Read Justice, Inc. by Kenneth Robeson Paul Ernst Online


The greatest crime fighter of the forties returns!...

Title : Justice, Inc.
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780446648622
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 159 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Justice, Inc. Reviews

  • Benjamin Thomas
    2019-02-03 00:29

    This first novel in the Avenger series tells the origin story of Richard Benson, a man who, prior to the events of this book, had earned his fortune by being a professional adventurer; i.e. discovering rubber in South America, leading native armies in Java, making aerial maps in the Congo, mining amethysts in Australia and emeralds in Brazil, etc. But at the beginning of this novel, just when Benson is planning on settling down, his ideal life is brutally shaken when his wife and young daughter are killed, inexplicably disappearing from an airplane on which he himself is also a passenger.The sheer shock and stress of that experience lands Benson in a hospital and changes him forever. His face becomes paralyzed while both his skin and hair have turned white, his facial flesh becoming malleable, like clay. His quest to chase down the crime ring behind his tragic loss forms the basis for this novel. During the story he also recruits the first two members of what will become “Justice Inc.”: Fergus "Mac" MacMurdie and Algernon Heathcote "Smitty" Smith. While these books bear the author house name of “Kenneth Robeson”, this book along with most of the original Avenger stories was written by Paul Ernst. It was originally published in the September 1939 edition of the pulp magazine “The Avenger”, published by Street & Smith. Reportedly this series of pulp novels grew out of a wave of magazine cancellations in the late 1930s and recognition that a new hero was needed; a hero that combined the styles and features of previous best sellers Doc Savage and The Shadow.For me, while I did enjoy the story, it felt a little disjointed. I’ve read a lot of Doc Savage and did notice many similarities including Benson’s aversion to outright killing the bad guys. It is also evident that he is building a team of aides and that he enjoys using gadgets in his work. Of course Benson is a physical hero with incredible strength and intelligence. The plastic, malleable state of his facial features is pretty bizarre, I must say. It allows him to reshape his facial features into a likeness of any person, his features remaining in sculpted form "until they are carefully put back into place". It’s a cool ability I suppose but weird. Something I would expect in the comics from a bad guy but I suppose the pulps of this era weren’t much different. I need to remember that those kinds of comics had just gotten started with Superman having just debuted in Action Comics #1, (cover-dated June 1938), so all those weird bad guy characters were still to come.All in all, I’m glad I finally got around to this series and this character. He’s been on my list a long time and I somehow managed to acquire the complete set of paperback books from Popular Library so I’ll be reading more. Looking forward to seeing how he progresses and especially to meet the new members of his team as they are introduced.

  • Karen
    2019-02-02 23:09

    The origin adventure of The Avenger is one I've wanted to read for a while. Despite the claim that it was written by the author of Doc Savage, the only connection is they use the same "house" name. The original run of The Avenger was actually written by a guy called Paul Ernst, although I have heard that both Lester Dent (the actual Doc Savage writer) and Walter Gibson (AKA Maxwell Grant, writer of The Shadow) had some input on the idea for the series.The book starts out with a good mystery. Richard Benson's wife and daughter vanish during a plane trip and everyone on the plane denies they were ever there. Benson suffers a breakdown that causes his hair to go white and deadens all the muscles in his face, leaving him permanently expressionless, but with a handy ability to mold his features into any shape he wishes, which comes in handy for disguises, though I can't help wondering how long anyone is going to be fooled by the immobility, however accurate it is.Once he recovers, Benson sets out to solve the mystery and picks up a couple of sidekicks along the way. Once the central mystery is solved, it goes down hill somewhat as the climax involves our heroes running off to fight a very generic gang with a rather over-complicated scheme to make some cash. Pulp adventures tend to be a big Boys Only club and this is a prime example. The only female characters of any consequence get fridged in the opening chapter, and I don't think they are ever seen again.

  • Frank
    2019-02-08 00:17

    Read in the 70s. Pulp adventure in the Doc Savage vein.

  • Steph
    2019-02-03 03:29

    Much like the Doc Savage books show a sort of proto Superman, the Richard Benson books seem to portray a proto Batman of sorts. There are certainly similarities between the Savage and Benson books owing to the fact that it's of the same era, and the same group of writers (under the pen name Kenneth Robeson) composed both. However, the feel of the novel is a lot darker and less "hijinx-y" than the Doc Savage books, and interestingly, the "special" abilities of the main character are more reminiscent of a Doc Savage *villain* than a protagonist. In fact, Benson has several qualities that are lifted directly from Doc Savage novels:After a heartbreaking trauma, Benson loses sensation in his face, and his features become putty-like, staying in whatever position he pushes them. As a result of the facial paralysis, he can sort of mold his features into set expressions, or even masks of other faces. This weird quality is almost identical to a villain in Robeson's "Seven Agate Devils" whose lower face does the same thing. He also uses his putty face to similar chilling effect, and was described as being handsome otherwise, much like Benson.Benson also has cold eyes of pale grey that compel and terrify people into doing his bidding. This sounds an awful lot like the only physical power of Johnny Sunshine (one of the only Savage villains to appear in more than one book). Sunshine is able to strike fear into people with his cold, cold eyes, though he's not much of a physical threat otherwise.The putty face and cold eyes are interesting, certainly, but not exactly awesome super powers, as super powers go. However, they're more meant to be a physical manifestation of how dead Benson's soul has become after his traumatic loss, I suspect. It's not exactly high art, but there's a level of depth to the character here that the Doc Savage novels don't strive for. The Savage novels use negative physical descriptions for villains in a very simple "bad guys look bad because they're bad inside!" way. Here, our hero - striving for justice and good - bears physical characteristics usually reserved for those who are evil. Interesting.Justice Inc, is a classic Batman-type origin story: the trauma of the hero forces him into a life of avenging and emotional torment. It's definitely worth a read for Batman fans who'd like to see what inspired the dark knight later, and is also a worthy read for pulp fans looking for a bombastically improbable adventure with a bit more gravity than the Savage books.

