Magnus Robot Fighter #6 – Reviews Of Old Comics

blogheaderI was thinking of what old comic to review next and arrived here at Magnus Robot Fighter. I’m not sure exactly how I got here, but somehow I was thinking of something neat that Valiant did with the future world of Magnus.

Magnus is a Gold Key character that Valiant got the rights to, including Solar, Man of the Atom and Turok, Son of Stone. They then proceeded to build a universe around them, adding original characters that have become the cornerstone of the current Valiant Universe.I picked this issue because of the crossover of two of those characters, Magnus and Solar. What I didn’t realize is that this is part of the multi-issue story where we learn the secret to future Japan. Future Japan is a giant metal dragon.

It gets explained in this issue but in telling my wife about it, she really liked the concept. I realized in telling her, the concept is better than the execution. I’ll get into that later. However, Japan built a sentient computer to run everything in it’s society, including building living space for a growing population. Eventually, it covered all of the islands and connected them in one large, contained urban sprawl. What no one realized is that this sprawl was capable of taking off into space in the form of a giant dragon.

I love this concept. For me, its science fiction at its best. Let’s not worry about how this could actually be possible, but the thought of a nation enclosing itself and escaping the bonds of Earth is awe-inspiring. Of course, Japan’s size puts it dangerously close to the threshold where it’s own gravity would force it into a spherical shape once it became spaceborne. In the meantime, don’t tell me you wouldn’t freak out to discover that one of the major nations in the Eastern hemisphere had left the planet in the form of a giant dragon. 

Magnus Robot Fighter #6

November 1991
Valiant Comics

Writer: Cary Bates
Penciler: Alex Saviuk
Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Colorist: Gene D’Angelo
Letterer: Todd Klein


Magnus and Japanese Ambassador Tsuda are attacked by a bionic Ninjatron. Magnus defeats the assassin without killing her. He questions Tsuda on the situation, but is only promised answers after he meets with the Japanese council. Arriving on a small island of the coast of Japan, Magnus sees first-hand that the nation of Japan is covered by a continuous structure. Tsuda sees to it that Magnus’s injuries are treated, to the ogling of many young Japanese women. The next afternoon, the Japanese council informs Magnus that they are the legitimate government of Japan, outcast by the central computer controlling Japan’s infrastructure, called Grandmother by the residents. The “Anti-Grannies” as the callm themselves, want Magnus to help them destroy Grandmother and overthrow her rule. Magnus refuses, and retires to his room to await the next flight back to North Am.
That night, Magnus is woken by Solar, who hasn’t been seen in over a thousand years. Solar warns Magnus that aliens stand ready to reinvade Earth and Grandmother is humanity’s only hope. Solar isn’t strong enough to do it alone, so the Anti-Grannies cannot be allowed to harm Grandmother. As Solar departs, Magnus is left with questions and goes to the Humanist council. There he sees that a strange visitor has arrived with a new weapon, a carcinopod, that will destroy Grandmother’s intellect without damaging the life-support functions within the Host Body.
Meanwhile, 1-A has arrived in Japan to meet with Grandmother. The two have a romantic relationship and Grandmother informs him of her new Guardian and his offspring. Grandmother also informs 1-A that the Anti-grannies have recruited Magnus to destroy her.
Magnus confronts the stranger that brought the carcinopod. Magnus accuses him of being an alien. Fighting off deones and Ninjatrons, Magnus tries to warn the Anti-Grannies that aliens seeking to invade Earth want them to destroy Grandmother. Tsuda refuses to believe Magnus and runs off with the carcinopod. Tsuda sacrifices himself by crashing a flier through the outer shell of Japan, delivering the carcinopod into Grandmother’s neural web. Magnus uses a jet-pack to Grandmother ‘s aid.
In a back-up story, Grandmother’s protector, Rai, is defending himself against the computer, convinced that something is seriously wrong with her. He borrows a small flyer to travel to her core and discovers a growth on her brain. Grandmother fights Rai’s attempts to cut the growth away, Grandmother then goes insane, accusing Rai of being a traitor until her reason returns for a minute. Rai suggests cutting out the tumor again, and Grandmother threatens his son. Rai plunges his sword into the tumor, ignoring Granmother’s pleas. All power goes dark. Rai’s son is gone, taken away. In the Anti-Grannie headquarters, they signal for the invasion to begin.


The concept of Grandmother is a good one. I just don’t think it was allowed to fully form. The information given here is from the outside and the looks we’re given inside don’t fully grasp how this concept would work. Visually, the concept of Japan doesn’t look as crowded as an isolated society that today is already densely populated would seem. My view might be colored by the popular images I have in my head of Tokyo, but the areas that I see in this comic don’t seem to reflect what I supposedly know about this country.

The story itself builds on good concepts, but fails to carry through. The Anti-Grannies don’t very zealous, until one of them has to be. Grandmother is inconsistent against Rai, but doesn’t come across, even in talking with A-1, like a massive super-computer controlling everything in Japan. The worst offense is that there seems to be a story missing between the Magnus story and the Rai story. The two are out of sync, but in the same book, which just doesn’t work that well together. Magnus seems very much on the fence about stopping the Anti-Grannies, but the sense that I get is that he should be very adamantly against their efforts. Solar’s appearance is almost needless, especially if Magnus’s opinions concerning the Anti-Grannies are less indifferent.

Also, “Anti-Grannies” is possibly the worst name anyone could have ever conceived. In a world where North America is referred to as “NorthAm,” such a phrase just seems to be too retro for this future world. “Pro-Human” or “ProHu” would have been more in line with Magnus’s world. I would have even been more receptive to “An-Gran” rather than something that just sounds old-fashioned and unimaginative.

The art is rather bland. The rooms are sparsely decorated. Even the streets in Japan lack detail to make them unique. The inside walls look exactly like the outside walls, with no sign that the people of Japan have any effect on their environment. Just looking at any picture of Japan over the years shows the culture of the people in the buildings and in the decoration. This Japan just looks like an apartment rental two days after moving in. Japan should especially look like the result of centuries of habitation. 

The art loses any drama in the script. The point of view chosen in the panels seem so bland that ait becomes boring. The colors are so localized that when Solar enters Magnus’s room, not only do we have no sense of nighttime, but the presence of Solar is just so pedestrian, and that is reflected even in the cover. The book just comes across as visually dull.


Published just before the explosion of the 1990s, early Valiant issues like this had lower print runs. It was collected in the Invasion TPB (ASIN: B002YFZ3GA). It might be easier to find the individual issues rather than get the trade. Digital copies are currently not available through popular venues like Comixology.

Final Rating: 5.5 (out of 10)

This is a good concept that is explored in a perfectly average comic book. It carries the story, but it just doesn’t do anything to engage the reader. The art is pedestrian and hardly an example of Alex Saviuk’s best work.