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The Shroud. Art by Mark D. Bright.
|First appearance||Super-Villain Team-Up #5, (April 1976)|
|Created by||Steve Englehart (writer)
Herb Trimpe (artist)
|Alter ego||Maximillian Quincy Coleridge|
|Team affiliations||Cult of Kali
Heroes for Hire
|Notable aliases||Master of Darkness, Michael Wyatt|
Adept acrobat and infiltrator
Trained martial artist
Carries explosive "bombarangs"
Use of one-man aircraft
Flight at walking speed
Ability to transform Darkforce dimension energy into anything imaginable and "see" through walls and darkness
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Fictional character biography
At the age of 10, the child who would grow up to become The Shroud saw his parents gunned down right before his eyes. He decided to dedicate his life to fighting crime. Upon graduation from college, he joined the mysterious temple called "Cult of Kali", where he studied various styles of martial arts. After seven years of intense training, he graduated from that temple. During the celebration ceremony, he was branded with the "Kiss of Kali", a red-hot iron. He had the image of the goddess Kali imprinted in livid scar tissue on his face from nose to hairline and from cheek to cheek. Following a period of intense pain and hospitalization, he realized that his eyesight had been replaced by a mystic extrasensory perception. Traveling back to the United States, he adopted the masked identity of the "Shroud".
His first appearance as a hero was in Latveria, where he encountered the Human Torch. He invaded Latveria, intending to kill Doctor Doom for his crimes against humanity. Shroud recounted his origin to Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the two secretly entered Latveria disguised as members of the Ringmaster's Circus of Crime. Shroud joined Prince Rudolfo's revolution against Doctor Doom, and came close to his revenge. However, the Shroud shifted gears in order help Doctor Doom and Captain America oppose someone else with a longer track record of crimes against humanity: the Red Skull. In outer space, Shroud was shot by a ray built by Red Skull while Doctor Doom battled Red Skull on the moon. Shroud was rescued by Captain America, while Red Skull was left defeated on the moon (he was later rescued by Hitler himself as the Hate Monger). Captain America brought Shroud back to Earth, but because of his time in space, Shroud became insane and it took him quite a while to recover. After this recovery, Shroud discovered that he was able to tap into the Darkforce dimension.[volume & issue needed]
The Shroud later recruits Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) to infiltrate a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility so that they can access the files. Alongside Spider-Woman, the Shroud battled the Cult of Kali. Shroud then took on Cat and Mouse as his aides. He then teamed with Spider-Man against Dansen Macabre. The Shroud aided the Avengers and Doctor Strange against Morgan le Fay. He helped restore the former Spider-Woman's astral self to her body. He later refused Hawkeye's offer to join the West Coast Avengers. Shroud assisted a depowered Jessica Drew against some crooks. He assisted the West Coast Avengers against Graviton and the Blank.
The Shroud went undercover in Los Angeles and operating as a crime-fighter masquerading as a criminal, he built a reputation as a criminal so he could destroy their world from within. This led him to create the group known as the Night Shift. With the Night Shift, he teamed with Captain America against the Power Broker and his augmented mutates. He tested Moon Knight to take over as leader of the Night Shift. He refused Taurus's offer to join the new Zodiac. He teamed with Hawkeye against the gang leader, Speedo. Behind the scenes, Shroud made a deal with the West Coast Avengers not to interfere with his activities underground, but during a battle, Shroud went missing and the Night Shift battled the Avengers, causing a strain between the groups when the Shroud stopped the battle. When Shroud returned to action, it was revealed that he had spent some time with his family, though no actual names of that family have ever been revealed.[volume & issue needed] Shroud made few appearances in the years following.
When the Superhero Registration Act was proposed by the United States during the Civil War storyline, Shroud refused to accept the proposal to give up his secret identity, and sided against heroes such as Ms. Marvel and Iron Man. He is also in a romantic relationship with Julia Carpenter (now known as Arachne). With Julia's help, Shroud managed to escape from Ryker's Island, injuring a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the process. The two of them planned to flee to Canada with Rachel (Julia's daughter), but Wonder Man and Ms. Marvel captured Shroud, and Julia the following issue. He is then broken out, in order to join Captain America's anti-registration army and takes part in the final battle.
