Joe Gentile loves the old pulp novels and characters. His company, Moonstone Books, published collections of prose short stories for characters like the Green Hornet, The Phantom, and Justice Inc. I worked with him on a few of those, contributing a handful of stories. Now Joe is co-writing Justice Inc.: The Avenger: Faces of Justice with Kyle Higgins, and Dynamite has sent over a writer's commentary from Joe for the second issue. It has a cover by Tom Mandrake and interiors by Alexandre Shibao.
Well, we literally get to start off this issue with Benson murdering someone, just like he is being accused of. Love the mood of the art and colors combo here, as it's seeping in Noir. So is this reality? Maybe so.
Here we have a rundown on the crimes and evidence that has been gathered on our man Benson. The standard justice system is a very grey political game of everyone looking out for themselves.
The Avenger is interrogated yet again in his cell. He stirs up some emotions in the agents, as he seems to know more than he lets on. There is mention here of some past event that brought Benson into contact with one of the agents.
These pages are about the Avenger's aides. They are being grilled by the FBI on their history with Benson, and how they were brought into the fold. The responses may not bring the results the FBI were hoping for, but they do fit a pattern.
The aides and the FBI. Here we come to the crux of the FBI argument. They don't believe how each of them met Benson is on the up and up — as well as being suspicious of how well they all trust each other.
This is basically the aides trying to figure out the what the heck to do now. They realize they will have to split up to hit a couple of investigative avenues, to figure out how and why Benson could be connected to the murder victim. They have to make some unpleasant choices, because all they really have are unpleasant choices. Like "broccoli" or "cauliflower": neither are very tasty, and both taste like paste.
Josh and Rosabel are tackling their part of the job. They follow a breadcrumb trail of the past. They are in a place they have never been, nor wanted to be in. Not only is that part uncomfortable, but they have to find a way around the main issue between them. They are usually one of the closest married couples you would ever see, but there's a little strain. This is why some couples just shouldn't work together.
But they still manage to find a very important surprising piece of the mystery about Benson's past.
Our gal Nellie is on her own doing some digging into things. What seemed like a simple "look see" may not be…
If this were a movie, you would be screaming for her to turn back. If Smitty were here, he'd say this is "so Nellie". Heck, Smitty told her not to go, but did she listen to him?
Does she ever?
Now we get some long overdue Avenger action. He's usually a couple of steps ahead of everyone else, so it does make you wonder if he did his best to make this happen. He's a serious dude, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and say he does indeed have a plan.
Nellie in all out action, as she is experiencing a bit of a trippy psychedelic scene: a stranger in a strange land. You knew this little visit of hers wouldn't be uneventful, but you likely did not think it was going to cause you to get dizzy.
We get to see the Avenger not only in action, where we see how more than fit the guy is, but we also hint at another one of his abilities here. See if you can spot it. Benson gets some answers here.
Nellie meets an odd man who lends her a hand. She feels the only way out is to trust him. C'mon, girl, it can't be that easy, but I get it. What choice did you have? Roll over and play dead? Nah, that ain't who you are, girl.
The Avenger shows off that odd face of his again here. The whole "molding his face" to look like someone is not an easy thing to show in comic form, but it comes off quite nicely here. He's putting some plan into motion here. We don't have any idea what's brewing behind those "polar dawn" grey eyes of his, but something heavy is about to go down.
So after Nellie was helped out of a jam, she realizes the nature of her real predicament, but also manages to find a real clue. She just has to make it out of here alive, if only she could stand up.
It's always something, right?