The theft of a massive diamond leads fledgling secret agent Oliver Diplexito to South Africa, where eye-opening revelations await.
The series loses juice, headway, and even coherence in this third episode, as Aurelian Binns, vengeful scion of the former head of the nefarious Woodhouselee Society, leads supposedly clever Oliver around by the nose. Binns tricks Oliver into actually helping to steal the gem, then into a chase through the Titanic (just before it sets out on its fateful voyage, which is an opportunity for drama lost if ever there was one) while the diamond heads for southern Africa. Oliver finally journeys to the diamond mines of Kimberley, where he gets filled in on the area’s growing racial oppression and turmoil and, in the course of an inconclusive dust-up, saves freedom fighter Bartholomew Hunter, an American whose parents had been enslaved, from a bullet and also from being tricked into selling the diamond to vicious white mine owners. Aside from narration (and playing Binns’ dupe), the white teenager is more observer than driver of events, so passive that he just shrugs off discoveries that both Hunter and the Woodhouselee Society figure significantly in the hidden past of his saturnine butler/mentor, Mr. Scant. In the end Methods himself apparently loses interest in his tale, not even bothering to mention whether the diamond is recovered or not.
A shrug is likely to be readers’ responses, too. (Adventure. 10-12)