Created by Ed Dukeshire and (That’s Not Current’s) Mike Imboden, Fist of Justice comes from the Superman school of superheroes. It’s not for nothing Fist of Justice’s alter ego, Marc Mason, works at the Daily Spectacle, or has a bald arch enemy.
Yet there’s something about the name Fist of Justice that lends itself to skepticism. It’s showy and seems to promise an overinflated sense of morality. He’s not somebody who sounds easy to be around.
However, having a bloated name doesn’t require a bloated ego, and the first thought bubble, on page one, is all it takes to realize Fist of Justice is the genuine article. Calling readers out on their cynical assumptions, there’s no invulnerability here but a caped crusader whose powers don’t make hero-ing a breeze. There’s hard work, and physical strain, that goes into helping people and, while Fist of Justice doesn’t complain, he doesn’t act invincible to raise his profile, either. This is a guy who cares and always tries his best, who hears the sound, “Ker-smash,” and gets a big smile on his face. It’s love at first thought bubble.
That being said, Fist of Justice realizes there’s a mindset that produces such distrustful first impressions. This isn’t about personal preference or the comics industry alone. Heroes are born to meet the needs of the people they protect, and it’s a very different world that chooses Batman over Superman, or a Fist of Justice doppelganger over Fist of Justice. Thanks to a thirty year time jump, Fist of Justice has a chance to address this shift in the appeal of the ambigous hero over the ideal.
Imboden is the series writer, Dukeshire is the co-plotter and letterer, and different artists and colorists provide their take on the Fist of Justice. The colors can be noticeably different but go through purposeful changes, like Matt Webb and Ryan Scott being brought back to color flashbacks, after working on the first issues.
Volume one follows the Fist’s return to being a superhero. Similar to episodes like Buffy’s “Normal Again,” doubt is raised over the Fist’s sanity and whether he’s imagined being a hero this whole time. Introduced as a possibility at the end of issue one (Digital Webbing Presents #24), things start to degrade more quickly after that, and the art alternates between the two possibilities: is Marc Charm City’s beloved hero, or an older Marc, who’s in a mental hospital?
Volume two keeps the serialized storytelling running but is less strict about its arc. Issues are more experimental, which is how you get Fist of Justice tangling with zombies in the same volume he goes animated, for a Scooby Doo style caper [Pow Rodrix (pencils) and L. J’Amal Walton (inks/colors)]. Knowing that, you wouldn’t think volume two opens earnestly, with the unexpected appearance of a character from volume one, but the series proves adept at wearing many hats and doesn’t restrict itself to one tone.
Doctor Dibuk remains Marc’s primary villain but there’s no rush to resolve their conflict. He’s not the only storyline Fist of Justice has going for it and the series can stand without him. Showing an impressive amount of spinoff potential, it would be easy to imagine an expanded universe where Black Light and Paladin get to do their own thing, but they’ll never throw a punch like Fist of Justice.
Available now and to purchase here.