Shadow King

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For the band of the same name, see Shadow King (band). For the video game, see Okage.
Shadow King
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #117 (January 1979)
Created by Chris Claremont
John Byrne
In-story information
Alter ego Amahl Farouk
Species undetermined
Team affiliations Dark X-Men
Gladiators
Brotherhood of Mutants
Notable aliases Amahl Farouk, Jacob Reisz, Ananasi, Cypher, Karma
Abilities Telepathy
Possession
Immortality

The Shadow King, also known as Amahl Farouk, is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Shadow King is an entity of pure psychic energy which feeds on a hatred of humanity, manifesting itself by possessing the bodies of humans. Created by writer Chris Claremont and illustrator-cowriter John Byrne, the character first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #117 (January 1979) as the telepathic mutant Amahl Farouk.

Publication history[edit]

Amahl Farouk returned in The New Mutants #34 (December 1985), revealed as possessing Karma since issue #6. Later appearing throughout Uncanny X-Men, the character does not refer to himself as Shadow King until issue #265 (August 1990).

X-Treme X-Men and X-Men: True Friends developed the Shadow King into an entity of the astral plane which has existed since the dawn of humanity, an ethereal demon preferring to enslave the bodies of telepaths and psychics and use their capabilities to enslave others. As a side effect of its greed, hedonism and lack of self-control, the Shadow King's long-term telepathic hosts are often morbidly obese.[citation needed]

Character biography[edit]

The Shadow King's origins are unclear. It is a multiversal manifestation of the dark side of the human consciousnesses, spawned by the first nightmare. When Amahl Farouk's powers developed he psychically controlled those around him, feeding on the shadows in their souls and merging with the Shadow King (who had transferred from host to host since the dawn of humanity).[1]

For many years, the Shadow King's primary human manifestation was Amahl Farouk. As Farouk, he originally confronted Professor X (inspiring X to form the X-Men).

As Amahl Farouk in the 1930s[edit]

Shadow King was known as Amahl Farouk in 1931, working for two of Adolf Hitler's special agents (Wolfgang von Strucker and Geist). Von Strucker and Geist planned to dethrone King Edward of England and replace him with a fascist ruler sympathetic to Hitler. When Farouk conducted a mystical ceremony, he accidentally brought back Phoenix Force host Rachel Summers and her teammate Shadowcat (also known as Kitty Pryde). Von Strucker began to doubt Farouk's abilities. The Shadow King quickly possessed Rachel Summers and, as Shadowcat escaped, allied herself with Alasdhair Kinross. Farouk kidnapped the heir to the throne, Lilibet, and fled to Edinburgh. When Shadowcat tried to reach Summers telepathically, she found Farouk in control. Pryde surprised Farouk by calling him "Shadow King", enabling her to escape. Farouk took control of Kinross and tried to kill them both, but Pryde used her phasing powers to disrupt Kinross's nervous system and knock him out.

Although Farouk was going to sacrifice Kinross to demons in return for a spell which would annihilate the English monarchy, he was interrupted by Kitty and his crystal knife shattered. The demons entered Farouk's body, overpowering him. He began dispersing energy, killing all the Nazi soldiers; von Strucker accused of treason and tried to shoot him. Farouk transformed into Shadow King and tried to force Pryde and Kinross to fight, but they were saved by a young Logan. Phoenix unleashed her power on Farouk, but she was subdued and possessed. Lilibet escaped, fleeing to Holyrood House. Farouk possessed the house's servants and sent them and Phoenix in pursuit. Logan ambushed Farouk, von Strucker and Geist, but Farouk had Summers and the servants attack him. Farouk then possessed Pryde and Lilibet.

Pryde began talking about the future and the fall of Hitler; Lilibet attacked Farouk, disabling him enough for Pryde to disrupt his nervous system (stunning them both and giving Summers time to regain control of herself). Farouk recovered and tried to retake his prisoners, but Phoenix fought on the astral plane. Phoenix was going to kill him when Pryde struck them with the Sword of Scones, causing them to return to their bodies; Farouk's body was supposedly destroyed by an energy blast from the sword.[2]

Confrontation with Charles Xavier[edit]

In 1971 the Shadow King, again using the identity and body of Farouk, returned and met V-Battalion leader James Watkins Jr. Watkins offered him V-Battalion support if Farouk could obtain information about the Everlasting. Farouk gave Watkins the name of Marduk.

