Review: ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 2’
I have been reading his Rook series (he has other works as well, but those are the ones I’ve been reading).
Lazarus Gray is sort of inspired by the classic pulp hero The Avenger. He is also set in a fictional town (created by Pro Se Press publisher Tommy Hancock) as part of the “Sovereign City Project” that will see collections of at least two other characters from Pro Se: Fortune McCall, and possibility Doc Daye).
Lazarus Gray is also set in the same “universe” as The Rook, and we get an updated chronology of the universe that places the Lazarus Gray stories (include the works to appear in the next volume) plus The Rook stories and a few other stories by Reese.
Who is Lazarus Gray? Well, he’d like to know as well. We find out in the first volume that he woke up on the shores of Sovereign City with no memory of who he is, and with a strange medallion with the name “Lazarus Gray.” He startes to help people, and forms “Assistance Unlimited” with three associates he helped out. As noted, this is somewhat similar to the origin of The Avenger and his Justice, Inc. Gray learns more about himself in the stories in that first collection, so I recommend getting it.
“The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 2: Die Glocke” has two stories. One is a very long, almost novel-length story; the other is a short story.
The novelette is “Die Glocke,” from which the overall volume gets it name. This story spans several years, and includes other characters. Die Glocke is German for “The Bell,” which is a rumored Nazi science experiment that may not have existed. The descriptions in the book are based on the claims of others about this mysterious item. A character, SS Officer Jakob Sporrenberg, is based on a real person who is rumored to have been part of die Glocke efforts. Foes that Assistance Unlimited dealt with in the past return: Walther Lunt, Princess Fermi, and Miya Shimada.
They are joined by Professor Murder, a evil scientist whose brain has been put in an ape body. A flashback scene introduces a group of characters based on Professor Challenger and associates (but we will probably never see this characters again. Too bad, they were interesting).
Another character is introduced toward the end, witch Abigail Cross. At the end of this story, both Abigail and Jakob join the Assistance Unlimited.
The short story is set after that novelette, and also includes the Golden Age comic book character The Black Terror, whom Barry has used in several of this “Claws of the Rook” stories. In this story he also gives a new origin to the Black Terror.
There were a few problems with this volume. I came across several glaring typos. And one piece of artwork was mislabeled. It’s obviously meant to be Professor Murder, but was mislabeled as Doctor Metropolis.
The third volume is now out, and there is an interview in this volume about it, and the stories are listed in the timeline. Look for a review of it soon. I hope we’ll see volume 4 soon as well.