|JUSTICE INC No. 1, August 2014|
As a huge fan of Thirties and Forties pulp magazine super-heroes “Justice Inc” by “Dynamite Entertainment” is a six-issue comic book series which holds the promise of action and excitement, teaming up notable luminaries The Shadow, The Avenger and nostalgic icon Doc Savage within a single storyline.
Understandably proud of such an achievement, the American comic book publisher has released Issue One with several different covers, most notably the main one by legendary painter Alex Ross. However for once I didn’t find the 1997 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award winner’s artwork the most enticing available, and instead plumbed for the title’s variant cover B by Gabriel Hardman with colors by Jordan Boyd.
Unfortunately the interior artwork by Giovanni Timpano and Marco Lesko is a major disappointment when compared to the pencilling of any of the special covers, even the Baltimore Comicon exclusive “artboard variant” by Ross; which consists of just the initial sketch used for the book’s main cover. There’s simply a complete lack of consistency with Timpano’s work throughout the issue, with the Italian artist fleetingly capturing the James Bama Sixties paperback reprint widow’s peak look of Doc Savage in one panel and then seemingly losing all sense of facial anatomy for the next few pages. As result the Man of Bronze has never looked worse for the majority of the comic despite the Toscana-born penciler having the opportunity to illustrate the heroic adventurer as both a young and older incarnation. Indeed if I wasn’t familiar with the look of the young explorer from the cover illustrations of the old Street and Smith publications from the Thirties, I wouldn’t have recognised them as the same character at all.
Michael Uslan’s story is equally as disappointing and confusing as the plots flit from the modern day Himalayas to 1939 New York and back again without much warning. As a result I quickly found myself confused as to both where I was and when I was in the story. Add to the mix that the narrative revolves around time travel and thus moves some of the characters from one time stream to another and it is a disorientating mess… and I haven’t even mentioned The Avenger and The Shadow yet.
|The regular cover art of "JUSTICE INC" No. 1 by Alex Ross|