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Kickin’ It Old School: Magnus #5 and Rai #1 Flip Book

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It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for a new edition of Kickin’ It Old School, our weekly column in which we look to the past and review books from the original Valiant universe! This week, I’ll be discussing Magnus Robot Fighter #5, which includes Rai #1 in a flip book format.

Magnus Robot Fighter #5 and Rai #1

Published in October of 1991
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by Paul Creddick
Inked by Bob Layton
Colored by Janet Jackson

Key new characters
  • Ambassador Tsuda- Japanese ambassador seeking Magnus’ help.
  • General Mimsy- another military lacky of Clane’s
  • Felina- dancer with a heart of gold
  • Slagger- fierce Goph, Felina’s boyfriend, Clane’s sought after replacement for Magnus
  • Rai- protector of Grannie, begins as an aged version longing to be replaced and retired
  • Tohru- Rai’s son and replacement
  • Grandmother- Japan’s protector
  • Kazuyo- young Rai’s wife
  • Takashi- young Rai’s son

Synopsis

Magnus is trying to lay low in Goph lands.  He doesn’t have money to pay for food in a bar and ends upfighting bouncer robots, revealing that he’s Magnus.  He gets cracked on the head, opening up his surgery wounds, which leads to a dancer named Felina offering to patch him up.  Meanwhile, in North Am, Ambassador Tsuda is seeking Magnus, hoping he will help free his people from an existence that is reliant on robots.  At the same time, President Clane decides that they need to find a Goph they can hire to take Magnus’ place as an enforcer for the humans.

The next day finds Magnus sleeping in Felina’s apartment, as he had passed out from exhaustion while she was patching him up.  Her free will robot friend, Toony, tells Magnus to steer clear of Felina’s boyfriend, the toughest Goph in Gehenna.  All three threads of the story start to converge as General Mimsy comes to Gehenna looking for Slagger.  Magnus saves a couple of North Am-ers and repairs their car, for which they pay him, allowing him to go back to the bar to pay for his meal from the beginning.  Slagger arrives and attacks Magnus.  Mimsy arrives, offering Slagger the opportunity to replace Magnus and placing Magnus under arrest. Ambassador Tsuda shows up and asks Magnus to come with him to Japan, allowing him to avoid arrest.

Now we flip the book and find a worn out, old Rai moodily protecting Grannie from a replicating robot attack.  He wants his son to take his rightful place as the new Rai.  We cut to a small island, where Rai’s son, Tohru,  lives with his wife and young son.  He doesn’t want to become the next Rai, but Grandmother sends a messenger to retrieve him, as his father is ailing after the earlier fight.  Tohru refuses to accept his role as the new Rai, until Grandmother shows him the coming threat of Magnus.  Tohru receives the Rai energy from his father, then returns home to retrieve his son to be trained as the next Rai.  He is attacked by anti-Grannie robots and discovers that his wife is an anti-Grannie sympathizer.  He squelches her attack and leaves with his baby, ready to begin his role as Grandmother’s protector.

Review

First of all, I love the gimmicks Valiant has been using to boost sales.  This issue has the cards and coupon that can be redeemed for issue #0, as well as being a flip book with Rai!  This is a great way for Valiant to introduce an original character by including him in a book with an established character, but without Rai being lost in Magnus’ story.
That being said, I was not impressed with the Magnus portion of this issue.  It’s transitioning from the previous story, setting up for Magnus to go to Japan, but just comes off as forced, similar to issue #2.  I don’t think Jim Shooter writes the Gophs well, and I’m not sure if he writes futuristic stories well.  Time will tell with Rai.  The design in Magnus is also unimpressive, which is partially due to 90’s fashion influences.  Magnus looks like he’s trying to hide as a gypsy woman with that stupid bandana.

The Rai side of this issue was much better.  A sense of backstory was set without forcing it by literally having a character tell the story to set the scene, making it more like Solar #1 than Rai #1.  The reader is at the beginning of something new, witnessing the role of Rai being handed over from father to son.  We are set up to see two heroes set to collide, Rai serving society against the dissenters against Magnus who has become fed up with society and is forced to be an outlaw.

Kickin’ It Old School Magnus: Robot Fighter #4

Originally from ValiantCentral.com

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