The Shadowpact

Created by Bill Willingham

» FIRST APPEARANCE:
Day of Vengeance #1 (June 2005); named in Day of Vengeance #4

History

The Shadowpact is the name given to various teams of mystics who've gathered over thousands of years. According to the late wizard, Shazam, each such assembly of heroes was doomed to fail in the pursuit of "lost causes." Perhaps it was true in times past, but the newest Shadowpact would prove themselves the exception to that rule...

After Hal Jordan relinquished his duties as host to the Spectre, the ancient spirit became vulnerable to manipulation. The manipulator was his own longtime enemy, Eclipso, in the body of it's own new host: Jean Loring. In his destabilized state, the Spectre made it his mission to eradicate the Earth of all magic. He was quick to disable his most formidable opponents, leaving a ragtag band of mystics to subdue the spirit of vengeance. This band began its formation when the Ragman was summoned by the Enchantress after she'd survived one of the Spectre's slaughters.

They retreated to the Oblivion Bar, a gathering place for mystics owned by Jim Rook, the former Nightmaster. Few were willing to answer the Enchantress' call to action save, surprisingly, the Detective Chimp. (Day of Vengeance #1)

Blue Devil • Nightshade • Nightmaster • Ragman • Detective Chimp •  Enchantress

A few others joined the Enchantress as well, Rook once again donned his sword and armor, and his bouncer Blue Devil, and the longtime government agent, Nightshade. The Enchantress began by trying to subvert Eclipso instead of the Spectre. (#2) Ragman expended hundreds of soul-rags in attempting to assimilate Eclipso while the Chimp moved to recruit a powerful threat — Black Alice, who could assume the powers of any metahuman or entity. Meanwhile, the Enchantress called on the power of magicians worldwide to channel their power into Captain Marvel, who would combat the Spectre directly. (#3) Marvel eventually ran out of steam but drove the Spectre off. And in the midst of this battle, Nightmaster suggested a name for this group: The Shadowpact. (#4)

The fledgling team regrouped at the Oblivion Bar where they hatched a plan for Black Alice to sap his powers. They drew the Spectre to Indonesia and were successful, but once depowered, the Spectre was no more than a spirit they could not affect. (#5) Once recovered, the Spectre headed for the Rock of Eternity, where the Shadowpact were powerless to stop him from destroying the wizard Shazam and his stronghold. Its destruction not only released the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, but ages old spells which held chaos in check. (#6)

The Shadowpact then played a key role in finishing the Spectre for good. Nabu (the former Dr. Fate) gathered them and all the world's remaining mystics into teams to reassemble the Rock of Eternity. Nabu himself sacrificed himself by confronting the Spectre, revealing that he was the last of the Lords of Order, and that with his passing, a new 10th Age of Magic would begin. Nabu's death was such a drastic thing that the Spectre's own master finally took notice and drew the wraith away. Before dying, Nabu bequeathed his helmet to the Shadowpact, which Captain Marvel tossed it into space. (Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special)

Following this, the Shadowpact remained together on a mission to stand ready against the wild magic of the new Tenth Age. Their next mission called them to the town of Riverrock, Wyoming, which was targeted by a similar group of evil mystics: the Pentacle. The group, led by the red witch Strega, formed an impenetrable barrier over the town with the aid of Jack of Fire, Bagman, Karnevil, Sister Shadow and the White Rabbit. Strega was a powerful sorceress who intended to sacrifice the townspeople and summon a great cosmic being and gain immortality. The Shadowpact managed to cross Strega's barrier with the aid of the Phantom Stranger. From outside the barrier, a year passed and the Stranger employed various mystics to stand guard. (Shadowpact #1)

Events within the sphere, however, passed at normal speed. Soon both teams were in even combat but the Shadowpact were captured. (#2) Only the Chimp managed to free himself, but before he could rescue his friends, the White Rabbit defected from the Pentacle and freed them instead. The Enchantress knew she was not powerful enough to take down Strega and her barrier, so she took control of the witch's power instead. To accomplish these feats require life force, so instead of spilling blood, the Enchantress took a year from every person in the town. In the process, an actual year passed as well. It worked, but Strega escaped. (#3)