Powers and abilities
Exposure to bombardment of the Red Skull's hypno-ray triggered a latent power over darkness in the Shroud. Shroud possesses the mystical ability to create an aperture into Darkforce Dimension and to project the thick, inky gas-like substance of the Darkforce Dimension into Earth's dimension for his own use. This darkness is not simply the absence of light, but the negation of it. No illumination can penetrate it. It is unknown how much of this darkness Shroud can summon at once. He can blanket a small auditorium in darkness within several seconds. The darkness he projects does not fill a volume instantly: it is possible to see its hazy boundary move like thick, black smoke in the air. There appears to be no limit to the length of time Shroud can maintain the darkness. However, loss of concentration can disrupt his power to summon and control darkness, and if Shroud is rendered unconscious the darkness seems to be naturally drawn through the portal from which it came.
The Shroud has control over the darkness so as to create hazy-edged, featureless black shapes with it, the complexity of which is limited only by his imagination. For example, he once created two discs that covered Captain America's eyes, preventing him from seeing anything or becoming hypnotized, yet so small that they were indistinguishable from the pupils of his eyes. He frequently forms the darkness into his own shadow in order to serve as a decoy. Unlike Darkstar's Darkforce, the darkness possesses no mass, and unlike Cloak, Shroud is unable to travel into and out of the dimension from which he draws his darkness. He eventually learned to give his darkness enough mass to serve as a low-level thruster. Together, with the properties of his cape, this allows him to fly at least at walking speed.
The Shroud was blinded in a mystic ceremony by the Cult of Kali. As a result of this ceremony, he possesses a mystical sense of extrasensory perception enabling him to "see" through walls and even through his own mantle of darkness. This mystical sense gives him psychic impressions of his environment within a radius of about 100 feet (30 m). Not unlike Daredevil, Shroud can receive non-visual sensory impressions through solid objects. Thus, he can perceive people and objects in the room next to him with the ease that he can perceive the contents of the room he is in. His mystic senses can even enable him to detect the internal hardware components of a computer.
The Shroud is an Olympic-level athlete with extensive training in several fields of Oriental martial arts, and is adept at acrobatics and infiltration. He possesses a college degree in law and criminology. Shroud carries explosive "bombarangs" as weapons, and flies in a personal one-man aircraft.
An Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Shroud is a superhero that debuts in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 as a supporting character. This version wears a red shroud, obscuring the face. Writer Brian Michael Bendis notes "We'll be teasing this person. You won't know if they're male or female but it is someone very famous and we'll be revealing their identity in the first arc... This Shroud is very different from the Marvel Universe one. Our Shroud is someone you've seen. They're a survivor of Ultimatum who for some reason feels they can't show their face anymore.” In issue six, the character is revealed to be Kitty Pryde.
- Cronin, Brian. "Comic Book Legends Revealed" #179, Comic Book Resources (Oct. 30, 2008). Accessed Mar. 17, 2009.
- origin revealed in Super-Villain Team-Up #7
- Super-Villain Team-Up #5
- Super-Villain Team-Up #6-10
- Super-Villain Team-Up #11-12
- Spider-Woman #13-15
- Marvel Preview #21
- Marvel Team-Up #94
- Avengers #240-241
- West Coast Avengers Vol. 1 #1
- Doctor Strange Vol. 2 #67
- West Coast Avengers Vol. 1 #3-4
- Captain America #330
- Captain America #330-331
- Solo Avengers #3
- West Coast Avengers Vol. 2 #29
- Solo Avengers #9
- West Coast Avengers Vol. 2 #40
- Ms. Marvel vol. 2 #7 (Marvel Comics, Nov. 2006).
- Civil War #6 (Marvel Comics, Dec. 2006).
- Civil War #7 (Marvel Comics, Jan. 2007).
- Shadowland - Blood on the Streets #1
- Spider-Woman #15
- Richards, David (2009-08-11). "Bendis Talks "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2009-08-13.