The Shadowpact is a DC Comics team that was introduced in the Infinite Crisis miniseries Day of Vengeance as a hastily assembled group of supernatural heroes banding together to stop The Spectre from destroying magic. Jim Rook coins the name Shadowpact, and a conversation between The Phantom Stranger and the wizard Shazam reveals that there have been many magical teams by that name, and all have been failures.
They went on to star in their own series, which ran for 25 issues, in which they faced a powerful wizard called Dr Gotham, who was summoning a being called the Sun King. Both Day of Vengeance and the subsequent series were written by Bill Willingham, best known for Fables.
The original membership was:
- Jim Rook: Formerly the Sword & Sorcery hero Nightmaster, who now ran the Oblivion Bar and was the team's first leader.
- Blue Devil: Still using demonic powers to fight crime, and now worried that he was a walking Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
- Detective Chimp: Because Everything's Better with Monkeys.
- Enchantress: Former HeelFace Revolving Door magic-user, now firmly a heroine. Became team leader after Rook left.
- Nightshade: Heroine with Casting a Shadow powers and shadow-teleportation. A Half-Human Hybrid whose mother came from the Shadow Dimension.
- Ragman: Gotham City's Tattered Tatterdemalion, who gains power from a costume made of the souls of the damned. In Shadowpact it turns out the suit is actually a tool of redemption - souls that work with Ragman instead of fighting him eventually get released to Heaven.
Later members were:
- Acheron: An illusion-casting ghost.
- Midnight Rider: A modern-day cowboy with magic guns.
- Warlock's Daughter: the former apprentice of a magical villain from Willingham's run on Robin.
- Zauriel: An angel, formerly a member of Justice League of America, who is commanded to join the team while Blue Devil seeks repentance.
The Phantom Stranger, while not a member of the team, took an interest in them, and was shown as the comic's narrator.
(Incidentally, Day of Judgement, the 1999 Crisis Crossover by Geoff Johns that Day of Vengeance was a sequel to, introduced a team called Sentinels of Magic that included Enchantress, Blue Devil and Ragman, together with other magical characters such as Zatanna, Madame Xanadu and the Golden Age Green Lantern. This team made one subsequent appearance (JLA: Black Baptism) and was then never mentioned again.)
Shadowpact provides examples of:
- Bus Full of Innocents: Dr Gotham's introduction has a literal one.
- Cast from Lifespan: Enchantress casts a spell like this to keep Nightmaster alive.
- Cool Sword: Rook's Nightblade, which grants him Danger Sense and the ability to compel the truth. It later turns out to be haunted by the ghost of his father, who tells him it can do anything he can imagine.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Nightshade, Blue Devil, and Ragman.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of the characters, but especially Detective Chimp.
- The Dragon: Dr Gotham to the Sun King.
- Evil Sorcerer: Several, but especially Dr. Gotham.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Subverted. At the group's founding, during Day of Vengeance, Phantom Stranger mentions how all incarnations of Shadowpact always meet a terrible end. He then pops up throughout the series to restate this fact. This is brought up on occasion by the members of the group, during times of stress or when it seems as if they will not be able to save the day. However, the series ends with them doing just that, saving the day from the Sun King. The fight involves them actually working with different Shadowpact groups throughout history, since the Sun King is stated to be attacking all points in time at once. Therefore, by managing to stop the Sun King, the Shadowpact stops him from killing their previous and future incarnations, thereby changing the doomed nature of the group.
- Fanservice Pack: Averted with Nightshade and Enchantress. Nightshade used to have the standard comic book figure and had an outfit that reflected that, in this comic she's been de-aged to be in her early teens. The Enchantress is normally a young woman who's outfits were either revealing or body-hugging. Here she looks much older and wears a heavy shroud.
- Inn Between the Worlds: The Oblivion Bar caters to magic users and is featured prominently in Shadowpact as the team's headquarters since the owner of the bar is one of its members. While the Bar allows anyone from angels to demons entry, neutrality is strongly encouraged.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Jack of Fire turns out to be Blue Devil's brother.
- Magical Land: Nightmaster's Myrra.
- Order Reborn: In the final story-arc, we see some of the earlier Shadowpacts, and even one from 2108. Despite Nightmaster having taken the name unknowingly, they all have a certain similarity.
- Power Loss Makes You Strong: In the final storyline, Blue Devil, who has sacrificed his demonic abilities, fights Jack of Fire in his original Powered Armor.
- Psycho Rangers: The Pentacle, comprising the witch Strega, the swordsman White Rabbit, the demonic Jack of Fire, the shadowcasting Sister Shadow, the bizarre Bagman and the sociopathic Kid Karnevil.
- You could actually say that the Shadowpact are the Psycho Rangers to The Pentacle, judging from the way they see it - sure, The Pentacle are the bad guys, but both Strega, Bagman, Jack of Fire and Dr. Gotham note that it seems that this Shadowpact was created specifically to stop this team from resurrecting the Sun King, which would in a sense make them "good" Psycho Rangers.
- Redemption Quest: Blue Devil is assigned one of these by the Catholic Church, to atone for his actions in Underworld Unleashed.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Occurs when Blue Devil is promoted to a Rhyming Class demon.
- Spiritual Successor: The second volume of Justice League Dark, which features a Detective Chimp who has inherited both the Oblivion and the role of Nightmaster, and has Blue Devil as a recurring character.
- Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Linda Danvers, who became Supergirl for a while and retired from superheroics after Many Happy Returns, returns transformed into a vengeful "Fallen Angel".
- Three Laws of Robotics: Homaged by Detective Chimp as the Three Laws of Superheroics:
- First Law: The lives and safety of innocent bystanders will always be protected.
- Second Law: The lives and safety of the superhero and members of their team will be protected to the extent that it does not conflict with the First Law.
- Third Law: The lives and safety of all opponents will be protected to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the first two Laws.
- The Tunguska Event: How Mr Meteor of the 1908 Shadowpact got his powers.
- The Wild Hunt: Infiltrated by Rex the Wonder Dog, who overthrows the Huntsman and frees the Hounds.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Blue Devil's sister never shows up, we never learn if his parents souls made it back to Heaven, and Kid Karnevil, who escaped from the prison that the Shadowpact placed him in, also never has his final fate revealed before the series' end.
- Wolverine Publicity: Superman appears in the first issue. Unfortunately, he's supposed to be depowered at the time it's set.