Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Unrevealed;
   may be British citizen

Occupation: Criminal

Group Membership: Doc Croc's gang

Affiliations: Doc Croc (Croker Dyle)

Enemies: Bulldog, Detective Inspector Kate Fraser, Kelpie, Sponge (Selwyn James) Snakes, Union Jack

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed; presumably somewhere in the U.K.

First Appearance: The Union#3 (April 2021)

Powers/Abilities: Shifter was a shapeshifter able to take on the forms of a variety of animals; while it appeared that his "real" form was at least humanoid, and he could presumably take on human form as well, it is unrevealed whether his powers were precise enough to permit him to successfully impersonate a specific individual. He could change size and presumably mass when he shifted forms, changing between creatures as small as a butterfly to as large as a tiger or gorilla. He seemed to gain the abilities of the animals whose form he assumed - he could fly as a butterfly, had claws and fangs as a tiger, enhanced strength as a gorilla and the ability to hold his breath underwater as a dolphin. It is unrevealed what upper or lower limit, if any, he had in terms of the size of the creatures he could impersonate; that he failed to take on the forms of larger, potentially more dangerous creatures (such as elephants, great white sharks or therapod dinosaurs) while seeking to evade capture might indicate he is incapable of doing so, but he may simply not have thought of those options. No matter what form he was in, he could still converse in human speech. He assumed (returned to?) a humanoid form when Snakes surprised him by splitting into its constituent reptiles, but whether this was because he could not maintain his changed form when shocked or because of the covert power drain Sponge was subjecting him to remains unrevealed.

   He doesn't appear to be a particularly good fighter, instead relying on the abilities of the creatures he becomes.

Height: 6'2" (by estimation; variable)
Weight: 175 lbs. (by estimation; variable)
Eyes: Black sclera and iris with white pupil (variable)
Hair: None (variable)

(The Union#3 (fb) - BTS) - Able to change into a variety of animal forms, Shifter joined the criminal gang of Doctor Croker Dyle, a.k.a. Doc Croc, at some point after the power-draining Sponge had done so. Either before Shifter joined or some point during his tenure on the crew Sponge departed the gang (see comments).

   When Doc Croc tracked down another former member of his crew, Skreem, to a caravan in a remote part of North Wales to forcibly return her to the fold, Croc assigned Shifter to monitor the caravan to see whom came to visit. Shifter assumed the form of a small dog and stayed by the caravan, wrecked during Skreem's capture, and was present when Detective Inspector Kate Fraser joined the local police investigating the site. Soon after two superhumans turned up, Snakes and Kelpie, both of whom had been teammates of Skreem while she was a member of the the government-sponsored Union team under the codename Choir.

(The Union#3) - Shifter watched as a car pulled up and decanted Selwyn James (MP and government minister with special responsibility for super heroes, and secretly the former Sponge, now gone straight), diminutive English hero Bulldog and the plainclothed Union Jack, the latter another former Union member. Shifter eavesdropped on them discussing Skreem's disappearance, but unfortunately for Shifter it turned out that Bulldog had an affinity for canines and when he tried to pet the "dog" hanging around them he realized it wasn't real. Picking up the growling Shifter, Bulldog alerted the others and tried to restrain his captive, but Shifter escaped the hero's grip by transforming into a butterfly. As he boastfully announced that they couldn't hold Shifter he was promptly snatched out of the air by Union Jack, who held Shifter contained in his cupped hands. Union Jack began trying to question Shifter about what had transpired earlier, but Shifter erupted from his clutches by becoming a tiger.

