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Comic Book / Shadowpact

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Clockwise from bottom Left: Enchantress, Blue Devil, Jim Rook, Nightshade, Ragman, Detective Chimp.

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 and 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 Hard Truth Aesop.
  • Detective Chimp: Because you gotta have a monkey.
  • Enchantress: Former Heel–Face 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:

  • Accidental Pervert: While trying to get Nightshade away from Congregation members who are surrounding her, Blue Devil ends up grabbing her butt. He does ask for her forgiveness and she seems more relieved to simply have been given some room.
  • Affably Evil: White Rabbit who complements Nightmaster's skills as a swordsman and Dr. Gotham who is impressed with human cuisine and architecture.
  • Anti-Magic: Joshua Coldrake has the power to dampen any magic in his vicinity which comes in very useful in his job as a prison warden for magically-empowered villains.
  • The Apprentice: Warlock's Daughter is Enchantress's student in the magical arts.
  • Ascended Demon: Deconstructed with Blue Devil. All his years of fighting against the forces of evil ended up giving a lot of good publicity to demons, both good and evil alike.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: In hell, one's status is measured by how low they fall not by how high they rise. In short, a demotion in hell is the equivalent of a promotion in earth or heaven.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Detective Chimp "Bobo".
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Dr Gotham's introduction has a literal one.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: When discussing taking on the Spectre with Black Alice, Nightshade says she is "so nervous I could fertilize an acre of farmland - if you catch my drift".
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Day of Vengeance, the team defeats the Spectre by channeling the energy of every magical being into Captain Marvel who uses this power to beat down the Spectre. Unfortunately, this temporarily makes Enchantress Drunk On Power and she has to be knocked out with a great deal of effort. The following issue shows the team are greatly exhausted after the fight.
  • Canis Major: The Wild Huntsman's hounds.
  • City of Adventure: Both Gotham and Metropolis are featured.
  • 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. The White Rabbit also has one as he is Nightmaster's Evil Counterpart in the Pentacle. It has the ability to make people fall asleep with a minor cut.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The team is called Shadowpact and includes a demon, a woman with shadow powers, a guy named "Nightmaster and a man whose costume contains evil souls.
    • This was actually the source of conflict when three members of the team encountered the Congregation, a team of Knight Templars with power over light.
    Ragman: But we're the good guys!
    Congregation member: A demon from hell, a notorious soul-stealer and a witch who conjures living darkness? Don't make me laugh!
    Congregation member: It's plainly obvious you're foul to the bone.
  • Day in the Life: Issue 4 is a story focused entirely on Blue Devil's day-to-day activities.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the characters, but especially Detective Chimp.
  • The Dragon: Dr Gotham is this 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 who used to have the standard comic book figure and had an outfit that reflected that, but in this comic has been de-aged to be in her early teens. Played straight with Enchantress whose outfit now shows more skin than before.
  • Guile Hero: In their first battle, Strega easily defeats Enchantress thanks to superior power and experience. However, Enchantress knew that she was outmatched by Strega and wasn't even trying to win the fight at all. Rather, she was studying Strega's attacks to analyze her spells and figure out how to undo the barrier Strega had placed on the town.
    Enchantress: When I can't be the toughest witch in town, I settle for being the sneakiest.
  • God of Light: The Sun King is a solar deity from another dimension who feeds on other universes.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The original line-up. Nightmaster fights with a sword, Blue Devil and Ragman are super strong and even Detective Chimp mixes it up in melee everyone once in a while. By contrast, Nightshade fights with shadow constructs or monsters she summons and Enchantress is a Squishy Wizard.
  • Hammerspace: Dr Gotham's cloak is a portal to a pocket dimension where he stores the magical artifacts that power his spells. The Enchantress defeats him by jumping into his cloak and destroying thousands of these artifacts to weaken and force him to retreat.
  • Hate Plague: The denizens of Myrra have been corrupted by the Mind Virus, a magical infection that transforms its victims into unfettered cannibals.
  • Hot Witch: Enchantress and Strega.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Karnevil has no magical abilities yet is the most evil of the Pentacle to the point even Strega is afraid of him.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Blue Devil says this in his press conference when he tells people not to imitate him by making devil's deals of their own.
    Blue Devil: The truth is, I'm no hero, super or otherwise. I didn't make my deal with a devil to do good or save others. Instead I made a disgusting bargain entirely for self-aggrandizement. I sold my soul for nothing more noble than fame as an actor. Everything I do, every great deed I accomplish redounds to the benefit of Hell and its minions. The simple, unchanging truth is, you can't do good by doing evil. I learned that lesson at great cost. Please don't make the same fatal mistake.
  • Improvised Weapon: As part of his 13 labors of penance, Blue Devil had to fight a giant spider monster. He killed it with a blender. For extra hilarity, he actually wanted a machete but the Italian priest he was speaking to on the radio misheard it as the Italian word for blender.
