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The city of New Orleans has a long history of wild nightlife and Voodoo lore, but now the superstitious folk, pushers, and pimps whisper of a man in a carnival mask that prowls the night, savagely attacking the members of the New Orleans underworld.

Jack Boniface is a saxophone player who, since the night that Lydia the Spider Alien poisoned him and left him for dead, has been overcome with the urge to seek and destroy evil, particularly drug pushers. Garbed in a costume provided by Anjenetta Grampion, his housekeeper and an expert in Voodoo who claims that a Voodoo Loa compels him, Jack becomes Shadowman.

Shortly after learning of his imminent violent death in 1999, Jack engages in an ongoing, strangely intimate conflict against Master Darque, a powerful 19th Century necromancer.

Shadowman

Something mysterious happens to Jack Boniface after dark. Is it a super adrenaline rush?, A terminal sickness?, Or one hell of a mean streak? A well-intentioned and vulnerable human being, in the absence of daylight, Jack Boniface becomes something very scary.

Spirits Within

Jazz

On the evening of March 1st 1992 at the La Bas Jazz Club in New Orleans’ French Quarter, Jack Boniface gazed into the audience while he played his sax and noticed Lydia, an attractive woman who came to the club two weeks earlier, looking back at him. Enthralled with Lydia's exotic features, legs, and eyes that were deep as the night, Jack mused how they froze men in their tracks and drew others as moths to a flame, while those who were not afraid left with her.

Pleased to see Lydia again, Jack mustered the courage to join her at her table and, to his surprise, she told him that she was hoping he would. As Jack sat down, Lydia told him that she admired his music and had six of his CDs, so when she decided to move to New Orleans she knew she had to hear him live. When Jack told Lydia that he had seen her there night after night but by the time he finished his set she always left, she said that one never knew how relationships would turn out, then she excused herself to go to the ladies room and told him that maybe he could walk her home afterwards.

While Jack waited for Lydia to come back, Dickey, a musician friend, surprised him and told him that his band was cutting a live recording seven weeks later, and that if he had some time, they would like to have him on a couple of cuts. Since he had missed playing with the band on their last record, Shades of Two Worlds, and it was always a pleasure to sit with them, Jack agreed to work something out with Dickey. As Lydia came back from the ladies room, Dickey told Jack to call him the next day at the Fleur D’ Orleans hotel and left the two of them alone. Coyly, Lydia urged Jack to leave with her and hinted that she wanted to sleep with him.

Later that night, in Lydia’s apartment in Le Vieux Carré, Jack stared out at the city from the balcony and said that it seemed made for him while she poured him an aperitif. After Jack drank the brew she made him, Lydia pulled him down besides her on a love seat and they vehemently kissed each other. While Jack complemented Lydia’s eyes and told her that they were deep as the night and cold as Northampton, he suddenly felt dizzy and could no longer move.

Slowly, Lydia rose up and told Jack that all her people loved music, though it was only patterns of vibration to them, and she particularly loved his, but all good things had to end. Unable to move, Jack watched as Lydia disrobed and said that it was dangerous for her to stay in New Orleans and she had to keep moving, so that night was her last change to have him. Excusing herself, Lydia drank a special cocktail that she said took a little longer to work than Jack’s did which transformed her into a horrific creature that bit Jack on the neck.

Before he passed out, Jack saw a light that startled Lydia, who cursed its timing and vanished.

The next day, Jack awoke on the floor of Lydia’s apartment surprised to be alive. As Jack called Lydia out, he was appalled to see two puncture wounds on his neck in his reflection on a mirror and yelled out for Lydia to tell him what she had done to him. When Lydia did not respond, Jack went to look for her and noticed that all her things where still there even though she told him that she was leaving. Just then, Jack noticed that the door to the attic was ajar and followed the stairs to the loft, where he found the corpses of Lydia’s victims. Horror-struck, Jack grasped that Lydia tried to kill him, and, as he realized that if something had not scared her away she would have succeeded, he left the apartment as fast as he could.

After he spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the river thinking about what happened, Jack returned to La Bas and read on the newspaper that the night before there had been a big fight down the street right outside Lydia’s window. Surmising that the fight was what scared Lydia away, Jack wanted to call the police to report the corpses in her attic, but the urge to hunt Lydia and cast her out of the night made him leave the club and make his way back to her place.

Sm1

Shadowman faces Samedi

Unsure of what made him decide not to call the police, Jack walked down a darken street and mused that, while he had never been into personal vendettas, the situation with Lydia was very personal. Just then, he stumbled across an ordinary Mardi Gras mask he surmised a tourist wore in the Cardinal Parade to help scare away the evil spirits and then tossed it aside with no one the wiser when he was done with it. As Jack held the mask, he mused that demons like Lydia could not follow one home if they did not know who they were, when then he noticed that he had walked back to her apartment.

As Jack stood outside Lydia’s window, he swore that she turned into something inhuman before she bit him, but he quickly dismissed the notion and blamed it on the spiked drink that she gave him. Cursing himself for falling for Lydia, Jack was upset that someone like her existed in his world.

Suddenly, Jack heard a voice in an alley, and when he followed it he was shocked to see Samedi, a knife-wielding serial killer, carving a helpless woman while reciting a soliloquy. Compelled to stop Samedi, Jack donned the mask to hide his face so he could not follow him home and lunged against him. Filled with a sense of calmness that eclipsed his trepidation, Jack fought Samedi to expel him from his night. When Jack got him to destroy his blades, Samedi turned and ran without warning, so Jack followed him over a wall, but then someone shot at him with a shotgun and helped Samedi escape in a car that roared away.

While Jack pondered who could have helped Samedi flee, an old woman came out of her house and told him to leave her yard while flashing a hex sign at him. As Jack vanished into the night like he had never been there, the woman clutched her robe and called him a shifty Shadowman.

Spirits Within

Sm10

On March 13th 1992, in the New Orleans Medical Center, Doctor Lyons walked into a darken examination room with the test results for an exam she performed on Jack Boniface and asked him why he turned off the lights. Uncertain, Jack said that he felt comfortable in the dark.

When the doctor told him that his tests were negative and that, other than the scratch on his neck, there was nothing wrong with him and he was in very good shape, Jack asked her how that could be, since he never worked out, ate all the wrong things, and had not seen a vitamin since he was a kid. Sarcastically, the doctor told Jack that if he insisted on being sick, they could always run more tests, but he declined and said that he did not understand why for the past couple of weeks he felt so weird, especially at night. As Jack walked out, doctor Lyons said that darkness could sometimes cause a psychological change in people, and that if he liked, she could refer him to a good therapist and reiterated that there was nothing physically wrong with him.

On his way to his car, Jack wondered why if there was nothing wrong with him and he was in great shape it felt like the sun was crawling under his skin and he should hide from the light. Back in his apartment, Jack dismissed Lyons’ suggestion that he should see a shrink because he imagined what happened to him. Certain that there had to be a rational explanation, Jack tried to settle down with a beer, but he was too restless and did not feel like playing at the club, so he called Amelia and canceled his gig just as he had done all week. As Jack pondered why he canceled and told himself that he did not need the money and was just doing Amelia a favor, he gazed at the mask and the darkness outside his window and felt like going out again to take a walk.

While Jack skulked the darken streets of New Orleans with the mask on his face, he witnessed as two thugs assaulted a helpless man outside a streetcar station. Swiftly and silently, Jack leapt out of the shadows and defeated the thug, then, as he vanished into the night, the man asked aloud what happened but got no reply.

Amazed by the strength and speed he displayed, Jack dashed home and vowed to rid the night of the demons that defiled it. Standing on the doorway of his apartment, Jack decided to wear the mask on his hunts so the demons would not know who he was and find him. As dawn approached, Jack collapsed on his couch and fell asleep holding the mask against his chest.

The next day, Anjenetta Grampion, Jack’s housekeeper, startled him from his slumber when she showed up on a Saturday afternoon unexpectedly to clean his apartment since she could not do it on Monday because her niece was getting married.

As Jack thanked Anjenetta for making him breakfast and said that it seemed like the only time he got a square meal was when she came in to clean, he read on the newspaper that Samedi had continued his murder spree and said that someone had to stop him. Cryptically, Anjenetta told Jack that she thought they both knew who that someone had to be, and as she stood over him while he tried to hide his mask, she said that she had been watching him and seen that he had an instinct and power as the Loa inside him had changed him.

Certain that Loa was Voodoo, Jack reminded Anjenetta that he did not believe in that stuff, but she sat beside him and asked him to look in his heart and see the truth and said that, while she may sound like a fool, she had seen a change come over him and seen him become something he was not before. As she picked up the mask, Anjenetta told Jack that he was the Shadowman, and that while some folks that did not know him and the mask, her people did and understood. Facing Jack with a stoic glance, Anjenetta said that the Loa entered his soul, and that while he could pass her off as an old fool, he could not deny the spirits inside him.

Later that night, Jack donned the mask to go out, and as he leapt across the rooftops, he mused that while it sounded like Anjenetta had lost her mind, something weird was going on and he needed a sound explanation and a sane reason for what he was feeling. Just then, Jack stumbled across a murder scene and saw a graffiti message from Samedi that said that he got a new blade for him. Recognizing Samedi’s name from Voodoo, Jack knew that Anjenetta could tell him more about it than he needed to know. Glad that Samedi was out to get him, Jack relished the personal conflict.

In the hope that he would find answers to his problem, Jack returned to Lydia’s apartment, but, to his surprise, the whole house was empty, as if Lydia packed up her little house of horrors and moved on. Bothered that he waited so long to go back, Jack believed that Lydia had set up in another town to add bodies to her collection. As he made his way toward a window, Jack wondered if he did not return sooner because he feared Lydia, but he knew that what he feared was that the truth about what happened to him did not fit in the world he believed in and that Lydia was the horror from the pit she seemed to be that night.

Dejected, Jack removed his mask and mused that now that he wanted to know the truth he did not know how to find Lydia and find out what kind of poison she fed him and what it did to him, when then he saw a man on a car outside the window looking at him with a pair of binoculars. Surmising that he was not the only one who wanted to find Lydia, Jack heard the sound of footsteps rushing towards the door and fled just as four armed men broke into the apartment.

As he leapt across rooftops to get away, Jack assumed that the armed men were Federal Agents who would have better luck finding Lydia than he would. Worried that he would go crazy unless he did something, Jack felt the need to talk with someone sane, so he called Scott, his friend and confident and told him to meet him at Casey's, a strip bar where he played regularly.

At Casey’s, Scott asked Jack why he got him out of bed in the middle of the night and Jack asked him if he believed in demons. Scott chastised Jack for hauling him out of bed at one in the morning to find out whether he was superstitious and told him to try the real world for a change, but Jack said that he could no longer seem to find the real world and that, as strange things happened to him, he felt that he had changed. Nonchalantly, Scott told Jack that he was paranoid, obsessive, demanding, and slightly insane and had not changed at all. Disappointed with Scott’s advice, Jack tossed a stripper’s bra at him and coldly thanked him. Sarcastically, Scott told Jack that what he needed was more fiber in his diet, and then went back home.

The next day, Jack read on the newspaper that Samedi continued to elude the police and sought the counsel of Anjenetta, who told him that he had to go after Samedi in the bayou, consecrated place of magic and mystery. Anjenetta urged Jack to accept what he had become and told him that, in Voodoo, Shadow meant Soul, and then she gave him a costume with the image of a man in a doorway that symbolized the Loa in him that had taken over his soul and came out at night to fight.

Swamp

Shadowman faces Samedi in the bayou

At midnight, two weeks after he met Lydia and tangled with Samedi and he knew that his life had changed forever, Jack reluctantly went to the bayou on the word of Anjenetta to wait for Samedi, the ax-wielding homicidal maniac, to show up and attempt to carve him into pieces small enough to fit in his pocket. Standing in the swamp, up to his shins in reeking swamp water garbed in the costume Anjenetta made for him, Jack faced Samedi, who stood before him with a giant ax in his hands.

With clenched teeth, Samedi told Jack that their encounter would not be easy for him and he was ready to finish what they started and finish him, then he swung his ax at Jack’s head, but Jack moved aside and disarmed him. Certain that he did not need an ax, Samedi punched Jack in the face and tossed him under the water to drown him, but driven by the urge to cast Samedi out of his night, Jack rose up from the swamp and pummeled him into submission while he pondered that he was stronger and darker than any demon.

The next day in La Café Petite in Canal Street, Scott read on the newspaper that a tip led the police to the bayou and the capture of Samedi and commented that a masked vigilante was doing the police department’s job for them, but Jack told him that the police were doing their job and Shadowman was doing his.

When Jack added that Shadowman’s job was a completely different ballgame, Scott told him that he seemed to have many opinions on him and asked him how much he knew about Shadowman, to which Jack replied that he did not know much about him at all just yet.

The Beasts And The Children

On the night of April 1st 1992 in Dale's Pub, a tavern that he visited infrequently, Jack Boniface witnessed as two thugs dragged a man that owed them $6,000 dollars he lost beating on horse races into the bathroom to beat him up. Compelled by savage animal urges, Jack stood up to follow the thugs even though Dale, the tavern’s owner, told him that he did not want to get involved. Worried for his safety, Dale gave Jack a pipe so he would not go into the bathroom unarmed. Grateful, Jack told Dale that the pipe would definitely be handy.

As Jack walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind him, one of the thugs drew a switchblade from his jacket and told him that if he was looking for trouble he came to the right place. Undaunted, Jack secured the door’s bolt with the pipe and told the thugs that he could always find guys like them in the toilets. When the thug threatened to cut the man’s throat unless he pried the bolt open again and got out of there, Jack said that he did not care about the man, he cared about them. When one of the thugs came at him while his partner held the man on his knees at knife point, Jack shattered the light bulb and rendered the room in utter darkness.

30 minutes later, the thugs rushed out of the bathroom and, at Jack’s behest, paid their tab before they left. As Jack sat on his stool, Dale thanked him and gave him a drink that Megan, a patron at the other end of the bar, bought for him. Grateful, Jack sat next to Megan, who asked him what he did to the thugs. As Jack said that he just scared them, the man asked him how he knew they would not kill him and he told him that he did not know. Uncertain of whether what Jack did was brave or stupid, Megan asked him if he was that Shadowman everyone had been talking about and he told her that he was just an average citizen he guessed she could say Shadowman inspired.

