Nadir, Master of Magic is an Indian Prince, living in New York City. His parents died in an unspecified tragedy that left Nadir devoting his life to eliminating crime – a forerunner of the Batman origin. He has two mystical objects, though both have their lame sides, and he is a skilled fighter and marksman as well. He has a crystal ball that can show him past events, and the current location of people, but it only functions between 3 am and dawn. He has a ring that can direct him to anyone he wants to find, and it will warn him on danger, but as 50% of the time the warnings come too late, that’s not awesome. He also has a devoted servant from India, Arcot, who joins him on his cases. He wears a turban, unless he fears being recognized or questioned about it, but is drawn to look like a white man.
Most of his run consists of one serial, The Pearl of the Bleeding Heart. Nadir is contacted by an old friend, Lord Thomas Ellsworth, after his pearl has been stolen. He suspects fellow collector Henri Duprez, and the crystal ball confirms this. Nadir pursues the pearl, but has a hard time catching up with it, as each of it’s owners meets a violent death at the hands of it’s new owners. Nadir follows the trail to Cuba on his private plane, although he crashes in a storm and they have to swim to shore.
The climax of the plot is a shootout, car chase, fist fight sequence, with no magic mastery required. Still, not bad.
Issues 28 and 29 have Nadir come across a hypnotized Broadway starlet about to jump off the George Washington Bridge, which leads him to battle a madman along the lines of the Phantom of the Opera, but again the ring and crystal ball are used for set-up, not for the climax. Nadir also reads the villains mind, seeing his thoughts, though curiously he credits this to hypnosis.
In his final story he leaves Arcot behind and goes for a cruise to the south seas, where his ship is attacked by pirates. He uses full out mind control powers, making the pirates decide to stop attacking and leave his ship. But the ring completely fails to warn him about the trap he walks into on the island, where he gets strangled and strung up by a cord. With no Arcot to come to the rescue, Nadir’s series ends with “He’s out! Drop him in the car.”
I would normally declare Nadir dead at this point, but he has made a couple of cameos since, part of larger groupings of Golden Age magic based characters, as an extremely old man. There is no mention or appearance of either the ring or 3 am crystal ball. I’m not sure what happened to the ball, but I expect the pirates stole the ring after they captured him. He was critically injured, and likely spent many years in a coma recovering.
You can’t help but notice that this series has hints of both Batman and Green Lantern, yet has fallen into total obscurity. The pieces just didn’t fit together in this.
Nadir: New Adventure Comics 17 – 30 (July 37 – Sep 38)