SECRET AGENT Z-2

 
Full Name: Secret Agent Z-2
Codename: Z-2
Nationality: American
Organization: Secret Service
Occupation Agent

Creator: Douglas
Time Span: 1940 - 1940
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Secret Agent Z-2 is an agent with the American Secret Service.
       The activities in which Z-2 is shown dealing with are a good mixture, much as might be thought for the organization. A couple are fighting criminals and a couple are protection details. None are real espionage related per se but with a moniker like 'Secret Agent Z-2', it would not surprise me if there were undocumented escapades that did fit.
       Z-2 is a male likely in his late 30s based on the drawings. He is solidly competent and not afraid to mix it up with the bad guys when needed but he is also not particularly rash. For that reason he does not routinely get bobbed on the head as other comic book spy characters were shown to endure during the same time frame. He is good with a gun, as would be expected, but again he does not go in for shoot-first behavior. He is more mature than many of his contemporaries.
       We know nothing about Z-2. "Cloaked in anonymity, Z-2 is the country's foremost secret agent. His name never is disclosed, for revealing this might result in harm upon his family and close friends." That is the explanation given to why we are told so little about him. He may have a family (wife and kids) for all we know. In fact, it would not be unreasonable for we do not see him taking any particular interest in any female, including the beautiful daughter of his boss with whom he work.s
       Speaking of the daughter, her name is either both Lola and Betty (the first case she is called the former and the second she is called the latter) OR they are twins. Either way, she/they play an important role in the first two missions but are never seen or mentioned again.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:5
First Appearance:1940
Last Appearance:1940

       The same comic publisher who would give the world the interesting, and largely forgotten, Cat-Man (no, not misspelled) would try its hand at an assortment of characters in a publication called Crash Comics Adventures (the fifth issue dropped the Adventures). Its lead was Strongman whose claim to fame was that he was, well, strong.
       Secret Agent Z-2 held a minor position in the five issues of the title's existence. When the magazine was folded and replaced by Cat-Man, the indicia showed it was a continuation of the line despite having a totally new name.
       The creator of Z-2 was listed as "Douglas". It is not known if this was a house name or real or if the Douglas was a first name or a last. The first two issues had the stories as "by Douglas". The last three said nothing.

1 'I Am Doktar Bolms!' 'I Am Doktar Bolms!'
Published by Tem Publishing Co.
Contributors: Douglas (writer and artist)
Copyright: 05/1940

Crash Comics #1 - Doctor Bolms is helping criminals avoid the law by using plastic surgery to change their appearance. Z-2 infiltrates the doctor's residence as a butler and Z-2's boss's daughter, Lola, comes along as a maid.

2 'Load Betty With Jewelry' 'Load Betty With Jewelry'
Published by Tem Publishing Co.
Contributors: Douglas (writer and artist)
Copyright: 06/1940

Crash Comics #2 - A pair of gem thieves target fancy parties around the country. Z-2 is assigned the task of discovering who they are and stopping them. Z-2's boss's daughter helps again but this time her name is Betty. Reprinted in Holyoke's One Shot #10 in 1944.

3 'Like Taking Candy From A Kid' 'Like Taking Candy From A Kid'
Published by Tem Publishing Co.

Copyright: 07/1940

Crash Comics #3 - An ambassador from a country currently at war negotiates with the Secret Service to protect its art treasures while the conflict goes on. Z-2 is assigned the protection detail which is good because a gang hits on its arrival.

4 'Two For The Price Of One' 'Two For The Price Of One'
Published by Tem Publishing Co.

Copyright: 09/1940

Crash Comics #4 - The job is to escort a weapons inventor back to his home in Houston from visiting the War Department. Z-2 decides if they switch identities it will be safer.

5 'Snug As A Bug In A Rug' 'Snug As A Bug In A Rug'
Published by Tem Publishing Co.

Copyright: 11/1940

Crash Comics #5 - The Secret Service is asked to help where other agencies have failed - stopping a band of narcotics thieves stealing shipments of drugs. Z-2's plan is to hide inside a crate and let the bad guys take him to their lair. Good idea until they force the truck carrying him off a cliff. Reprinted in Holyoke's One Shot #4 in 1944.

MY COMMENTS

       There is very little to draw you to this series. The plots are standard and far too short to get anything going. The action is reasonable and depicted well but without the backdrop of something interesting, they draw a yawn. It is easy to see why there were only 5 adventures in all and only the first was anything close to a decent enough size.
       I know the purpose was filler but even so, it would be nice to have that fluff have taste to it. Secret Agent Z-2 is as bland as you might get. I'd call it plain vanilla but I like vanilla.

GRADE

My Grade: C-

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