Review: Magnust: Robot Fighter #1
THE GOLD KEY UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING! Superstar Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies, Amazing Spider-Man, Conan: The Barbarian) and the astounding Cory Smith (Fathom) present a stunning re-imagining of Magnus: Robot Fighter you never saw coming! 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?
The Gold Key universe gets a new addition this week with the release of Dynamite’s Magnus: Robot Fighter #1. The story is written by Fred Van Lente with art by Cory Smith. Mauricio Wallace handles colors with Marshall Dillon providing lettering. Turok was the first Gold Key series out of the gate, so how does the second contestant measure up?
Magnus has a great life. He’s a history teacher, a martial arts instructor, and he has a loving wife. Magnus lives in the not-so-distant future where humans and robots coexist with one another. Life is like a futuristic Norman Rockwell painting for Magnus, but while fishing with the robot he considers a father-figure, A1, Magnus sees his town attacked by Pol-Progs. Fearing for his wife’s safety, he tries to rush to her aid. His path is blocked by a gigantic robot, and then something strange happens. Magnus awakens in an unknown place even farther into the future where robots and humans don’t live as peacefully as he remembers. With no clue where he is, how he got there, or what happened before he was so rudely awakened, Magnus goes searching for answers. What does our fish out of water find in the big, futuristic city? Things have already gone from bad to worse, but just how worse can they get?
Fred Van Lente writes a strong introductory issue. Almost the first half is dedicated to introducing the near-perfect life Magnus leads. We learn a great deal about him as a man and how things were in his time. Then the second half blows all of that up just as it feels we might start to step on the cliché line with Magnus’ story. We’re just as confused as Magnus is about what just happened, though that’s not knocking Van Lente, that’s how the story is designed. Smith’s art is stellar. The first half is a warm and idealistic, giving you an almost 1950s ‘golly gee’ vibe (save for the robots). Then Smith makes things a little more detailed, cleaner, and slicker for Magnus’ new location. There are several different and very stylish robots on display in the first issue, so it will be interesting to see what Smith does in subsequent issues. Wallace really gets to stretch the coloring muscles. The first half is a near sepia-toned flashback while the second half is a very bright, vibrant, and glowing cityscape full of technology. Smith and Wallace combine for some great visuals.
Bottom Line: Magnus: Robot Fighter is a knock-out punch. The first issue reintroduces the character well and sets up what looks to be a very thrilling story. So far Dynamite is two for two. Gold Key is back, and it may just be better than ever. 4.5/5
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