Creator/Writer/Artist: Greg Waller
Inks: Axel Jimenez
Publisher: Ape Entertainment
“I should have read the first issue.” “Why didn’t I read the first issue?” “Goddamn, I need…, nah, want to read the first issue.” These thoughts entered my head on more than one occasion during my reading of this issue of Ape Entertainment’s Magnitude mini-series. Moreover, having read it and not knowing how well the series is selling, I will say this: with a few changes, this would make a killing (both in sales and long lasting comic-cred) as a DC Elseworlds story. Then again, if everyone and everything were under the banner of the "Big Two," where would we get the (often innovative) Indies from?
This issue of Magnitude can be broken into two halves with one half belonging to the Combatant and the second to Magnitude and the forces (heroes) that will be, well, combating him.
The Combatant as a character bears more than a passing resemblance to quite a few of his pre-existing comic counterparts. For starters, his alien heritage makes one immediately think of Superman and/or the Martian Manhunter. Invincible readers will also be reminded of Omni-Man, Invincible’s father. In Omni-Man’s case his actions and reasons for being on Earth are also similar to that of the Combatant. Moreover, Combatant’s WWII history and his status as an American hero evoke Captain America. In this case the similarity is very limited, even more so than the one C-Man has with yet another DC bigwig, the Batman. During his time on Earth, the Combatant has built for himself a secret "public" identity of Miles Moses, Billionaire Industrialist and Philanthropist. Can you say Bruce Wayne? Speaking of the Batman, there is another character in the Magnitude-verse whose "design template" gives a nod to the Caped Crusader: Overcast. Overcast is not so much a direct lift of Batman; it's just that the character in action reminds one of the Dark Knight. If anything, Overcast’s costume comes off as a distant (snazzier) cousin of DC’s Spectre's.
The other costumed characters appearing in Magnitude #2 (other than Magnitude himself) are SkyGirl, Microbe and War Eagle, who I assume all appeared in the first issue. There is also the hawt villainess, MindGame. A telepath, she is freed from her high security prison cell by the Combatant who then "commandeers" her services and skills to get the secret launch codes of certain missiles from the one person who knows them all, the American President. In short, C-Man leaves no stone unturned to hammer home the point that he’s no longer on the side of the peoples of U.S.A. (in specific) and Earth (in general).
This brings us to the other half of the issue, i.e. the (still) good guys. It takes them a while to get wind of the Combatant’s actions. Even when they do, they go through the initial surprise and denial phases, which given their association with the Combatant is something that is expected. In addition, it’s not like they are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Both War Eagle and Microbe, and subsequently SkyGirl, are busy trying their best to treat their mystery guest who, as SkyGirl ascertains, has come from the future. Given his age and the physical similarities, I’d wager that Magnitude is the future, older version of the young child Overcast is hiding from Combatant and his Ultimith robots.
In the end, as expected, Magnitude wakes up and (also, as expected) he is late in his trip back in time to warn the heroes of the Combatant’s turning.
The artwork, although having elements of the Image style of comic-art, is more in line with the mainstream (whatever that is) than it is with the Uber-bodies and, uh, complexities of Turner, (Pat) Lee or Silvestri. It might be a bit rough in places, but Axel Gimenez’s style is both expressive and impressive, and will hopefully, with the passage of time, gain the polish and maturity that experience brings. The roughness of the art could be attributed to the inking which even the lively coloring can’t quite smoothen-away completely. Nevertheless, the characters, both male and female, although sporting the physiques of your "usual" comic costumed characters (heroes or villains), don’t come across as overly muscle-bound steroid-junkies but as actual people, albeit ones who possess a couple or few extra "skills/abilities" than Joe-public.
Conclusion: If the first issue was anything like this one as (I hope) will be the remaining three, then for Magnitude (and its creators) I close with this: “Greg Waller’s Magnitude is going to live up to its namesake…and then some.” Now, if only I could get my hands of that damn first issue.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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