operator_5_bk_1936_04 operator_5_bk_1937_05_06 operator_5_bk_1937_02 operator_5_bk_1937_03_04
Full Name: Gregory Grex
Codename: K-3
Nationality: American
Organization: American Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Evan Leigh
Time Span: 1936 - 1937


Gregory Grex is an agent with the United States Intelligence.

That is the name of the department we are told he works for, at least at the beginning of that first recorded adventure. Shortly after that we are told that he was "the champion trouble-shooter of the American Secret Service", so there is a bit of confusion. Since, however, United States Intelligence is used in each of the four tales we have of Grex, we will go with it.

In that first meeting, he had just finished - successfully, as always - a mission in which he obtained a copy of the formula for "the new German gas" and kept it out of the other side's reach. His boss, head of the department, is quite pleased with the result and with the man who accomplished it, telling Grex, "it's one more time that the great Grex has come through. I don't know of another man in the world who could have done it." To that Grex responds, "it's really the game that counts, Chief. The pawns aren't very important". [Not really sure what he meant by that.]

Another indicator of the esteem that Grex is held in is shown when his boss muses as Grex heads out on his next mission, "If only I had a dozen men like Grex!"

Grex is a very experience operative who has seen considerable action before we learn of him and in that time he has acquired an impressive talent for maintaining his composure. In one instance he climbs into a taxi only to see he is not alone and the other passenger has just thrust a pistol into his side with a polite but sinister apology; "Grex lounged back in the taxi" and commented "I think I've recovered from the surprise. Maybe you'd just as soon tell me what this is all about."

How much Grex makes as an operative is never mentioned and from the odd comments where and there, it is definitely not for the salary that Grex routinely puts his life on the line. I point this out because it then points to his having money from other means, likely an inheritance, since he has in his employ, and has had "for a number of years" a Filipino butler-valet-cook named Manuel. Add to that the fact that he lived in a very nice apartment in the heart of New york City.

Every great hero, it is said, needs a great archenemy to challenge his abilities and tenacity. Grex has that in the evil and dastardly and frightening Japanese spymaster/criminal mastermind, Yamasina. Though this man hails from Japan and not the more common China, he is nevertheless an epitome of a menace from the Far East out to conquer the world but having to put up with a persistent thorn in his side in the form of the intrepid Grex. The term used to describe Yamasina and his horde of bloodthirsty soldiers is the Yellowese Empire.

Good Lines:
- Said by a bad guy holding a gun on Grex but not yet explaining why, "Suspense piques appetite".
- Said assailant menacingly quotes an old Japanese proverb: "Any soil will do to bury in".


Number of Stories:4
First Appearance:1936
Last Appearance:1937

1 Death Lands A Cargo Death Lands A Cargo
short story
Written by Evan Leigh
Copyright: 1936

Published as one of the backup stories in Operator #5 - #25, April 1936.
"Three innocent-seeming newspaper clippings — yet they sent Gregory Grex a long way on the road to Hell!"
"Gregory Grex looked young, lean, lazy and unruffled. But appearances can be deceiving! When Hell was popping, and Intelligence had an especially tough job to tackle, they sent Grex!"

2 Parade of the Assassins Parade of the Assassins
short story
Written by Evan Leigh
Copyright: 1937

Published as one of the backup stories in Operator #5 - #31, February 1937.
"There was no red rose in the vase. So Gregory Grex knew that Yamasina, scourge of the white race, planned to remove him forever from the Yellowese path of conquest."
"A little thing like a missing red rose was Gregory Grex’s only warning that Yamasina, arch-enemy of the white race, was about to remove forever the only barrier to his dream of war-made empire."

3 Yellow Thunder Yellow Thunder
short story
Written by Evan Leigh
Copyright: 1937

Published as one of the backup stories in Operator #5 - #32, March/April 1937.
"The spymaster prepared a mathematically certain death for Gregory Grex."
"Gregory Grex knew the blonde girl was lying. And even as he listened, over her shoulder appeared the slant eyes of Yamasina’s men — too many to kill. So he stood helpless as the Asiatic spymaster prepared quick death for the girl, disgrace and the electric chair for Grex, and doom for half the world..."

4 War-Maker's Trail War-Maker's Trail
short story
Written by Evan Leigh
Copyright: 1937

Published as one of the backup stories in Operator #5 - #33, May/June 1937.
"In some unknown spy nest Yamasina waited - to assassinate the President!"
"Yamasina, the master spy of the Yellowese Empire, had vanished. But the note he left behind invited Gregory Grex, Intelligence ace, to attend the assassination of the President..."


Backup stories in pulp magazines were not supposed to that good so as to not outshine the main attraction. That is IMHO, of course, but in the case of Gregory Grex (my! how writers over the years did love alliteration!) this was definitely, absolutely the case.

The four adventures were, again IMHO, okay tales but nothing to take the spotlight off Operator 5, the hero of the mag. They were competently written and told fairly interesting stories but when I was done, I moved on without another thought. Mission accomplished - pages filled.


My Grade: C+


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