Two days later in the Sosa Plantation, Emil Sosa, a pedophilic drug lord, read on the newspaper how Shadowman captured Samedi when a courier from Carrera, an abusive child pornographer, arrived with his blackmail payment of $10,000 USD and a little girl that ensured his silence about Carrera’s pornography ring. While Emil examined the briefcase with his money and derisively said that the pornography business was doing well, the courier sarcastically replied that the blackmail business was obviously in good shape while he discretely reached for a gun in his jacket. Aware of the courier’s intent, Emil hit him with the briefcase and sent him careening across the room.

Enraged, Emil told the courier that Carrera should know that his games were no match for him, then he kicked him to keep him from his gun and picked him up from the lapels of his jacket. As Emil punched the courier, he said that he did not like Carrera’s games and siphoned the life force from him. With a smile, Emil extended his hand at the little girl, who hid under a table, and told her that he had used up all his energy on her escort and she was perfectly safe. With a reassuring voice, Emil told the girl that it would take a day or so for him to build up enough energy for her and that he wanted his time with her to be very special, then he took her to a child’s bedroom where he kept his victims. When they went inside the bedroom, Emil saw his two maids cleaning up the remains of his previous victim and told them to clean the mess in his office when they finished, then he took the girl elsewhere while they waited for her room to be ready.

That evening, Emil watched a news report about Shadowman’s exploits on the news and he decided that, while he was just another vigilante, he might be a fun challenge that would certainly be more entertaining than Carrera’s games and set out to find out what sort of creature Shadowman was and teach how it felt to fry.

The next day, Jack found it hard to tell Anjenetta Grampion how, soon as the sun went down, he felt funny, and got strange savage animal urges. Concerned for Jack’s safety, Anjenetta warned him to avoid those urges that night because Emil Sosa was laying in wait for him and he did not want to go and mess with him. When Jack asked Anjenetta who Emil was and how she knew he was after him, she told him she had a friend who worked for Emil, who threatened her babies if she did not become his maid. Troubled, Anjenetta told Jack how Emil used to kidnap little children for Carrera until he betrayed him and blackmailed him for money and little children that he fried up as if they were Sunday barbeque using bad fire spirits that worked within him, a payment that her friend said came every month like clockwork. As Jack reached for his mask, he told Anjenetta that, regardless of how scary Emil was, once night fell, he did not fear anyone.

That night at Casey’s, Jack performed a song which dark melody that was black as night made him feel good, and when he was done, he thought he heard the announcer ask the audience to cheer for Shadowman. As the lights came on, Jack heard the announcer ask the audience for a big round of applause for Jack Boniface and wondered what was happening to him. Driven to look for Emil, Jack abandoned his saxophone on the stage and went out into an alley where he changed into his Shadowman costume and abandoned his clothes.

In need of a view of the city, Jack climbed atop a rooftop, when then he heard police sirens coming from the other end of the block and followed them to a murder scene. While he looked down at the cops, Jack wondered if the senseless murder had anything to do with Emil, when then he heard the police receive a call about another homicide in their vicinity on Beacon street and left to get there before them.

While Jack pondered that he had a feeling the murders would lead him to Emil, Emil leapt at him from atop a rooftop and mockingly said that all it took to get him to come running was a couple of bodies on the street. During their scuffle, Jack kicked Emil off the roof, but then they both fell toward the street, and while Emil grabbed on to a fire escape, Jack hit the payment and lost consciousness. As he leapt off the scaffold, Emil sarcastically told Shadowman that he needed him alive to hear him scream.

Sm3

Shadowman faces Emil Sosa

The following evening, Jack awoke in a cellar in the Sosa Plantation shortly before nightfall. Suddenly, Anjenetta’s friend came into the cellar with the little girl and told Jack that she had stashed her babies where Emil could not find them and she was leaving that night. After Anjenetta’s friend asked him to take the little girl out of there and that he tell Anjenetta she owed her, Jack picked the girl up and walked out through an open window. As Jack rushed out of the plantation, night fell and he felt the urge to return and take care of Emil for good, so he left the girl beside a tree and asked her to wait for him there.

When Emil went down to the basement of his plantation, he mockingly told Shadowman that he had a surprise for him and they were going to have fun, but when he opened the cellar where he kept Shadowman captive, he discovered he had escaped.

Within minutes, while Jack ventured back into the house, Emil discovered he had escaped and found the girl standing beside the tree where he left her. When Emil threatened to kill the girl unless he came out of the house, Jack told him that if he wanted him he had to go get him.

As Emil entered the darken den, he ordered Shadowman to show himself, when then Jack closed the door and sent Emil careening across the room with a punch. While the girl hid, Jack stood in front of a window to lure Emil at him, and when he leapt in his direction, he moved and Emil fell out the window. Scared, the girl asked Jack if he would take her home and he said he would.

Two days later in Jack’s kitchen, Jack commented that Emil was a maniac and he was glad that he was dead, but Anjenetta then told him that Emil was in the hospital all twisted up, and she did not think he would bother no one for awhile. When Anjenetta told Jack that the little girl he rescued was in bad shape and would need a lot of doctoring before she was able to cope, he coldly said that all that mattered was that the girl was alive and that he had put Emil Sosa out of commission.

As Jack left, Anjenetta placed her hand besides his mask on the counter and guessed that was all that mattered to Shadowman.

Unity

When Erica Pierce, the God–like entity called Mothergod, tries to achieve Unity, a convergence of all the timelines, the Geomancers of two eras gather the heroes of Earth to stop her in one final decisive battle for all eternity in the Lost Land, a place outside time and reality.

Sunburn

Shadowman split

While out for a late stroll, Jack Boniface witnessed as two police officers allowed Ferry Barucha, an abusive husband, to go free after his wife, Marie–Louise, called them to report that he beat her up. Disgusted by the ease with which demons of the night as Ferry stalked their victims, Jack donned his mask and broke into the Barucha’s house. After Ferry slapped Marie–Louise for calling the cops Jack emerged from the shadows and pushed him against the stove, then he lit it inches from his face to make him feel as mistreated as he did her. Warning Ferry that next time he would go to blazes, Jack left him on the floor reaching out for Marie–Louise’s comforting embrace.

The next day, Jack was mortified to learn that Nettie had told Paul N’Dour, her spiritual advisor, and her friends that he was Shadowman, and although she assured him that they could be trusted, he reluctantly went with her to Curios, N’Dour’s voodoo store, to meet Paul, who she claimed knew all about Shadowman. Though Jack was eager to leave, he listened as Paul told him that he knew that something evil had ripped the doorway to his soul, which when shadows fell came out to haunt the devils in the night, a statement of fact Jack vehemently denied but Paul believed made him perfectly suited for a job he wanted him to perform.

Curious to know what Paul meant, Jack went with him and Nettie to the bayou, where they took him to a giant cypress tree that concealed a doorway to the Lost Land. As Jack grew impatient, Paul revealed that eight years earlier Buck McHenry chose him to succeed him as Geomancer and taught him how to listen to the whispers of everything around them, which told him that Jack had to stop a demon that would end all of existence. Though he felt ridiculous, Jack donned his mask and went to find the doorway, but when the ceiling dropped below water level, he returned to the boat and told Paul and Nettie to get a scuba diver.

As the sun set, Paul told Jack that the world needed him, but Nettie remarked that what the world needed was Shadowman, then urged Jack to go look again. Certain that the dark would change nothing, Jack went back, and as he searched for the doorway, he realized that at night he reasoned differently, and though he wondered if that made him less logical, he concluded that he remained as rational but lost his fear of limits, which allowed him to cross into new worlds. Filled with a sense of confidence, Jack swam through the doorway and emerged out of a fountain in the Rainbow Tower into the Lost Land, where it was daylight. Initially fazed by the loss of his certainty, Jack refused to give in to the light and tried to be more like Shadowman.

While making his way across the futuristic landscape, Jack was dumbfounded to see as other heroes engaged Mothergod’s forces and wondered if he hit his head while beneath the water and fell asleep, when then he saw a dinosaur jockey about to get crushed by falling rubble and leapt to his rescue just like Shadowman would . As Jack questioned the unconscious jockey, Elya Ann Smith, a pterosaur jockey from the 41st Century, drew her weapon on him and ordered him to surrender, but then Phil Seleski, the hero known as Solar, distracted her and Jack disarmed her.

Certain that the best way to get answers was to follow Solar, Jack convinced Elya to help him, and though she could not explain why, she took him to the Rainbow Tower, where he felt that the demon N’Dour that warned him about dwelled. Refusing to give in to the light even as darkness fell around him, Jack leapt off Elya’s ptero into the tower, where he barely survived a run in with carnivorous Binosaurs.

Hidden behind a pillar, Jack witnessed a fierce battle between Solar and Mothergod and heard Solar admit that he caused irreparable damage to the world and saw him pummel Mothergod into giving in, which made him believe Solar was the demon that would end all of existence. Wondering what Shadowman would do, Jack took pity on Mothergod and tackled Solar, whose touch charred him within an inch of his life. Using the distraction that Jack’s sacrifice afforded her, Mothergod captured Solar inside a cincture wormhole.

The next day, Mothergod commended Elya for bringing Jack to the tower and allowed her to visit him in the med–center, where her doctors had secured him within a massive reconstruction unit to help him recover.

No Love Lost

Darque hand

While Jack Boniface drifted between life and death inside a chamber filled with healing fluids in the Rainbow Tower’s med center massive reconstruction unit, Elya Ann Smith found his data file in the historical archives and learned his name as well as his identity as Shadowman. A month later, as Mothergod’s doctors learned that Jack’s regeneration rate accelerated in the dark, they allowed it to run its course, even though they had no explanation for it, and within a few weeks Jack was well enough for Elya to talk with him.

Unable to discern what happened to him from his dreams, Jack barely remembered Elya, whose strong eyes, bosom, and toned muscles hidden by her curves captivated him when he saw her again. As Elya helped Jack with his recovery, she told him that time was absolute in the Lost Land, where the present was real while outside it all times coexisted, then, as she told him that the only time that mattered was the now, she urged him to make the most of it, and soon a romance blossomed between the two.

As weeks turned into months Elya told Jack that the archives said he would become a successful musician, perform many heroic deeds, and die a horrible death in 1999, then she begged him not to leave the Lost Land. Though Jack missed his friends and sax, all he wanted was to stay with Elya, so he asked her to tell him about Unity, but all she would say was that Mothergod wanted to bring time together as it was there. Just then, Elya received a priority alert she surmised meant that the resisters were attacking and had to go, and though Jack wanted to help, she told him that he had to stay because he was a guest, so he kissed her and wished her luck.

Watching as Elya flew on her ptero to a satellite fusion booster–reactor dome, Jack wondered why he stayed behind while she went to fight, when then he saw a replica of his mask and uniform that she made for him and reasoned that Shadowman would not stay there. Donning his costume, Jack shattered a window and, refusing to give in to the light, jumped out and fell on a pterosaur whose pilot he forced to take him to the dome.

After he took the pilot’s gun, Jack went to find Elya, but then he saw Archer & Armstrong, setting up a bomb in a main support pillar to destroy the dome. As Jack shot Aram, who fell off the milespire, Archer disabled his gun with an arrow, so Jack had to fight him unarmed. Realizing that if he fought smartly Archer would beat him Jack fought as unpredictably as he played his music, but then Prince Albert and his guards arrived, so Aram took Archer under his arm and ran away. As the duo fled, Albert, who despised Jack for saving his mother, shot him under the pretense that he was shooting them, but Jack avoided the blast and escaped while Elya instilled in Albert that Jack was a hero of Unity.

Later that day, Albert visited the control nexus of the main reactor, where Mothergod told him that they were within hours of extending Unity to all existence. Confused, Albert thought that it would take years to achieve Unity because everything had to be built in the Lost Land, but Mothergod revealed that while she kept the resistance at bay their major resources, key personnel, and her power were focused on the objective. Hiding his repulsion for his mother behind a false veil of loyalty, Albert told her that Shadowman broke out and that he was worried of what trouble he might cause, so Mothergod authorized him to take care of him.

Making his way to Elya’s home using a stolen uniform, Jack startled Elya, who thought that he was crazy for returning to the first place where they would look for him. As Jack joked that he would have to be crazy to be there, he heard a song that he had not recorded yet that Elya was listening to and wondered how that could be. Reminding Jack that time was not absolute and that everything outside the Lost Land was dreams that were only real when they went there, Elya reiterated that the only time that mattered was the now and kissed him. Later, while they lay in each other’s arms after they made love Jack asked Elya why Albert would try to kill him and she told him that Albert was not only Mothergod’s son but also her lover, and that there was a vice den somewhere where he was a regular. Just then, Albert ordered Elya to report to ready–room JK–1.

After Albert ordered Elya to find Jack and deliver him into his custody, he went to the Speakeasy and beat up Bunsie, a bim dressed like his mother. Unbeknownst to Albert, Jack followed him and then confronted him outside the vice den. When Jack accused Albert of being a demon, Albert told him that his mother was the true demon, and that because of him she would become a God and destroy everything.

Just then, Elya ordered Jack to release Albert, who she knew he would follow, and told Albert that she would tell his mother about his excursions to the vice pit, a notion that upset him. As Albert reached for a guard’s gun to kill Elya, Jack kicked it from his hand, but then Albert ordered her to tell Jack how Unity would wipe everything away and erase his friends as if they never existed and Jack understood that her faith had blinded her. Realizing that he was wrong to stop Solar, Jack refused to give in to Elya and left to fix his mistake.

As Jack and Albert made their way through the compound, they came across Archer & Armstrong at a bunker where Mothergod kept the prison where she trapped Solar. As Jack barely avoided Archer’s arrow, Armstrong tossed a crate at a wall which rubble buried Jack. Crawling out of the wreck, Jack stared at the energy from Mothergod’s reactor in the distance and blamed himself for causing Unity.

Until the End of Time

Making his way through the chaos of Unity, Jack found Elya and the two embraced, then, after declaring their love for each other, Jack took Elya with him to the doorway that he crossed into the Lost Land. While Jack led Elya through the underground stream, Solar sent everyone from 4001 back to North Am and she vanished. Afraid that Elya drowned, Jack submerged himself in the water to look for her.