  • 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.
  • Lady in Red: Strega. She is even referred to as the "Red Witch" by the Phantom Stranger in opening narrations.
  • Liar's Paradox: A minion of the Sun King tries to distract the Shadowpact by stating everything he says us a lie. They don't fall for it.
    Demon: Am I blowing your mind?
    (Proceeds to get his ass handed to him)
  • Light 'em Up: The Congregation destroy Nightshade's shadow constructs by generating light on the order of thirty thousand lumens per square inch. This is brighter than the surface of the sun! The intensity of this light results on Nightshade, Ragman and Blue Devil being temporarily blinded.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Sun King. The Congregation could qualify in a Knight Templar variation. They attack the Shadowpact because they think they are villains and show little regard for civilians blinded by their battle with the so called "villains". Keep in mind that the Shadowpact's heroic exploits are a matter of public knowledge and they even have a statue built in their honor by the people of Metropolis.
  • Lunacy: Issue 5 has Ragman getting attacked by Blue Moon, a magically-empowered Professional Killer whose powers depend on the phases of the moon. According to Enchantress, Blue Moon could have killed Ragman had she fought him during a full moon.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Jack of Fire turns out to be Blue Devil's brother.
  • Magical Land: Nightmaster's Myrra.
  • Magic Cauldron: The Herne-Ramsgate Cauldron, which the Enchantress borrows from a witch named Adalgisa for an entire century as part of a debt Adalgisa owes her. Enchantress refers to the cauldron as "the magic equivalent of the ultimate computer database."
  • Magic Is Feminine: The male members of the team are Blue Devil, a stuntman and martial artist who was turned into a demon, Ragman who wears a mystical suit composed of souls, Nightmaster who fights with a magic sword and Detective Chimp, a talking monkey. The female characters are the Enchantress, a powerful and clever sorceress, and Nightshade, a mage with shadow magic she inherited from her mother. The team is later joined by the angel Zauriel who is male and Warlock's Daughter, a young girl whom Enchantress takes in as her apprentice in the magical arts.
  • Master Swordsman: White Rabbit. The only reason he doesn't kill Nightmaster in their fight is because it could mess up Strega's spell.
  • Mistaken for Gay: While talking with Black Alice in Day of Vengeance, Nightshade that she and Enchantress "were very close once - two souls in one body". Alice takes this to mean that the two were a couple, to which Nightshade quickly and disgustedly corrects her about.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Hero: While White Rabbit does free Shadowpact, Enchantress still knocks him out. As she points out White Rabbit is still an enemy and if anything is more dangerous due to his tendency to switch sides for frivolous reasons (he wanted a rematch with Nightmaster).
  • 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.
  • The Power of Creation: Nightshade can imbue her shadow creatures with some degree of sentience.
  • 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.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Shadowpact team was formed by rounding up recruits from the Oblivion Bar. When Nightmaster and Ragman were taken out of commission, they try the method again to go to hell and take back Blue Devil's trident from Etrigan.
  • Redemption Quest: Blue Devil is assigned one of these by the Catholic Church, to atone for his actions in Underworld Unleashed.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: When the Shadowpact emerge from the magical dome the town of Riverrock was trapped in, they discover that a full year has passed in the outside world since they went into the dome. This causes the people of Metropolis to think they are dead and build a statue of them in their honor. When an old sees them walking though a park at night, he assumes they are cosplayers mocking the real Shadowpact. Blue Devil learns that his apartment has been rented out to someone else while he was gone and Ragman loses his business and has his car repossessed.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Occurs when Blue Devil is promoted to a Rhyming Class demon.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Issue 4, which focuses entirely on Blue Devil, has him dealing with two demons named Mr Gray and Mr Green who talk like this.
  • 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.
  • Touch of Death: While fighting the Wild Huntsman and his hounds, Enchantress casts a spell on herself that kills anyone that touches her. The Wild Huntsman gets around this by snaring her with his whip and then swinging her into a wall knocking her out.
  • 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.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Sister Shadow and White Rabbit. Though the latter is less evil than the former.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: The team's purpose.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Superman appears in the first issue. Unfortunately, he's supposed to be depowered at the time it's set.
  • Worthy Opponent: White Rabbit lets the Shadowpact go under the condition that Nightmaster hone his sword skills so they can have an even better duel the next time they meet.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: The Sun King has to consume souls in order to enter the human world.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: While expressing his discomfort with the Enchantress' Scrying Dish, Zauriel makes an offensive comment about witches much to her chagrin.
    Zauriel: I do not like this dish. It reeks of witchcraft - witches twisted and haggish with the perversion of their art.
    Enchantress: You do realize that I'm standing right here, Zauriel?
    Zauriel: Ah, I... it was not you to whom I referred. You are... a most handsome woman.