Farouk became a crime lord in Egypt, controlling Cairo's Thieves Quarter (where a young Charles Xavier's pocket was picked by a child, Ororo Munroe). After Xavier stopped her and retrieved his wallet, he was stuck by a bolt of psionic energy. When he recovered, he discovered that the source of the attack was a nearby tavern (where he met Farouk). Sitting at separate tables, they conversed telepathically. Farouk told Xavier that he sensed another telepath nearby, and the attack was a warning to stay clear of the area.

He unsuccessfully tried to persuade Xavier to join him in his criminal activities; Xavier believed that people with such gifts should use them to better the world. They assumed astral form, and Xavier defeated Farouk on the astral plane with a fatal psionic attack. Farouk was Xavier's first encounter with an evil mutant, which led to the formation of the X-Men. His psyche still on the Astral plane, Farouk awaited another chance to fight Xavier (whom he now feared).[3]

New Mutants[edit]

The Shadow King became aware of a young mutant, Karma, a member of Xavier's New Mutants with the psychic ability to possess other beings. In one of the team's earliest missions, Karma was apparently killed in an explosion at the Viper's hideout. However, the Shadow King used Karma's powers against her to possess her.

As Karma, the Shadow King rebuilt his worldwide empire while indulging Karma's gluttony. He used her to control the Gladiators, a group of mutants, by using a holographic image of leader Alexander Flynn.[4]

The Shadow King used the Gladiators to abduct Magma and Sunspot, forcing them to fight each other until teammates Cannonball, Shadowcat, Dazzler, and Magik tried to rescue them. In their battle to escape the Gladiators, Cannonball and Shadowcat recognized their obese antagonist as Karma (not realizing that she was controlled by the Shadow King.[5]

The team followed Karma to Madripoor, where they were subjected to Karma's mind control (augmented by the Shadow King). The remaining New Mutants and Storm fought their teammates in Cairo, where Karma took control of Storm and Mirage. Magik, realizing that Karma was possessed by the Shadow King, released her teammates from Karma's control and Karma from the Shadow King.[6][7] After losing his host, the Shadow King transferred to Cypher; Karma entered the astral plane, apparently destroying his astral form.[8]

Muir Island saga[edit]

The Shadow King resurfaced many years later in the body of deceased FBI agent Jacob Reisz when Storm had been sent back to childhood by the Nanny and woke up with amnesia. Forge used meditation to enter the astral plane, discovering that Storm was still alive but at the cost of his cybernetic arm. Farouk tried to claim the child, but when questioned about his motives he killed a man and framed Storm. On Muir Island, the telepath Legion used Cerebro to look for Storm and the other X-Men when Farouk attacked and possessed him; Farouk also controlled Moira MacTaggert and Valerie Cooper. He then sent Valerie Cooper to kill Mystique.

Farouk set a trap to capture Storm. Her youth gave her less control of her mutant powers, and when Farouk tried to possess her mind she involuntarily hit him with a lightning bolt. Farouk soon found her with Gambit. They worked together to fight him, escaping with Farouk's hounds in pursuit. Mystique defeated Valerie Cooper and impersonated her, appearing on television to report Mystique's death. Part of Carol Danvers separated from Rogue and traveled to Muir Island, where she was forced to fight Legion and Moira MacTaggert, when she emerged from the Siege Perilous in the X-Men's former Australian hideout. Although she defeated them, she was possessed by Farouk. He compelled her to go to the Savage Land to find Rogue, but she was defeated on arrival by Magneto.[9] Farouk, with his ambitious schemes, was afraid of being identified by other telepaths. He needed a nexus between the astral and psionic planes to generate a disturbance which would affect other telepaths. Polaris' powers had been recently altered by Zaladane, and Farouk chose Polaris as his nexus.

