MIGHTY CRUSADERS HANDBOOK: Mister Justice
Joe Blair & Sam Cooper
Prince James of England (aka Paul Morse)
Joined Mighty Crusaders:
In an untold story prior to Archie’s Weird Mysteries #3
Blue Ribbon Comics #9, February 1941
During the Rogers Rebellion in 11th century Scotland, Prince James of England is lured to Rogers Castle and murdered. His spirit comes to America and fights crime.
There’s a being that stalks the netherworld, searching to punish the wicked. Mr. Justice seeks to impart his namesake on all evil-doers and protect the innocent. His story begins in the British Isles. It is a story that stretches across centuries and the vast, incorporeal acres of the land of the supernatural.
Mr. Justice is first documented in a story delivered by a tour guide in Blue Ribbon Comics #9. The tale is relayed immediately following a Nazi bombing raid in the area. The guide begins by telling the strange and eerie story of Prince James. Prince James is accosted by traitors during the Rogers Rebellion and murdered. His ghost returns in the form of Mr. Justice to slay his betrayers. According to the legend relayed by the tour guide, Prince James will return in his ghastly visage when the castle is utterly destroyed.
Sometime later, the castle of Solway Firth is dismantled and shipped off for protection to be reconstructed in America. The protection of the castle is not to be fulfilled as the ship carrying it is attacked and ‘blown to bits’. The ghostly figure of Prince James rises from the smoke and carnage exclaiming, “Free! I’m free!” A phrase many ne’er-do-wells would have preferred him never to have uttered.
Prince James easily assumes a simpler costume to walk about with the modern citizenry, but he dresses in armor, and soon gets looks from passersby. He makes a deal with a drunken man and soon has an ill-fitting suit in exchange for his armor.
In his wanderings, he is struck by a police vehicle in pursuit of criminals. Surprised they didn’t accidentally kill Prince James, the policemen pick him up and continue the pursuit. He appears during the event to have died as his spirit slips from the vehicle to chase down the criminals. His ghost leads the police to the criminals’ lair where he aids in their capture. One of the police makes an off-handed comment to one of the criminals, “Well, Mister Justice sure caught up with you this time!” After hearing that, the prince decides to call himself MR. JUSTICE. Mr. Justice rescues the mayor’s daughter from certain death at the hands of criminals wielding a death ray from atop an armored car. The daughter introduces Mr. Justice to her father, Mayor Clark, and Roy, the District Attorney. This completes the recurring cast of Mr. Justice’s allies as he fights crime and injustice.
His first supernatural villain is a vampire named Carlos Hubbello. After defeating Hubbello, Mr. Justice learns of a King of the Vampires. With Hubbello’s aid, Mr. Justice defeats the King of the Vampires by holding him in the sunlight.
After this story, Mr. Justice fights demonical ghosts using a greedy medium to help do their bidding. In Blue Ribbon Mystery Comics #13, Mr. Justice fights his greatest and enemy. This nameless being is the embodiment of all things evil. The creature takes human form to become The Dictator, a thinly-disguised version of Adolph Hitler. The Dictator’s true form is not unlike that of Satan or The Devil.
Mr. Justice continually foils The Dictator. After a few issues of this, the evil being decided to take the battle up a notch in Blue Ribbon #16. (In the same issue, Mr. Justice calls The Dictator ‘The Devil.) Rather than battling Mr. Justice directly, The Dictator chooses to send supernatural minions to attack the avenging apparition. The first of these is a ruthless, unwholesome beast known as the Green Ghoul. The Green Ghoul departs on a murderous rampage in America.
In Blue Ribbon #17, the Green Ghoul murders Mr. Keen, the Mayor’s assistant, and takes over his body. The Green Ghoul kidnaps Pat Clark, the Mayor’s daughter, and Mr. Justice’s love interest. Mr. Justice follows the captor and captive to the Atom World; a microscopic world inhabited by prehistoric creatures. In Blue Ribbon #18, the Green Ghoul attempts to strand the pair in the minuscule world and destroy it. Mr. Justice escapes with Pat and meets the Green Ghoul in the spirit realm, where either can be injured.
Mr. Justice defeats the Ghoul. Over the course of the next few issues, Mr. Justice only fights one more monster sent by The Dictator. The Evil Eye has hypnotic powers, but he still fails to defeat Mr. Justice. In this story, Mr. Justice refers to The Dictator as Satan.
Mr. Justice fights The Gargoyle next, a two-headed stone creature discovered by a Nazi officer. In Blue Ribbon #21, Mr. Justice experiences his strangest encounter of all. A man called the Mad Monk has rendered the entity Death helpless, and Death cannot retrieve the dead any longer. Mr. Justice defeats the Mad Monk so Death can continue his necessary work.
In Blue Ribbon #22, the final issue of that series in the 1940s, Mr. Justice finds himself battling the ghost of one of Prince James’ murderers. Mr. Justice takes revenge on the ghost of his murderer, and with that lays to rest Blue Ribbon Mystery Comics.
Mr. Justice also appeared in all the issues of the Jackpot Comics series. His appearance in the ill-fated series took on a surprisingly darker tone than the Blue Ribbon comic books. Despite sometimes weak artwork, the stories seem to have a more ethereal quality. (Please reference my article Mr. Justice Haunts Jackpot Covers in the news section.) Sadly, the book is eliminated after only nine issues, and Mr. Justice would not appear again for more than a decade.
Yes, there is a dark being, nearly an ethereal demi-god to whom all who challenge the weak and oppressed. To cross his path is a grievous error. His name is Mr. Justice, and woe unto those who defy the scales!
Powers & Weapons:
As a ghost, he gets his power from the
“spectral planes;” he can fly, move underwater as
easily through the air, and can emit blasts which destroy
bodies and souls. He can also move as a spirit or in a
more solid form, which form is vulnerable to fire.
Blue Ribbon Comics 9-22
Jackpot Comics 1-9
Mighty & Radio Comics:
Laugh Comics Digest 21
Mighty Crusaders 4 (1st Silver Age app. 5/66), 5
Mighty Comics 47
Red Circle & Archie Comics:
Blue Ribbon Comics (vol. 2) 2
Mighty Crusaders (vol. 2) 9
Archie’s Weird Mysteries 3, 14
TEXT BY: Kevin Noel Olson