The Phantom Stranger teases the tale about to unfold. Denizens of the city awake to a sun that casts no light. A religious man claims that it's judgement day. He accuses the church of having failed society, specifically holding a nun accountable for the onset of the end times. Leading an angry, panic-stricken mob, he chases the nun into the church. The Phantom Stranger bars their path. The Phantom Stranger defends the nun from attack. After lecturing the mob on their hypocrisy, the Phantom Stranger vanishes. The true architect of the world's dilemma is revealed to be Doctor Nathan Seine. Obsessed with preserving his wife's life, Seine had come in conflict with the Phantom Stranger. During that confrontation, Seine's wife died.
Seine vowed vengeance on the Phantom Stranger. The Phantom Stranger confronts Seine. Using the Heart of Darkness, Seine subdues the Phantom Stranger. Seine learned of the existence of the Heart of Darkness, while working as an assistant to Doctor Bruce Gordon. Unbeknownst to Gordon, there was more than one Heart of Darkness. Seine ferreted out a second Heart of Darkness, which he learned to master through his mystic tomes. The Phantom Stranger awakes, imprisoned in a mystic circle of fire. Seine ushers in Gola, and three other mystic constructs. The Phantom Stranger grabs Gola and reduces her to the sand she was cast from, extinguishing the circle. Seine revels that the three remaining constructs are elemental avatars.
In unison they attack the Phantom Stranger. The Phantom Stranger dodges their combined attack, then imprisons the air elemental within a vacuum pump. The Phantom Stranger maneuvers the fire and water elementals into striking one another. The water elemental extinguishes the fire elemental, even as it is converted to steam. Seine realizes that he is stalemated against the Phantom Strnager. Seine cannot destroy the Phantom Stranger, but neither is the Phantom Stranger willing to destroy him. The Phantom Stranger demands Seine gave him the Heart of Darkness. Seine acquiesces, but threatens that he can always garner another. The Phantom Stranger places the Heart of Darkness on a chain, and throws it over Seine's neck. Seine goes blind. The darkness he cast upon the world now rests solely upon his eyes.
Four gangster go over, and over, and over again a the details of a planned heist. The leader's moll, bored with the monotony, excuses herself to freshen up. Upon her return, the gang goes over the plan again. The gang detonates explosives to stop a limousine. Before the gang can surround the car, they are attacked by the Black Orchid. Only their leader manages to escape.
Returning home, the gang's leader discovers his moll tied to the bed. The Black Orchid had bound her, then taken her place at the planning table. The police arrive to arrest the gang's leader, and his moll. Heiress Ronnie Kuhn finishes a practice run at the race track, once again breaking records. Kuhn returns to her estate. While listening to the news of the gang's arrest, Kuhn changes into a Black Orchid costume. Is Kuhn the Black Orchid?