The Family That Slays Together

As Jack Boniface emerged from the bayou calling Elya’s name, he startled Paul N’Dour and Mamma Nettie, who had been waiting for him in their boat since he entered the cypress tree. Worried that he had lost Elya in the tunnel, Jack went back into the tree to find her, but after three hours of futilely searching for her he came out defeated, as both the tunnel and Elya had vanished. While Jack swam to the boat, he told Paul and Nettie who Elya was, but Nettie told him that he had only been gone for an instant before he came out calling Elya’s name, a revelation that amazed him as he had been in the Lost Land for six months. While Jack stayed behind to look for Elya, Paul took Nettie back home, as that area of the bayou was very dangerous at night.

Nearly eight hours later, Jack sat on the edge of the bayou and mused over how Paul had sent him to the Lost Land after a demon but instead he found the love of his life and lost her. Discouraged by the dawning sun, which took away his hope of finding Elya, Jack left for home feeling tired, but then he found Paul’s corpse on their stranded boat and no sign of Nettie anywhere. Unsure of what to do, Jack rushed home to call the police.

Elsewhere, Strother, the youngest sibling of a clan of cannibals, dragged Nettie kicking and screaming into his family’s camp, where he threatened to cut her into pieces to sent to his brother, Darryl, who was in jail. Disappointed with Nettie’s lack of meat, Ma, the matriarch of the clan, ordered Verle, her oldest son, to lock Nettie in the shanty and take Strother to go find a pretty girl for their brother.

That night, Jack called Nettie’s friends to look for her at the police’s request to no avail, then, as he wondered if the police had contacted Paul’s wife, he called her to tell her what happened, but when her machine picked up, he hung up and fell asleep on his couch. Awakened by the police knocking on his door the next evening, Jack opened the door to a detective that wanted to talk to him about Nettie’s disappearance and Paul’s death, but then the detective asked him about his Shadowman costume, which reeked of swamp water, and what he was doing in the bayou. Enraged, Jack told the detective to leave, then, as he yelled at him through the door, he realized that as darkness fell his attitude had changed and decided to go look for Nettie himself.

Donning his mask, Jack strolled through the streets wondering who killed Paul and took Nettie, when then, as he mused that they might have also taken Elya, he found himself outside Curios, and compelled by a strange urge walked inside and found Emilie N’Dour, who used a juju to lure him there. Quietly, Jack listened as Emile told him that Paul took him to the bayou, despite his awareness that serial killers lived there, because he was needed, then she ordered him to stop that ones that killed her husband and go back to the bayou. Unaware of how to find the cannibals, Jack nevertheless returned to the bayou to look for them.

Later that night, as Jack rowed a canoe across the bayou he came across a shack, and after a scuffle with the family that lived there he demanded that they tell him where to find the demons in the bayou that were murdering men and taking women. While the men refused to say anything, the youngest daughter told Jack that the cannibals took her sister Selma weeks earlier and where he could find them.

Finding the cannibal’s camp, Jack laid across a tree branch and hoped to find Elya there, when then Verle and Strother returned with a dead girl that displeased Ma, who told them to get rid of her. After Verle tossed the corpse in the shanty and the clan entered their home, Jack opened the shanty and found Nettie surrounded by the corpses of eight girls that the cannibals killed. Dreading that Elya might be among them, Jack frantically looked for her while Nettie begged him to stop so they could leave, when then Verle and Strother found them.

Merging with the shadows, Jack forced the clan to spread out across the camp, but then Baby June, the clan’s strongest member, found him and came at him with a cleaver knife. As Jack and June struggled, Verle took aim at Jack and accidentally shot June. Upset, Verle challenged Jack to face him, but as Jack tapped him on the shoulder and startled him, he tangled himself with a chain and albert the gator ate him. Just then, the family that Jack met earlier killed everyone else, then, after they found Selma’s body, Jack, who was certain that Elya was nowhere to be found, released Albert and he and Nettie went back home.

The next morning, the police detective returned to Jack’s house with a warrant to question him about Nettie’s supposed disappearance, but then Nettie came out of the kitchen and, after she startled him, told him to leave and let her get back to her work. Reaching into a laundry bag, Nettie pulled out Jack’s costume, which reeked of swamp water, and offered to make him a new one, while Jack suggested that she burn the old one.

The Death Runners

Run For Your Death

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Sickened with the drug trade in high schools, Jack Boniface donned his Shadowman outfit and stalked a drug pusher. Leaping after the dealer, Jack pushed him through a restaurant’s glass window and proceeded to beat him up in front of the patrons for selling crack to school kids. Assuring a frightened woman that he was not a terrorist but the king of shadows, Jack rushed off feeling exhilarated.

Later that night at a posh restaurant, Eric, a stockbroker out having dinner with his wife Sherry and Jeffrey, a client, suddenly stood up and, compelled by excruciating pain, ran out while shouting to an unseen individual who promised him success and money that he was afraid. As blood poured out of every crevice in Eric’s face, he ran into the St. Louis No. 1 cemetery, where his pain subsided and he beat himself to death with a headstone while exclaiming that the blood was the life.

The next morning, Jack awoke an hour before a session feeling in pain from a couple of hits that the pusher landed on his face that he did not feel. Staring at his reflection on the mirror, Jack barely recognized his face and sarcastically thanked Shadowman, then, battered and bruised, he got in his car and left lamenting that he no longer had time to play after dark, and musing that he had to rethink his plans.

Meanwhile, Devon, a tour guide from the voodoo museum took a group of tourists to the St. Louis No. 1 cemetery, where while he showed them the tomb of Marie Leveaux, the original Voodoo Queen, they came across Eric’s bloody corpse sticking out of an open tomb.

That morning, Jack recorded a jazz session with Margo and Marty, who noticed was taking drugs again after being clean for a month, a sight that stirred his hatred of pushers. After the session, Marty asked Jack if he was on drugs, a question that made Jack realize that Shadowman was like riding a nighttime high. As Jack went home, certain that Shadowman was a good thing because he went after the same pushers that preyed on people like Marty, he told himself that he could stop any time he wanted since he was in control.

That night, Jack sat in his apartment playing his saxophone in the dark, and, certain that he was in control of his urges to go out as Shadowman, mused that he was a moderately successful musician who wrote awesome music and would have a hit soon because Elya told him that he would die in seven years. Dismissing Elya’s caution as craziness from another reality, Jack played his sax louder and told himself that he would not die if he stopped going out and just stayed there as Jack playing blues in the night.

No matter how much Jack tried to rid himself of those feelings, within an hour he stood on a rooftop garbed as Shadowman and mused that when Jack died he would die as well while the parasites, pushers, and muggers that were killing innocent people would be out there unless he took them out that night. Leaping across the rooftops, over the heads of tourists whom he pondered ignored what it was like to be out in the dark, Jack reached Marty’s home and waited for him to come out and lead him to his drug connection.

Later that night, Devon tried to convince Mike, the museum’s curator, to let him take pictures of where he found Eric’s body, but Mike persist on him that he not get obsessed with voodoo and not go to St. Louis One. Nonetheless, Devon snuck into the cemetery, where he saw as Marty, Jeffrey, and Bob dug out a corpse where Eric bled out because Clemenceau told them to do so. While Jeffrey and the others discussed that Clemenceau would give them what he promised them in exchange for the dirt Eric bled on and the bones buried beneath it, Devon hid behind a tomb and took pictures of what they were doing, unaware that Jack was watching them. Confused by the lack of security at the cemetery, Jack wondered what Marty and the others were doing there, when then Devon unintentionally alerted them to his presence. While Jeffrey and Bob went after Devon, Jack opted to follow Marty as he ran away with the bones to find his pusher.

Catching up to Marty, Jack thought it was strange that he was not as afraid of him like most, as if he was more terrified of someone else, when then he called Marty by name when he warned him that he could not run from him and accidentally exposed his identity. Condemning himself for making that mistake, Jack heard Devon scream for help, so he rushed to aid him and Marty ran away.

Leaping over the tombs, Jack assaulted Bob and Jeffrey while Devon hid behind a crypt. Though Jack beat up Bob and Jeffrey, they kept coming and he wondered why, when then Bob fled even though he knew it would cost him his life while Jeffrey chose to kill himself rather than reveal who Clemenceau was. Looming over Jeffrey’s body, Jack wondered whom he served and what he was afraid of. Assuring Devon that everything was over, Jack asked him to develop the pictures and told him that he would find him later.

In an empty parking lot later that night, Marty delivered the bones and dirt to Clemenceau, who told him to place them in the trunk of a car where he had stuck Bob’s body. As Marty left with his reward, Clemenceau turned to an unseen individual inside a limousine, who told him that Marty would lead them to Jack, who he wished to learn more about before he killed him.

The next morning, after Jack canceled a recording session due to a busted lip, he mused to himself in a short song that Shadowman would have to learn to be more careful if Jack Boniface was to survive.

Death and Resurrection

On an otherwise average Thursday evening in the park, Ernest, a hot dog vendor, toppled his cart and ran off while blood poured out of every crevice on his face shouting that his time had come and he was on his way to the glory land. Rushing past everyone, Ernest ran into the church singing “When the Saints Go Marching In” and collapsed in the middle of the altar as his face exploded. The next day, the dark man in Clemenceau’s limousine read in the paper about the five deaths that the press dubbed Death Runners and mused that when twenty and seven, three times three times three, had run their course his spell would be wound up.

That night, Jack Boniface visited Devon at his house to inquire about the photographs he took at the cemetery. While reviewed the photos, which were terribly out of focus and underexposed, and chastising Devon for developing them at a pharmacy after all they went through, Jack noticed a figure in the dark standing on top of a tomb watching Marty and the others dig out the bones. Intrigued by the shadow's identity, Jack left with the photos while Devon asked him who he was and why he wore a mask to no avail.

Later that night, Jack performed at a nightclub for an audience of mostly tourists, when he felt the urge to let Shadowman out, but instead of donning the mask, he put the action into his music. Pushing every thought of Marty and the Death Runners out of his head, Jack performed a solo unlike any he had before, and when he was done he stood on stage expecting the audience to applaud him, but instead there was only dead silence. Hearing other call his performance too Avant-garde, Jack mused that his Shadow music would not go down with the tourist trade. Later, Jack into Marty and futilely tried to convince him that he was not Shadowman, then, as Marty asked him if he was the vigilante that kept beating up pushers and assumed that he was on drugs, Jack got the idea to pretend that he was a junkie so Marty would take him to meet his connection.

The next morning, Jack, who lost track of the days of the week after keeping too many late hours, studied the photos some more and wondered if the dark figure was Marty's connection and the reason why Jeffrey and Bob were willing to kill Devon for them and die rather than let him capture them. Staring at the picture, which gave him the chills, Jack mused that while it was not so bad if the shadow scared him it also gave Shadowman the chills, which that was not supposed to happen.

That night, as Jack accompanied Marty to meet his connection, a commitment he felt was Shadowman's gig, he did not feel right without his mask. Assuring Marty that he trusted him, Jack expressed qualms about his dealer and asked him who he was and where they were going, but Marty just told him to have faith. When Marty asked him who he was without the mask, Jack told him that he did not know what he was talking about, as even though he wanted to ask him what was going on he could not do it without giving himself away.

At a warehouse that Jack gladly figured was a trap as he was tired of pretending, he met Clemenceau, who he noticed Marty was afraid of and was too big to be the silhouette in the photo. As 20 armed men and women stepped into the light and Jack realized that he had definitely fallen into a trap, Marty begged Clemenceau for a fix, when then the dark figure from the photo told him not to beg because it offended him, and that he would have what he chose to give when he chose to give it. While Jack demanded that the man tell him who he was, the dark figure told Clemenceau to kill Jack because he wanted to see if he could do it.

As the thugs came after him, Jack fought them to get to the dark figure, which he assumed they feared more than they did him. Certain that it would be better if he had his mask or if it was dark, Jack shattered a light bulb, but while the darkness frightened the thugs they were still too many to get through, so he ran away and made them go after him. While Jack ran through the streets, Clemenceau chased him with his car and ran over his own men at the behest of the dark figure, who promised him glory beyond his capacity for imagining.

Leading Clemenceau across the block, Jack wanted to capture him to find out what everything was about, so he allowed Clemenceau to hit him, but as he fell on the hood of the car Jack noticed that Clemenceau was a Death Rnner and could not tell him anything. Running away from Clemenceau, Jack made him follow him and fooled him into crashing with a fuel truck, which exploded upon impact.

Later, outside the voodoo museum, Jack dropped in on Devon as Shadowman to warn him that there were evil individuals that were trying to get him who he thought might go after him, when then Devon asked him about his haircut and he noticed that someone had cut off a hank of his hair. Concerned, Devon took Jack inside and showed him a portrait of Doctor John, a powerful voodoo priest who had the power to cure, make one come long distances when he called, and make them turn sick and die. Though Devon warned him that people like Dr. John and Marie Leveaux could make one do things they did not want to like die without being touched using scraps of clothing, nail parings, or hanks of hair, Jack disbelieved voodoo, hoodoo, and juju.

At the warehouse, Marty and others laid out Clemenceau’s corpse on a table while a girl gave the dark man the hank of hair she cut off Jack's head in the struggle. Elucidating that in life Clemenceau served him as well as he could while in death he would be his perfectly, the dark man poured a handful of the dirt that Marty dug up on Clemenceau and slit the girl's throat to cover him in her blood. Looming over Clemenceau, the dark man told him that while in life he felt too strongly for his fellow men, had doubts, felt pity, and was too timid, in death he would cease to falter, hesitate, fear, or hurt, then he ordered him to rise and Clemenceau stood up.

On Death And The Undying

On the early morning of September 9th, Jack Boniface witnessed as three thugs tore a girl from her mothers' arms and, appalled, leapt after them to tear their arms off, but, though he exhibited para–human speed, two thugs pinned him down while the third one absconded with the girl. After beating up the thugs, Jack padded one of them down and found Emil Sosa’s card in his pocket. As the cops arrived and dawn broke, Jack went back home, where he collapsed on his bed feeling disheartened by the day’s date, which reminded him that in seven years hence he would be dead, while men like Emil Sosa would still stink up the Big Easy.

