Magnus Robot Fighter (iBooks)

    (iBooks, 2005)
™ and ©2005 Russ Manning Inc.

The futuristic world of Magnus, an orphan trained by a robot to fight robots with his bare hands was so ably crafted by Russ Manning that after more than 40 years, it still stands the test of time. That’s rare in science fiction.

Publisher iBooks is the latest to take a crack at reviving this classic series, and, despite redesigns and rewritten history, it was fairly faithful to the original comics. For my tastes, it was better than the end of the Valiant run, but not as good as Bob Layton’s start.

Louise Simonson’s story picks up right in the middle, so there’s no introduction of the characters in their new incarnations. And Hendricks’ art is killed by muddy coloring—unless it was intentional that everyone in 4000 A.D. has mocha-colored skin.

While it may have been acceptable to redesign Magnus’ short shorts and white go-go boots, no modern artist has ever come close to the incredible job Russ Manning did rendering the beautiful Leeja Clane. Magnus’ love interest was far sexier in the 1960s than she’s ever been since.

— Michael Tierney

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 Louise SimonsonDamion Hendricks