Saturday, August 17, 2013

Inspiration: Elementals and the Justice Machine

I had seen the Elementals before, but it was my high school buddy Tony who introduced me to the back issues of the Justice Machine. Funny thing is, both properties were always associated with RPGs for me, perhaps because of prior exposure to the art (and some source material) in RPG collections of friends.

The opposition of the Elementals, of course, I'd seen in slightly different form in Villains & Vigilantes. The Justice Machine, I'd seen in the Justice Machine sourcebook -- that's right, I only realized it was a sourcebook based on a comic book when I saw the comic book!

What I loved about both series was the tempering of the super-heroic genre with touches of realism's tropes: more wide-scale attempts at controlling super-powered beings, a real fear that these characters might die, dealing with mature themes -- but without too much of the badly handled grim & gritty feel -- with some aplomb. That and the feel that the status quo was always threatened; there wouldn't be a reset that would take things back to the default in a few issues.

It wasn't perfect, some plot lines fizzled while others flared far too brightly for my tastes, but I enjoyed it a lot. Incorporating them into a universe would certainly have them in the ranks of the 'professional metahumans', the ones who aren't driven by the need to right wrongs, or the responsibility of power, but who do a job that they try to live with. Sometimes they call the shots, sometimes they do what's necessary.

Plus, I really liked certain character concepts -- Monolith being my fave in the Elementals, and Titan and Talisman from the Justice Machine.


  1. I love these comics when I was growing up! They were a nice break from Marvel and DC Comics super teams of the same era--but on a pparallel world. I really wish they would release them in trade paperback form. I only have a few issues left...somewhere.

  2. Hi Jay,

    Yes, I also enjoyed them. I've only seen the first storyline (With Saker & the Shadowspear) in TPB myself...



That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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