Jean Grey tried to access the astral plane with Cerebro. Farouk overrode Cerebro's defenses and noticed that Jean had lost her telepathic powers and was helpless. He tried to turn her into the Shadow Queen, but Psylocke threatened him with her psi-blade. Psylocke used the blade on Jean, returning her to the physical world; however, they could not remember the details of the encounter and Farouk's identity was not yet compromised.[10] It was discovered when Professor X probed Colossus' mind after the latter tried to kill him.[11]

The X-Men uncovered Farouk's control of Muir Island, and sent a task force which included Storm, Forge, Gambit, Banshee, Wolverine and Jubilee to remove his influence. Farouk sent his slaves to defend the island, and they defeated the invaders. Xavier understood that Farouk needed a human host and a nexus to continue his exploits, and planned to cut both the links. Mystique revealed herself and shot Jacob Reisz in the head, destroying his brain and killing the Shadow King's human host. Due to shock and the removal of Farouk's host, Legion became unstable. X-Factor discovered that Farouk's nexus was Polaris, but Farouk took possession of Legion. He ordered the slaves to hide underground because he was going to use Legion's power to destroy the surface of Muir Island. Jean Grey's telekinesis protected X-Factor and the X-Men.[12]

Xavier then used Jean as a psi-anchor to fight Farouk in the astral plane, but he was defeated. Archangel, Colossus, Cyclops and Storm joined Jean in the astral plane to help Xavier, unaware of Legion's body nearby. Although they gave Xavier willpower and energy, Legion destroyed their bodies and Xavier returns to his former paraplegic state. Forge uses Psylocke's psi-blade on Polaris, breaking Farouk's link to the nexus. Farouk's energy dissipated, overcoming the X-Men. Xavier and Jean tried to absorb whatever they could and shield the others. Xavier offered Farouk a chance to redeem himself, but he opts for the void and was left in a coma.[13]

Psi-War[edit]

After the Onslaught incident in which Charles Xavier lost his powers, Farouk could return to the physical world since the psionic plane had lost its guardian. Posing as Ananasi, the Shadow King took over the African tribe who worshiped Storm. After attacking one of her relatives, Psylocke took Storm to the astral plane to fight the Shadow King (who told him that although he was defeated by Charles Xavier, he was not killed; he could live on one dark thought in one man's heart, and only needed time and opportunity). Psylocke injured the Shadow King with her psi-blade, and the damage was transferred to every being under his control at the speed of thought. This caused a chain reaction which destroyed Psylocke's astral being. The wave of psi-energy broke the psi-plane itself, damaging the collective subconscious of every being on Earth (the basis of the psi-plane). Humans experienced déjà vu, nightmares, migraines or nosebleeds, and those born with psionic, telepathic or intuitive abilities were maimed; Jean and Nate Grey, Cable, Emma Frost, Chamber and Bianca LaNiege were devastated. "Maddie" Pryor (Nate Grey's psionic construct from Madelyne Pryor's psionic remnants) was obliterated, and Dr. Strange and Spider-Man were also affected.[14]

With the psi-plane damaged and the Shadow King controlling the astral plane, chaos ensued. Psylocke was reconstructed as a creature of shadows because of her exposure to the Crimson Dawn, and her new, powerful shadow-astral form was undetectable by the Shadow King. Psylocke pretended to be tempted by Farouk's offer to become the Shadow Queen to distract him while Storm freed the other X-Men. Farouk saw through the ruse; Psylocke sent the X-Men to the physical world and remained behind, weakened.[volume & issue needed]

Farouk extended his influence to all the Earth's entire population. This stretched his power too thin, leaving his nexus vulnerable. Psylocke decided to bind his nexus with telepathic shadow tendrils, trapping him in the astral plane while she focused her power on him. The Shadow King screamed in pain as he lost his grip on the minds he possessed, who regained their sanity and senses. Enraged, the Shadow King began to crush Psylocke and she told him that he was one mind controlled by greed; one mind could not poison millions without making itself vulnerable.[volume & issue needed]

He began to dissolve in the shadow, telling Psylocke that she could not contain him. Psylocke said that she was only containing his soul; the rest of him would disappear after it was removed from its source.[15][16]