   Secretly beginning to drain Shifter's power, Selwyn warned the others to stay back, saying he knew of Shifter and that he was dangerous. Agreeing with this, Shifter announced that he was no super hero, but someone who could tear them apart, and with that he lunged for Kate. Union Jack tackled her out the way, and Kelpie smashed Shifter mid-air with a deluge of water, prompting Shifter to switch to dolphin form, boasting that he could match whatever they threw at him at a moment's notice. Unimpressed, Snakes grabbed the dolphin from Kelpie's torrent, and Shifter switched to gorilla form, hoisting his opponent into the air, only for Snakes to split apart, revealing that he literally was made of serpents. Finding himself draped with and standing amidst snakes, Shifter became humanoid - to his opponents it likely seemed this was due to shock, but in truth Selwyn had now drained too much of the shapeshifting ability for Shifter to maintain another form. Surrounded by enemies and without his powers, Shifter hesitated as he tried to figure out what to do until Selwyn moved a little closer, trying to appear to the heroes as if he was attempting to negotiate with Shifter while covertly whispering to the desperate villain to take him hostage. Suddenly recognizing Selwyn was Sponge, Shifter complied, and with Selwyn quietly promising to get him out of there, Shifter followed Selwyn's instructions and took them both into Selwyn's car. Hidden from the heroes' sight by the vehicle's tinted windows, Shifter asked for confirmation that his recognition was correct. Selwyn confirmed that he was Sponge, but claimed that he had lost his powers a long time ago. Becoming groggy as Selwyn continued to drain him, Shifter noticed Selwyn describing himself as a hero and corrected the man, reminding him that he was a villain. Selwyn agreed, and apologized for lying, explaining that he still had his powers, albeit somewhat faded, and that he had been slowly draining Shifter all the while. Too tired to process this, Shifter fell into a stupor, his head resting on the car's dashboard. Selwyn reached into the glove compartment and withdrew a pistol, continuing to explain to the now insensate Shifter that he had been a villain but adding that everyone was a hero in their own head, trying to do the best they could. With that he shot Shifter fatally in the head, then swiftly posed the corpse to make it look like a self-inflicted injury. When Bulldog, concerned Shifter might have shot his "hostage," peeled the car's roof off, Selwyn acted shocked and claimed he had tried to stop Shifter from committing suicide.

(The Union#5 - BTS) - Selwyn retained Shifter's stolen power for a short time after Shifter's demise, and used it to impersonate Doc Croc's cybernetically-enhanced corgi Craig, aiding in Doc Croc's capture.

Comments: Created by Paul Grist, Andrea Di Vito and Le Beau Underwood.

   Unsurprisingly given his single appearance the source of Shifter's powers wasn't revealed; he could be an alien, an artificially created being, magical, an Inhuman, etc. He's likely not a mutant, simply because when we met him the mutant homeland of Krakoa had been busy contacting and recruiting every mutant they could locate - though, of course, there's always the chance the Krakoans had overlooked him or he'd turned them down. If he is an alien, he's probably not a Skrull; Shifter had been a member of Doc Croc's gang for some time it seems, which would probably include the relatively recent Secret Invasion, and any Skrulls in the U.K. during Secret Invasion were magically incinerated by Satannish (and the anti-Skrull injunction may remain in force). If the humanoid form he took is his real appearance, he's not recognizably a member of any of the known shapeshifting alien species.

   Sponge and Shifter knew of one another, and both recognized the other, but not immediately, so they were not well acquainted. It's thus unclear if their memberships of Doc Croc's crew overlapped or not. As Sponge, Selwyn James wore a mask, so even if they had met Shifter might not immediately recognize him unmasked. However, it's also possible that Sponge departed before Shifter joined, and both simply knew of the other by reputation.

   In terms of estimating his humanoid form's height. While there's no ideal reference, we see in a couple of panels that he's about a head taller than Sponge, and in Union#1 there's a very good visual reference showing Sponge standing up straight next to Union Jack, someone whose height is known. Given the two comparisons, Shifter looks to be of similar height to Union Jack, give or take a couple of inches.

    This profile was completed 07/29/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

Shifter has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
The Union#3, p16, pan1 (main image)
The Union#3, p16, pan4 (headshot)
The Union#3, p12, pan1 (dog)

The Union#3, p12, pan3 (butterfly)
The Union#3, p13, pan1 (tiger)
The Union#3, p14, pan1 (dolphin)
The Union#3, p14, pan5 (gorilla)
The Union#3, p19, pan3 (headshot)

The Union#3 (April 2021) - Paul Grist (writer), Andrea Di Vito (pencils), Le Beau Underwood (inks), Darren Shan (editor)

First Posted: 09/28/2021
Last updated: 09/27/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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