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 #6, which includes Rai #2 in a flip book format.
Magnus: Robot Fighter #6 and Rai #2
Published in November of 1991
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by David Lapham
Inked by Kathryn Bollinger with Jon Holdredge
Colored by Knob Row/Jade
The action kicks in right away as Magnus gets attacked by a Ninjatron! Once she is dispatched, Ambassador Tsuda takes Magnus to the island where the human government has its base of operations. They give Magnus a rundown of how the island of Japan developed into one continuous structure in which the technology, now known as Grandmother, began taking care of the needs of the people, making human government obsolete. Magnus’ response is that they should just move.
In the middle of the night, Magnus is visited by Solar, who tells him that Grandmother is the only thing that stands between mankind and an alien invasion (Unity?).
Meanwhile, 1-A visits Grandmother, his robot lover, and they discuss their responsibility to protect the people of North Am and Japan, respectively. They discuss Magnus and Rai, and the need to keep them from facing off against each other.
Magnus discovers the human government’s plan to purchase a device from a mystery man to take down Grandmother and interferes, putting him at odds with the people who brought him to Japan. He isn’t able to stop the plot from being put into action and pursues with a jetpack to defend Grandmother.
Flip the book to Rai, and the story gets good! Rai is being attacked by Grandmother, who is acting odd and disoriented due to the attack the human government launched. Grandmother keeps producing giant robotic forms of herself to attack Rai, who heads to the Headlands to defend Grandmother’s brain. While fighting his way inside, Grandmother shows Rai a picture of his son, thinking it is him. Rai tells Grandmother to bring his son to him. The fight intensifies as Rai approaches Grandmother’s brain.
Grandmother produces a physical form of herself that is separated from the confusion the tumor on her brain is causing. She admits to defeat and tells Rai to save himself and his son. He refuses and strikes the tumor with his energy sword, causing a massive explosion. Grandmother is disabled, everything goes dark, and, at the Anti-Grannie headquarters, the armada is signaled to begin the invasion.
I still find the character of Magnus somewhat dry and boring. He’s being used as a vehicle to bring the reader to other stories and isn’t being developed himself. Still, the potential for growth is there, and I’m hoping his interactions with Solar and Rai are going to bring about the development of his character.
I thought the introduction of Solar was abrupt, but not in a bad way. It disrupted the flow of the story and was the first foreshadowing of something much bigger. I’m assuming this is referring to the Unity event. I find it interesting to be reading this all for the first time with a vague knowledge of what is to come!
The Rai story was fantastic! It was action packed, but used the action to progress the story rather than having action just for the sake of action. The second startling moment of this comic book was to see Grandmother actually disabled! How could Rai lose in only the second issue! I can’t wait to read Magnus 7/Rai 3 and find out what’s next!
The other aspect of this book that is great is the first inclusion of a “Letter from the Editor” and “Mail” pages. The reason I chose to read all of the VH1 books as they were published is to get a sense of the growth and development of the company, as well as what it was like to be a fan at the time! In Jim Shooter’s letter, he gives a lot of credit for the abilities of Bob Layton and David Lapham. He corrects the incorrect credit given in Rai #1 (David Lapham did the pencils) and mentions that the company has been around for two years and has a whopping 17 employees! You know it’s a small company when the Editor in Chief is also the writer of EVERYTHING!!! The Mail page sings the praises of Valiant’s treatment of the Gold Key characters.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com