Monday, November 8, 2010


TIPPIN' HANCOCK'S HAT-Reviews by Tommy Hancock
The Devil's Mouthpiece-A Tale of The Avenger

Written by Martin Powell
Published in THE AVENGER CHRONICLES, VOLUME 1-Moonstone Books

When you mention Pulp, all sorts of general images spring to mind.  Blazing guns.  Flying fists.  Dastardly villains.  Then there are the specific images that come to mind, three usually in particular.  Sort of Pulp's own unofficial Trinity.  There's the veritable superhuman hero, then the vigilante shrouded in darkness and mysticism, and then there's...Richard Henry Benson.  The Avenger.

It's no secret to any of you who wait to see me Tip My Hat that I like Martin Powell's work.  He has a great grasp on the pulp style and shows an understanding of his characters like no other.  This story, his contribution to the first volume of Moonstone's AVENGER CHRONICLES is mostly no different.

The story opens with action and intrigue right off the bat, both characteristics of The Avenger and Powell's work overall.   We get to know who Benson is right away in a really cool way, through the eyes of a street thug.   Then we move on at an almost breakneck speed to the offices of Justice, Inc, after a strange interlude involving a widow and a street beggar.  Powell uses that fantastic skill of his in getting us comfortable with Benson's team, giving us the feeling we've known them forever, even if the reader hasn't.  What unfolds from here is a tantalizing tale that gives hints into Benson's past that possibly threaten his present and may mean no future for the Avenger.

Overall, the story was a fast paced, typical Powell pulp read.  This tale, however, was a bit too stop-and-go at times.  Not that I want my pulp laid out for me easy peasie from the beginning, but I felt a little confused even three quarters into the tale about how it would all tie together.  Having said that, Powell ties it up all nicely with a blood red bow by the end and 'THE DEVIL'S MOUTHPIECE' as a whole is a good read for any Pulp fan.

Three out of Five Tips of Hancock’s Hat (Definitely a good Pulp read and worth the time.)