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The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 2: Die Glocke Paperback – July 10, 2012
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Enter Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited. Members of the team travel around the globe to search out and destroy the weapon. But will they do so before whatever lurks on the other side of that wall between places Die Glock connects to steps through into the world of Earth in the 1930's? You'll have to read it to find out.
Suffice to say, ` Die Glock' Is a good, rousing adventure that does not bore and does not disappoint. Also there is a bonus second feature featuring comic hero "The Black Terror" which is just as enjoyable as the main feature. If you like two fisted stories with lots of action as well as sexy women, demons, disfigured madmen and magic wielding villains, then give `The Adventures of Lazarus Gray: Die Glock' a read. There's really nothing not to like here.
Lazarus Gray is also set in the same 'universe' as Barry's Rook character, and we get an updated chronology of his "universe" in the back of the book that places both the Lazarus Gray stories (include the works to appear in the next volume) plus the Rook stories and a few others 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 started to work to help people, formed "Assistance Unlimited" with 3 associates he helped out. As noted, this is similar to the origin of The Avenger and his Justice, Inc, but also different. He learned more about himself in the stories in that volume collection.
This volume has 2 Lazarus Gray stories. One is a very long, almost novel-length story, the other is a short story.
The novel is "Die Glocke", from which the overall volume gets it name. This story spans over 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 introduced, SS Officer Jakob Sporrenberg, is based on a real person who is rumored to have been part of the "Die Glocke" efforts. Foes that Assistance Unlimited dealt with in the past return: Walther Lunt, Princess Fermi, and Miya Shimada. A new foe is introduced, Professor Murder, a evil scientist who has put in brain 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.). Another character is introduced toward the end, witch Abigail Cross. At the end of this story, both Abigail and Jakob join as the latest members of Assistance Unlimited.
The short story is set after that novel, 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.
We know a third volume is coming, and there is an interview in this volume about it, and the stories are listed in the timeline. So I look forward to that.
There were a few problems with this volume. I came across several typos, which are glaring. And one piece of artwork was mislabeled. Its obviously meant to be Professor Murder, but was mislabeled as Doctor Metropolis.
While there are only two stories in this volume, they make for some pretty important reading.
The first story "Die Glocke" is an amazing follow up to the previous following and a fantastic adventure/supernatural story in it's own right. I was honestly surprised seeing quite a few villains return in this story, but even more surprised Reese took the characters out of Sovereign City for an adventure around the world. The parts in Egypt were spectacular and the story takes an unexpected turn 3/4ths of the way through. We meet new characters both good and evil and the most surprising of the bunch...Professor Murder. Just read it and you'll understand why. The ending is absolutely touching!
The second story "The Making of a Hero" teams Assistance Unlimited with public domain hero The Black Terror. It has an amazing opening which I would kill to see as a short film. The story itself was fun and I'm eager to see if we'll ever see Lazarus Gray and The Black Terror meeting again.
If you enjoyed the first volume, just know this one is different but in all the right ways! We exchange quality for quantity and I'm personally eager to see where the story goes from here.
Lazarus Gray and his team are fun characters and reading this book you'll hopefully get a wide sense of fun and adventure! I couldn't recommending this more!
The only downside for me (and the reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5) is because of the second, much shorter story that starred the public domain character, Black Terror. It read very rushed and almost unfinished, like it was tossed in as an after thought or filler. However, the quality and fun of the main story more than made up for it.
"Die Glocke" is a great offering for fans of neo-pulp and readers of quick action stories.