Somebody’s First Comic Book: Magnus Robot Fighter (1991 Series) #1
Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!
TITLE: Protector (Steel Nation Part One)
Writer: Jim Shooter
Pencils: Art Nichols
Inks: Bob Layton & Kathryn Bolinger
Colors: Janet Jackson
Editor: Don Perlin
Publisher: Valiant Comics
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: I’ve never heard of the character, but based on the cover, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest this is a comic book about someone named “Magnus” who “fights” “robots.” Let’s open up the book and… hey, whaddaya know? I was right.
IMPRESSIONS: Snark aside, this story is actually very good. We open up with the introduction of Magnus and his mentor, a 410-year-old robot called 1-A. 1-A was evidently one of the first robots in this sci-fi universe to gain free will. He also realized quickly that other freewill robots were inevitable, and many of them wouldn’t be as nice as he was, so he found a kid named Magnus and trained him in some sort of sci-fi kung-fu that lets him beat the crap out of robots.
That part is a little funky, I admit, but once you get past that you get into a really interesting, thoughtful science fiction story. Early on, Magnus ponders the question of whether the robots he’s making it his mission to destroy are actually alive, something 1-A vehemently denies (an odd position, since he’s technically one of them). Despite what Robo-Yoda says, though, Magnus unconvinced. As he goes through the rest of the book attempting to thwart a robot army with the help of his semi-telepathic girlfriend Leeja, the story cycles between an old-fashioned sci-fi action movie and a different sort of philosophical conversation on the nature of awareness and life. It’s surprisingly deep.
The book doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, but there are definitely questions left unresolved. I’d be interested in reading more to see what those resolutions are.