Saturday, August 23, 2014

Justice Inc. #1 (of 6)

   I've been a fan of pulp heroes since I first picked up one of the Bantam paperback reprints of Doc Savage in the early '70s.

   I also got hooked on The Shadow and The Avenger in the same way.

   It was only natural that their adventures should migrate over to comic books - after all, their exploits inspired more than a few of today's most popular heroes.

   But there's always a big problem with bringing those heroes to life in modern-day comics. Do you try to bring them up to the modern-day world - always problematic, because you have to explain with they're still young and vibrant - or do you set the stories in the 1930s and '40s, when they originally appeared?

   Which is to say, will modern audiences accept a story set 60 or 70 years ago?

   For Justice Inc - which is, I believe, the first-ever team-up of all three of these characters - writer Michael Uslan is taking the Solomon approach by using both periods.

   The story begins in the modern era, as Doc Savage (older but somehow still vital despite being, what, 100 years old) embarks on a remarkable experiment in time travel. He succeeds (to a certain degree), and the story reaches back to the '30s, when his career - and that of The Shadow - are just starting.

   The story also includes Richard (The Avenger) Benson, but it's set before the terrible event that changes his life - and his mission - forever.

   The whole thing is a bit confusing in places, but I trust Uslan knows where he's going.

   The art is by Giovanni Timpano, and it's solid stuff, with good depictions of each character. It only suffers when held next to the extraordinary cover by Alex Ross, with iconic depictions of each hero.

   Quibbles aside, it's great to see these characters gathered together and given a worthy opponent. I'm in for the run!

Grade: B+



Bobby Nash said...

We interviewed Michael Uslan last week on the Earth Station One podcast. He was a fun guest and we talked a bit about this issue.

You can hear it here if you're interested--


Chuck said...

Thanks, Bobby!

Bobby Nash said...

My pleasure. He was a great interview. I haven't had a chance to check out issue #1 yet, but it's on my list.


Glen Davis said...

Street and Smith has a number of great characters. I hope they use this mini series to revive not just The Avenger, but maybe introduce Cap'n Fury, the Whisperer, Norgil, Nick Carter, or even The Hooded Wasp.