For all the hype and the hubbub (there was hubbub, right?), this relaunch of former Gold Key/Valiant characters has been underwhelming to middling. Bill Reinhold’s art has a timeless, deceptively simple quality to it that I found rather evocative of Carmine Infantino’s work. Punching, kicking, and karate-chopping his way through robotic nemeses, Magnus is in capable hands with Reinhold.
The story may be set in the future, but a great deal of the future tech looks retro, as though Infantino designed it all before hopping on a cosmic treadmill to come back to the Silver Age where he could deposit the seeds of thought that would become this book into the minds of Bill Reinhold and Jim Shooter.
Shooter writes the story as though today were the heart of the Silver Age. There is action, adventure, diabolical monologues from evil forces, and robots who-talk-with-dashes-between-every-word. The plot may be old-school, but it’s a plot that plays out perfectly for Shooter and one of his favorite characters.
Shooter’s female characters have a derring-do (no, not their hair) about them that is reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s comics where female characters set out to prove their ability and equality. When they’re not trying to find trouble, however, it seems as though the women have nothing more to do than hang out in bed in their lingerie, since that condition is how we are first introduced to Leeja Ellen Clane (Magnus’ main squeeze) and her gal pal, Cinnette Victoria, whom Magnus instructs to cower in a corner -- which just so happens to be made of glass! -- for her own good as he fights off her robot attackers.
With a reprint of the 1963 Gold Key tale rounding out the extra-sized issue and providing more bang for your (three) bucks (and change!) this issue is a fine piece of reading that is quite unlike other titles you’ll find on the stands this week. It’s a nice introduction to the world of Magnus. It’s approachable and smart, and doesn’t burden itself with the history of the character or his franchise.