Meanwhile, at the old Trinity church in Storyville, where Emil Sosa hid his victims, the thug arrived with the little girl and informed his boss of Shadowman’s interference. Although the thug assured Sosa that he took a circuitous route to ensure that he was not followed his underrating of Shadowman’s abilities infuriated Sosa, who sucked the man's soul right in front of the children. Looming over the girl, Sosa told her not to fear him and that he would take care of her from the bad people that wanted to hurt her, like Shadowman. Assuring the tearful children that Shadowman would never find them there, Sosa told them that the church was their new home, and that as long as they obeyed him he would protect them from the creatures of the night.

That morning, Jack recorded a session with Cori’s band, but was unable to perform well due to a stiff lip. When Cori asked him if he wanted to talk about it, Jack said that there was nothing to talk about and rudely told her to keep playing because he had serious stuff to do that night, which made her think he was holding out on them to play with another band. Upset by the accusation, Jack left in a huff.

That night, after donning his Shadowman gear, Jack went to look for the girl at Sosa’s plantation, and as he crawled across the outer wall of the estate, he bemoaned the way he treated Cori, who had been like a sister to him since high school. Immediately, Jack noticed that Sosa had increased the security around his plantation, but, undeterred, he dispatched the perimeter guards and made his way to the main house. Unfortunately, Jack stepped on a pressure–sensitive plate that activated a reflector light that was as bright as daylight and alerted Sosa to his presence. Unable to battle the light and Sosa’s goons, Jack ran, but he vowed to return for the kids.

The next day, Jack skeptically visited Jeremiah Dimanche, a master of the psychic realm who Nettie told him would help him find the children. Though Jack did not consider it necessary, he let Dimanche give him a Tarot reading in which he told him of a young boy oblivious of the true workings of the world who acquired unique abilities that allowed him to see and feel things different from other folk. As Dimanche told Jack that an evil man had crossed the troubled boy, for whom things were not going well, he said that the boy thought he could bargain with the reaper if he performed a good deed and dealt with the angels to beat a devil. Confused, Jack could not tell if Dimanche was talking about the kids or him, when then he told him that those he sought where not where he thought and gave him a tarot card that showed their true location. As Jack left, Dimanche startlingly called him by his last name and urged him to accept his fate.

That evening Jack laid on his couch distressed over the realization that within seven years he would die, and as he stared at a missing poster of the girl and a calendar he kept telling himself that he did not want to die. As Jack moaned that no matter what choices he made it was as if he could never change the course his life was taking, and how guys like Sosa prayed on the innocent while he would be snuffed out, he looked at the card Dimanche gave him and recognized the Trinity church pictured on it. After he tipped the cops anonymously, Jack donned his Shadowman gear once again and went back to Sosa's plantation.

Certain that he would not die for another seven years, Jack fell on Sosa's plantation from his escape helicopter in a kamikaze suicide stunt, then, after he dispatched Raoul and Abdul, two guards, he tossed Abdul into Sosa's study to frighten him. While Sosa's guards shot Abdul, Jack jumped through another window wearing Raoul’s jacket, then, while the guards shot the real Raoul, Jack set fire to the office.

While the house burned around them and Sosa's employees fled, Jack dispatched the last guards and focused his attention on Sosa, who was too fast and too strong for him and grabbed him despite his attempts to avoid his reach. Worried that Sosa would drain his soul, Jack pushed both of them off into the living room and they fell through the floor into the cellar, where he pushed Sosa into a natural gas tank that exploded upon impact. Thrown to safety, Jack laid on the ground laughing through a broken rib that he was pushing his suicide ride.

The next day, Dimanche read about the dissolution of Sosa’s kidnapping ring in the paper and mused that he should tell Jack that perhaps his new fearlessness was unfounded, as a man could never know the moment of his death because the fates were fickle and the future was never certain until it became the present. Dimanche then thought that Jack's world was much darker than his tiny senses told him.

Darque

Darquesplit

While brawling on a rooftop with two burglars who were stealing trash to buy dope, Jack Boniface mused that he should be grateful that they were not fanatic madmen trying to run him down. Looming over a burglar that he tossed on a passing truck, Jack reminded himself in the third person that he arranged to meet Margo for at midnight and wondered what made him think she was more important than what he was doing. As Jack ran to his car, he told himself that the night belonged to him and asked if he really thought he would go away so he could satisfy his needs, then he told himself that he could take off the outfit but he would be there with him.

The next morning, Jack asked himself what he was turning into while he mused over the burglar he tossed off the roof and what he did with Margo. As Margo called him back to bed, Jack apologized to her for his being rough, and though she assured him that she liked it and that they did not do anything she did not want to, he told her that the man she slept with was not him, which made her feel like she did something wrong. Minutes later, as Jack apologized to Margo for making her feel bad and blamed himself for what happened, she told him to call her sometime and he left. As Jack mused that he liked what they did, and again asked himself what he was turning into, he sensed someone running toward him, and when he turned around to confront them Clemenceau knocked him out with one punch and tossed him into a van that Marty was driving.

Elsewhere, Sandria Darque asked her brother if he was convinced that the proper course of action was to steal the life force of those who willingly died for him, then, she reminded him that since they were children they had never done more than raise themselves above the ground and asked him what made him sure things would be different. Reminding Sandria that months earlier a surge of energy revealed a convergence of times and places that hinted at men with God–like power, Darque said that with each death his power grew, then he told her that the world had sullied itself through complacency and it was his destiny to cleanse it with evil. Confessing that she could never stop him, but that if she did not believe in what he was doing she might try to hold him in check, Sandria urged Darque to be careful, as neither the world, nor them, would ever be the same if he went on. Warning Sandria that it could not be helped, Darque relished in the discovery that with each death a new power revealed itself, and wondered what secrets Shadowman’s death would unveil.

Awakening inside the van, Jack could not believe that Clemenceau, who he saw die, punched him out, when then he saw his gear next to him and wondered if they had hurt Nettie. Donning his mask, Jack made himself make it be night in his head to escape, then, after the van stopped and Clemenceau opened the doors, he leapt out, but Clemenceau subdued him and took him inside Master Darque’s manor.

After Clemenceau tossed him on the floor next to Darque, who was pleased to hear that he put up a fight as he expected, Jack asked Darque who he was, but Darque told him to be quiet and healed his wounds with a touch from his hand. As Darque asked him if he knew what he was and what happened to him at night Jack thought that he could kill Marty for discovering his identity, a sentiment Darque sensed disturbed him, so he ordered Marty to die for them to alleviate Jack’s fears. Astonished by Darque’s sway over Marty, Jack stood up and Darque showed him a voodoo doll that one of his disciples made out of his hair and a scrap of costume that she said would place him in thrall to him, a trick Jack refused to believe in.

Pleased, as it was better that Jack went to him to discover his own power, Darque told Jack to think of his deepest desire, and the thought that he wanted his music to shine popped in Jack’s head. As Darque promised him to make it his if he served him, Jack asked him if he promised Marty the same, so Darque assured him that Marty died only because he desired to do so and told him that he only needed to do what he desired to do. Revealing his name, Darque urged Jack to join him of his own free will and serve him because he wished it, but Jack refused, so Darque burned the voodoo doll and told Jack to sleep because he desired it.

As night fell and Jack woke up, he damned his weaknesses and told himself in the third person that if it were not for him he would have given in to Darque, which he suspected he had. Noticing Clemenceau, Jack mused that Darque wanted to see if he could get by him, so, equally curious, he donned his mask and attacked him. While Jack boldly mocked Clemenceau, he saw Darque under a doorway and asked him if he took pleasure in watching him, but then Clemenceau grabbed him and tossed him aside. As Darque told Jack that his death and victory would both give him power, but his devotion would please him most, he taunted him with a list of his powers, which reminded Jack of ‘the Seventh Son’, a song that gave him the strength to break free.

Using a broken table leg, Jack beat up Clemenceau and ripped the head off his shoulders, but then he smelled smoke coming from outside the room and realized that Darque had set the manor ablaze. As Jack leapt out the window, he wondered what Darque was after, why he thought he was giving him exactly what he wanted, and who Sandria was, then, as he stood up, unaware that Sandria and Darque were watching him, Clemenceau ran towards him and collapsed at his feet as the flames consumed him. Staring into the flames, Jack wondered in the third person what he had done, and if Darque now owned him.

The Day Of Your Death

While Jack Boniface stood over Clemenceau’s remains on the edge of the burning manor, sirens alerted him to the arrival of the fire department and he ran before they spotted him. Determined to find out whom Darque was, Jack damned himself in the third person for letting him get into his head and vowed to make him pay.

After sundown, Jack went back to the Voodoo museum and asked Devon if he recognized Darque in a blowup of the picture that he took. Surprised that he took a picture of Darque, Devon showed Jack an old painting of Marie Leveaux made in 1867 that portrayed Darque in the background, and though it did not make sense, Jack accepted it as true. When Devon showed him pictures of Darque and Sandria in a garden party in 1894 and on Mardi Gras in 1967, Jack, who was curious to learn Sandria’s identity, went to see Emilie N’Dour, who when she greeted him by name he warned her not to call him Jack because the last person who knew him had died. When Jack showed Emilie a picture of Darque and Sandria, she told Jack that they died in 1977 and asked him if he had seen them lately. When Jack told Emilie that he saw them very much alive the day before, she asked him to go with her to the cemetery to find out who was in Darque’s crypt.

The next morning, Jack received a call from a promoter who heard him play a week earlier that offered him a contract for $25,000 and to get a pirate tape of him playing a club date on the air. Recalling Darque’s promise of success if he became his disciple, Jack could not remember if he agreed and wondered what was going on.

At dinner, Jack found it hard to believe that a producer asked Margo to play keyboards with Clapton and that Scott and Barbara made millions off a stock tip for a new company that went public two days earlier. As Jack took Margo home, he dismissed the notion that she and Scott sold their souls to Darque, but then she ran off like a Death Runner. Hoping that he could save her, Jack grabbed Margo, but she was too strong and escaped. As the sun went down and Jack felt Shadowman come out, he grabbed Margo, but as he held her, her head exploded while Darque watched from under an archway. Enraged, Jack demanded that Darque bring Margo back, but, as Darque confessed that he enjoyed Jack’ anguish, he used the energy he consumed from Margo’s death and flew away. Upset, Jack yelled at Darque, but then he told himself to go home and get his mask.

Donning a new costume that Nettie made for him, Jack met up with Devon and Emilie at the cemetery, where, as they opened Darque’s crypt, Emilie said that Darque and Sandria died in an auto accident in 1977. While Emilie said that some people claimed that Darque and Sandria, who dabbed in everything occult, had been around for a long time, she thought that they were alive and that she knew how to stop them, Jack opened the tomb and uncovered Paul N'Dour's reanimated corpse inside it. Though Jack warned Emilie that Darque had reanimated Paul’s corpse, she ignored reason and ran away with him. Hesitant to harm Paul, who had been a good man, Jack nevertheless went after them, when, then, Sandria Darque came out from behind a crypt and told him to remember the day of his death, a riddle she left him to ponder as she vanished in the dark.

At Darque’s sanctum sanctorum, as Darque told Sandria that when seven more died it would be time for the ceremony and the power would be his to keep, he asked her if she would try to stop him and she told him that she would do what she chooses to do as always. Surmising that Sandria would try to use the Shadowman against him, Darque mused that if Shadowman died he would become powerful beyond imagining, while if he lived, life would be infinitely more fascinating.

The next morning, as Jack played his saxophone in his apartment and pondered the riddle, he wondered if he sold his soul to Darque, whose promise to make his deepest desire to make his music shine had not happened yet. An hour later, however, as Jack strolled down the street wondering if Sandria wanted to help him or was trying to set him up, he heard his song playing in a radio, and, while he was initially ecstatic, he suddenly felt great pain and the urge to run and die just like the Death Runners whose souls belonged to Darque.

Dark Rapture

As Master Darque lost himself in the sublime effect of the energy he absorbed from Jack Boniface, who had begun his death run, he told Sandria that if Jack were to die he would come to own the ecstasy of his unique energy, while if he were to live he would ignite a spark of interest in his tedious existence. Eager for the deaths of nine more runners to occur before his rebirth within three days, Darque said that Jack had willed himself to him and they were lovers in death, which meant that so devoted a follower would not fail him.

As Jack Boniface ran through the streets yelling that he had to die, he mused over how all that he cared about was playing his music until he became Shadowman and met Darque, who promised to make him a success if he pleaded him his life, which, when he heard his music on the radio, he assumed he had done. Realizing that Darque was too strong for him and certain that his death would make him stronger, Jack tried to stop, but the urge to run was too strong and he felt as everything that he ever loved left him. Remembering Elya, who told him that he would not die until 1999, Jack solved Sandria’s riddle and escaped Darque’s hold on his soul.

Standing over her brother after he fell when Jack severed their link, Sandria warned him that Jack decided not to die that day and that she would oppose his quest for ultimate power. Reminding Darque that they had both spent several lifetimes studying the arcane, Sandria asked why he used his knowledge to exert his will and he told her that he did it because it amused him and he could. Donning a robe, Darque told Sandria that within three nights, when he would celebrate his meeting in the air, neither Shadowman nor Jack would matter, and that he would no longer absorb energy, as it would emanate from him. As Darque walked away, Sandria warned him one last time not to seek the universe for power, but he dismissed her.

Tired of being Shadowman, Jack decided to leave town and listen to his song while he wondered why he was alive, when then Nettie warned him that there were dark forces at work that he was the only one who could do something about and that they had not made him Shadowman to have him leave when things went poorly. Surprised by Nettie’s statement, Jack asked her what she meant and what she knew about Darque, but Nettie claimed that she did not know anything, except that there were bad things going on that he had to stop. As Nettie told him to do what he believed was right before she left, Jack accepted that he had to stop Darque.

As night fell and Shadowman took control, he dismissed Nettie and Jack’s wishes and went to see Scott, who reverted to the Dead Head personality of his youth and told him that he knew he made a deal with Darque like Margo and him and asked him if he wanted to go with him to the meeting in the air. After agreeing to go with Scott, Shadowman mused that he should be one of them and be dead, then, as he got into his car, he donned his mask and wondered if he was putting it on because it made him feel less like Jack.

While Shadowman wondered if the meeting in the air was where everything led to and how Darque let his followers know they had to death run, he almost ran over Paul N'Dour, who came out of the bayou and told him that he needed his help to end his life. Though Emilie and Devon pleaded with him to do as Paul said, Shadowman refused and told Paul to do it himself, so Emilie explained that Paul could not end his own life and told Shadowman that she could not kill him because she loved him too much. When Paul offered to tell him many things about Darque if he would help, Shadowman agreed, then, after Paul told him that 24 people had died to give Darque power that would be unlimited if three more died the next night, Shadowman lit him on fire and watched him burn alongside Emilie and Devon.

