The future ain’t what it used to be, but at least there’s somebody looking out for the little people. The steel-hard fists are really just a bonus. Your Major Spoilers (advance) review of Magnus, Robot Fighter #10 awaits!
MAGNUS, ROBOT FIGHTER #10
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artists: Roberto Castro/Joseph Cooper
Colorist: Mauricio Wallace
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Nate Cosby
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Magnus, Robot Fighter: “In the future, there’s a confused guy named Magnus that had his life ripped from him and was thrown into a weird world where he can recognize robots, even when they look human, and sense their weaknesses. He doesn’t know why. He doesn’t really care why. He just wants his life back…”
I FORGOT THIS WASN’T A VALIANT BOOK ANYMORE
As with so many book and shows these days, I caught the first installment Magnus’ new adventures, intended to come back for more, and then got distracted by something else (probably something shiny and/or a picture of a pretty girl). This issue opens in the above-ground domed cities of North Am, where a “goph” (one of the under-dwellers that keep the world running) named Moira and her clan are infiltrating the world above in concert with Magnus himself. There is some great stuff in their quiet dialogue, explanations of the future world, first-person-style, giving us good exposition without seeming too forced or overly wordy. Magnus, for his part, is in the proverbial Mexican standoff with Leeja Clane (who, in previous iterations, ends up being his wife or at least his significant other), having just beheaded a robot that she believes is her father. It’s all very tense, and perhaps the best part of it all comes when Leeja tells Magnus that his new nihilism really doesn’t suit him at all…
A VERY TERMINATOR CHRISTMAS
That’s an important line for me in this issue, showing Van Lente is aware that dystopian future stories are the science fiction norm these days, but that his characters aren’t going to act exactly like Linda Hamilton or Jude Law within this store. I don’t want to give away too much, since this book doesn’t hit the stands ’til Wednesday, but it’s a nice balance of respectful for Russ Manning’s work (as well as that of Valiant in the 90s, to some degree) while giving us a North Am that is new, even for all its familiar aspects. The use of Magnus is actually quite amusing here, with the character himself pointing out that he mostly just punches his way through life, and the villain of the piece is remarkably literate without being boring. Artistically, this issue looks quite good, with a strong presence in Leeja, great robot designs and a future Metropolis that reminds us of the world of today. It’s the kind of issue that has me wanting to come back next time around and see about our hero and his supporting cast, especially given the violent events of the last couple of pages of the issue…
THE BOTTOM LINE: HAS ITS MERITS
You don’t have to know the Russ Manning or Jim Shooter Magnus characterizations to enjoy this book, nor do you need to bring a whole lot of previous knowledge to the proceedings: It’s the future, Magnus suddenly lost everything he knew, and now there are robots that need smashing. Still, the simplicity of premise doesn’t mean that the book isn’t complex and rich in story-telling, and there’s even a bit of real education to be had if you’re reading the pages closely enough. Magnus, Robot Fighter #10 is a good chapter in the ongoing story of the future world that’s coming, reading well and looking good, making me satisfied that the Robot Fighter is in good hands, and earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.
Magnus, Robot Fighter #10 goes on sale January 10th, 2015.