When the barrier came down, the Shadowpact were greeted by Witchfire and the Chimp's friend Rex the Wonder Dog, who accompanied them. Their first task was to escort the Pentacle members to the Black Tower, a prison inside the dark dimension of Nightshade's powers. There, the Pentacle would be powerless under the supervision of Joshua Coldrake, master of anti-magic. When they returned to Metropolis, they found that they'd been memorialized in statue, and that the Oblivion Bar had been taken over by Eddie Deacon (a former circus freak and minor magician).

The Shadowpact were also deputized (against their wills) by the spy agency, Checkmate. Agent Jessica Midnight approached the group in the Oblivion Bar where she enlisted to help plant one of their agents inside Kobra. (Checkmate v.2 #9-10)

To Hells and Back

Although the team settled into a new home, there would be little rest for its members, most of whom were due for their own personal battles. On top of that, the witch Strega returned to Gotham City to awaken her ancient master, Doctor Gotham, who had lain dormant beneath the city since before its inception. Gotham ordered Strega to keep the Shadowpact busy. She wasted no time in hiring would-be assassins Blue Moon (#5), and a new incarnation of the Wild Huntsman (III) (#6) and the Congregation. (#7-8)

After the team was blinded by the Congregation, Ragman withdrew into the realm of his own cloak, where he had an epiphany. Inside his suit, he talked with an old resident, Marcus Liberius of ancient Rome. Liberius accepted his fate and claimed that the rag suit had taken other forms in the past, that it dates back to Abraham, and it has been destroyed and recreated. The susit came into his family's possession during World War II, after his grandfather came to America and changed the family name from Reganiewicz to Regan. Marcus offered to sacrifice his own sight to restore Rory's. This act completed Liberius' debts and he moved on from the cloak into the afterlife. Rory emerged with a renewed sense of purpose, knowing that the souls in his cloak were working towards the payment of their crimes. (#8)

Nightmaster also began a plan to better train and organize the team. (#6) He chose the Detective Chimp to speak at a press conference where the Shadowpact professed to uphold new Rules of Engagement, three universal laws of superheroics:

  1. The lives and safety of innocent bystanders will always be protected.
  2. The lives oand safety of you (the superhero) and members of your team will be protected to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the first law.
  3. The lives and safety of all opponents will be protected to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the first two laws. (#9)

The Blue Devil soon found that he had been elevated by the Lords of Hell to a rhyming class demon. Due to this "demotion," he unwittingly began speaking in rhyme. (#7) Blue Devil had, in essence, been given the post formerly assigned to the demon Etrigan, who had strayed from his duties. Etrigan lured Blue Devil and his team to Budapest, where the demon stabbed Nightmaster with his own sword, and stole Lucifer's Trident from Blue Devil. (#9)

This turn of events cast the entire team into disarray. The Enchantress forced herself to stay awake in order to keep Rook alive. The remaining team members recruited several new heroes to join them on a mission after Etrigan into Hell. Ragman retrieved the Warlock's Daughter (Laura Fell) from the Black Tower in the Nightshade dimension. Two other Oblivion patrons, Midnight Rider (Eli Stone) and Acheron joined as well. With Blue Devil's trident, Etrigan led a charge to overthrow the capital city of Hell, Pandemonium. (#10) The new Shadowpact team moved desicevely and retrieved the trident. When Etrigan followed them back to the Oblivion, the demon was turned to stone by a bullet from the Midnight Rider. (#11)

Black Alice • Acheron • Warlock's Daughter • Zauriel

Kept in a magical coma, Nightmaster had revelations of his own. He was approached by the spirit of his father, the sword's previous champion, who now inhabits it and acts as his mentor. His father claimed the Jim had never allowed himself to become truly attuned to the sword. He explained that the sword cannot actually hurt its owner, and so when Jim finally accepted its gifts, he returned full health. (#12)

