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.
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.
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!