Advance Review: Magnus: Robot Fighter #1
Magnus: Robot Fighter has been around for a long time, and the entirety of my experience with the character involves me constantly seeing his books at comic shops and wondering if he has anything to do with Magneto, and then remembering he doesn't, and then wondering why anyone would want to fight robots, because robots are cool, and now I'm going to read Transformers. So now that Dynamite is busting out a new relaunch of Magnus with writer Fred Van Lente and artist Cory Smith, I finally have a place to check in and see what this guy's beef with mechanoids is.
Magnus: Robot Fighter #1 seems to indicate that Our Man Mags has a very happy relationship with robots in the not too distant future, next Sunday A.D. In fact, he considers one of them, an A.I. called 1A, to be a father figure, even though it insists that anthropomorphizing him is a bad idea, their concept is love is just aping human words, and he apparently watches with a creep's eyes while Magnus bangs his wife, Moira Oh. Humans and robots live in harmony in Maury's Peak, though, and he teaches them both about Frederick Douglass and his assertions on how one makes a slave out of others. Then, suddenly, weird clunky robo-drones attack, and Magnus suddenly wakes up with a cool jumpsuit in a Blade Runnery future where all people are robots, and he's got no clue how he got there or where he even is anymore. Was it all a dream, was it 1A's version of the Matrix, or is he hallucinating now? It's all unclear, but we begin to see why Magnus has to start fighting robots – because he can't get any answers from them, they try to arrest him as an 'unregistered human,' and they keep trying to shut down his father figure for "deviation against the singularity."
It's an engaging first issue, with enough mystery and confusion to entice us into the second, and Van Lente's always pretty solid with crafting entertaining dialogue. Smith's art has a lot of dynamic action going on, and his designs for the various robots are fun and interesting, allowing for all shapes and sizes, from giant tin cans to multi-armed, sleek-looking receptionists. Magnus isn't a grizzled bastard like I always expected from the title of his book, for some reason, but actually a pleasant guy who is about to find his appreciation for robots severely challenged, and there's every indication that 1A is going to be a really big bad, even though it sounds like it's trying to help right now.
So, hey, if you've ever been curious about Magnus: Robot Fighter, and you should have, because it's called Magnus: Robot Fighter, maybe give the new Magnus: Robot Fighter #1 a shot when it comes out next week, and see if it's your bag, man. It's solid sci-fi stuff. Not super exciting as yet, but it has promise.