Review: Magnus #1

Originally posted on Irish Comic News (22/Aug/2017)

Written by Kyle Higgins and Chuck Wendig (Turok backup story).
Line art by Jorge Fornes and Alvaro Sarrasecca (Turok backup story).
Colour art by Chris O’Halloran and Triona Farrell (Turok backup story).
Letters by Taylor Esposito.
Cover by Daniel Warren Johnston (Cover D).

Magnus, written by Higgins, follows Dr.Magnus a human psychologist who uses her training to get AIs to a productive part of society. The place of advanced AI in society is one of those stories I really like. The focal character of the story being a psychologist who is working to with AI that have retreated from the physical world to the cloud is a promising premise. Magnus is noteworthy due to her being one of the few people able to upload their mind to the cloud and not go insane as a result. This places her in a very unique position with what insight she can offer to AI when the police need to help with AI related crimes. The character of Magnus, her relationship with AI and the cloud is a great start to the story which I’m hoping following issue will deliver on.

Jorge Fornes delivers art well fitted to the story. The people, robotic shells for the AI, the sprawling cities and the moments of horror all blend together seamlessly. There are two pages in particular that I thought were excellent. They use the same panel layout with the second of the two pages giving an altogether ominious tone to the closing page of the comic. The story also contains a brief horror sequence for Magnus. That page really stands out from the rest as something that is straight-up horror art compared to the rest of the comic. Lots of things to like about Fornes work in this issue.

The colours are provided by O’Halloran. Like Fornes, there’s much in the colour art to like that add that little bit extra in how they’re applied. The first thing that struck me was the difference between the physical world and the world of the cloud. The colours of the cloud world are much brighter compared to the physical world. It also suggests to the reader that Magnus prefers the cloud to the physical as the colour selection in the cloud give her a more energetic appearance. The minimal use on the colour on the horror sequence really worked for me. It’s pretty much just two colours but really underscores the sense of terror the line art was aiming for.

Esposito handles all that the story throws at him. Lots of dialogue for humans and AI with clear difference in how each is presented to the reader. There’s also no shortage of sound effects between appliances and robot creations. I did like how the screaming was done in the horror sequence. Rather than it seeming like the character was screaming, it had the effect of the air being filled with screaming.

Magnus has plenty going on in it from the writing, line and colour art. I’m really liking the idea of AI criminals hiding out in the cloud outside of the reach of the police. Which means that Magnus is placed right in the middle of police investigations due to her access to the cloud.

The backup Turok story is a four-page portion of an ongoing Turok story written by Wendig. The dinosaur hunter is tracking a girl who has been abducted. Line art is by Sarrasecca with colours by Farrell. The art on the story is a great juxtaposition to art of Magnus, particularly regarding the colours. You know at a glance that you’ve left the world of Magnus. Line art is clean with a three panel sequence that gets across how ruthless Turok can be. Considering there is so much green throughout, it’s a credit to Farrell that everything isn’t blending into a single emerald mass in every panel.

A sci-fi comic featuring a psychologist treating AI patients with a sample of what to expect from Turok. With no less than two Irish colourists in the comic there’s plenty to entice people to have a look at what Magnus has to offer.

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