During all of this, Blue Devil learned more about his new demotion. His new "servant," Vortigar, explained that Cassidy had done what no other demon ever could — attained the adoration of millions. Vortigar sought Blue Devil's power for himself, but his masters in Hell forbade him from such manipulations, and Vortigar was set instead to retrieving the souls of Cassidy's lost family members. (#11) Danny was reunited with his parents in Hell, who did not recognize him but verified that he did indeed have an older brother Jack and a sister, Mary. (#15)

This activity in Hell did not go unnoticed by the forces of Heaven. The angel Abariel summoned Zauriel to undertake a mission for God to destroy Blue Devil. (#13) Zauriel confronted Blue devil at the Bar but Danny convinced him to give him the chance to prove his worth. Blue Devil immediately held a press conference and told the public all about his deal with the devil. Afterwards he was approached by Ken Green, a lawyer who claimed he could release him from his contract with Neron because Danny never received his end of the bargain: the success and fame. Blue Devil quit the team in order to commit himself to the redemption of his soul. (#14) Mr. Green pled a good case, but they learned that Danny's soul had previously been sold to Hell by his older brother, Jack. That contract held precedence. Denied the easy route to salvation, Blue Devil met with Father Martin Aquistapace, who assigned Cassidy a series of labors in order to exorcise his demon self. The first: stop the massing army of Homo Magi who were planning world conquest. (#16)

Zauriel was ordered by Heaven to take Blue Devil's place in the Shadowpact. He was given the battle staff of the archangel Michael and sent into the Shadopact's next battle. Blue Devil was not on hand for the Shadowpact's greatest challenge when Dr. Gotham unleashed his own evil forces and brought volcanoes to the surface in the middle of the city of Chicago. (#15) With the help of the Justice League, Zatanna and Supergirl, the Shadowpact weakened Gotham and removed residents from harm's way. (#16)

Gotham's master, the Sun King, was displeased, and created an avatar of Gotham to continue their mission. This handsome young man took the name Devon and zeroed in on the Shadowpact's very own Warlock's Daughter. (#17)

NOTES: The Oblivion Bar is the remnant of Oblivion, Inc., Jim Rook's original headquarters in Showcase #82 (May 1969), then a book store in Primal Force #8 (June 1995). Some of this story was retold with Nightmaster's origin in Shadowpact #12.

Member (Name)

1st app.

Joined

Status & Info

1. Blue Devil (Daniel Patrick Cassidy) Fury of Firestorm #24 Day of Vengeance #1 Deceased, Starman #38; resurrected, Day of Judgment #4; deceased JLA: Black Baptism #4; resurrected before JSA #33
1. Detective Chimp (Bobo T. Chimpanzee) Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4 Active in adventuring
1. Enchantress (June Moon, Soulsinger) Strange Adventrues #187 Active in adventuring. Deceased, Day of Judgment #4; resurrected as Soulsinger, JLA: Black Baptism #4.
1. Nightmaster (Jim Rook) Showcase #82 Active in adventuring
1. Nightshade (Eve Eden) Crisis #6 Active in adventuring
1. Ragman (Rory Regan) Ragman #1 Active in adventuring
7. Black Alice (Lori Zechlin) Birds of Prey #76 Day of Vengeance #3  
8. Acheron Shadowpact #10 Shadowpact #10 Active in adventuring
8. Midnight Rider (Eli Stone) Shadowpact #10 Active in adventuring
8. Warlock's Daughter (Darla Aquista, aka Laura Fell) Robin v.2 #121 Active in adventuring
11. Zauriel JLA: Paradise Lost #1 Shadowpact #14 Active in adventuring

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special #1
  • Checkmate v.2 #9-10

» SERIES:

  • Day of Vengeance, 6-issue limited series (2005)
  • Shadowpact, 25 issues (2006–08