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Interview: Fred Van Lente talks MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER

Find out more about the guy that will be fighting robots using martial arts. (We're talking about Magnus, not Fred).

What could be worse than finding everything in your life taken away? How about finding yourself in a futuristic world where you have to fight killer robots, with your bare hands? Luckily, Magnus is pretty skilled at martial arts and Fred Van Lente will be writing his adventures at Dynamite Entertainment.

We asked Fred some questions to find out how this version might compare to the past one and what we can expect in the upcoming series.

COMIC VINE: How will your "re-imagining" (as stated in the solicit) of the character compare to past versions?

FRED VAN LENTE: It's really a first-time re-imagining, as I understand it, as the Valiant series from the 90s was a continuation of the 60s Gold Key series. The fields of artificial intelligence and robotics have advanced by leaps and bounds even since the Valiant book. Russ Manning couldn't even imagine his dreams would be haunted by visions of real-life bots like this one and -- OMG -- this one.

But after you read Magnus Robot Fighter, you will be haunted. Oh yes, you will. And there is no Magnus to save you.

Cyborg cockroaches, anyone?

CV: It sounds as if Magnus somehow time travels into a future time period. Is that the case here? Are you going with around the year 4000?

FVL: One moment he's a schoolteacher and martial arts instructor in a small mountain town where he's married, loved, and robots and humans live in perfect harmony -- and out of nowhere he's dumped into a sprawling megalopolis called North Am where robots have taken over humanity (for humanity's own good, or so they claim) and Magnus himself is a wanted fugitive. The why's and how's of that transition become starkly clear as the story unfolds but I would not -- necessarily -- refer to it as time travel.

CV: Why is Magnus fighting robots? Can't they just get along?

FVL: That's what he would prefer, but the robots aren't giving him much of a choice. The robot theology that rules North Am teaches the copy must be a better version than the original in order for this generation of machines to be "raptured" up into a Nirvana space they call the Singularity. Magnus's free will -- and the fact he is an unregistered human, a big legal no-no -- makes the regime believe he's a threat to the fabric of their very society.

CV: Before, Magnus was highly skilled in martial arts and could apparently break or bend metal. Will he still rely on his martial art skills in your version?

FVL: Yes. Magnus has a number of additional abilities -- even from Manning's series -- one of which has Among other things, been the ability to secretly "listen in" on internal robot communications. This allows him to hone in on a robot's weak spot and hit it with a perfect strike. Until he arrived at North Am, Magnus had no idea he had the ability to this -- and its origin is shrouded in mystery.

CV: Will we see other familiar faces such as 1-A? Apparently there was a talking neo dog named Sam. What about him?!?

FVL: This is the first I'm hearing of Sam -- I'll have to tuck that away for future reference. But yeah, the robot 1A is Magnus's father, in essence, who raised him from a young age after his parents died to believe that humans and robots should be equals. The North Am authorities believe 1A to be a dangerous terrorist -- and who knows? They may be right... Yet another problem for Magnus to contend with.

CV: Are you given a good deal of freedom when taking on characters such as Magnus or Brain Boy (at Dark Horse) or Archer & Armstrong (at Valiant)?

FVL: Very much so. On the Magnus side of things, it's been great working with Dreamworks, who own the character. They've been very supportive.

And I should give a big thumbs up to my redoubtable editor, Nate Cosby, and our soon-to-be superstar artist Cory Smith, who's been posting previews on his Twitter feed -- Follow him at @_corysmith_ to check 'em out.

CV: What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in a world where humans were oppressed by robots?

FVL: Pray they still need writers!

Be sure to check out MAGNUS: ROBOT FIGHTER #1 from Fred Van Lente, Cory Smith and Dynamite Entertainment, on sale March 12. Let your comic shop know you want it added to your pull list!

8 Comments Refresh
Edited by Sawcesome

Huh. I always assumed Magnus was a robot that fought, not a man who fights robots.

Learn something new every day.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Huh that's another Valiant character that's being written by a Valiant writer but at a different publisher

Posted by AllStarSuperman

Huh that's another Valiant character that's being written by a Valiant writer but at a different publisher


Edited by NinjaKickTheDamnRabbit

This is a direct ripoff of Casshern

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

This is a direct ripoff of Casshern

Considering Magnus was created in 1962, no, no it absolutely is not.

Posted by Guardiandevil83

Yesss!! Magnus is back!

Posted by M3th

I guess MetH wasn't tHe only one expecting tHis interview to be about a new series at Valiant and not a new series for Dynamite.


Posted by ScarletBatman

Huh that's another Valiant character that's being written by a Valiant writer but at a different publisher

Dynamite is coming out with a whole slew of books based on the old Gold Key characters. Valiant doesn't really care. They don't need those characters to be the best indy publisher around.