Freedom[edit]

Rogue overcame her fear, using her past and her weakness to become a stronger person. She used light to attack the Shadow King, binding his core as Psylocke had done.[17]

New Excalibur[edit]

The Shadow King was released from his prison and found himself in another universe, Earth-6141, where he controlled Professor Xavier and the X-Men (whom he called the Dark X-Men). After the world normalized, the Shadow King and his mind-controlled X-Men team returned to Earth-616. He tried to kill Captain Britain with the controlled New Excalibur, but was again defeated by Psylocke (who was revived by her brother, Jamie Braddock).[18] The Dark X-Men tried to free Xavier from his prison with the help of Lionheart.[19] Lionheart sealed the Shadow King in the Dark Xavier's body, releasing the Shadow-X from his control, and killed Dark Xavier.[20]

X-Men: Worlds Apart[edit]

That death was again temporary; the Shadow King reappeared in Wakanda, where he killed a Wakandan priest and framed former New X-Men member Gentle. He then controlled Black Panther to confront his longtime enemy (and T'Challa's wife), Storm. The Shadow King intended to break Storm psychologically, forcing her to choose between the X-Men and her husband. He forced Cyclops to attack Emma Frost and the rest of the X-Men in California and forced the Black Panther to wreak havoc in Africa. While Storm raced to save the Black Panther and the X-Men, she recognized a third option: to take down the one responsible for making her choose. Storm defeated the Black Panther and flew with Gentle to San Francisco, taking down Gentle and the rest of the active X-Men (controlled by the Shadow King). She struck Cyclops (the Shadow King's host) with a bolt of lightning, stopping his heart and forcing the Shadow King to possess Storm. This was a trap; when he entered Storm's mind, the Shadow King found the panther god Bast waiting for him. Storm revealed that she allowed the Wakanda panther god to hide in her mind to avenge the Shadow King for violating T'Challa's mind.[21] Farouk's plan to cut Storm off from her relationships instead strengthened them.[22]

Later activity[edit]

The Shadow King's nexus survived. When he recuperated he took over a military base's nuclear facility to use its missiles, aiming them at Utopia and New York. The X-Force headed to the military base after losing contact with Deadpool (who was investigating the psychic emanations felt by Betsy), learning that the Shadow King controlled the base.

He told Psylocke that her mind is an open book to him, and releases Archangel from his psychic prison in Warren's memory in revenge; Archangel cuts off the Shadow King's "head", erasing Betsy's memory and enabling her to kill the man who was under the Shadow King's influence.[23] The Shadow King gave a reporter photographs of Warren killing the military, forcing the squad to apprehend their teammate and seek help from Dark Beast.[24] As Farouk, the Shadow King appeared as a member of Daken's Brotherhood of Mutants (consisting of Sabretooth, Mystique, Skinless Man, the Blob from Earth-295, and the Omega Clan) in a plot to attack the X-Force.[25]

He created an illusion of the Professor and Angel to catch Psylocke off-guard, expressing disappointment at the ease of defeating the warrior who caged him. Farouk was with the Brotherhood as they watched the apparent death of the X-Force. He, Creed and Daken showed Evan that his life was a computer-generated illusion and he was a clone of Apocalypse. The Brotherhood unsuccessfully planned to compel Evan to put on Apocalypse armor, make the Shadow King control him and destroy Jean Grey's school.[26] Psylocke locked the Shadow King in Omega White's body and entrusted it to her brother, Captain Britain.[27]

The Shadow King was found in stasis in the Gobi Desert by the Crimson Pirates and unwittingly released by their telepath, Bloody Bess. He possessed the Pirates except for Bess, who appealed to Nightcrawler for help. Nightcrawler and Bess fought the Pirates and the X-Men, who were controlled by the Shadow King. He was defeated when Bess and Psylocke threw off his mind control and sent Nightcrawler against him armed with Psylocke's psi-blade, which stunned him long enough to be interred again in Omega's body.[28]

Powers[edit]

The Shadow King was originally presented as a telepath second only to Professor X. He can possess other beings while on the astral plane and control it.

