Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Enhanced human, Avengers ally (a little too late)
Occupation: Would-be defender of Earth against the Berserker
Group Membership: Earth Lords
Affiliations: Avengers (Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Jocasta, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man), befriended Rachel Palmer shortly before dying
Known Relatives: Earth Lords (family), Ayshera (earth lord, lover and possible wife)
Base of Operations: a plane of death. Formerly an island in Mediterranean Sea, island later within the Shadow Realm
Appearances: Avengers I#207 (May 1981)
Powers: As one of the Earth Lords, he possessed an uncertain level of ability to control the forces of nature, such as wind, waves, and the surface of the Earth. As the Shadow Lord, he was imbued with the collective power of all of the former Earth Lords. This granted him immortality, as well as a vast amplification of his previous powers. He could generate winds capable of moving entire ships. He could generate tidal waves completely under his control. He imprisoned an entire contingent of the Avengers with a whirlwind, under which he had separated out both the ocean and the ocean floor, in order to finish them off within the Earth's magma core.
His major limitation was that his powers and life force were directly contained within his city, as they were too powerful to contain within the form of a mortal man. Damage to the city could weaken or even kill him.
He possessed a necklace, which was the key to the Shadow Realm. His city also contained the Pool of Memories, which could project past events into the minds of those that requested them.
History: The Shadow Lord was the last survivor of an ancient tribe known as the Earth Lords which withdrew from the rest of humanity before the dawn of recorded history. On an island in the Mediterranean Sea, they pursued their own studies, gradually learning to control certain forces of nature, a power which grew significantly with time and practice.
For eons the Earth Lords remained aloof from the outside world, using their powers only to maintain a balance among Earth's forces. However, they eventually learned of a man known as the Berserker I, a seemingly immortal force of destruction. The Berserker participated in numerous wars, but when he joined the legions of Rome at the peak of that empire's power, the Earth Lords feared that the balance of nature was in danger of being destroyed.
The Earth Lords directed their powers in an effort to stop the Berserker, on several occasions, until succeeding in imprisoning him in tons of volcanic rock by causing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. However, when the Shadow Lords saw the vast destruction of the city of Pompei and others caused by their efforts, they decided that it was time to end their existence. They decided to abandon their city, never use their powers again, disperse into the rest of humanity, and eventually die off. In order to protect against the potential return of the Berserker, they passed their combined powers into a single member chosen by lot, who would project himself and the entire city into an extra-dimensional plane known as the Shadow Realm or Shadow Lord. This member was the Shadow Lord.
The Shadow Lord remained alone, separated even from his beloved Ayshera, until the modern era when a group of archeologists unearthed the Berserker, inadvertently reviving him. The Shadow Lord returned himself and his city to its original location and began making preparations for his encounter with the Berserker. However, the appearance of the city was observed by United States Navy, who commanded him to explain himself. Feeling he had no time for distraction, he summoned a tidal wave to carry the naval ship far away, causing them to summon the Avengers for assistance. Wannabe-investigative reporter Rachel Palmer followed Wonder Man to the city, and although Wonder Man was easily stopped by him, she was brought to its center by the Shadow Lord himself. He explained his origins to her just as the Avengers arrived en masse to attack him. Unable to hear her explanations that they were on the same side, the Shadow Lord attacked the Avengers, and soon had them at his mercy, preparing to slay them.
Iron Man managed to escape his whirlwind, and after saving a pleasure boat from certain destruction by the fierce weather, returned to confront the Shadow Lord. The Beast observed that as the Shadow Lord strained his powers to the fullest, small pieces of the city's building began to chip off. He instructed Iron Man to destroy the city to defeat Shadow Lord. Having observed Iron Man saving the craft, the Shadow Lord realized his mistake too late. Before he could release the Avengers, he was weakened by the attacks on the city, enabling the Avengers to escape. Following Iron Man's lead, they focused their attacks on the city, and the Shadow Lord was severely affected by their attacks. The destruction from their attacks was too successful, and the Shadow Lord lay dying as Rachel tried to explain the truth to the Avengers.
As he died, he gave his necklace to Rachel, ambiguously mentioning the gates and the darkness. He was not sad to die, as it allowed him to return to his beloved Ayshera. The Avengers, at Rachel's request, conducted a formal burial for the Shadow Lord, and his entire city soon disintegrated and collapsed into the sea. His necklace did provide the Avengers with the means to banish the Berserker to the Shadow Realm.
Comments: Created by Bob Budiansky, Danny Fingeroth., and Gene Colan.
The Avengers surely did not intend to kill the Shadow Lord, but it only took a few panels of their attacks on the city to mortally wound him. I wouldn't mind seeing the fates of any of the other Earth Lords.
The Shadow Lord and the Earth Lords could have split from the People of the Black Sea dimension before the Earth Lords created the Shadow Realm. They both have telepathic abilities (Earth Lords later learned to control Earth, Wind and Waves before they gave all those powers to Shadow Lord) and the ability for dimensional travel ("...I was shown how to project myself and my city into a plane of existence discovered and unlocked by our elders. A twilight plane of nothingness out of phase with the Earth. A place called the Shadow World.").
Clarifications: The Shadow Lord was no relation to any of the many other "Shadow" characters
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Avengers I#207, Cover (main image)
Avengers I#207-208 (May-June, 1981) - Bob Budiansky & Danny Fingeroth (writers), Gene Colan (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
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Last Updated: 08/01/02
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