus fans! Check it out below!
BOTTOM LINE: ‘Magnus’ Continues to Be a Great Sci-Fi Adventure
Whether you’ve read Magnus before or not, it doesn’t take more than a few pages in before you understand him very well, and I need that!
Not only am I going to be there for Magnus, I’m enjoying other Gold Key books that come my way. Kudos to Dynamite and these creators for grabbing me by the short and curlies and not letting go until I read these comics!