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The Shade


Real Name:  Unknown

Voiced by Stephen McHattie

He can trap any foe in an inky black void, which he shoots from his cane (courtesy of Cartoon Network press materials).

Excerpts from the Justice League Panel at the 2001 San Diego Comic Con:

Bruce Timm:  His special power [is that] he controls darkness, so he shoots darkness out of his staff or his walking cane.  And that’s his big power.  And he’s kind of creepy too.  James [Tucker] came up with that design.

James Tucker:  I kind of imagined [him as] sort of a goth.

Courtesy of Revolution Science Fiction and Comics2Film.

Mighty Isis on the Shade:  “Though his addition to the Injustice Gang first appears to be an afterthought, the Shade emerges as one of the team’s most powerful members during their first wrangle with the Justice League.  His energy-dampening powers seem almost limitless—slithering from the tip of his “Night Stick” like sentient ink—though his glasses afford him sight.  Not only can he plunge opponents into total darkness, but his fields cling to his victims—suffocating and blinding them.  His voice is gravelly and uncouth, standing in contrast to the dapper form he cuts, and he’s sort of cranky and disagreeable, but very cool (courtesy of Toon Zone).”



The Shade cToon Image



I was…am neither good or bad.  I am merely above it.  Beyond the mortal laws.  That sounds smug.  Perhaps it sounds like an excuse…Does my immortality make me better than those mortals, long dead, whose tenets we as a society abide by?  Rhetorically, I’m not sure I know the answer.  And I’m not sure I should dwell on the matter too long or in too much depth either.  Be as I am.  Live as I live.  And if I ever meet God a second time, let my judgment be what it is also.

From Shade’s Journal, Starman #17

James Robinson, writer of DC Comics’ Starman and responsible for the Shade’s modern characterization, has never revealed the “terrible” secrets of his origin…only that it occurred one bad, dark night in London’s East End sometime in 1838.  We do know, however, some of what happened to him afterwards—as a Golden Age DC character, the Shade started out as a foe of the Flash [Jay Garrick] and served as a member of the Injustice Society of the World.

He has the ability to summon “shadow matter” from a realm called the Dark Zone and manipulate it in any way he chooses.  He is also immortal and, according to the revised back-history, has made use of his time by traveling, acquiring wealth, and finding adventure.  His supervillain career, regarded as being more for sport by Robinson, is the focal point of his appearances in Justice League, where he is once again utilized as an adversary for [presumably] the Flash.

Some may ask why he would bother pursuing a supervillain career—he doesn’t need wealth and, even as sport, it could mean considerable harm for one who is immortal.  Some insight can be found, however, in a conversation that he had with Jay Garrick in The Shade #3:

I enjoy you, Flash.  I enjoy the crimes.  I enjoy the color.  I won’t delve into the details, but it’s distinctly possible I am no longer alive.  I walk and talk and make an exceptional quail mousse, but I’m not certain I live in the conventional sense.  But when I battle you, I enjoy your life and speed and humor, and for those briefest of moments I am truly living.

I hope that the Shade can make a similar connection with Wally West in Justice League.


Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Online UK, Bat13 from DCU Animated, and Cartoon Network.

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