  • Craig
    2019-01-25 00:38

    The Avenger, Richard Benson, was one of the greatest pulp crime-fighters. He and his band of associates comprised Justice, Inc., and, armed with keen gadgets, clear genius, stout hearts, good humor, and the force of right set forth from their Bleek Street headquarters to thwart evil, defend goodness, and protect American society. The adventures were published as "by Kenneth Robeson, the creator of Doc Savage," (which may have led to the perception that The Avenger was something of a second-rate Doc), though the originals were actually written by Paul Ernst and then continued by Ron Goulart many years later. Armed with Mike & Ike, a very special knife and gun, Benson was teamed with Mac and Smitty (analogous to Monk and Ham from the Doc Savage series) from the beginning, and then joined by blonde and diminutive Nellie Grey (who could definitely have held her own with Pat Savage or Nita van Slaon) in the second book, Josh and Rosabel Newton, perhaps the best-depicted African-American couple from the era in The Sky Walker, and light-hearted Cole Wilson in the thirteenth adventure. The stories were well-paced and exciting and very well-written for the context of the era. Benson's origin, as recounted in Justice, Inc., the first story, was similar to Bruce Wayne's in that the loss of his family spurred his decision to fight crime; his wealth and physical prowess allowed him to do so. The loss of his wife and daughter resulted in a weird facialdeformity that made his skin lose its pigmentation and left it malleable like wax so that he could reform it and made him "the man of a thousand faces"; the loss of this ability in the thirteenth novel was a downturn in the series. The series continued for a second dozen adventures in the 1940's, and then revived for a third dozen in the 1970's when Warner Books had Goulart continue the series for another dozen volumes after they put out the first two dozen in paperback. It was a fun and thrill-packed intelligent series, more down-to-Earth than the Doc Savage books and much less crazy than The Spider series.

  • Christian
    2019-02-08 00:35

    The first adventure of The Avenger has the first-moving action and suspense that one expects of a good pulp magazine novel. Richard Benson goes to the lavatory on a plane and comes back to find that his wife and daughter have disappeared. All the other passengers claim he boarded alone. Benson is determined to find out what happened.Somewhat oddly, this origin story doesn't explain the origin. Benson just awakes two weeks after being knocked out on the plane to find that his hair and skin have turned chalk-white and that his face can be molded into any shape. Nonetheless, it was a fun read.

  • Mark
    2019-02-10 22:13

    This is the first Avenger novel that I read, and it will probably be the last. While Lester Dent in the Doc Savage series may have produced some very predictable story lines, he at least varied the writing enough that any self plagiarism was not obviously noticeable. Not Paul Ernst unfortunately—he managed to come up with three descriptions of Dick Benson, the Avenger, and used them all too regularly throughout this novel. Add to it, a very predictable Doc Savage style plot, and one has a very boring novel.

  • Bill Legge
    2019-01-26 23:27

    Nostalgic pulp provides superhero protagonist running about saving their own little alleyway from the baddies. If you like comicbook heroes, you will love this series. This is one of the foundations where the writing of the dark alleyway crime fighter began. Enjoy the fun.

  • John
    2019-02-18 02:39

    It moves quick, but not a very colorful debut for the third most popular Street & Smith pulp character. Not holding that against the series, as I'll read more. The first Spider novel was a bit of a dud as well.

  • Mark Stratton
    2019-02-13 01:13

    I hadn't read this book for many years, and while it certainly wasn't stellar, it was much better than I remember. It's also a better read than many of The Shadow novels, which I really enjoy.

  • Marilyn
    2019-02-04 03:24

    I liked this series too but not as well as I like the Doc Savage series. This hero is much darker than Doc and not nearly as brilliant. But then who was?

  • Andrew Salmon
    2019-01-21 06:27

    Getting back into the Avenger. Did enjoy this one though.

  • F
    2019-01-27 06:13

    Not as good, in my opinion, as Doc Savage- but it has it's own style. May have to read it again since it has been over 25 years.

  • Timothy Boyd
    2019-02-04 04:13

    Much like Doc Savage the Avenger fights crime with the help of his aids. While the stories aren't as exciting and world ranging as Doc he is still a great pulp character and read. Very recommended