Monday, September 23, 2013
Lone Justice by Robert Tinnell and Mark Wheatley has been lurking on the shelves of my local comic book store for many moons. I've picked it up a few times, given it a glance then put it back. The story is spread across two trade volumes, both popping for twenty bucks, so the idea of taking a chance on a brand new character for nearly forty dollars was a bit off-putting. I relented yesterday to temptation after reading and enjoying classic Wheatley storytelling in the Mars volume, also from IDW. I took the gamble and it paid off in spades.
This is a fantastic story, well told and blessed with lush beautiful compelling artwork. It's a pulp yarn in the vintage tradition, set in a mythical city during the Great Depression, it tells the story of Lone Justice, a masked vigilante who is at the end of his string financially in his struggle against the mysterious foe called "Scion". He is in reality Octavius Brown the seemingly indolent son of a pillar of the community who has served his community in secret for many years. He is ably assisted by Mrs.Solstice, the family's longtime servant and once upon a time by a scientist named Gus Gotmoggen and once had a partner named Lady Fortune. His partners have turned from him, put off by the times and by his unwillingness to fight for things which in their minds truly matter. He has become too much a defender of the status quo and is blind to the broader suffering the hard times have wrought. Now he needs help to keep up the fight and he cannot find it, so he finds himself down and out but still driven to make a difference. How he will make that difference is discovered when he meets a young woman named Jean who helps him find a way forward.
"Crash!" is the actual title of this story which unfolds over the course of both trades. It was originally produced for the internet at the ComicMix website and is gathered together here. It's a story with power and punch and real actual heart which hits all the right notes for its pulp roots as well as showing how those old tales can still have something important to say to us in these modern days of the "Great Recession".
The artwork by Wheatley is simply outstanding. He apparently painted these pages which have a powerful cinematic flair and read unerringly and with momentum. I'd love to read more in this universe, but it seems unlikely. But we have this story, one which will please pulp fans immensely and will have something to offer those wanting a bit of modern commentary in their tales.