TITLE: Magnus Robot Fighter – Vol. 1, Issue #11
YEAR: April 1992
COMPANY: Valiant Comics
Plot: Jim Shooter
Script: David Michelinie
Penciler: Mark Moretti
Inker: Charles Barnett III
Colorists: Knob Row
Letterer: Brad Joyce
Editor: D. David Perlin
I randomly picked out a comic book from my Valiant box and it happens to be “Magnus Robot Fighter” vol. 1, issue 11 from April 1992. So, who is Magnus, Robot Fighter?
In 1963, writer/artist Russ Manning would create the fictional comic book superhero from the future named Magnus, Robot Fighter.
The character would make his first appearance in Gold Key Comics “Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D.” issue #1. And while many young people reading comics are familiar with the character from the 2010 Dark Horse Comics releases, possibly the most memorable for comic book fans is his reintroduction in the Valiant Comics universe.
Back in 1991, Jim Shooter obtained the rights to several Gold Key characters: Magnus, Robot fighter, Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom and Turok, Son of Stone. And Jim Shooter didn’t recreate or reboot the character, he continued where the original Gold Key comics left off, albeit for a short while.
In the future, the setting takes place in North Am, a megalopolis that covers the entire North America continent and the higher levels are where the wealthy people live, while the lowest level is where the Goph live and are considered less educated. By AD 4000, the nation of Japan is the home to 50 billion people and the major islands are covered by the Host. And Grandmother, a Freewill electronic network controls all facets of daily life.
Freewills are rogue robots that have become sentient. Robots who want to be free from humans and others who want the death of humanity.
Magnus has helped establish a colony for Freewills known as “Steel Nation” and sick of the wealthy, becomes a Goph.
With issue 11, this features “The Xyrkol Trilogy” Part 3 in which a corrupt politician has destroyed parts of North Am and intends to force humanity into slavery. And now using the power of the sun Xyrkol threatens the robot city of Synchron.
Synchron leader Tekla has entrusted Leeja and A-J to stop Xyrkol from obliterating North Am and with the help of robots, she infiltrates Xyrkol’s hidden fortress in hopes to free Magnus from captivity.
Surprisingly, this issue is more about Leeja and less about Magnus. So, Leeja is the true hero of this issue, which is great as we have a female hero not afraid to take risks and even rescue Magnus from harm.
The only thing is that the design of her costume (no doubt for fan service) features her doing some hardcore fighting while her top only covers the upper half of her breasts. But the ’90s were no doubt a sign of the times of featuring female superheroes in the most scantily clad outfits and special bikini issues became popular for certain comic book companies.
But going back to “Magnus, Robot Fighter”, the issue that came out next month is the most popular as it featured the first appearance of Turok, the Dinosaur Hunter in Valiant Comics. And since the ’90s, issue #12 has been expensive to purchase and considering I have purchased many Valiants when they first came out, I was never able to get issue #12.
With that being said, with issue #11, possibly the most interesting is the two-page section featuring Jim Shooter and why he left Marvel Comics and how he and others tried to acquire Marvel Comics. Also, his push for supporting creators and also if print orders were higher, he would lower the costs for a Valiant book significantly.
Personally, as a reader and a fan of Jim Shooter’s work, I knew that without his involvement with Valiant in the ’90s, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick around. Theories were brought up on various message boards on comic forums on electronic BBS (before the Internet) but if anything, I would have to make major decisions because I didn’t know how much longer I could afford Marvel, DC, Valiant, Image and other comic book stories as a teenage college student working at a fast food restaurant.
Looking back at the past, it surprises me that I was able to afford so many titles back then consider one comic book ranged from $1.95-$3.50 each. But eventually I would continue to purchase Valiant Comics for the next few years before they were acquired by Acclaim.