The next night, Shadowman went with Scott to the bayou on a rented boat they rowed to the giant cypress tree where he found the doorway to the Lost Land and lost Elya. As Shadowman mused that all paths led him to that place and recalled Paul’s warning that Darque had until midnight to complete his ceremony and become a God, he noticed hundreds of Darque’s followers waiting for something to happen on boats all around them.

As Shadowman watched while Darque flew over his followers and told them that the hour had arrived for him to give the world a new beginning with the life energy that they had freely offered of their own wills, Sandria appeared on his boat and asked him if he had his mask because she liked him better with it. When Darque raised his followers and said that his energy would seek out the ones who offered themselves with the purest zeal, Shadowman watched in disgust as one of them allowed Darque to kill him just as Jack would have done. While Darque sought out another zealot, Sandria told Shadowman that a portal existed there that led to worlds without end and that if the last death occurred at midnight her brother would gain access to that entryway. Assuring him that she had seen to it that her brother did not know he was there, Sandria told Shadowman that Darque would feel out his singular energy and reach out to his vessel for the final sacrifice before she left.

As Darque’s energy enveloped Scott, Shadowman pushed him aside and then ran across the energy bridge to tackle Darque, who cursed Sandria for blocking him from recognizing Jack and leading him to his energy. Wrapping his arms around Darque, Shadowman prevented him from concentrating and sought a follower, but after the portal closed, Darque pushed Shadowman off him and drained the energy of all his hundreds, which he claimed would sustain his power for years to come.

Rising from the water after Darque flew away, Shadowman wondered if maybe he could have gone back to find Elya if he had allowed him to open the Unity portal, but he quickly dismissed the notion. As he swam to shore, Shadowman found Scott lying on the ground still alive, when then he noticed Sandria watching him and demanded that she tell him what she was. As Sandria vanished without a word, she left Shadowman to wonder if she had been real or an illusion.

Interlude I

To Die Upon A Kiss

Late one evening in New Orleans, a masked killer known as “the Slasher” dragged an innocent woman into an alley and killed her while he recited a passage from William Shakespeare’s Othello.

Late one night at the Blackman Community Theater, Jack Boniface attended a rehearsal of Othello performed by Evans Devereaux, a friend that he had not seen very much of since his transformation into Shadowman. After the rehearsal, Jack and Evans’ wife, Dominique Devereaux, congratulated Evans and agreed to wait for him at O’Brien’s for drinks while he changed, and as they left, Evans asked Jack to keep a close eye on Dominique because he was worried about a lunatic that was running around slashing women.

On their way to the bar, Jack went with Dominique to buy cigarettes and she blatantly came on to him, which left him at a loss for words, when then they saw a crowd gathered around a murder scene where someone had found the slasher’s third victim. While Jack held a terrified Dominique, Evans came rushing toward them and suggested that under the circumstances it would be best if they just went home. After Evans and Dominique left, Shadowman went in search of the psychotic slasher that had been randomly killing innocent women. Upset by the lack of pattern and leads, Shadowman considered the slasher’s acts an invasion into his night.

A week later, after the opening of Evans’ play Dominique invited Jack to the premiere party on the Princess Lily, a gambling boat, and, since there had been no signs of the slasher and he refused to let Shadowman run his life, he agreed to attend. During the party, Jack witnessed Dominique unashamedly flirt with a man called Isaac and saw Evans crash into a waiter as he walked away in a huff. While Evans went to the bathroom to clean up, Dominique left to rendezvous with Isaac, so Jack went after her to keep her safe.

As he donned his mask, Jack mused that no matter how hard he tried there was no escaping from Shadowman, but he concluded that it was just as well since the night belonged to him. Standing on the harbor, Shadowman saw Isaac return to the party alone and wondered where Dominique was, when then he heard a scream and followed it to the docks, where he saw the Slasher reciting a passage from Othello over Dominique’s corpse. Enraged, Shadowman attacked the Slasher, who, after a brief scuffle escaped. Cursing himself for failing Dominique, Shadowman kneeled beside her body and vowed to stop the Slasher. When Jack returned to the boat, he saw Evans come out of the bathroom and, with a heavy heart, told him that Dominique was dead.

At Dominique’s funeral, Evans raged that he wanted the Slasher caught and Jack told him that the night had a way to take care of its own to console him. That night, after Shadowman stopped the Slasher from killing a woman, the Slasher repeated what Jack told Evans during their scuffle as he slashed him across the belly. While the Slasher ran from the police sirens, Shadowman realized his true identity.

At midnight, Shadowman found the Slasher in the upper levels of the theater after he removed his mask and stood revealed to be Evans. When Shadowman asked him why he killed Dominique, Evans told him that she was the only one he wanted dead and the others were red herrings to make the police think there was a psycho on the loose. Accusing Dominique of being Desdemona to his Othello, Evans ran away, but Shadowman chased him and they fell on the stage. As Evans begged Shadowman to kill him, he refused, as he wanted to see him rot in jail the rest of his miserable life. Unwilling to be punished for what he had done, Evans killed himself with his own knife, and as he bled out, Shadowman could only watch in anger as the life drained out of him and muse that in the morning Jack would cry.

Road Trip

Crosses

Leaving New Orleans, Jack made his way to Alabama to play in a roadhouse. On his way into Burlingame, he came upon a forest of crosses marked with fundamentalist warnings against sinning. Meeting Virgil, the man who put the crosses up after a drunken driver killed his family, Jack became worried over his claim that demons came every night to burn his forest. After finishing his set at the roadhouse, Jack asked Avery, the bartender about Virgil to learn who was tormenting him. Though helpful at first, Avery clamped up when David "Dave" Stebbins and his biker gang arrived. Wary of Dave, Jack donned his mask and returned to Virgil’s house, where sure enough bikers in Halloween masks were setting his crosses ablaze. Forced to choose between saving Virgil from the fire and stopping the bikers, Shadowman chose to help the old man and let the bikers go.

The next day, Jack reported the incident to the sheriff, who happened to be Dave’s uncle. While Jack packed his things, Dave stopped him and beat him into unconsciousness. When Jack awoke, he found Avery next to him. Hurt, Jack leaned on Avery, who asked him to help her leave town. That night, Dave and his pals returned to Avery’s place to terrorize him. Attacking from the shadows, Shadowman incapacitated the bikers until Dave was the only one left. Standing up to him, Shadowman got a few punches in before Dave beat him down. Fighting against passing out, Shadowman summed up strength he did not know he had and knocked Dave off his feet. Just then, Virgil fired a warning shot that stopped Shadowman from killing Dave, who he recognized as the son of the man who killed his family. The next day, Jack and Avery left town.

April Visions

While cruising through Indiana thinking of where he got the boost of strength he used to defeat Dave, Jack picked up R.L. McNeeley, a hitchhiker, on his bike. As RL placed his hands on Jack’s waist, Elya suddenly swooped down on her pterosaur asking Jack why she left her behind. Startled, Jack slid off the road and the two of them fell off the bike. As RL let go of Jack, Elya vanished. Getting back on the bike, RL explained that he possessed the ability to bring people’s memories to life and allow people to see them as long as he was around. Stopping for coffee, RL touched Turok as he walked by to gave Jack a display of his ability. Turning toward the kitchen door’s, Jack saw Mothergod walk out into the restaurant and then vanish five second later. That night at a bar, while Jack played with the house band, RL touched a girl in the bar on a lark and manifested an apparition of her jealous husband, which led to an all–out brawl that enraged Jack. As the cops arrived, Jack donned his mask and pulled RL on the back of his motorcycle and they drove away to Nebraska.

Arriving in Carhenge, RL took Jack to a monument built using old cars in a prairie where he could use his ability to summon the memories of the land itself. Pushing his hands on the ground, RL manifested a vision of Wild Bill Hickok that shot Shadowman in the chest. As the vision vanished, Shadowman, enthralled by an adrenaline rush, urged RL to summon cowboys and Indians for him to fight, but the Indian that showed up refused to involve himself in Jack’s white man games and vanished. Insisting on trying again, Shadowman told RL to use his ability to manifest the prairie’s memory of himself so he could see who would show up, Jack or Shadowman.

Doing as asked, RL manifested a distorted doppelganger of Shadowman garbed in his original blue suit. Fighting his double, Shadowman removed the doppelganger’s mask to see who was underneath it, but he found nothing but blackness behind the disguise. As the doppelganger drained Shadowman’s energies, he recalled his encounter with Lydia, whose bite hurt as badly as the doppelganger energy drain. When the police surrounded the monument, RL conjured a vision of mammoths he and Shadowman used to escape.

A Bite Of The Apple

After wrapping a set in a club in New York City, Jack saw someone steal his bike and donned his Shadowman gear to go after him, but when he finally caught the thief the cops arrested him for beating up drug pushers. At the precinct, Jack escaped the cops, but then he heard a woman call his name and when he turned around he saw Carmen Ruiz, who took him to a room where he met her husband, Hwen Mirage. Hwen and Carmen told Jack that they were parapsychologists who figured out who he was due to similarities with incidents involving pushers in both New Orleans and New York City.

In exchange for his help in flushing out Big Jim McConnel, a man responsible for running the criminal activity in Hell’s Kitchen who they also claimed stole motorcycles, the Mirage offered Jack to have the cops clear all records of the incident in Nebraska. Accepting the Mirage’s offer only because he believed that Big Jim had his bike, Jack left the precinct. Coming out of the subway, Jack saw the man on his bike and chased him atop a taxi, but when the cab ran over a pothole he fell off and the thief got away.

Three nights later, Shadowman found Avery turning tricks for Big Jim. Unaware that Jim’s men, as well as Carmen, were following him, Shadowman told Avery to take him to Big Jim. Avery took Jack to a boarded up brownstone where Big Jim had laid a trap for him. Leaping off the floor, Shadowman shattered the lights. Covered by shadows, Carmen helped Shadowman dispatch Big Jim’s men. Furious, Big Jim lunged against Shadowman, who jumped out of his way. Crashing against a boarded up window, Big Jim fell on a police car and the cops arrested him. Turning back, Shadowman saw Carmen under the light of the moon. Going back in as the Mirage congratulated him for his assistance in flushing out Big Jim, Shadowman figured out that they lied about Big Jim having his bike. As Hwen assured Jack that the cops in Nebraska would drop the charges against him, Carmen urged him to leave NYC. Furious with Avery, Jack walked out on her.

Going outside, Jack saw the thief ride by with his bike. Chasing him, Jack turned a corner in time to see his bike crash on a building. Calling Jack’s attention, the thief removed her helmet and revealed that she was Sandria Darque, who told Jack that she missed him and that it was time for him to return to New Orleans. As Sandria vanished in the shadows, Jack clenched his teeth and decided to return home.

Convergence

Surrounded by the Coven, Nettie performed a summoning spell to bring Jack back to New Orleans and call Armstrong, the finest person she had ever known, to set Jack back on track. Accidentally, Nettie’s spell also touched Darque’s mind and he became aware of Aram’s imminent arrival and Jack’s return.

Upon their arrival, Aram took Archer to a strip club where two Aryans hassled them and took Aram’s hat. At the same time, Shadowman was grilling a pusher into revealing the name of his supplier. Enraged, Aram punched the Aryans out of the club, when then, compelled by Nettie’s spell, he picked Archer under his arm and followed Nettie’s summons straight through Shadowman, who stayed to deal with the Neo Nazis.

Compelled by Nettie’s spell, Shadowman and Aram & Archer made their way to the Mardi Gras float barns, where Archer recognized Shadowman from Unity and a fight ensued that Aram quickly brought to an end. Just then, Master Darque made his presence known. Though Shadowman accused him of being responsible for bringing them there, Darque denied it and said that he was following the same calling they were. Mocking Darque, who he had met 150 years earlier, Aram incessantly referred to him as Pinky, until Darque, fed up with him, lit Aram on fire and took his leave of them. As the flames spread, Shadowman tried to help Aram put them out, but he pushed him out of his way and jumped into the river.

Garbed in a tunic with a necklace that bore the same symbol as the one in Shadowman’s uniform, Nettie told Jack that it was time he knew she was more than his housekeeper. Watching Aram and Nettie greet each other as old friends, Jack heard her say that she had turned him into Shadowman to fight Darque, which made him realize that someone he trusted had used him. Explaining that Jack was getting wilder, Nettie asked Aram to help him understand what she had done to him, and then take him to the bayou where she would cleanse him of the mean spirit that had taken over his soul. Agreeing to help so long as Nettie danced one last time for him, Aram took Shadowman to a bar where he told him everything that the Coven had done to him.

The next night at the bayou, while pondering what Aram told him, Shadowman watched a voodoo priestess who Nettie told him would exorcise the demon from his soul dancing with a snake. While wondering what would be left of him after the exorcism, as well as wondering where Nettie was, Shadowman followed the priestess into the bayou to undergo the cleansing ritual, unaware that the Aryans were watching them.

Exorcism

Enthralled by the priestess, Shadowman experienced a stream of consciousness that made him think of Lydia. Just then, the priestess submerged Jack under the water to push him into confronting the evil within his soul. Meanwhile, Neo Nazis sent by Master Darque, who was unable to attend the ceremony without risking losing his power in the presence of the Coven, surrounded the area as they prepared to kill Shadowman. At St. Louis cemetery, Darque mused on the Coven’s attempt to cleanse Jack of the virus in his veins that blocked his access to the power they granted him. Leaving the cemetery, Darque ominously told Sandria that the Coven ignored just how powerful Jack would become due to the changes experienced by the universe in the last year.

In the bayou, the Aryans’ launched a Blitzkrieg with a first shot that hit the priestess. Running to her, Aram revealed the priestess was Nettie, who had used her mojo to restore her youth in a bid to hide the priestess’ true identity. While Aram took Nettie away, Archer dispatched the Aryans with his crossbow. Meanwhile, as Jack fell deeper into the bayou, he breath in the water into his lungs and recalled the night Lydia bit him. Running to the bayou, Archer pulled Shadowman while Aram scared the Aryans away. Filled with adrenaline caused by the virus, Shadowman went after a truck filled with Neo Nazis that fell off a cliff and killed everyone in it. Too tired to look for the others, Shadowman went to Devon’s house and crashed in his couch.

