Exiles #26 The Silver Shadow

This Exile is definitely Marvel but is sourced from material that’s not in the usual Marvel Universe.  Back in the day, Marvel put out a lot of Graphic Novels that made no reference to the 616 and existed in what, I assume, are considered alternate realities.

Dave Cockrum’s Futurians was one such Graphic Novel.  It’s pretty entertaining, too, if you can find it.  The basic premise – that people from a future so far out that the world is literally ending are time traveling back to our time to change that future is pretty epic.  Of course, the people are still people, which always rankles me a little.  It’s sort of like how the dinosaurs in the Savage Land are still recognizable species…and from lots of different eras.  I believe a T-Rex is as close to us in time (and thus evolution) as it is to a stegosaurus.  So, even if they were saved from the asteroid, they would be extinct because they would have evolved into something else.  The same should be true of our descendants in the distant future.  They would be all but unrecognizable as human to us and, in fact, would not be humans any more but a new species…

Ok…that was a serious digression…anyway, the story is still pretty interesting and it gives a nice unifying theme to everyone’s super powers.  It’s not a super complex story but there’s enough Machiavellian machinations in it to provide some tension and make you wonder what happens once the story is done.

Oh, and I always call him “Terrayne, the Earth Mover” in the history below because that was how he was ALWAYS referenced in the book.  It was never just “Terrayne,” it was always “Terrayne, the Earth Mover.”  That wasn’t true of any of the other Futurians, even though they all had titles like that.  I don’t know if there was some weird copyright thing going on, or what, but it struck me so I kept it.

Silver Shadow

Johnathan Darknyt

Fighting:     RM

Agility:       EX

Strength:     GD

Endurance: EX

Reason:       GD

Intuition:     IN

Psyche:       EX

Health:        80

Karma:       70

Resources:   GD

Popularity: 10

Powers:

 Darkforce Control:  Silver Shadow can tap into the Darkforce dimension and generate areas of darkness, darkening one area per round, to a maximum of five areas.  This negates all light sources of less than Amazing intensity and causes all of Silver Shroud’s opponents to perform all combat and FEAT rolls at -3CS.  He can manipulate the Darkforce into shadows and shapes to serve as decoys and to frighten his foes.

 Dark Sight:  Silver Shadow can see normally even in areas of absolute darkness.

Shadow Gateway:  Silver Shadow is able to “teleport” himself from one point to another on Earth’s surface by entering the Darkforce dimension through a shadow, traversing a distance and emerging back into Earth’s dimension through another shadow.  Distances within the dimension of darkness differ from those on Earth: a mile on Earth might only be a matter of feet in the other dimension.  Hence, Silver Shadow could “teleport” himself through the dimension of darkness from one point on Earth to a point a quarter-mile away in the time it would take to walk a far shorter distance if he remained on Earth the whole time.  Silver Shadow is able to perceive the Earth dimension in some manner while he is in the dimension of darkness, as he suffers no disorientation upon re-emergence, even if he has “teleported” himself a great distance.  As yet, Silver Shadow has not used the dimension of darkness to teleport himself more than half a mile.

 Talents:  Silver Shadow is knowledgeable in Detective/Espionage Talents.  In combat, he uses Acrobatics, Martial Arts B and C and is a Marksman.

Contacts:  Silver Shadow is a member of the Futurians and likely still has contacts with his former colleagues in S.H.I.E.L.D.

Background:  Though Johnathan Darknyt, as an albino, had a rather distinctive appearance, he learned, even as a child that he had a knack for infiltration and subterfuge.  This trait was noted by others as well and he was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. right out of college.

He worked for the organization for more than a decade and was integral in foiling plots by HYDRA, A.I.M. and several supervillains, though he always remained in the background, letting others take the spotlight.

Little did Darknyt know that his abilities weren’t entirely natural.  In the far future, after the rise and fall of Earth as a galactic Empire, two factions remained warring over the planet.  One group, known as the Inheritors, set a cataclysm in motion to garner enough power to send their city state back into the past while simultaneously destroying their enemies, the city of Terminus.

Unable to draw upon enough energy to do the same for their own city, the citizens of Terminus instead seeded the past with the genetic materials needed to create superhuman agents in the same time period that their enemies fled to.  They also sent back the consciousness of one of their leaders, a man who would be known as Vandervecken in the past.

Vandervecken’s consciousness ended up in the body of a vagabond, but he retained a number of superhuman powers.  He used these abilities to amass a fortune and create Future Dynamics corporation.

All of Vandervecken’s actions were focused only on battling the Inheritors.  Darknyt and 6 other humans who had the genetic seeds sent back from the future were gathered at Future Dynamics by Vandervecken.  Through a process including solar energy, these seeds were activated, giving all 7 humans superhuman abilities that were related to their already impressive talents and abilities.  Unknown to all but one of them, Andrew Pendragon, aka Avatar, these genetic seeds also include a compulsion to obey Vandervecken’s commands.

