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The second novel of this early French serial character30 Aug. 2013
Michael R. Brown
- Published on Amazon.com
An in interesting old pulp character that has come to prominence in recent years: Judex. Most are intrigued by The Shadow-like elements of the character.
The character starred in two serials that came out in 1917 and 1918, that were also novelized. The original movie serial is available on DVD, but sadly the second one is lost. Only the first 9 chapters (of 12) still survive.
Black Coat Press come out with a translation of the first novel, and this is the translation of the second. Both were done by Rick Lai.
So who is Judex? Judex (latin for "judge") is similar in many ways to The Shadow. He is a mysterious avenger who wears a cloak and dark hat, is a master of disguise, has a group of agents helping him, has high tech devices, a mysterious headquarters, etc. In the first adventure, he goes after the evil banker Favraux, who has destroyed his family. After dealing with Favraux, his main opponent in the story is Favraux's would-be fiance, Diana Monti.
Now, a year later, a new adventure arises. Judex and his family are content. He is married and has a happy family with his wife a step-son. His brother has fallen in love with the foster daughter of Judex's neighbor, an American inventor. No one knows who the real parents are of his daughter, as she was found in the woods as a baby. The mystery of her origins will be solved in the story.
But overshadowing all of this is a new foe. There is a new threat arising in Paris, a gang of spies and extortionists called the Secret Raiders. Their leader is a one-eyed mystic who is a master of disguise and can hypnotize people and who is aided by a vicious baroness who is both a cat burglar as well as a fighter, along with another girl (the mystery of who she is will also be solved).
Some other characters from the first novel return. Cocantin, the bumbling detective, is back, working for Judex. But his wife is overseas and their adopted son is in school. Favraux is living in retirement, but is also menaced, as he apparently has a secret the villains want.
It should be pointed out that Judex was created by silent film director Louis Feuillade and writer Arthur Bernède. They set out to create a more heroic character in response to serials that starred villains like Fantomas and Les Vampires (no, not blood suckers, these were a gang of thieves). Funny that Feuillade was the one who did those other serials. The villains of this story in many ways are similar to those. The leader is like Fantomas, a dangerous foe who is a master of disguise. But is also a master of hypnotism! His female associate is very similar to Irma Vep, the leader of the Vampires.
In addition to the story (which includes the covers of the serialized novel), we get some additional materials. We get information on how the problems in the story were fixed. We get a chronology of the 2 Judex stories. And we get an article on Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse, who came later and is similar in many ways to the leader of the Secret Raiders.
For more information on Judex, check out his page on Black Coat Press's associated "Cool French Comics" site.
Judex is Back21 Dec. 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I had recently finished watching the fabulous serials of Louis Feuilade, finishing with JUDEX. I was lamenting the fact that the second Judex serial is missing chapters and has not been issued, when I found this novel adaptation of that missing serial - THE RETURN OF JUDEX. Thanks to Rick Lai for translating this book into English, which kept me reading almost non-stop. Great story and great to spend time with the characters again.