One of the great tropes of modern heroic fiction is the “dark reflection,” where we get to see a villain that’s very similar to our hero – so much so, that they’re practically two sides of the same coin. Lazarus Gray has clashed several times with a man known as Nemesis, whose very existence is due to a spell to turn him into Gray’s equal.
But what about Assistance Unlimited, the group that Lazarus leads? Do they have an opposite number?
Actually, the answer is yes – and they’re known as Murder Unlimited!
Be warned if you read further, however… because spoilers lie ahead.
The first version of Murder Unlimited made their debut in 1936 when a scarred woman named Constance Majestros brought together a team based out of 666 Holder Way – a brownstone located in one of Sovereign City’s worst neighborhoods (“Murder Unlimited,” Lazarus Gray Volume 3). Despite its surroundings, the interior was quite lush and well-suited to its evil membership. The initial members were:
- Dr. Melvin Pemberley – A doctor that had been discredited for his awful experiments and a frequent foe of Assistance Unlimited in its early days.
- Prince Femi – The resurrected Egyptian sorceress that has fought Assistance Unlimited more than any other villain has.
- Abraham Klee – The son of the notorious Adolphus Klee, this madman has a bald head and a terrible scar around it — surgeries have allowed him to utilize 90% of his brain capability.
- Stanley Davis – A heavyset man gifted with clairvoyance.
- Constance Majestros – Scarred after a battle with Lazarus Gray, she was fixated on gaining revenge.
The team was defeated and for several years, the Murder Unlimited name was unused. It was revived in 1940 when a new version was formed (“As Above, So Below” – Lazarus Gray Volume 8). This team consisted of:
- Nemesis – Agent of both The Illuminati and the Occult Forces Project, Nemesis was magically enhanced to be Lazarus Gray’s equal.
- Bushido – A Japanese warrior, she is a female samurai and is fiercely loyal to Nemesis. The two are lovers and partners.
- Vixen – Caroline Berber wears a black catsuit and is skilled at seducing men — in fact, she managed to trick Morgan Watts into marrying her.
- Brick — Larry Carter was Caroline’s boyfriend and a thug of the highest order.
- Alloy – Mario Gallo had suffered a terrible injury but was repaired by Italian doctors that used an experimental substance called Material-X to strengthen his shattered bones.
A third incarnation was formed in 1941 (Lazarus Gray Volume 9). This time, the group was once again led by Nemesis and Bushido but its final two members were quite surprising and featured betrayals of trust for Assistance Unlimited… that’s right: for the first time, a former member of Assistance Unlimited was now a member of Murder Unlimited! The roster this time consisted of:
- The Golden Amazon
This foursome nearly flooded the world and probably came the closest to victory for any Murder Unlimited grouping to this point. In the end, Eidolon betrayed the villains and returned to the side of Assistance Unlimited while the Golden Amazon also decided that she was no longer interested in working alongside Nemesis and Bushido. Nemesis died on this adventure, seemingly putting an end to this incarnation of the team.
Three years later (1944), another version came together. This one was led by one of the most infamous criminal masterminds of all time: Fantômas! This sadistic criminal was obsessed with destroying the very idea of Assistance Unlimited and was willing to go to incredible lengths to do so. The full roster of this group was:
- Fantômas – A French super-criminal, this madman became obsessed with Lazarus Gray after a chance meeting in Gray’s youth. With his own death approaching, Fantômas decides that he wishes to seal his legacy by destroying Assistance Unlimited.
- Black Diamond – A cunning woman with dozens of identities, she is a longtime associate of Fantômas.
- Count Orlok – An ancient vampire recruited from a decrepit castle in Romania, Orlok is enticed by the promise of receiving the potent blood of such unusual beings as the witch Abby Cross and the metahuman Blue Fire.
- Randolph Winthrop – Lazarus Gray’s uncle, recruited for his knowledge of his nephew. A career grifter, Randolph quickly finds himself in over his head.
This group manages to kill a member of Assistance Unlimited, badly wound multiple members, and assassinate a support member of the team — as well as seize control of 6196 Robeson Avenue!
It seems likely that the horrible legacy of Murder Unlimited will continue…