Sepulchre, art by Mike Deodato.
|First appearance||Quasar #45 (April 1993)|
|Created by||Mark Gruenwald
|Alter ego||Jillian Marie Woods|
|Team affiliations||Roxxon Energy Corporation Secret Defenders Shock Troop|
Fictional character biography
After a difficult childhood, Jillian Marie Woods left home to attend the University of San Francisco. While there she met occult lecturer Anthony Ludgate Druid, the super hero known as Doctor Druid. They discovered that a psychic link existed between them. Druid probed Jillian's mind and learned her soul had inhabited a male alchemist in King Arthur's court in a past life, and that the alchemist loved a princess whose soul was reincarnated as Dr. Druid. The alchemist and princess were killed by the princess' brother because of their relationship, and the alchemist swore he would find the princess again. Jillian and Druid, surprised by these revelations, became lovers. Sometime later, Jillian accidentally released a demon which killed her when she and Druid were investigating mystical artifacts Druid took from the sorcerer Magnus. Dr. Druid, using a mystical statue called the Bride of Slorioth, bonded a piece of Jillian's soul to her shadow. When Jillian woke up with her new powers, Druid told her that they were a result of her exposure to the demon.[volume & issue needed]
Jillian took the name Shadowoman and alongside other heroes Jim Scully (as the second Blazing Skull) and N'Kantu, the Living Mummy, joined a team, led by Dr. Druid called the Shock Troop. When Quagmire, using his Darkforce, Neutron, and the Presence corrupted Earth-148611 (New Universe), Shadowoman and the Shock Troop helped Quasar fight Anti Bodies until the Shi'ar Imperial Guard destroyed them. Later the Shock Troop was called on by Doctor Strange to face a threat at the Nexus of All Realities. When the team arrived, the threat had already been neutralized by Quasar.[volume & issue needed]
After Dr. Strange forced Dr. Druid to assume the responsibility of organizing the Secret Defenders, Jillian, along with Luke Cage and Deadpool, were assembled together to prevent Malachi from reassembling the Moebius Stone. They met up at the Chicago Museum of Art, and confronted Malachi as she attempted to acquire a Moebius Stone fragment attached to a sword. To hold the Secret Defenders back, Malachi animated artwork to attack them, and departed with the fragment. Casting her shadow form over them, Shadowoman caused them to dissipate. Druid then teleported them to his townhouse to seek artifacts which could aid them against Malachi.
While there, Jillian related her origin to Deadpool and Cage. They set out to oppose Malachi at a tomb where a corpse held the last fragment of the Moebius Stone in a ring upon its finger. They were joined by Cody Fleisher, Cadaver, a teenager Malachi killed who Agamotto re-animated to serve as his Pale Horseman. However, Malachi obtained the last fragment, and caught Shadowoman and Dr. Druid with her spells. Shadowoman was able to phase through her bonds, and distracted Malachi while Dr. Druid escaped. Malachi struck Shadowoman down, and when she survived the blow, she realized she shouldn't have, and that Dr. Druid had done something to her. Malachi was finally slain by Deadpool, but then Strange, Dr. Strange's servant, attempted to claim the Moebius Stone. Shadowoman opposed him, only to be struck down again, but Dr. Druid was able to destroy the stone.
Shadowoman, Cadaver, Dr. Druid and R.G. Mathieson confronted Swarm, as it attempted to control the Rand-Meachum supercollider. Jillian was immune to Swarm due to her powers, and helped free Dr. Druid and Cadaver from the creature's clutches. She and Cadaver helped hold Swarm back long enough for Dr. Druid to convince Swarm to stand down.[volume & issue needed]
Returning from their encounter with Swarm, Jillian asked Dr. Druid to explain to her what she had become. Druid promised to do so, but cast her into the Bride of Slorioth. Within the statue, Jillian encountered the dark side of Dr. Druid's soul, and learned from it what Dr. Druid had done to her. She emerged from the statue furious, and assaulted Dr. Druid, but he convinced her that he had only done what had to be done, and that he was ready to lead her and Cadaver on a mission that would free them all of their respective curses. She agreed, but assumed the new alias of Sepulchre for that mission. Dr. Druid then teleported them to Starkesboro.[volume & issue needed]
Sepulchre and the others met up with Deathlok, Dagger and Drax, their teammates for this mission. Dr. Druid led them to the Gates of Perdition, where he was to confront the demon Slorioth. However, as Dr. Druid departed, the original Defenders — Silver Surfer, Hulk and Sub-Mariner — appeared to oppose the Secret Defenders. Sepulchre engaged the Silver Surfer in battle, but he fled the scene when he realized he was in an era where Galactus's barrier did not surround the Earth. However, the Surfer's conscience gnawed at him, and he returned to engage Sepulchre once more, but she encased him within a field of total darkness. Just then, their battle was interrupted when the demon Slorioth arose.[volume & issue needed]
The two teams of Defenders fought Slorioth, but Sepulchre and Cadaver were taken aside by Joshua Pryce to face the real threat — Dr. Druid, corrupted by his dark side. Dr. Druid claimed that everything he had done had been for Jillian, then attacked his one-time allies. Since Dr. Druid had taken control of her soul, he used that advantage to cause her to dissolve away. Ultimately, Joshua Pryce brought in the Vishanti and Living Tribunal, who drove off Dr. Druid and Slorioth. Pryce then went to help Sepulchre, but she begged him to let her die. He replied, "Better to live, forever a Shadowoman...than to die a Sepulchre!", and helped raise her to life.[volume & issue needed]
Sepulchre and Cadaver met with Pryce afterward, and decided to go their separate ways, but noted that "if the world ever needs saving...and all the good super-heroes are busy," they would meet again.[volume & issue needed]
Sometime later Lindsay McCabe, a friend of Jessica Drew's, asked Jillian to help her find her missing friend. They were joined by Julia Carpenter, Spider-Woman, who had encountered Jessica's Spider-Woman costume moving of its own accord. Jillian sent the two women to the dimension of the Void-Eater where Jessica was imprisoned. Re-powered by her costume, Jessica escaped the Void-Eater with Lindsay and Spider-Woman. Jillian closed the portal to the Void-Eater's realm before the creature could follow them back.[volume & issue needed]
Post Civil War
Jillian Woods appeared in Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts series. After making love to a man she picked up the night before, Jillian got out of bed and mentioned she was late for a job interview. She opened her closet and wondered what to wear for the interview. In the closet also hung her old Sepulchre uniform.
Sepulchre participates in a job interview for a babysitter job with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, but gets increasingly frustrated with the apparent mispronounciation of her name, repeatedly telling Jones and Cage off and re-spelling her name over and over, which results in her eventual rejection.
Jillian is seen on the phone with a representative from Roxxon Oil agreeing to speak to them about a job offer they had made. She encounters the Thunderbolts on her way to the interview, and uses her powers to fight off Venom before teaming up with Steel Spider and American Eagle to battle the rest of the team. Managing to reach Roxxon Oil just in time, she negotiates a new life off American soil.
Powers and abilities
- Darkforce energy manipulation allows Jillian to fly, generate darkness fields, phase, and merge with shadows.
- As Shadowoman Jillian wore a costume which was a purple-and-gray version of one worn by Jessica Drew, the first Spider-Woman
- Secret Defenders #16
- Secret Defenders #17
- Thunderbolts #112
- New Avengers #7
- Thunderbolts #113
- Thunderbolts #114
- Shadowoman at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe