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A Silver Age comic book hero, originally published by Gold Key Comics in the 1960's. He was revived by Valiant Comics in the 1990's, and has appeared sporadically under other publishers' banners since then. Most recently, the title has been revived by Dark Horse Comics and is being written by Jim Shooter, who had been the head of Valiant back in the day.
The original full title was Magnus Robot Fighter: 4000 A.D. In the far future, man has grown lazy and decadent, and is dependent on a huge labor force of robots for his wants and needs. The robots are programmed never to harm humans, but an increasing number of rogues are showing signs of rebellion. One robot, named 1A, still loyal to humanity but sufficiently "rogue" to be able to think outside the box, sees that a Robot War is coming and wants to prevent it. He adopts an orphaned child named Magnus and raises him in a secret undersea base, where he educates him and trains him to be the greatest martial artist the world has ever seen—good enough to defeat a standard metal robot with his bare hands, without resorting to any technology at all. 1A then sends Magnus out into the world--specifically, to the continent-spanning city of North Am--to both prevent a robot overthrow of humanity, and to encourage humans to stand on their own two feet again without depending on machines for everything.
A third side in the conflict is the "gophs," the humans who live in the squalid slums beneath the "milespires" where the upper classes of humanity live. The human/robot conflict is literally over their heads for the most part, but they will obviously suffer along with everyone else if a Robot War comes.
The 90's Valiant series picks up where the original series left off, initially making a great effort to be faithful to the old setting, characters, and art style. The two main differences are a much greater focus on the class conflict between the gophs and the "cloud cloddies" who live on the milespires; and Magnus's grudging realization that the robots who are chafing under slavery have a perfectly legitimate point. So Magnus now has to try and balance the situation to prevent both a race war between man and robot, and also a class war between the upper classes and the gophs.
We also get to see some of the world beyond North Am, most notably Japan, home to the hero Rai who then gets his own spin-off comic. Magnus's world is also fully incorporated in the the Valiant universe, crossing over with its other titles either by time travel or by the presence of long-lived characters like Gilad the Eternal Warrior.
So it goes for a while, and then aliens invade. Specifically, alien robots called the Malevs who had appeared in the Silver Age series, but had been a minor plot element there. Here, they arrive, co-opt most of the existing robot population, and conquer the Earth. All of the original plot arcs are overwhelmed by the fight against the alien invaders. While the Malev War certainly has strong fans among the Valiant Comics fanbase, it can also be argued that it drastically derailed the basic premise of the comic. Here we get a Robot War, but ironically, it's one that has little to do with the original human/robot conflict. The war does end, eventually.
A new series from Dark Horse Comics recently began, written by Jim Shooter.
Contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Leeja in the Valiant version. Also Tekla.
- Alien Invasion
- Badass Normal: Magnus, originally—but during Valiant's company-wide crossover "Unity," this was retconned so Magnus's dad had superhuman strength which Magnus inherited.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Slagger, a big tough Goph whom Magnus befriends.
- Cain and Abel: Rai's two sons.
- Crossover: Regularly, with the other Valiant characters. More notably, it crossed over once with Nexus by Mike Baron and Steve Rude.
- Crapsack World: The Valiant version certainly had elements of this, but the Dark Horse version seems, well, darker.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Milespire culture.
- Continuity Reboot: The current Dark Horse Comics version, as well as a few short-lived revivials since Valiant folded.
- Dark Age: The Malev War.
- Dark Horse Comics
- Evil Luddite: Derkaiser. Magnus himself might count as well when he takes the decision to destroy every single robot.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Magnus Robot Fighter: 4000 A.D. is about a guy named Magnus who fights robots in the year 4000 A.D.
- Fantastic Fighting Style
- Fantastic Racism
- FemBot: Tekla (no relation). Also Grandmother's physical form.
- The Future
- Gold Key Comics
- Humongous Mecha: Xyrkol's Robot Giant in the 60's. In the 90's there's Grandmother, and then the Malev Emperor.
- Jim Shooter: Was in charge of Valiant Comics, and is currently writing the Dark Horse Comics version.
- Just a Machine: The Dark Horse Comics version makes a clear distinction between sentient and nonsentient robots. Magnus says he'll destroy a nonsentient robot that gets in his way without a second thought, but that he's just as reluctant to kill a sentient robot as he would be to kill a human being. Not that he's above killing if there's a good enough reason, mind you.
- Legacy Character: Magnus and Rai both have sons who take center stage after the Malev War ends. Rai comes from a long line of Japanese heroes who have taken the title "Rai."
- Love Triangle: The Dark Horse version has given Leeja a strong rival for Magnus's affections.
- Ludd Was Right
- Mechanical Lifeforms: This is certainly how the robots want to be viewed, at least those who care what humans think at all.
- Moral Dissonance: Magnus's eventual decision to destroy all robots, after the horrors of the Malev War have eroded all his sympathy on the matter. The resultant society is actually pretty good, but What the Hell, Hero? indeed.
- Nanomachines: The source of Rai's powers. He inherited them from the 20th century Valiant hero Bloodshot.
- Official Couple: Magnus and Leeja
- Phlebotinum Rebel
- Porn Stache: Xyrkol has a huge mustache.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Gilad the Eternal Warrior.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Leeja's dad Senator Clane in the Gold Key Comics. He becomes a little more ambiguous in the 90's version for being narrow-minded, but he's still a mostly sympathetic character.
- Robot Me: Magnus fights one in the 1960's series.
- Robot Names
- Robot Republic: The sadly short-lived city of Synchron.
- Robotic Spouse: Grandmother is 1A's girlfriend.
- Shout-Out: Magnus was designed to resemble Tarzan in many ways, to play up the primitive vs. technology angle.
- Space Clothes
- Upperclass Twit: A lot of the cloud cloddies.
- Transhuman Aliens: The Starwatchers.
- Valiant Comics
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: The Goph Levels.
- Zeerust: In a good way. Everything at the start of the Valiant series has the same art design as the 60's version, from the robots to the buildings to the costumes. It meshes very nicely with the Raygun Gothic visual look of Nexus's world in the crossover comic. The new Dark Horse reboot averts this.