Magnus, Robot Fighter #5-8 from Valiant Comics in 1991 featured the first appearance of Rai, the guardian of Japan, who appeared in flip-books numbered #1-4 on the back side of the issue. The two storylines start separately, then come together in “Invasion.”
After the events of “Steel Nation,” Magnus temporarily finds himself among the Gophs, who live at the lower-class ground level of North Am in the 41st century.
An ambassador from Japan seeks his help; he is trying to end the Japanese dependence on “Granny,” a sentient computer that controls much of Japan. Fifty million Japanese live inside Granny’s host body.
Rai is Grandmother’s defender, and serves as the immune system for the giant robot, chasing away or destroying entities that would harm her. The role of Rai is passed from father to son, with powers granted by Grandmother.
The anti-Grannies have a weapon that will release Granny’s control of Japan, but too late they discover it’s meant to destroy her. They’ve been fooled by the spider aliens, who see Granny as the only thing standing in the way of their conquest of earth.
Magnus, Rai, and Solar, who appears to warn Magnus of the threat, must try to repair Granny and stop the invasion.
This is a pretty strong story overall, with interesting sci-fi concepts like a sentient nation-robot. The art is along the relatively clean and simple look that marked the Valiant “house style” at the time. Writer Jim Shooter manages to present information from each of the sides in the conflict in a compelling way, so that the reader is forced to think beyond the surface of the issue.
Another recommended story to search for in the back-issue bins from Valiant.
- Matt Price
Comics read in 2011: 80. Still to go: 1,931.