“If they were just machines, they wouldn’t have built their own goddamn world to get away from the people who built them.”
Well, now that life is somewhat less chaotic than normal…It’s D.C. back to throw down on some books this month. First off, Dynamite’s new series, Magnus.
Magnus was originally a male robot fighter who was owned by Gold Key Comics and then Valiant Comics, once upon a time. Dynamite later bought the rights to the character and published a short-lived series and an event with an iteration of Magnus. With one version appearing in the current The Sovereigns event (which is very good), so comes a different version in a new ongoing; this time as a female.
Magnus #1, by the creative team Kyle Higgins and Jorge Fornés, takes place in 2020 New York, where relations between humans and artificial intelligence are strained due to the emerging awareness and depression of A.I. The disparity of A.I.’s “duty” to serve humanity and their developing complexity and desire for freedom leads the A.I. to seek a world away from the real world–a safe space, if you will.
These issues are what drive the work of robot psychologist Kerri Magnus, and the mystery she is contracted to solve.
Kyle Higgins starts this series off in superb fashion. The first issue touches on the deep political and social issues between man and A.I. Magnus’ tense conversation with an ex-boyfriend makes obvious the prejudices humans hold of A.I. as property and as simple machines incapable of individual thought. It is an old tale that rings of real life history, but is treated well and produces interest.
Kerri Magnus is depicted well as an intermediary between the A.I. and human worlds, but it is also her history as a bounty hunter that leaves one wondering many things about the character and her motivations.
What is her skill set? What motivated Kerri to turn from her profession from hunter to helper? As we can see, Kerri is looked at with an edge of disdain by humans. This issue was rich in plot points that open up potential stories and character development all around.
Fornés’ art works well for the surreal science fiction tone this series seems to invoke. He emotes the characters well, even the A.I. Kerri Magnus encounters. You get a sense of anger, angst, and dread from the above A.I. Eugene, but also in the frightening resolve in Frederick’s face as he makes plans to escape his masters. Aided by colorist Chris O’Halloran, Fornés crafts simple and stark contrasts between certain scenes, such as Kerri’s nightmare. It is simple, distinct and macabre.
Magnus #1 is off to a very good start. Kyle Higgins and Jorge Fornés hit the ground running with interesting characters and establishing a world that, for all intents and purposes, is on the brink of political, social, and literal war. Kerri Magnus is a mysterious woman with a strong history just waiting to be told, and I am very much looking forward to what comes.
I recommend you give this series a read.