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Shade was a super villain who controlled shadows. He joined a record number of four separate Anti-Justice League organizations.


Secret Society

Shade in the first incarnation of the Secret Society.

Shade was a criminal who used a "nightstick" that could create a shroud of darkness, perfect for making getaways during heists. He received an anonymous summons to an abandoned warehouse where Lex Luthor proposed the formation of the Injustice Gang, an organization created to destroy the Justice League. Shade constantly complained that he didn't earn enough money. The Gang planned to destroy the League's Watchtower by placing a bomb inside, but the League disabled it in time. The League confronted the Injustice Gang at their hideout, and defeated the villains in battle.

Shade was later recruited by Aresia for her gang, helping her steal rare jewels. He was responsible for covering entries and escapes. However, Shade was betrayed when he found out that Aresia's true intensions were to destroy all of Earth's men. He was one of the first victims of Aresia's toxic gas.

Shade recovered, and decided to work solo again. While escaping from a failed heist, he was approached by Giganta and asked to join Grodd's Secret Society. Shade was reluctant, as he knew only too well how both his previous team-ups had failed, but Grodd convinced him to join by promising to make him a "master of the world". After several confrontations with the League, the Society was defeated, and Shade was taken into custody once more. During this time, he appeared somewhat enamored with Giganta, to the extent that, though surprised to discover she was actually a genetically modified denizen of Gorilla City, he did not seem overly bothered by it.

After getting out of jail, Shade joined the Legion of Doom. During Lex Luthor's mutiny, he sided with Grodd, which cost him dearly. He was rounded up with the rest of the survivors and frozen by Killer Frost. When Darkseid blew up the ship, his body was destroyed.

Powers and abilities

Shade wielded a nightstick that allowed him to manipulate darkness and shadows. This ability extended to covering large areas in darkness, as well as offensive attacks.

Without his nightstick, he was powerless. However, in the Secret Society's final battle with the Justice League, Shade revealed that he had compensated for this disadvantage by studying martial arts. He put them to the test against Batman, who didn't know about Shade's recent training and was caught off guard by his initial attack. Shade landed the first blow, but once Batman was ready for him, Shade was easily outmaneuvered.

Background information

In the Pre-Zero Hour comics, The Shade was a generic villain who controlled shadows with the aid of a magical cane, upon which he was totally reliant to power his shadow abilities.

Post-Zero Hour, the Shade's life story and background were completely revamped, making him an English gentleman who had ties with people of the magnitude of Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens. Richard Swift (the Shade's true name) was taken in by Piers Ludlow and his family in London, after witnessing a horrifying mystical accident. This accident left him in a state beyond life and death, and tied him to a dimension of shadows, from which he could derive powers such as true umbrakinesis without the need for a magical cane. When the Ludlows tried to kill Swift so he would take the blame for a crime the family had committed, Shade retaliated, killing many of the family. Descendants of Piers Ludlow also attempted to kill him, but because of his powers, he was never defeated. He fell in love with the nascent Opal City, becoming a loving resident, while at the same time working as a paid assassin. This left him with a considerable fortune. Later, he settled in Keystone City as a rogue of the first Flash, Jay Garrick. Here he is depicted as much more cultured and intellectual, often making deeply philosophical questions to himself, wondering about his position in life and eventually returning to the point he could become a superhero again. Of note is the fact this version of the Shade has powers far beyond his animated counterpart, easily able to create massive shadow constructs with a wave of his hand.

Although this ability was never shown in the animated series, if he does have the power to resurface from the dead, it is possible that Shade is not finished yet.


Justice League

Justice League Unlimited

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