Genre: Superhero Comics
Series: Justice, Inc.
Publisher: Dynamite (June 16, 2015)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
This one is a pulp fiction lovers fantasy, starring Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Avenger. All classic heroes from that bygone era when pulp ruled the magazine stands across America.
For those unfamiliar with each of these guys, let us stop for a moment and take a closer look.
Doc Savage is Clark Savage, Jr., whose father used science
to train him to have superhuman abilities, such as greater strength, longer endurance and a photographic memory. This tutoring has also resulted in him being gifted at numerous skills; Doc is an accomplished musician, a martial arts master, a speech mimicker, a master of disguise, a physician, a scientist, and an inventor. But at heart, this prodigy’s view of life can be summed up by his oath: “Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do. Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.”
On the other hand, The Shadow is the mysterious vigilante persona of one Kent Allard, a famous World War I aviator. After the war, Allard decides to fake his own death, then return to New York City to fight underworld criminals by their own means: intimidation and brutality. Thereafter, he uses numerous fake identities, but his most useful is that of Lamont Cranston, a “wealthy man about town” who tends to travel the world. While Cranston is away, The Shadow impersonates him, living Lamont Cranston’s life and using his resources to wage an endless war against those who would do innocent people harm.
The last member of our trio is Richard Henry Benson. This globe-trotting adventurer has spent his life traveling the world, accumulating millions before returning home to America to settle down and have a family. As this comic collection begins, Richard Benson has not yet assumed the mantel of the Avenger.
Naturally, it takes a huge crisis to get these guys together. Such an event happens in the present day, where an older Doc Savage cannot keep his greatest scientific experiment from going horribly wrong. Instead of harnessing time itself for the benefit of mankind, a disruption in time occurs, leading to circumstances that place the key to saving time in the hands of Doc Savage’s younger self in 1939.
From this beginning, Michael Uslan presents a fast-paced story that quickly throws the three main characters together. There are brief glimpses of their pasts, quick explorations of their personalities, but this story mainly stays the course as an epic struggle to discover who is trying to destroy time itself and stop them.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about this collection was the artwork. Giovanni Timpanos’ style was crisp, clean, and smooth. He didn’t try to be over-the-top, in-your-face, or any other euphemisms such as that. Nope, he gave this team-up comic an old school feel that fit not only the characters but the story as well, because Uslan’s plot is a classic pulp fiction tale that focused on archetype villains, world-spanning conspiracies, and heroes who are not as flashy as Superman, Batman, Hulk, Wolverine, or any other modern superheroes.
As for the story itself, it is a pulp fiction romp.
Does that mean Justice, Inc. is going to knock your socks off?
Probably not. It is definitely a solid read though. And it does have more than enough fights, drama, historical guest stars, and laughs to keep a reader entertained. But what Justice, Inc. does a brilliant job of, however, is introducing these iconic pulp characters to a new generation, and doing so in such a manner that future creative teams can build upon this solid foundation to craft Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Avenger stories for years to come. And for that reason, this is a collection I’d recommend to anyone.