Review - Justice Inc. #1

"No one's ever attempted this before! Exactly why he built this other fortress so far away!"

What do you get when you mix The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Avenger? A trio of three of the most heroic and daring heroes in comic book history. You also get the potential for a top-notch story, as is the case with Justice Inc. #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. The issue is written by Michael Uslan, illustrated by Giovanni Timpano, colored by Marco Lesko and lettered by Simon Bowland.

An airliner vanishes en route without a trace. It's the crisis that brings together, in a historic team-up for the first time ever, The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Avenger. The story begins here, spawned by a horrific tragedy of death and destruction secretly orchestrated by some of the most powerful and unexpected villains in the history of the pulps. And things really seem to get a little crazy for the heroes involved, fighting to reconcile a future and a past with little knowledge of how the two are connected.

Characters such as The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Avenger are historic and well-known, but the three of them have never teamed up before now. Thankfully, Uslan does a fantastic job bringing them together in a way that feels perfectly in character for the three heroes. Most of the story hinges on Doc Savage's intelligence and engineering know-how, somehow hurtling him back in time. Uslan's dialogue handily presents the characters in a way that makes them feel familiar and offers them up in an introductory way to new fans as well. The enemy reveal at the end is pretty ominous as well in that it sets up a pretty interesting potential conflict down the road.

Considering the era of the characters involved, it's expected that a book like Justice Inc. #1 would fall into something of a pulpy trap. Timpano prevents this from happening, offering a style that's pretty concise and clean. He does an interesting thing with the panels as well, where he orients them in a way that fits with the action on the page. For instance, there's one page where a plane is banking and the panels bank along with them, helping the reader get more fully immersed in the action. Each page is chock full of characters as well, but Timpano doesn't let things get lost in the chaos, ensuring that every character gets equal attention.

Justice Inc. #1 is a pretty fun first issue that sets the table for a lot of solid stories down the road. Bringing together Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger is something that feels like it should've done long before now, so it's pretty welcome to see them all come together. Uslan does a great job blending them together in a way that doesn't feel forced or unnatural considering the characters. Timpano's illustrations are very strong and offer up a lot in the way of action and scenery. Justice Inc. #1 is a great issue that does right by the characters involved, presenting a story that trades in adventure and pulp suspense.

Justice Inc. #1 is in stores August 20 with interiors below.