TITLE: The Justice Machine Issue #1
YEAR: June 1981
COMPANY: Noble Comics
Conceived and Constructed by Michael Gustovich
Aided and Abetted by Inker: William F. Loebs
Inker: Charlie Wallace
Colored by Bob Berry
Lettered by Gustovich
Cover Penciled by John Byrne
Similar to the ’90s, in the early ’80s, there were numerous independent comic book companies. One of those companies were Noble Comics.
Featuring the team of Su Filmore (publisher), Art Director Mike Gustovich and Story Editor Bill Loebs and Charlie Wallace, Dave Gifford and Dave Misch in production, Noble Comics.
From 1981-1983, the series was known for titles such as “Blood Master”, “Cobalt Blue” but their most popular, The Justice Machine.
Created by writer-penciler Michael Gustovich, the first issue featured a cover by John Byrne and inked by Michael and the issues were released in magazine format.
Only five issues were released between 1981-1983 and the annual would then be published by Texas Comics. This annual would feature the first appearance of Bill Willingham’s “The Elementals” and would lead into a “Justice Machine featuring the Elementals” mini-series in 1986 for Comico Comics.
In 1989, a new series would be released by Innovation comics and in 1992, the series would be released as a two-issue storyline from Millenium Publications.
Similar to what I wrote about The Elementals, The Justice Machine was a superhero comic book series which would never have established ground because it was moved around to so many different comic books. While The Elementals at least go over 25-issues for two volumes each for Comico Comics, The Justice Machine was beloved by fans but unfortunately, back then, you’d be lucky if you can find the issues, considering they were released sporadically.
If anything, with eBay and Amazon, the Justice Machine will be discovered by a new generation of comic book readers curious about finding other superhero series not from the big major comic book companies.
The setting of the Justice Machine is in the future on the planet Georwell, a parallel world which has advanced technology but also a planet without freedom as the leaders of Georwell have a tight grip on society.
Keeping the peace is an elite law enforcement agency known as the Justice Machine which consists of their leader, the strategists and technical savvy Challenger (Jaiime Conrad); the thermal powered Blazer (Mitrian Flynn); the man who can turn to a giant, Titan (Jemin Osk), the highly-trained martial artist known as Demon (Gabel Nevin);, the independent/paranormal Diviner and the karma powered mysterious individual known as Talisman.
The Justice Machine are in pursuit of a criminal/terrorist known as Maxinor.
The Talisman is able to track Maxinor on the alternate world of Georwell known as Earth which noone from the team knows anything about.
The team phases to Earth, New York City to find Maxinor. Not knowing that because of what they have done, without checking their transport clearance, they committed treason on their home planet. And now Prosecutor Zarren sentences the team to death.
What will happen to the members of the elite law enforcement team, now that they are considered criminals on their home planet?
Overall, the first issue gives us a tease of a fascinating concept of heroes from a strict planet where freedom is considered a crime. And the planet’s elite law enforcement team, the Justice Machine are now considered criminals for pursuing a terrorist but not checking their transport clearance. Dedicating their life of protecting the people and defending the law, now they are considered the lowest of the low, and slowly start to realize that their planet is not as cool as they thought it was.
An entertaining series, but a shame that there were only two issues a year (one in 1983) when it was first released by Noble and so in a three year span, there were only five issues. And chances were that if you enjoyed the first issue, finding other issues back then was a drag. But once again, with eBay, you can find the entire series online.