It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another 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 #10.
Published in March 1992
Written by Jim Shooter with Fred Pierce
Penciled by Mark Moretti
Inked by Tom Ryder with Ted Halsted
Colored by Maurice Fontenot & Co.
Xyrkol: Former villain nemesis of Magnus who has been psycho-probed into passivity
Magnus is about to be psycho-probed as the Synchrons launch an attack on North Am. The people of North Am are overconfident in their ability to stop the robots’ attack and they are thrown into disarray when their defenses fail and they are left without power. Magnus is saved from psycho-probing and makes his escape. In Synchron, E-7 is calling for the total destruction of the humans, but Tekla and Leeja call for mercy and have the rest of the robots on their side.
Back in North Am, President Clane is ready to concede to the robots to avoid the deaths of countless citizens who are trapped in their milespires when Doctor Pincus arrives with Xyrkol, who has invented a device that utilizes the sun’s energy to power the electronics in its vicinity. When President Clane asks him to invent a weapon to destroy the robots, Xyrkol reacts with shock and anxiety, refusing to cause violence as a result of the psycho-probe.
Later that day, in the Goph sector, Magnus rescues General Mimsy from a mob of Gophs who were brutally attacking her. She put herself at great risk to tell Magnus of Clane’s plan to free Xyrkol’s mind. Magnus heads to North Am to confront Clane, but is too late to stop the de-probing of Xyrkol. Xyrkol demands to be made Sector Chief of the Goph lands in exchange for helping Clane destroy the robots. Magnus arrives long after Clane has left to find a probed Slagger cleaning up. He sends a transmission to Synchron to let them know of Clane’s actions just before being overran by Pol-robs. Leeja and two free-will robots show up to save Magnus and Slagger. Leeja goes to get information from her father while Magnus returns to the Goph lands.
After getting his headquarters set up, Xyrkol puts his plans into action, duping the North Am people and sending out a message to the Gophs to deliver Magnus to him as the first step of overthrowing North Am. Leeja shows up to try to stop Xyrkol, but she and her two robot companions can’t handle Xyrkol’s robots. Magnus shows up to save the day, but Xyrkol throws a switch, sending them to his fortress in sub-space, where he has captured a helpless Magnus and controls the power of the sun.
The character development in Magnus has been great these last two issues. The biggest issue I had with this title from the beginning is the lack of characters that really elicited feelings from the reader. Magnus was melancholy. The people of North Am were soft and spoiled. The robots were fighting for their independence, but both sides were right and wrong in their actions. Since I could empathize with both sides, I just didn’t have a very strong feeling about anything. There’s nothing wrong with a story with no clear right or wrong, but the characters have to draw strong feelings from the reader, and that’s what we’re getting to now.
Leeja has become much more interesting, emerging from a weak, whiney character to a strong woman who can be a leader and act with courage. Her alignment with the robots allows us to continue to humanize them as they grow in power. The introduction of Xyrkol as a villain forces many characters out of the middle gray-zone of good or bad. Mimsy sacrifices her own safety to try to stop Clane’s plan. Clane proves himself to be so blinded by his corrupted version of right and wrong that he is suckered by Xyrkol and sacrifices everything just to try to keep all of the power for himself. He’s worked himself from scummy to loathsome. I think this event will have to change the status quo of North Am after Xyrkol has been defeated. I can’t see Clane being able to remain president or Magnus staying as an outcast. This story line should result in more than just the development of a few characters, but the development of the society of North Am.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com