The human operatives are joined by Sunswift, a being who lives in the sun and who survives until the future time Vandervecken comes from.  In fact, her future self notified her current self about the plan so that she could aid Vandervecken.

The newly superhuman beings had little time to adjust to their new conditions as the Inheritors were already beginning their attack on the present to ensure they would win the future.  With 4 attacks going on at the same time, the team split into groups of 2 with Silver Shadow teaming up with Sunswift.

Their foe proved to be a 3 legged armored walker with a powerful cannon and the ability to exist out of phase with the earthly plane.  In fact, it only manifested on the material plane for the brief moment necessary to fire its cannon.  However, in bright enough light, it cast a shadow even when out of phase.

Sunswift created bright bursts of light and Silver Shadow melded with the shadows generated, using them as a gateway into the out of phase walker.  Once inside, he wreaked havoc on the crew with his shadow manifestations, causing them to panic and fire their hand weapons destroying their own machine from the inside out.

Though the Futurians were largely successful in foiling the attacks by the Inheritors, their enemies did gain enough success to threaten the world with their plans.  The 8 superhumans travelled to the Inheritor’s base to face them head on and stop them once and for all.

Silver Shadow again used his infiltration abilities, both superhuman and natural to gain access to the enemy base and perform acts of sabotage.  It wasn’t until Terrayne, the Earth Mover seemingly sacrificed himself by sinking the Inheritors base to the center of the earth that the Futurians proved victorious, though.

With the immediate threat ended, Sunswift returned to her home in the sun.  The remaining 6 Futurians remained at Future Dynamics to serve as a peacekeeping force.

With his primary rivals out of the way, Vandervecken proceeded to the next stage of his plan, namely ensuring that a future that benefited Terminus was created by manipulating things in the present.

In the beginning, the Futurians willingly aided him in these actions.  They served as his personal taskforce to right wrongs and bring order to the chaos of the world.  As time went on, however, their tasks became less and less obviously beneficial and more and more beneficial only to Vandervecken and his plans.  The world was rapidly approaching a state where Vandervecken would be an iron fisted global tyrant with the Futurians as his super powered enforcers.

The genetic requirement to obey the man from the future remained in most of the Futurians, however and not only were they not able to rebel but also he was able to change their memories and mentalities so that they did not even realize that they wanted to rebel.

Only Avatar was immune to this mental control.  He fled the Futurians, starting a guerilla war against them to combat Vandervecken and his minions.

As the only super powered being on the planet not directly under Vandervecken’s control Avatar became public enemy number one.  Stopping or killing him became the most important task for the Futurians and they began hunting him.

Silver Shadow, with his powers and his history as an infiltrator and spy was particularly suited to the task.  Avatar remained one step ahead of them for quite some time but Silver Shadow finally tracked him down.

In the meantime, Avatar had tracked down Terrayne, the Earth Mover, who had returned from his trip to the center of the Earth.  Terrayne, the Earth Mover had always been suspicious and distrustful of Vandervecken and without being in his immediate presence, Avatar was able to turn him to his side.

Having found Avatar and Terrayne, the Earth Mover, Silver Shadow quickly summoned his fellow Futurians and a savage battle broke out between the two forces.  Avatar and Terrayne, the Earth Mover were powerful but no match for the other five human Futurians.  Only the arrival of Sunswift kept them from being overwhelmed.  Avatar, Terrayne, the Earth Mover and Sunswift were the most powerful of the Futurians but, outnumbered as they were, their victory was far from assured.

In fact, before the Exiles arrived, Terrayne, the Earth Mover had been slain as had Blackmane and Silkie from the other side.  The Exiles managed to neutralize Vandervecken, immune as they were to his mind control powers.

Without Vandervecken dominating them, the remaining Futurians realized that they had been nothing more than pawns for the man.  Furious with the way they’d been manipulated, Mosquito attacked Vandervecken and killed him with her ultrasonic powers.

Most of the remaining Futurians vowed to dedicate themselves to undoing the damage they’d done under the dominion of Vandervecken.  Silver Shadow felt that they would just be exchanging one tyrant for several and that his fellow superhumans would simply end up making the same mistakes as their predecessor.

While that also seemed a danger with the Exiles, and perhaps even worse because they would be manipulating numerous realities rather than just one.  It was only the fact that the Exiles never remain in one dimension for long that convinced him that they would not be able to do any long term harm to any place.  He also felt that he could not ignore the responsibility that came with his powers and had to use them to help people.  Knowing that it was very likely that he would end up opposing his friends if he remained in the Futurians dimension and not wanting to face that possibility, he gladly joined the Exiles on their mission.