&FREE BOOK ✗ Avenger #01: Justice, Inc. ★ Ebook or Kindle ePUB free
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. Read in the 70s Pulp adventure in the Doc Savage vein. Investigating the disappearance of his wife and daughter, millionaire adventurer Richard Benson becomes the Avenger, a vigilante with an expressionless chalk white face that he can mold into different configurations.The Avenger is a kind of proto Batman character dark and morose, a skilled fighter, his thirst for justice fueled by family tragedy Although it doesn t break away from pulp adventure conventions, it s still a lot of fun to read Paul Ernst wrote it under the Street and Smith house name Kenneth Robeson.
Reading this as part of the double volume reprint by Sanctum of the first two Avenger pulp novels, and it s a top notch origin story, introducing Richard Benson, soon to be known as The Avenger.I was reminded of the first Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze, by the time I reached the end, as that first story begins with Doc s loss of his father, and this one owes its genesis to the disappearance mid flight of Benson s wife and daughter on a trip from Buffalo to Montreal across Lake Ontario By the end of the pulp, Benson and his fledgling crew of Mac and Smitty come face to face with unreasoning, uncaring evil and I was able to understand the madness that can drive to take justice into their own hands.When I think of the early Doc Savage stories, and how the Man of Bronze took lives in those tales, avenging the deaths of those he held close, I m amazed the restraint Benson displays He earns the name, Man of Steel, because only someone as strong as that forged metal could survive such a hellish trial.Justice, Inc is character driven pulp, laying a solid foundation for the characters writer Paul Ernst introduces under the Kenneth Robeson byline a foundation that makes me look forward to seeing how well Ernst sets Benson, Mac and Smitty onto the trail of The Yellow Hoard, the second tale in their Sanctum Books debut. 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, down to Earth than the Doc Savage books and much less crazy than The Spider series. 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 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 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 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 gravity than the Savage books. 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. &FREE BOOK ⇨ Avenger #01: Justice, Inc. ☠ Only Once In Several Lifetimes Does The World Get Such A Man A Richard Henry Benson, Known As The AvengerA Man Who Had Amassed A Fortune In His Early Years, He Was Ready To Enjoy Life To The Fullest With His Wife And Daughter When Diaster Struck, Which Vacuumed His Soul Right Out Of His BodyHis Family Was Taken From Him By Crime, And To Make Matters Worse, No One Believed Him He Was Forced Into An Insane Asylum He EscapedHis Facial Muscles Were Paralyzed By The Tragedy, So He Could Press His Face Into Any Position To Adopt Any GuiseFrom That Day On, The Avenger S Only Drive In Life Was To Bring Destruction To Crooks Who Operated Beyond The Law, And Usually He Made Sure It Was By Their Own Hand 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. 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.