The next night, Jack awoke to find that Devon had told the others were he was. Though he no longer trusted Nettie, Jack agreed to go with Aram & Archer to find the Aryan’s leader, Leland Paige, an eminent politician.

At Paige’s residence, while Aram mockingly destroyed Leland’s Benz, Jack pondered how everyone he knew expected him to save New Orleans’ virtue. At odds with his feelings over Nettie’s betrayal, Jack wondered why he was there with Aram & Archer if he did not believe in what they were doing.

Sitting on a rooftop drinking beer, Aram counseled Jack through his feelings of distrust and asked him to consider that maybe being Shadowman and stopping Darque was his destiny, a notion that he found to be very unpleasant. Watching the sunset, Aram commented on the city’s beauty and his desire that Darque not take control of it, to which Jack replied that he hoped that someone who actually wanted the job would stop him.

Interlude II

Darque Desires

After security chased him off a concert arena, Herbert “Moondance” Kramer, a fan obsessed with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, came across Master Darque, who offered to grant him his darkness desires in exchange for his blind obedience. Sometime later, inside the arena, after a mike check jamming session with Jack Boniface, Steven returned to his dressing room where he caught Herbert stealing his tights. Crazed, Herbert demanded that Steven give him a lock of his hair so that the Grand Master could turn him into him. Refusing to oblige his request, Steven punched Herbert, who relentlessly came after him to rip the hair from his head.

Warned of the scuffle by sounds coming from Tyler’s dressing room, Aerosmith and Jack made their way there. Stopped at the door by two walking dead men posing as security, the guys demanded to know what was happening, when then Steven and Herbert came tussling out of the room. Ordering one of the dead men to grab a fan hostage, Herbert traded the woman’s life in exchange for a lock of Steven’s hair. Taking his prize, Herbert let the woman go and escaped with the dead men, while Jack explained what happened to Aerosmith.

While Herbert delivered Steven’s tights and hair to Darque at the Paradiso Theater so he would use them to turn him into Steven Tyler, Jack discovered that his house was burning down. Searching the crowd for Nettie, who he had been avoiding since he discovered that she belonged to the Coven, Jack learned that Darque set the house ablaze. Just then, Darque called Jack on a public phone and told him that there was a quest he wanted him to undertake. Back in the theater, Master Darque created a voodoo doll in Steven Tyler’s likeness that he assured Sandria would work thanks to Herbert’s, Jack’s, and Steven’s shared belief in his power. That night at the concert, Herbert used Darque’s doll to steal Steven’s voice while Steven, compelled by Darque’s hold on him, rushed out of the arena toward the Paradiso Theater. While Aerosmith followed Steven in a fan’s car, Darque contacted Shadowman and threatened to kill Steven unless he served him. Refusing to follow Darque’s whim, Shadowman unsuccessfully tried to stop Steven, who ran inside the theater and saw Herbert on the stage with paint in his face and wearing an outfit that made him look like him. Grabbing Steven by the throat, Herbert tried to kill him to complete Darque’s spell so he would become Steven Tyler.

Rushing the theater, Aerosmith and Shadowman came across the walking dead men, who stood between them and the stage. While Shadowman dispatched the dead men, Steven fought Herbert for control of the doll, which he took off his hand and threw away. Grabbing the doll, Darque called Shadowman to the scaffolding over the stage, where he plunged his nail into it and killed Steven. To save Steven’s life, Shadowman agreed to obey Darque, who brought Steven back to life and sent him away, promising to find him when it was time.

Sins of The Fathers

Waking up from a nightmare about his parents in which his saxophone turned into a snake, Jack left New Orleans and returned to Beauregard at Nettie’s behest to visit his parents, whom he had not seen in four years. At that same moment, Master Darque almost ran over Zach Boniface, Jack's father, while he was on his way home from a bar, and then forced him to take him to a grave that his driver exhumed.

The next day, Jack arrived at his parents’ home, where he met Molly Harper, a nurse in charge of taking care of Sarah, his bedridden mother, who had been suffering from terrible nightmares. Suddenly, Sarah stood up in bed asking God why he had forsaken her while snakes like the one in Jack dream appeared around her feet. Terrified, Molly went to find the sheriff, while Jack helped Sarah off the bed. In a daze, Sarah said that Josiah Torrent could handle the snakes without being bitten, which promoted Zach to say that Josiah was dead. Soon after Molly returned with Melvin Janson, the sheriff, with whom Jack had a history with from when he was a younger. Seeing Jack as nothing more than a troublemaker, the sheriff provoked him into a fight, but Jack ignored his taunts and sassed him back, which enraged him. Pulling Melvin away, Zach took him outside. Meanwhile, the reanimated Josiah Torrent killed Jacob Williams, one of his tormentors.

At the Boniface house, as Zach left with Melvin, Jack asked Sarah who Josiah was, but she refused to say. After Zach showed Melvin Josiah’s empty grave, which he insisted the devil dug up, Melvin took him back to the precinct to force him to remember who the devil was. On their way there they went by Jake’s bar, where after they learned that Josiah had killed Jacob they gathered a posse to kill him like they had 20 years earlier.

Walking into the bar as Shadowman, Jack demanded that Melvin tell him who Josiah was, when just then Josiah threw Tom Behrens through the bar’s window. Looking outside, Jack saw Sarah and Josiah, who Melvin revealed was his real father. Confronting Sarah, Jack learned that before she married Zach she slept with Josiah, which enraged Zach, who got his friends together and buried Josiah alive in an unmarked grave. Reborn as Darque’s prophet, Josiah roamed the Earth seeking vengeance on his tormentors.

Showing himself, Darque threatened to let Josiah kill everyone in town unless Jack bent to his will. Certain that Josiah was just a reanimated corpse Jack killed him, but not before he killed Zach and Melvin. Though Josiah laid defeated, snakes poured out of his mouth and attacked the town’s denizens while Darque’s ghostly voice taunted Jack into serving him, or else he would bring about the town’s destruction. Unable to bare watching Sarah die, Jack yielded to Darque’s will and agreed to do what he asked. In exchange, Darque made it so that nothing happened, except for Zach’s death, a reminder for Jack of what could happen to his mother.

Time Slidin’

Time Slidin’

At Darque’s manor, Jack met Calvin, a homeless man with the unique ability to manipulate time. Harnessing Calvin’s energy, Darque created a temporal portal that he wanted Jack to cross and go anywhen he pleased. Sending Jack on his way, Darque slumbered in mid air in front of the portal. After Calvin told him that to navigate through time he had to focus on someone or something he wanted to see, Jack thought of Elya and jumped into the portal followed by a dark shape he could barely make out.

After a slight detour to the days when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, Jack arrived in 2937, where he found Elya, who was married to a man called Anthor and had two children, with a third on the way. Asking for his help, Elya told Jack about Blister, a commando she eduprogred herself who became a sinister robber killer with a gang of badsides that killed the judge and jury on his trial to escape from being brain–whacked. Leaving with Elya to think of a way to defeat Blister, Jack asked her if he would like him to go back to before she met Anthor so they could be together, but thinking of her children she refused his offer. Just then, Blister’s gang attacked.

As Blister’s gang approached, Elya told Jack that when she trained them she used Shadowman as a symbol to inspire them, so when they went bad they became the Cult of Shadowman. Though Elya urged him to return to his time, Jack fought through the ranks of Blister’s cult until Blister arrived. Riding atop a pterosaurs, Blister shot Jack with an energy weapon that almost vaporized him.

Feeling different ever since he went through the portal, Jack focused on a small speck of darkness within him, a source of power that resided somewhere between Jack and the mask, that made him more powerful and healed him. After Jack knocked Blister out, the time arc appeared and sucked him into the time tunnel while Blister and his men shot Elya and Anthor.

Finding himself in New Orleans 100 years before his time, Jack saw a man and a woman struggling on the roof of a burning building while a crowd with torches gathered in the street yelling for a witch to burn. Leaping through a window, Jack was shocked to Maxim St. James, the first Shadowman, manhandle Nettie, who looked like when he saw her with Armstrong.

Again and Again and Again

Leaping in the air, Jack kicked Maxim in the chest and pushed him off Nettie. Accusing Jack of protecting the witch’s virtue and mocking him by wearing the same mask as him, Maxim slashed him on his lip with his dagger. As the two Shadowmen engaged in battle amid the burning building, Nettie said that the mob outside, who believed she was a witch, blamed her for Darque’s doings. Telling Jack that he was not ready to fight the rising Darque power because he only thought about himself, Nettie told him to let Maxim deal with Darque and her. Though Maxim bested him in strength and urged him to give up, Jack refused to surrender, claiming that if Nettie died he would never happen, when then he vanished into the time stream.

Accepting that what Nettie said was true, Jack focused on Elya in an effort to shut off his thoughts of beating Maxim to prove that he was the better Shadowman. Returning to 2937 moments before Blister killed Elya and Anthor, Jack leapt out of the time arc to rescue them, but Blister tackled him to the ground and then buried him beneath a boulder. Certain that Jack was dead, Blister celebrated his defeat of the fabled Shadowman, but then Jack rose up and threw the boulder off him. Punching Blister as hard as he could, Jack knocked him out to the ground, earning the respect of the cultists, who cheered his name and called him the Nighttime messiah. Reminding Jack that she created the cult of Shadowman based on the idea that he would return to life, Elya urged him to speak to her former commandos, but just then the rising sun robbed Jack of his strength and he collapsed on the ground.

Awakening from a nightmare in which Calvin urged him to return home to kill Darque, Jack learned that he had been in bed for two and a half days, time in which Elya gave birth to a daughter she called Jackinta. Taking Jack aside, Elya asked him to leave her for his being there was too painful for her to bear. After seeing Anthor, who told him that the reason he snapped in time was due to his trying to return to his time before he left, Jack returned to the tunnel, where he came across Blister, who claimed that he had been reprogrammed and asked him to let him go back to the past with him to no avail. Riding Elya’s pterosaur back to the tunnel amid an escort of Blister’s men on pterodactyls, Jack leapt into the tunnel unaware that Blister followed him.

Focusing on Calvin, Jack found himself in Darque’s sanctum moments after he left. From his chair, Calvin warned Jack that he could not change anything by being there even if he tried. Correcting him, Jack told him what he did in the future, but Calvin said that what happened was what was always going to happen no matter what he did. Aware that Jack intended to go back in time again no matter what he said, Calvin urged him to kill Darque, assuring him that he was too weak to defend himself, but although Shadowman tried to kill Darque, he found that Jack’s conscience would not let him destroy him. As Jack reentered the tunnel, Calvin warned him not to return no matter what Darque did, for if he did Darque would drain him of all his power.

Pleased that he had ruined his scheme, Calvin aroused Darque, who stirred up and called for Jack to return. Mocking Darque, Calvin said that he was too late, as Jack had already left. Directing Darque to the tunnel, Calvin said that it had gotten too small for anyone to cross it. Enraged, Darque reached into the tunnel to hold it into place, but then, as a result of a block placed on him by the Coven to prevent him from going through time, the energies in the vortex burned his arm. Tired of Calvin’s mocking, Darque drained him to restore his burned arm. Revealing that he needed the energy Shadowman absorbed during his time travels to save his sister’s, Darque walked into her room, where Sandria hovered while she slowly faded away. As his life laid intertwined with Sandria’s, Darque refused to let her die and sought elsewhere for a means to pierce time.

Focusing on Nettie, Jack intended to save her, when then the dark shape from before headed toward him on a collision course. As light illuminated the shadow’s face, Jack realized that he was looking at himself.

Darque Time

At the Mirage state in Miami, as Carmen Mirage finished installing a system that would allow Hwen to access most of the house through voice–commands, the phone rang. Testing Carmen’s system, Hwen answered and spoke with Mamma Fong, who, sensing that there was something wrong with him, reiterated her desire to visit. Feeling that the shock of his situation would kill Mamma, Hwen politely ignored her and hung up. Meanwhile in New Orleans, Master Darque hovered over Sandria, who was fading away due to a lack of necromantic energy, a shortage he hoped to solve by sending Shadowman to collect necromantic energy through time, a scheme derailed by Calvin, who convinced Shadowman to ignore Darque’s summons and forced him to search elsewhere for a way to penetrate time. Summoning Vise and Nitro, Darque sent them to bring Carmen to him. Anticipating the Mirage not to respond to his invitation, Darque gave Vise and Nitro a box, which contents would persuade them to meet with him.

Back in the Mirage state, as Carmen studied a physics book she was certain would help her reverse his transformation into an energy being, a notion that elated him, she suddenly had a chill reminiscent of a feeling she had in college when Hwen’s dad died that made him feel that something bad was coming. After Carmen accused him of being superstitious, Hwen suggested that they do something fun, which gave her an idea.

Arriving in Peking, China in 1949, Shadowman saw one of Chairman Mao’s tanks about to crush a little girl. Though he feared that his actions would disrupt the space–time continuum, Shadowman leapt to the girl’s rescue and saved her. Leaving the girl in a monastery, Shadowman returned to the time tunnel, unaware that he had just rescued Mae Fong, Hwen Mirage’s mother, from certain doom.

While watching Carmen paint her toenails, Hwen sensed Vise and Nitro’s arrival in their mansion. While silently making their way across the darkened hallways, Vise and Nitro came across a door they believed led to the Mirage’s bedroom, but when they opened it they instead found Rico on the toilet. Acting tough, Vise and Nitro lunged against Rico, when then the smell coming from the bowl dissuaded them. Running away to find the Mirage, Vise and Nitro locked Rico in the bathroom, unaware that he called Hwen to warn him.

As Vise and Nitro broke into their bedroom and demanded that Carmen go with them, Hwen turned the lights off. While Carmen kicked Nitro across the room, Hwen tossed Vise through the wall before he could throw a lamp at her. Facing the barrel of Carmen’s gun, Nitro said that Darque sent him to request their aid and gave them the box, which contained one of Judas Iscariot’s silver coins, a token of peace and good faith. Delivering a message from Darque, Nitro said that in exchange for their help in retrieving Shadowman from the time stream to save his sister Sandria’s life, he would show them how a creature of necromantic energy could become flesh and blood, a tempting offer that Hwen found irresistible.

