It is Wentworth himself—the Spider—who is first to feel the dread hand of that Master of Darkness—The Blind Man, and his satanic weapon. His best friend, Kirkpatrick, Commissioner of Police, is strangely attacked by the forces of evil; his beloved Nita van Sloan spirited away into a fearsome fate… And the Spider himself destined to a horrible life of pain and misery. Caught between the forces of evil, the Spider at last seems doomed to die in ignominy!
“Satan’s Sightless Legions” is the 35th Spider novel and was originally printed in August 1936. In many ways, the story is a boilerplate so often used in pulps, comics, and superhero movies. An evil villain, this one being the Blind Man, arrives and has a competency that allows him to work his criminal mechanism, the Blackener chemical, which blinds the eyes of men. But then, Norvell Page adds his usual hysterics that go beyond such boilerplates….
These hysterics include:
- Kirkpatrick helping the Blind Man to capture the Spider. Kirk’s nephew has been kidnapped, a “boy who had been like a son to him,” plus the nephew’s wife and child.
- When the Spider escapes, Kirkpatrick begs his friend to kill him in order to stop what he might do next.
- Ram Singh goes blind when the Blackener vapor does its work on his eyes.
- Perhaps based on learning from how the now departed Professor Brownlee, Wentworth and Nita go to the laboratory and frantically a cure for the blindness.
- Then Kirkpatrick does capture Wentworth, turning him over to the Blind Man for a second time, telling the bad guy that Wentworth is the Spider.
- In clutches of his adversary, Wentworth awakes to find that Jackson, Ram Singh, and Nita have all been captured as well.
- To add to his emotions, Wentworth learns that his longest associate, Jenkyns was the one to betray his other three associates to the Blind Man.
- Finally, Nita and Wentworth are blinded too. Even though he has an antidote at his apartment, the Blind Man is close, and so the Spider goes on the offensive despite his debilitated state, thinking that if he does not pursue and attack the Bind Man now, the villain will have a longer time to continue his crime spree and bring blindness to additional people beyond the hundreds who have already been blinded.
With only a few pages left in the novel, Wentworth overcomes the Blind Man, is cured of his blindness, is reconciled with Kirkpatrick and Jenkyns, and romances Nita. He is a busy man!
As we have seen with some of the more recent Spider novels, this one depends much more on hysterics to carry the action rather than a great plot. This story is undoubtedly one of the lesser Spider tales by Page. It is his 33rd Spider novel in 33 months. He will have two more published in the next two months, and then Emile C. Teppermen will write the stories for the next eight months. Undoubtedly, Page needed the rest! Fortunately, the next novel, “The Coming of the Terror” is better.