A review copy was provided by Fred Van Lente courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.
Last month, I had the pleasure to check out Magnus: Robot Fighter #1, part of Dynamite Entertainment’s re-imagining of Gold Key’s classic character. Given how much I enjoyed the first installment, I eagerly awaited the chance to read the next issue. Now that Magnus has found himself a prisoner of the robots of North Am, what will the future spell for this karate-chopping ex-schoolteacher? Let’s rev up our gears for Magnus: Robot Fighter #2!
Unlucky Magnus, after having be ripped away from the world he knew, is now a prisoner. After a brief interrogation by the human hunter Leeja Clane, Magnus is returned to his cell, where he witnesses atrocities against robots declared “obsolete.” He soon discovers a special talent he possesses, however, and breaks free of his containment. He then rescues H8R, a jive-talking robot who’s been sentenced to death for obsolescence. What will become of Magnus as he tries to understand this wild world and get free of the prison? And what secrets lie with the robotic overseers, Leeja, and their masters?
Writer Fred Van Lente continues to build an intriguing world in Magnus: Robot Fighter #2. He introduces some new concepts, such as the mysterious “Synod” and “The Singularity,” both of which have bearing on this robot-controlled dystopia. Van Lente injects his trademark wit in between conversations surrounding issues like betraying one’s species and the meaning of obsolescence. It’s easy to laugh one moment, then feel terrified the next, as the comic moves between states of emotion, much like how Magnus has been thrust head-first into this strange universe. Still, there’s no feeling of whiplash, as the transitions are seamless. Furthermore, the metaphor about the ongoing battle between “flesh and steel” is one of the coolest things I’ve ever read in a comic.
Artist Cory Smith continues his duties as penciller for Magnus: Robot Fighter #2. Smith excels throughout the book, showing us multiple facets of North Am’s citizenry. Smith’s robot designs are diverse and intriguing, as are his layouts for the prison. The battle scenes are, without a doubt, the high point of the issue, especially a massive spread towards the end where Magnus takes on multiple foes in a wild display of vivid martial arts.
Speaking of vivid, Mauricio Wallace adds flavor with his refined color palette. While the majority of North Am’s world is drab, Wallace picks out key features, such as Magnus’s clothes or H8R’s glowing eyes, which bring a gorgeous contrast to the artwork. Last, but certainly not least, letterer Marshall Dillon does superb work, varying the letterbox layouts, colors, and fonts to appropriately portray everything from different machines speaking to an aspect of Magnus’s special powers. My only complaint about the artwork is that some of the panels either lack backgrounds or have drab backgrounds, but this is a small misstep in an otherwise artistically superb comic.
Magnus: Robot Fighter #2 continues the engaging narrative laid out in the first outing. In only two shorts issues, Van Lente and Smith have already peppered this sci-fi world full of compelling narrative hooks. I’ll certainly come back for issue #3, and I encourage everyone to give this wonderful series a shot.
-exceptional fight scenes and robot designs
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. H8R is his new favorite robot character ever.
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