Four and a half hours later, in Master Darque’s manor, Hwen learned that Darque specifically needed his help to retrieve Shadowman due to the time tunnel’s shrinkage making it impossible for a being of flesh and blood to cross it. Worried about leaving Carmen alone, Hwen was hesitant to go, so she showed him her gun and assured him that if she smelled a betrayal she would splatter Darque’s brain all over the room. Hopeful that Darque would keep his word, Hwen crossed the threshold in the hope of becoming mortal again.

Didn’t He Ramble?

Thanks to the nature of Darque’s tunnel, Jack safely passed through his other self’s body, avoiding a reaction that could have blown up the world as a result of the existence of two Jack’s worth of mass and energy, a peril Anthor warned him about before he departed the 30th Century.

Arriving in 1890 New Orleans two seconds after he left, Jack bumped into Maxim, who sick of his meddling wanted to cut off his nose. Stopping the Shadowmen from getting into a brawl, Nettie reminded them that a crowd who wanted to burn her had set the building on fire, a blaze she said Maxim would have rescued her from after he finished yelling at her. Standing between Maxim and Nettie, Jack said that when he arrived it looked like Maxim was trying to kill her not rescue her. Fed up with both Shadowmen, Nettie demanded that one of them rescue her immediately. Upset with Nettie for reasons of his own, Maxim wished Jack good luck and left them to fend for themselves. While Jack distracted the mob, Nettie ran to a horse–drawn cab, then as they escaped, he wondered why Darque sent him through time, and if he would kill him upon his return.

In 1993, in Master Darque’s manor, Hwen Mirage, hopeful that Darque would keep his promise to help him become tangible again, entered the time tunnel to find Jack. Back in 1890, as Nettie summoned a portal to return Jack to the present, she assured him that the spell that made him Shadowman ensured that Darque could not kill him with his magic, a fact that in light of his impending death in 1999 failed to comfort him. Just then, the portal opened and a second Jack Boniface came rushing out of it. Unable to prevent the pull of the vortex, Jack collided with his alternate self and feared that he had blown up the universe.

Falling through Unreality, certain that he did not blown up the world since he had seen the future, Jack was amazed at his discovery that he could conjure up a saxophone and an audience to hear him play. Just then, Jack found himself a victim of his innermost thoughts, in the form of the alien ID he faced once before, who he beat up, and Josiah Torrent, who drove up in a car and told him that he would never get to Heaven by fighting himself. Driving away, Josiah said that whenever he was in doubt, he had a funeral.

Exiting the time tunnel in 1890, Hwen met Nettie, who told him to go inside her amulet to find Jack. Crossing into Unreality, Hwen found Jack leading a New Orleans–style funeral and made contact with him. Telling Jack of his deal with Darque, Hwen urged him to go back with him, and though Jack, who was empowered by the Darque Power as a result of his time travels, was hesitant to return, he agreed to go with him. Concocting a plan in case Darque betrayed them, Hwen literally went inside Jack to give him a power boost.

As Jack leapt out of the time tunnel and in 1993, Darque tried to drain him using Sandria as a conduit between the two of them, but thanks to Hwen’s insight, Jack was able to disrupt Darque’s energy and hit him with a blast of positively charged necromantic energy that brought him to his knees. Calling out to Jack, Carmen showed him that Sandria was dying, which made him realize that Darque’s plan was to save her life. As Hwen left Jack’s body, wondering if Sandria was the answer Darque promised him, Carmen asked Jack if he could save Sandria’s life. Despite Darque’s doubts that Jack would willingly surrender the power he had acquired, Jack freely released the energy into Sandria while thinking that all Darque had to do was ask him for his help.

Though Darque pointed the irony that by saving Sandria’s life he was preserving his as well, Jack liked the idea that Darque would rather perish than have him perform an act of generosity. Facing Sandria, the Mirage asked her to honor her brother’s bargain and tell Hwen how to restore himself, but she confessed that she did not know how she changed her body, that it simply happened, an admission that made Hwen feel cheated. Reneging on his promise, Darque told the Mirage to be content with witnessing his sister become solid and then sent them on their way. Once alone with Sandria, a weakened Darque took immense pleasure in draining a small piece of her power, an act that made her feel violated and earned him her eternal, inexhaustible hatred.

While seeing the Mirage on their way, Jack assured them that they could trust Sandria, when suddenly one of Darque’s tattoos enveloped his head and Darque’s ethereal voice cursed him to feel helpless in the presence of that symbol. Though otherwise unharmed, Jack feared that Darque had done something bad to him.

Interlude III

H.A.T.E.

While drinking with Aram, Jack watched Leland Paige, the proud founder of H.A.T.E. training and the states’ representative in the legislature, give a speech on television in which he promised to advocate his voters’ right to hate the things afflicting America, like the mixture of the races, the publication of slander and pornography, and special rights for gays. Surprised that Paige was elected, Aram told Jack, who believed that Aram had scared Paige off, that bigots like him, who do not do anything strictly illegal, would keep popping up, and that beating them up would make them just as bad as they are. As they left the bar and parted ways, Jack thanked Aram for telling him more about Shadowman’s history. Meanwhile, in the offices of Hatred Assertiveness Training Enterprises, Leland Paige informed his assistant, Esther, of his intentions to distance himself from the bigots that supported him, who had become an embarrassment, in order to secure the mainstream voters.

That night in the Quarter, while Shadowman pondered his appearance on Mark Edelsteins’s radio show the next day to talk about an album he claimed he was making, he reflected on the sensation that this was the first time he felt like one person in months, yet he unwittingly referred to himself and Jack as two separate beings. Just then, he spotted a group of men with H.A.T.E. buttons on their jackets armed with bats that chased a man into an alley. Intervening before things escalated, Shadowman beat up three of the men, leaving their leader, Ed, to fend for himself. Reaching into his jacket, Ed pulled a gun on Shadowman, who doubted his ability to survive a gun shot, when then the man tackled Ed and made him drop his weapon. Kicking Ed across the face, Shadowman threw a trashcan at his cohorts and ordered them to go home and take their hatred with them.

As the men ran away, Shadowman saw Rotwak, a guy who made him feel uneasy that got his name from the word written on his hat and was known for wandering around town holding a sign that read "Put Rotwak In A [Movie, Radio, etc.]", standing outside the alley. Turning to the man, Shadowman asked him what HATE had against him. Saying that they hated him for being openly gay, the man told Shadowman that he was not ashamed of who he was and never would be no matter what they did to him, then he thanked Shadowman and walked away.

Startled by the sound of Nettie’s voice praising the man’s bravery, Shadowman turned back and saw Nettie beneath a street lamp. Warning Shadowman that there were bad things happening and that he could fight for people who were not as strong, Nettie urged him to return home to the voodoo people who made him, but claiming that no body made him, Shadowman said that he was tired of being followed, pushed, and used. Ditching his mask, Jack left, saying that he was done being Captain Nighttime, a comment Rotwak picked on. Nonetheless, Nettie cautioned him that he would find that giving up the mask would not be that easy.

The next morning at WKXR, Mark Edelstein attempted to stir the topic of his radio show from talking about HATE to discussing Jack’s album, a feat made futile by the constant disruption of Paige’s followers. Fed up, Mark challenged Paige to a debate, a confrontation Leland agreed to attend. After the show, Jack cautioned Mark about confronting Paige, but Mark assured him that he had fought people like him all his life, which is how he got on the radio. Leaving the station, Jack wondered who the brave ones in the world were; guys like Shadowman or Mark. Pondering the answer, Jack decided to buy mountain climbing equipment. That night, as Jack climbed the side of the HATE building wearing a makeshift mask, he saw Paige talking on the phone. Ignoring that Leland was ordering a hit against Mark, Jack broke through the window and warned Paige to stop hounding innocent people and inciting hated, when then Paige’s bodyguards entered the office. After dispatching the guards, Jack turned to Paige and told him to keep his hatred for himself, but Leland claiming that there was no profit, revealing that he was a politician looking for power. Hearing the sound of sirens in the distance, Leland dared Jack to beat him up or get out, urging him to leave by the elevator.

The next night at the debate, Jack worried that Paige’s followers had organized to drown Mark out, while the lack of security made him nervous. As the debate raged on, Jack noticed the glint of a rifle and the shadow of a shooter. As Jack raced toward the would–be assassin amid Mark’s confession that he was gay in response to Paige’s claim that there were no minorities on stage that followed him, down in the crowd Rotwak donned the mask of shadows and pulled a gun, then calling himself Captain Nighttime he claiming that Paige had made Mark feel bad and fired. Unfortunately, Mark stood in the path of the bullet to save Paige and it hit him.

Recovering his mask after Rotwak dropped it when the cops took him away, Jack followed the shooter to Paige’s mansion, where he discovered that Paige hired him to kill Mark as an excuse to disband HATE. Enraged, Shadowman broke through the window and beat Paige into confessing that he planned to stage a faux reform and abandon his Nazi ways after seeing Edelsteins’s corpse and undergoing a change, a plan he claimed would still work thanks to Rotwak. Enduring Paige’s taunts, Shadowman recalled Aram’s words and walked away. Feeling like there was nothing he could do to stop Paige, crushed by his inability to get rid of the mask, and upset by Darque’s spell on him, Shadowman went to see Nettie to get a handle on who he was.

Making his way to Nettie’s house on the bayou, Jack asked her to teach him to be strong again and help him learn about the Darque power, a harsh lesson she said would take time. Though expressing doubt that Jack would be able to give himself to the power, Nettie said that if he was willing to try so was her. Sometime later in the Quarter, after he learned that Mark was going to live and that the cops had Rotwak, Jack wondered if he would be swallowed up by Shadowman and disappear into the darkness. Staring into the full moon, Jack decided that, although Shadowman could fight magic, be strong, and beat up villains, he could not wrestle hate, a feat he concluded could be solely accomplished by normal human beings, every day people with courage, like Mark, who lived in the light like Jack should.

Shadowmen

Shadowmen

Sitting on the roof of his apartment, Jack pondered the story of the Shadowman who came before him, a tale Aram shared with him during a bender the night before.

In a cemetery in 1895, Anton Quigley, who claimed to possess arcane knowledge gained from Satan, and his disciple, Darque, a young man called from whom Anton drew his powers who was determined to assimilate Anton’s secrets, used the blood of a woman whose throat Darque slit to bring a corpse back to life through an ancient spell.

Three days later at Ruby’s Bordello in Storyville, where Aram and Maxim played poker, Nettie, who Maxim did not like due to her being the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, expressed her dislike for Storyville and commented that someone should burn it down. Just then, Connie, a prostitute, ran out of Anton’s room screaming that he wanted to cut a finger off her hand. Fed up, Maxim stood up to Anton while Nettie consoled Connie. Pulling a knife, Anton called his friends, who came out of the bar and surrounded Maxim, who stood his ground. In a show of strength, Aram picked up a piano in his own unique way to show Anton who he was dealing with. Though Anton retreated, he warned Maxim that he would regret his actions.

Later that night, as Maxim and Connie left Ruby’s, Anton and his men ambushed them. While Anton severed Connie’s head from her neck, his men severely beat Maxim and left him for dead. Finding Maxim barely alive, Nettie and the Coven took him to the bayou, where Nettie performed a ceremony that opened him to the shadow spirits. Afterwards, as Nettie ordered one of her men to put the mask of shadows on his face, she claimed that he was no longer Maxim and was now Shadowman, whose only purpose was to destroy Darque, but standing up he corrected her and reclaimed his name of Maxim St James, whose only desire was revenge.

The next evening at Darque’s manor, Anton met Sandria, a woman unlike any he had ever seen before who he wished to defile, so he offered to share his secrets with Darque in exchange for having her, an offer Darque accepted. The next day, Darque took Sandria to live with Anton at Ruby’s, and though Sandria agreed to be what Anton wanted her to be so he would teach her brother the power he yearned, he would never enjoy her.

Two nights later, Maxim broke into a shack on the edge of Storyville where Anton’s men lived, and taking his revenge on them he swore to make Anton pay. Just then, the cupboard opened and the zombie Anton raised walked out to kill Maxim for him. At the same time, Anton went to Darque’s house claiming that though he had kept his part of the bargain and taught him everything he knew, Sandria refused to touch him. Finding Darque in his sanctum, Anton discovered that Darque had used what he learned to reanimate Connie’s head. Elated, Darque revealed that every piece of evil he had learned wrote itself in his body as constantly changing living patterns. Promising that Sandria would acquiesce, Darque sent Anton back to his sister.

While Maxim defeated Anton’s zombie and left with Nettie to find Darque, Anton, who was obsessed with Sandria beyond all else, returned to Ruby’s and entered her room. Having witnessed Darque’s transformation into something more than human, Anton asked Sandria what her brother was. Confessing that she shared an inextricable rapport with Darque that allowed her to know that Anton kept his word because what happened to her brother happened to her, Sandria disrobed and told Anton to claim his reward. Embracing Sandria, Anton passionately kissed her and the taste of her lips burned him. Enraged, Anton accused Sandria of being a witch and stabbed her with his knife, a killing strike that befell Darque all the way in his manor. Aware that the wound would be fatal, Anton escaped. Running across Maim, Anton could read his own fate in his eyes.

Drawn by Sandria’s death agony, Darque ran into the night and arrived at Ruby’s, where he entered her room and performed a spell of revival to bring her back to life using his own blood. Meanwhile, while Maxim engaged Anton in armed combat, Nettie sensed Darque’s presence and urged Maxim to find him and kill him, as playing with magic had made him strong, but being too preoccupied with Anton, he told her to shut up. Asserting herself, Nettie ordered Maxim to let Anton stab him, which he did, and Anton pierced the tattoo on his chest with his knife, which released a deluge of energy that killed him.

Reaching Sandria’s room, Nettie arrived too late to stop him from intertwining his life with Sandria’s to save hers. Expressing his confidence that Nettie’s Shadowman would not find him lacking when they met, Darque set Nettie on fire. Picking Sandria in his arms Darque walked past Maxim lurched over a banister healing from Anton’s strike and thanked him for riding him of Anton. Walking outside, Darque enthralled the crowd into believing that Nettie and Maxim had sworn to burn Storyville to the ground. While Darque carried his sister into the night, behind them the bordello became an inferno that Nettie and Maxim tried to survive.