The Shadow King's nature as an astral form, preying on the bodies of powerful psychics and utilizing them to enslave others, was later revealed. In its native form, it can only be harmed psychically or by magic weapons and has demonstrated the ability to live for millennia. Its powers when possessing a body are limited to the body's capabilities.[citation needed]

Other versions[edit]

In an alternate universe, the Shadow King conquered the Hellfire Club.[29] In the Mutant X dimension, he merged with Professor Xavier to form an evil being.

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, the Shadow King story is essentially unchanged. He assumes the guise of crime lord Amahl Farouk and encounters Charles Xavier; they wage a psychic battle on the astral plane which kills Farouk's body, forcing his mind to move there. When Xavier died, the Shadow King became an agent of Apocalypse and appeared as a cloudy face in a bottle in his sanctum.[30][31] Apocalypse used him to hunt for telepaths who refused to join him and to instruct those who accepted his offer and had psionic powers.[30]

The Shadow King was the first to sense the presence of Nate Grey, forcing Apocalypse to send Domino and her Bounty Hunters to capture or kill him.[32] Responsible for the destruction of Avalon, he was defeated by Nightcrawler, Mystique, Switchback and his former student Damask.[33] The Shadow King was seen reporting to Apocalypse the destruction of the Southwest Kingdom by the Eurasian High Council's radioactive bombs.[34] He made his presence known after Weapon X became the overlord known as Weapon Omega.

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel series, the Shadow King appeared as Storm's lover and the leader of the group of thieves to which she and Lady Deathstrike belonged.[35] Storm sent him into a coma after accidentally electrocuting him.[35] His mind went to another dimension, where he encountered the Brood and others and became the Shadow King.[36]

Media[edit]

Shadow King appears in two episodes of X-Men: The Animated Series (1992–97), voiced by Maurice Dean Wint. In flashbacks he is the first evil mutant faced by a younger Charles Xavier, who banished his spirit to the astral plane. Farouk is depicted as an athletic, middle-aged bearded man instead of his bald, obese appearance in the comics. Shadow King appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode, "Overflow", voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. In a flashback, Farouk takes in Ororo to steal for him until Professor X defeats him. He possesses Storm, forcing her to see Africa burning; she tries to extinguish the fire, unaware that she is its cause. The X-Men try to stop the Shadow King; Emma Frost fights him on the astral plane, apparently destroying him with a telepathic sword. he is one of three primary villains in the video game X-Men Legends, voiced by Dorian Harewood.

References[edit]

  1. ^ All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #9
  2. ^ X-Men: True Friends #01-03
  3. ^ X-Men vol. 01 #117
  4. ^ New Mutants vol. 01 #30
  5. ^ New Mutants vol. 01 #31
  6. ^ New Mutants vol. 01 #32
  7. ^ New Mutants vol. 01 #33
  8. ^ New Mutants vol. 01 #34
  9. ^ Uncanny X-Men #269
  10. ^ Uncanny X-Men #273
  11. ^ Uncanny X-Men #279
  12. ^ Uncanny X-Men #280
  13. ^ Uncanny X-Men #253-280
  14. ^ X-Men vol.02 #77
  15. ^ X-Men vol.02 #78
  16. ^ Wolverine (2nd series) #147
  17. ^ X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001
  18. ^ New Excalibur #08
  19. ^ New Excalibur #19
  20. ^ New Excalibur #19
  21. ^ X-Men: Worlds Apart #4
  22. ^ X-Men: Worlds Apart #1-4
  23. ^ Uncanny X-Force #8
  24. ^ Uncanny X-Force #10
  25. ^ Uncanny X-Force #27
  26. ^ Uncanny X-Force #34
  27. ^ Uncanny X-Force #35
  28. ^ Nightcrawler (2014) #8-#10
  29. ^ Excalibur #21-22
  30. ^ a b X-Men Alpha
  31. ^ Age of Apocalypse #05
  32. ^ X-Man #1
  33. ^ X-Calibre #3-4
  34. ^ X-Men Omega
  35. ^ a b Ultimate X-Men #81
  36. ^ Ultimate X-Men #89

External links[edit]