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Download Justice, Inc. (The Avenger) epub

by Kenneth Robeson

Download Justice, Inc. (The Avenger) epub
ISBN: 0446648620
ISBN13: 978-0446648622
Category: No category
Author: Kenneth Robeson
Language: English
Publisher: Paperback Library; 1st edition (1972)
ePUB size: 1232 kb
FB2 size: 1739 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 798
Other Formats: doc docx mobi rtf

In the best of the pulp adventure traditions, The Avenger's first adventure veers between the wildly improbably to the downright impossible. Full of cliffhanger chapter breaks and narrow escapes. If you're an Annie Wilkes who knows that "He didn't get out of the COCKADOODIE CAR!" then forget it brother, this book will drive you bonkers. If you can just accept all the nuttiness though, there's a lot of fun here.

Young, handsome, wealthy, (and belligerent jerk) retired `adventurer' Richard Benson forces his (and his family's) way on to a plane in a manner that would get him arrested by the TSA nowadays. He goes to the lavatory to satisfy his OCD with some hand washing and returns to find his wife and daughter have vanished! To make matters worse, the passengers and crew insist that he boarded the plane alone. Upon landing he is taken to the sanitarium to recuperate from `brain fever'. He wakes up weeks later to discover that the shock of losing his family has turned his hair white and paralyzed his facial muscles, leaving them pliable like clay.

From this emerges one of the weirder pulp heroes: The Avenger.

While investigating the disappearance of his family, he stumbles into a mystery, picking up some cronies along the way. The mystery is a pretty good one. The solution is diabolical, but logical (well, sorta). It's getting to the solution that was the problem. Richard Benson is one of the clumsiest investigators I've ever read about. He would routinely call up doctors, lawyers and widows and berate them for information. Apparently his force of will was so strong that folks just couldn't hang up on him or close the door.

It never seemed to occur to the author that there might have been better ways of getting at information. No searching through public records for The Avenger!

Honestly, it seems like this hero is more suited to guns ablazing action than devious mind problems. Unfortunately, the action sequences weren't handled very well at all.

Overall, the writing here was very clumsy and ham-handed, even by pulp standards. I've heard that The Avenger was one of the better written pulp series, but I haven't seen it yet. The same descriptors were used over and over and over again. The Avenger's eyes were described at least once a page.

Still, the character is intriguing. I'm hoping that this introductory story was just a stumble. I'm willing to give 'Kenneth Robeson' (for this series anyway, the real author was Paul Ernst) another chance and pick up a couple more of The Avenger's adventures. However, I think I'll read some adventures of The Spider first.
An excellent story about a fascinating character. Very intriguing. recommended. You will most likely want all 24 of the original run. I've read them, they're great!
Was like new not new, but still a good bargain. The story itself was as fun as I remembered. It would adapt well into a film.
The Avenger never did become as popular as his contemporaries in the pulp adventure field. The Shadow, Doc Savage, the Spider, Zorro... all these peculiar crime fighters were more notorious and garnered a more avid following, even though the Avenger certainly had no shame to his game. It's just that he wasn't the first guy to the party, and so fans were quick to dismiss him as a derivative character.

The Avenger first saw the light of day in 1939 in his own self-titled pulp magazine in the origin story called "Justice, Inc." A key plot point is lifted from THE LADY VANISHES, Hitchcock's movie which came out the year before. Story-wise, series-wise, nothing would have happened if only Richard Henry Benson hadn't strong-armed his way on that plane bound from Buffalo to Montreal. But when his wife and young daughter mysteriously vanish in mid-flight, a distressed Benson suffers a strange neural shock. Benson's dark hair turns white, his features become scarily bleached. His face also loses the ability to make an expression, becoming this dead, impassive mask. The most freakish fallout, though, is that the flesh of his face becomes malleable. Benson would later massage his paralyzed face like Play-Doh to assume an endless number of identities, although he would lose this odd skill in the 13th issue (MURDER ON WHEELS) and from then on would have to resort to more conventional means of disguise. Benson, in his debut adventure, solves the disappearance of his family, foils a devious criminal conspiracy, and launches Justice, Inc., an organization dedicated to redressing wrongs and seeking justice for helpless souls victimized by crime.

Not as impressive a physical specimen as Doc Savage, not as darkly theatrical as the Shadow. But the Avenger ain't exactly a puffcake. Standing at an average 5'8" and weighing in only at 160 pounds, Richard Benson still demonstrated a forbidding, commanding presence, still demonstrated rare physical power. And his alarming pasty frozen face never failed to disconcert those who first gaze at him. As a testament to his tremendous will and intellect, Benson was a hell of a Renaissance man, well-versed in numerous fields (although maybe none of these fields includes being an accomplished shamus). In JUSTICE, INC. we learn that his past adventurings have amassed him a fortune. And kind of neat is that the Avenger wields his own customized set of weapons, a revolver and a knife he respectively calls "Mike" & "Ike." It adds color to the guy.

As with other pulp heroes, the Avenger's character traits are introduced early on and then not much built on afterwards. The New York publishing company, Street & Smith, credited the house pseudonym "Kenneth Robeson" with writing this series ("Kenneth Robeson" also penned the Doc Savage series), although between 1939 and 1942, the primary author was some cat named Paul Ernst. Ernst wrote the first twenty-four adventures of the Avenger, and, after establishing Benson's icy personality, went on to concentrate on weaving fairly serpentine plots. Ernst established Benson as a crime fighter who refrained from life taking, although writer Emile C. Tepperman would later make Benson into someone who wasn't opposed to terminally taking out the bad guys. But under Ernst's influence, the Avenger would rather manipulate events so that the villain gets his just desserts thru his own folly. Even though fairly humorless, I guess the Avenger gets irony. But, under those methods, Ernst had to contrive some convoluted stuff.

His eyes, his eyes. With Benson's inscrutable mug, those around him can intuit his mood only by his gray eyes which are either "coldly flaming" or "glittering with a deadly light" or are "like holes in glacier ice." Admittedly, the constant repetition regarding Benson's menacing gray eyes does get old. This is Ernst at his clumsiest.

Just as Doc Savage has his loyal aides and the Shadow his network of helpers, the Avenger calls on a crew of assistants, each of whom are expert in his or her own field, and these cats, led by Benson, would constitute Justice, Inc. In this origin story, we meet two of his sidekicks, the dour Scotsman Fergus MacMurdie, a talented chemist who boasts bony, mallet-like hands, and the impressive giant, Algernon "Smitty" Heathcote Smith, savvy with electrical engineering but even savvier at hitting bad guys in the face a lot.

Sadly, the Avenger was never able to overcome the blemish of being a retread. On the heels of the Shadow and Doc Savage and others, he came off like a been-there, done-that latecomer, even though there were interesting and eerie elements to him; the no-changing expression schtick is just creepy, brother. But even though our guy was and still is regarded as a lesser pulp hero, the good news for his fans is that he'll be featured in the new DC pulp-oriented limited series comic book titled THE FIRST WAVE. So take a gander at that. I'm gonna.
Funny duck
If you like Doc Savage, then you will like these stories. They were not written by Lester Dent, but they are nevertheless very well thought out and chilling.