Batman: The Brave and the Bold #3
Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 25, 2023
Cover date: September 2023
“Superman: Order of the Black Lamp” – Part 3
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Javier Rodríguez
Reviewed by: JP Rocha
Superman is under the influence of Kryptonite. Heavily weakened and trapped Superman is helped up by Hop Harrigan. After a quick exchange of background stories, Superman gets to the point of why he is there. Pulling out the decoder ring, The Man of Tomorrow realizes too late that the ring and the message were all a setup.
Set up by Dr. Antelme the ruler of Eidos Citadel, and the captor of Hop Harrigan. It seems that The Last Son of Krypton was also targeted for imprisonment. Dr Antelme specializes in the “targeted erasure” an electrochemical process designed to control human memory. Superman is still weakened from the Kryptonite ray, but he happens to have The Guardian Angel on his side. Hop Harrigan, now in possession of his ring again, speaks a phrase in Latin and the ring sends out a blinding light. Using this distraction the two escape to an advanced tech but retro designed plane.
Dr. Antelme lets them escape because he has planted a fail-safe into Hop and Superman. This fail-safe as we find out is that after a certain distance from Edios it makes them forget about everything related to Hop Harrigan’s adventures and unfortunately that includes Hop’s ability to fly.
The story ends with Clark and Lois at the Daily Planet, they seem to have forgotten everything that happen including the Daily Planet’s story. The only thing they have is a deadline and some notes on a secret pilot assignment.
Story – 3: Sometimes stories have unrewarding endings, and while this story has that, it does not feel flat. Sometimes villains win, Dr. Antelme seems to have gotten the better of everyone including Superman.
“Order of the Black Lamp” has the surface level story of a villain using a prisoner as bait to capture bigger prey. This story also has a meta level piece to it. At a meta level, Dr. Antelme is collecting pulp and superhero characters from the golden age. The series of “Superman: Order of the Black Lamp” has a pulp era feel to it. Hop Harrigan was a contemporary pulp hero of Superman, first published in “All-American Comics #1” in April of 1939. The adventures of Hop Harrigan and the Black Lamp expanded to radio in the early 1940s as well as a Columbia Pictures movie serial.
Overall “Superman: The Order of the Black Lamp” is very enjoyable, especially if you enjoy pulp stories from 1940s.
Art – 3: The art in this series is not bad, it is just not superhero art. The artist seems to be taking a modern spin on golden age art. It works to some extent, but this is a Superman story and unfortunately the artist makes Hop Harrigan more visually interesting than Superman.
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