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Literature / Shadowboy

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Shadowboy is a 2014 Superhero novel narrated by Travis Colfax, the titular Shadowboy at the end of his term as a sidekick. As the only non-powered member of a family of Heroes, Travis doubts his ability to continue as a solo member of the Hero Community. Thanks largely to a literal Hero Insurance requirement for people with a strong connection to active Heroes, he can't afford to walk away.

While the bulk of the community's attention is on an alien threat, Travis tracks down a handful of missing gang members only to stumble onto a carefully hidden plot by the amoral Omnidisciplinary Scientist Doctor Omicron. Though soundly beaten, Travis agrees to remain active until Omicron can be tracked down and his plans foiled.


It has a sequel Shadowdemon

The Author's home page is at

Shadowboy provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Icerazor's sword is among the few things reliably able to carve through force fields and psychic constructs, making steel (galvanized pipe, Omicron bots) mundane in comparison.
  • Action Girl: Pam, though her first outing ended poorly.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: (Lampshaded) - Travis admits to using overly showy moves when he has an audience, despite the act coming back to bite him immediately.
  • Badass Cape: Jack wears one, though the wind doesn't always cooperate.
  • Badass Longcoat: Doctor Omicron's heavy black labcoat acts as one.
  • The Big Guy: Or Girl — Pam after gaining her powers.
  • Body Horror: Implied off-screen for Pam's transformation, and Jasmine Greeler's death.
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  • Dark Age of Supernames: Razordemon, also notable that the character picked up the name during the dark age.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Masquerade partly summons one during his final battle.
  • Electronic Eyes: Travis' replacement after his run-in with Uth-sk.
  • Evil Genius: Doctor Omicron
  • Evil Pays Better: Working at the Community Fund gives little in the way of disposable income, especially after paying for Hero Insurance.
  • Eye Scream: Travis' encounter with Uth-sk.
    Uth-sk: Fine, we'll move on. It's time for an examination of the primitive human eye.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Travis gets one for his civilian identity because he shouldn't be able to afford the electronic replacement.
  • Flying Brick: Jack
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Xiv, the result of attempting to reverse engineer a male dragon from fragmentary female DNA.
  • Hero Insurance: Literal Hero Insurance issued by the government with premiums adjusted for the licencee's destructive potential.
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  • The Hero's Birthday: Both Shadowboy and Shadowdemon start near Travis' birthday.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The backstory for Miss Pain and her motivation for joining the team.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Visible mostly in Travis' narration, which leads to occurrences of Male Gaze
  • Idle Rich: Jack keeps up this persona for his Secret Identity.
  • Killed Off for Real: Both Cupric and Agent Six suffer this fate.
  • The Lancer: Miss Pain
  • The Leader: Travis
  • Leader Wannabe: Miss Pain at first
  • Magic Pants: (Averted) The Shapeshifting bestowed by Project Thirteen devastates clothing. Pam's outfit had to be specially made to allow partial transformation without taking damage.
  • Male Gaze: The Narrator being an aforementioned Hormone Addled Teenager.
  • Man in the Machine: Doctor Omicron, after what the Nazis did to him, he could only survive in a life support suit, which he has built up into powered armor.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Omicron Bots, being cheap, easily replaced robots Doctor Omicron regards as disposable.
  • The Medic: Stephanie
  • Missing Mom: Mrs. Colfax was dead before the events of the story, as is the previous Ixahau.
  • Mooks: A plethora, including Omicron Bots, Final Star Cultists, Ygnaza soldiers and Morlock Society members.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Doctor Omicron
  • No-Sell: By Several Characters, most notably, Xiao shrugs off everything Travis and Xiv throw at him until the very end of the fight.
  • Number Two: Stephanie as the only other member with a leadership endorsement, and takes over the role of team lead when Travis is out of commission.
  • Oh, Crap!: Valeria's appearance for Travis, followed soon thereafter with one for Doctor Omicron when Travis notes that the only thing separating them is a thin polycarbonate window. Comes back in the Sequel when Donny speaks the phrase verbatim as he realizes he's the target of a cluster bomb.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Doctor Omicron
  • Only in It for the Money: Doctor Omicron only aids the Final Star Cultists for the paycheck, and even offers his services to the heroes against the Ygnaza for the right price.
  • Partial Transformation: Pam and the survivors of Project Thirteen can opt to only partially switch between forms.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: Miss Pain works this way as she fights using psychic constructs.
  • Psychic Powers: Miss Pain, more in the sequel with Serar and Irvin Keyes.
  • The Reliable One: Travis sees himself as this and strives towards that goal. Got him elected leader of the team.
  • Retired Badass: Neutrino and an informed trait of the entire Fund Board.
  • Secret Identity: Everyone has one because criminals started targeting family.
  • Shooting Superman: Averted — the Greelers realize in short order that their bullets do nothing to Jack.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Travis, lacking powers, relies more on stealth to survive.
  • Squishy Wizard: Stephanie has to build up power before an attack, and has few defenses beyond her magic.
  • Standard Superhero Setting: Fully embraced short of Death is Cheap.
  • The Stoic: Stephanie, because Magic requires a great deal of mental discipline.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Virtually everyone with a powered parent inherited the potential.
  • Swallowed Whole: Travis suffers this fate at the hands of Valeria, but manages to escape.
  • Talkative Loon: Masquerade talks to everyone, even himself. He doesn't wait for a response most of the time.
  • The Team Benefactor: The Community Fund as embodied by Neutrino.
  • Team Pet: Xiv, arguably
  • Team Prima Donna: Miss Pain started this way, but got better.
  • Terror Hero: Razordemon treats his reputation as a weapon all its own.
  • Trophy Room: Albeit one that is mostly empty
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Pam and the survivors of Project Thirteen gained the ability to change between human and demi-dragon forms.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Other than being slightly east of the great plains, the location of New Port Arthur is never given.
  • Ye Olde Nuclear Silo: The team moves into a renovated Gruefield 18 Nuclear Missile facility.


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