Comic Publishers

February 23, 2011

Dark Horse Reviews: Magnus, Robot Fighter #3

Magnus, Robot Fighter #3
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writing: Jim Shooter
Art: Bill Reinhold and Mike Manley
Cover: Raymond Swanland

First off, look at this cover by Raymond Swanland. This could possibly be one of the greatest Magnus covers ever created . The gritty colors as a struggling Magnus looks on into battle with those baddies lurking behind him and this classic looking fighter-robot in front of him. Pure brilliance. Raymond Swanland, if it wasn’t illegal to stalk people, I’d high-five you outside your house every morning for a solid month for this cover. Awesome.

And now, if the cover wasn’t enough to pull you in, then I assure you whole-heartedly that the rest of Magnus, Robot Fighter issue#3 is. Once again, Jim Shooter and his team at Dark Horse have unleashed kick-assness of the greatest kind, starting with page one’s bio-human vs. human boxing match. In this issue, Magnus ventures down to “gopher level” to put an end to an illegal blood sport in which humans box against high-powered cyborgs and robots. Magnus follows super-strengthed hottie Hippolyta, and after a brief tackle with her, walks right into the den of this sport itself to face their undisputed champion, Steelhammer!

The action in this title flies off the pages, and blow by blow, Magnus, Robot Fighter delivers us our futuristic Tarzan full force, never missing a beat. Shooter’s writing is solid as he pens one of the most entertaining action titles on the stands this year. The art by Bill Reinhold, as I have praised before, feels classic 1990s and is perfect for this title. The way he captures the world, the robots, and, of course, the woman, all feel at home in this sci-fi adventure.

Magnus, Robot Fighter #3 is out on stands now (which means you should buy it).

Editor’s Note: has been pre-nominated for an Eagle Award! Please click here to vote for us in the “Favorite Comic Book Website” category (question #27). Thank you for your continued support!

Drew McCabe

A copy of this comic was provided by the publisher for review.



  1. Eli

    Magnus seems to have a nice little dilema in his personal life there after this issue. Not bad options to choose between. I’m loving this title. I’d never heard of Magnus, and it was the covers that initially got my attention. Shooter’s doing a fantastic job all the way around.

    Overall a great review Drew, except for this bit:

    “…classic 1990s”

    I feel old after reading that. A time that I can remember as if it were only yesterday, is now “classic.” Crap.

  2. Drew

    Lol, same here, but its hard to believe that 1990 was now over 20 years ago…sigh

    However thats a completment. the artwork feels like a lot of the art in early to mid-90s titles, which were awesome : )

  3. Billy

    Great review Drew. I really like the sound of this book, and will look for it in Tpb.

  4. kenmeyerjr

    Boy, I checked out Swanland’s site and the guy is just freaking awesome and a great argument for digital art. Just incredible.

  5. I was never a huge Magnus fan even back in the now “classic” 90s era lol This relaunch of the series has piqued my interest since it’s been getting pretty good reviews so I might just snatch up the trade of the first few issues when Dark Horse releases that.

  6. No! No! No! No! No! They just don’t understand.

    Being a long time Magnus Robot Fighter collector ( and an owner of 5 original Russ Manning pages), I had to comment about Dark Horse’s adaptation of Magnus Robot Fighter.

    I realize that this was a labor of love but in my opinion they have completely missed the mark on some very important points that made Magnus Robot Fighter stand above all comics and even outselling Superman at one point in time.. Please don’t think I’m being overly judgmental, NO ONE has managed to capture the magic that Russ Manning gave us. I am not talking only about the artwork, there are more fundamental issues in play.

    First of all,the Russ Manning Magnus Robot Fighter was more of a Science Fiction graphic novel. 4000 AD was a believable optimistic future than seemed real. North-AM is open, bright and airy (except in the goph levels which was only explored once and not a main focus of the series.). Magnus and the North Am world exemplifies the purity and best human kind has to offer.

    Every attempt after Russ Manning left has turned Magnus Robot Fighter into, dare I say it, merely a comic book. This was painfully obvious in Valiant’s version when they had a robot dressing as a human and the continuous use of slang terms such as “Meatbags”, “Milespire” etc.

    Dark Horse’s variation has a Cyborg named “Big Guns” which is as comic bookish as you can get.
    Robot’s conversing during confrontations, Magnus sleeping with another woman are more examples of how far they have deviated from the world created by Russ Manning.

    The following excerpts are examples of the comic bookish dialog and slang that appears is aimed at the grade school reader and not adults. Russ Manning’s Magnus Robot Fighter never talked down to it’s readers.

    “LET’S ZOOM”

    As gifted as Bill Reinhold is, he has not captured the open clean look of Russ Manning’s North AM. Even the upper level scenes seem cluttered and crowded giving a completely different feel for North AM.

    I do not expect anyone to be able to duplicate Russ Manning s North Am, but I was hoping for at least the flavor and mood to be captured.

    In my opinion, Russ Manning’s Magnus Robot Fighter is still the greatest comic ever produced.

    I am truly disappointed that once again Magnus Robot Fighter had emerged only to sink into oblivion and obscurity once again.

    Gregg Hazen

    Brunswick, Ohio

  7. portland

    Best comic issue I’ve read in well over a year. I really wish this series was on schedule. Looks like its only a matter of time before its canned.

    TPBs rule the world now.

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