Review by Frank Plowright
Although he didn’t realise it, Russ Magnus lived a fantasy dreaming existence in his head while he was programmed with skills enabling him to be a force in North-Am. He transferred to the real world sooner than intended, one of few humans able to identify robots masquerading as human, and with martial arts skills enabling him to batter other robots. The society he’s emerged into is one that prioritises robot rights, and hunts down free humans. At the end of Flesh and Steel, Magnus found himself among a rebel community of hidden humans, one of whom had been his wife in the fantasy generated world.
Magnus’ reunion with Moira doesn’t go the way he thought it would, but they still find themselves on a mission together as Fred Van Lente explores the world Magnus has emerged into. Far from a harmonious society, it’s one riven between assorted political and social factions, each with their own agenda. Senator Clane appeared top dog, but his actions in Flesh and Steel have turned many against him. Van Lente’s plot construction creatively introduces considerable political tensions, and his work in bringing assorted characters to a single location is nicely achieved.
As before, however, Cory Smith’s art just doesn’t sell Magnus as anything special. His pages are on the functional level of action thriller storytelling rather than the surprising, and it’s a rare page transcending that. In a world where Transformers are thrilling, Smith should be able to amaze with a variety of robots, and he doesn’t, while his people are rarely anything other than angry-faced.
Over the course of Uncanny Valley several relationships shift, with Van Lente providing good motivation for this to occur, and by the end Magnus has redefined his original purpose, and determined to free North-Am from tyranny. That concludes in Cradle and Grave.