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Magnus, Robot Fighter stood out from among the hundreds of titles that surfaced during the 1960s comic-book boom for several reasons. It wasn't published by one of the "big two" companies, Marvel and DC, but by minor player Gold Key; it was the rare sf title in a field dominated by superheroes; and it showcased one of the period's best artists, the relatively unsung Russ Manning. Its premise is classic sf stuff: in a future world grown weak from overdependence on cybernetic servants, Magnus, trained from youth by Robot 1A, protects the continent-wide city NorthAm from renegade robots and evil humans who use the robots against society. The stories remain sufficiently intelligent and compelling today, and Manning's elegant art, derived from Alex Raymond's 1930s Flash Gordon, makes Magnus worth reprinting. His shiny depiction of the forty-first century is tremendously appealing, despite and because of its now blatantly old-fashioned conceptions, such as flying cars and conveyer-belt sidewalks. Unfortunately, the volume's substandard reproductions lose much of the original details. Manning's crisp, clean line deserves better. Gordon Flagg
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