Arriving at Nettie’s house on the bayou, Jack asked her why he did not have Maxim’s power. Telling him that Darque had only recently returned after spending a long time underground, Nettie confessed that when it came time to create a new Shadowman she chose him over the Coven’s objections because she believed that while Darque would suspect her he would never suspect him, a notion she discovered was mistaken. Learning of Jack’s imminent transformation, Darque stroke a bargain with the Spider Aliens, who in trade for sanctuary in New Orleans agreed to infect Jack with an alien virus that would block him from the Darque power.

The night Lydia seduced Jack, Nettie danced the ceremony that would make him a Shadowman, creating a convergence of Darque power that came to rest in the mask. Not caring to know why, Lydia believed that she was supposed to kill Jack, so she bit him to suck him dry. Soon as the alien virus entered Jack’s blood, however, her alien masters snatched her away, betraying her in order to keep their deal with Darque, who along with Sandria observed as the events played out that fateful night from an upper terrace.

Nettie explained that the power was in the mask, which she left where it would draw Jack to it. As the Coven had created Maxim full blown and then found that they could not control him, they had decided that Jack was to acquire the power gradually through the mask, a ploy that worked as whenever night fell, he became stronger, fearless, and more dangerous, compelled to reclaim the night as Shadowman.

A Nightmare On Bourbon Street

Caught in the thralls of a dream, Jack found himself floating through the walls of an old tenement building following a disturbance to an apartment owned by a married couple, Scott and Kim, where he witnessed an apparition of their neighbor, Joe, break through the wall and kill Scott with an axe. As Joe asked Jack what he was doing there and he replied that he was there to cast him out of his night, Jack woke up in his apartment. Walking into the kitchen, Jack told Nettie about his dream, which she said was a calling from the Loa, the spirits that made him Shadowman at night, which he could not ignore. Though the dream felt real, Jack was unsure of what to do, but Nettie assured him that once the sun settled he would.

That night, Shadowman found the tenement from the dream, and standing outside Kim’s window he heard her tell her mother that Scott was dead. Wondering whether Joe was a Harbinger or a Necromancer, Shadowman went to confront him, but he was not in his apartment. Hiding in a closet, Shadowman waited for Joe to come home, which he did shortly before sunrise. Kneeling before a cross in his bedroom, Joe asked God to forgive him for killing Scott, when then Shadowman walked out of the closet and said that while God might forgive him he never would. Terrified, Joe ran away, so Shadowman followed him to ensure he would not kill again. Running into a food mart, Joe hid in a freezer from which Shadowman could not get him out because the sun had sapped his strength. Returning home, Jack told Nettie that he was unsure that Joe killed Scott on purpose, so Nettie suggested that it was Joe’s dark side that was causing all the trouble and that instead of beating on the man Shadowman should go after his dream–self, an idea that appealed to Jack.

Around dusk, Jack returned to the tenement and went to sleep on the roof while wearing the mask of shadows to go look for Joe’s dream–self, which he found in Kim’s bedroom, where using his axe, Joe transformed their surroundings into a church with a bloody crucifix to symbolize his domain over the dreamscape. Warning Joe that he had kicked Master Darque’s butt, Shadowman became a giant and ripped Joe’s dream–self apart. Hearing Joe scream her name, Kim broke into his apartment and found him foaming at the mouth on the floor. Meanwhile, across town, Jack blamed Nettie for tricking him into ripping Joe’s mind. Telling Jack that he killed Joe’s dark side, Nettie cautioned him against forgetting that nobody can live without their dark side.

Glitter Night

During Mardi Gras, Shadowman was in hot pursuit of Darryl Whitaker, a pusher who could identity Pappa Napoleon, New Orleans’ drug Czar. Momentarily loosing sight of Darryl, Shadowman turned a corner into an alley and found him laying dead on the ground with a Mylar streamer wrapped around his neck. 20 minutes later, a man in a clown costume killed Marv and Mr. Richards, two other men who could identity Pappa Napoleon, using Mardi Gras coins and Mylar streamers. An hour later in the Garden District, Thomas, one of Napoleon’s flunkies, met with Ishmael, the killer responsible for the earlier murders whose deadly aim never missed its target. Impressed with Ishmael’s results, Thomas hired him to assassinate Shadowman.

The next day, as Jack moved into his new apartment, Nettie urged him to begin his lessons on the use of the Darque Power over his objections that he wanted to get back to work at the Jazz club and make some money. That night, Shadowman came across a trio of guys robbing a pretty girl at knife point. Leaping off the roof, Shadowman was instantly smitten with the girl, who told him that her name was Marcia Lewis. Together, Marcia and Shadowman beat the thugs, and during the fight, Shadowman felt an infra red flash. Before going to look into where it came from, Shadowman asked Marcia for her number, so she gave him a card with her address and information. Watching Marcia walk away, Shadowman told himself to throw her card away, but instead he put it in his pocket. Meanwhile, Ishmael watched Shadowman from a rooftop with a camera in his hands.

Three days later in a hotel suite, Ishmael met Pappa Napoleon, who hid his face with a Groucho Marx mask. Impressed with Ishmael’s photos, Pappa Napoleon ordered him to take out Shadowman, but Thomas objected. Requesting a display of his talents, Pappa Napoleon told Ishmael to kill Thomas, who had become too wary for his tastes, so, Ishmael made a paper plane and threw it at the back of Thomas’s head, killing him instantly.

On Fat Tuesday, the final night of Mardi Gras week, Jack struggled to heal a wound on his hand using the Darque Power while Nettie supervised him. Though the blood coagulated, the skin failed to close, so Nettie suggested that next time Jack cut deeper to force himself to heal. Sometime later, Jack strolled through the streets content that that no one could recognize him behind the Mask of Shadows, when just then, Ishmael, garbed in a bird costume, threw a coin at his head that cut him in the forehead and got lodged in the mask. Simultaneously, at the Psychiatric wing of the New Orleans facility of the Louisiana State Hospital, Rotwak walked into the room of a Patient 937, a catatonic resident who had been there longer than anyone else there.

Back in the French Quarter, Shadowman chased Ishmael to the Hotel Genet. During a struggle, Ishmael slit Shadowman’s throat with a piece of broken glass from the window, but unbeknownst to him, and to Jack’s surprise, the wound healed faster than usual. Taking Ishmael by surprise, Shadowman pushed him out the window and the two fell down into a Mardi Gras float. As Shadowman chased him to an alley, Ishmael leapt on him with a rusted pipe and stabbed him through the heat. Removing his mask, Ishmael told Shadowman that he was the best he had ever killed and walked away, unaware that Shadowman still lived.

The Morning After

Too weak to remove the pipe on his own, Shadowman went to Marcia’s house, and keeling over after she opened the door, he told her that if she removed the pipe before dawn he would heal. Although she thought he was crazy, Marcia pulled the pipe out and Shadowman collapsed on the floor. The next day, while Ishmael assured Pappa Napoleon that he would see a photo of Shadowman’s corpse plastered on the news, Jack woke up in Marcia’s house with a hole in his chest, as the wound did not heal. Losing his bravado from the night before, Jack urged Marcia to call an ambulance that took him to the hospital. Sometime later, after learning from an informant that Jack was still alive, Pappa Napoleon gave Ishmael one last opportunity to kill him.

That evening at the hospital, while Lt. Norbert Szymanski of the NOPD questioned Marcia on how Jack got hurt, Ishmael entered Jack’s room garbed in a pair of scrubs he got from Pappa Napoleon’s informant. While the minutes ticked past six fifteen, Ishmael boldly stuck a straw in the IV, when just then Jack grabbed his arm and tossed him out the door. Chasing Ishmael across the hospital, Jack pursue ended at the admissions desk, where surrounded by nurses, tourists with cameras, Marcia, and Lt. Szymanski, he suddenly realized that he was not wearing the Mask of Shadows and everyone could see his face. After hearing a nurse call Jack by name, Ishmael leapt out the window into an alley and escaped.

The next morning, as Ishmael kept his appointment with Pappa Napoleon, Napoleon’s men tried to kill him for his failure to dispatch Jack, but using credit cards he killed every one of them and assured Pappa Napoleon that he never canceled a contract and that somewhere, sometime, Jack Boniface would die for him.

Something Coming

While reading the paper, which had a picture of him taken during his rampage, Jack ignored Lt. Szymanski’s claim that he was the vigilante who beat up pushers in the Quarter. While checking out, Jack discovered that someone had paid his hospital bill and confronted Nettie and Devon, who denied doing it. Outside, Jack saw Marcia waiting for him on a bike and realized that she paid his bill. Upset, Nettie accused Jack of messing around and not caring if Darque ruled the world, but he told her that it was not him, it was Shadowman, a statement that surprised him. Telling Jack to call her, Marcia rode off in her bike. Inside the hospital, a nurse giving Patient 937 a sponge bath wondered what the story was behind a tattoo on his chest. After the nurse left, Rotwak came out from under the bed and told Patient 937 that he saw his tattoo painted on Jack’s shirt.

That afternoon, while going over his taxes, Jack realized that he forgot his mask at Marcia’s house. Pondering his desire to see her, Jack realized that it was Shadowman that felt attracted to Maria and not himself. Looking to forget Shadowman, Marcia, and his money trouble, Jack lost himself in his sax. Later that day, Jack had to forego a gig to meet with Nettie that night, loosing a chance to earn some money. That night at the theater, Sandria felt a subtle rent in the necromantic skein and told her brother that they had to walk the Dragon path together. Meanwhile, at Nettie’s home, Nettie learned from the bones of divination that tonight would be Jack’s only chance to break the curse that Darque had over him and told him to retrieve his mask.

Deep below the House of Darque, Sandria and Darque walked the Dragon maze and saw the end of the world. Gladdened by the looming Armageddon, Darque sensed that Sandria would not let it happen, so although he disagreed, he allowed her to recruit the aid of those who hated him to stop him, including Shadowman.

Sometime past 1 a.m., Jack knocked on Marcia’s window and startled her. Upset that he did not call first, Marcia nevertheless allowed Jack inside. Infuriated to learn that all he wanted was his mask, Marcia took Jack to her bedroom, where she hid the mask in her dresser. Donning the mask, Marcia asked Jack if he liked it on her and then they kissed. An hour later, Jack told Marcia that he was not normal, that he was like two people, but then she made the mistake of calling him a nerd by day and a wild man by night, a remark that upset him. Walking over to her dresser, Marcia gave Jack the keys to her bike and told him to go for a ride.

Needing to clear his head, Jack returned home for his sax and then went to the cemetery to play it. Just then, Sandria floated down into his arms and begged him not to confront her brother as she sensed that he was still not powerful enough to defeat him. Asking him to make a truce with Darque, Sandria kissed Jack in the lips to bless his sacrifice. Refusing to grant her wish, however, Jack rode away while Sandria asked him to give though to her words. Reaching Darque’s manor, Shadowman decided that if the Darques wanted a truce he would give them war. Breaking through the skylight to prove Sandria wrong, Shadowman challenged Darque, who with a wave of his hand pushed him out the window into the courtyard like he was a gnat on his shoulder. Damning Sandria for being right, Jack realized that he was not yet ready to fight Darque and win.

Chaos Effect Beta

If This Be Madness

His personality split in two as a result of Darque’s spell, Shadowman ran through the streets damming Darque for making him too weak to kill him, while Jack thought that he needed to stop Shadowman’s run. Back in Darque’s estate, Sandria scolded Darque for what he did to Shadowman, who he promised she could have for the coming chaos. Mocking her, Darque told Sandria that he could not refuse her anything, and that she was sure to have a Shadowman. Concurrently, Shadowman came upon a theft in an alley and leapt at the muggers to stop them. Feeling the rising energy, Sandria asked her brother if he still welcomed the chaos, and he said that he embraced it. Elsewhere, Jack worried that whatever was happening was a bad thing, when then, a surge of energy filled them with power unlike any they had ever seen. Afraid, Sandria watched in horror as the energy destroyed their home, while, in the face of his imminent Godhood, Darque dismissed her concerns.

While a helicopter crashed in the French Quarter, at the hospital an aura of energy surrounded Patient 937 and awoke him from his coma. Elsewhere, Sandria asked a looter why it was that in the face of chaos some men stole while others performed acts of selfless heroism, but he lacked an answer. Leaving the man on a rooftop, satisfied that there was no answer, Sandria floated away amid his calling her the Madonna of Chaos.

Meanwhile, in a cemetery, as Darque ordered an army of corpses to remove the covers to their graves and the doors to their crypts so that he could use them to store the necromantic energy pouring into the world, he saw Shadowman leap over a wall threatening to kill him. Reduced to pure ID obsessed with destroying Darque, Shadowman shot him with a burst of energy from the Shadowman symbol on his shirt that peeled his skin away. Astonished by Shadowman’s power, which he felt might be enough to best him, Darque commanded his creatures to drag Shadowman down to the ground. Impressed with Shadowman’s power, Darque mused that it would take an army of the dead to stop him, so he raised one to do just that. Lacking the time to lead his soldiers, Darque raised the body of his ancient mentor, Anton Quigley, so that he could serve as his general. Burning his seal of power into Anton's brow, Darque sent him forth to lead his army and destroy Shadowman. Carried away on the arms of the dead, Shadowman vowed to return and kill Darque.

Back in the hospital, Rotwak dragged nurse Giulia to Patient 937’s room, when then a looter took her hostage while another knocked Rotwak out. Suddenly, a hand pulled the looter away from Giulia and tossed him out the window. Stunned, Giulia stood before Patient 937, aka Maxim St. James, who, restored to full health thanks to the influx of necromantic energy, was ready to finally take out Darque. Back in the cemetery, while Darque pared his nails to collect flesh that he scratched from Shadowman’s face, Sandria left through a door in space that she opened with her new power to fetch Hwen and Carmen so they would help save the world.

Off the coast of Florida, Hwen steered a coast guard vessel across a storm in search of a missing fishing boat. Suddenly, the sea calmed and Sandria appeared, calling the Mirage to her. Helping the Mirage, Sandria raised the fishing boat off the water and back to the coast. Astounded by the effect the necromantic flow had on Sandria, Carmen feared that she had become a Goddess. In New Orleans, Nettie, who chaos had rejuvenated, went to find Marcia to ask her to help her find Jack. Hearing Nettie say that she could use her feelings for Jack to find him, Marcia thought how a week earlier she would have laughed at such notions, but even so, she agreed to help, and moments later they left her house on two bicycles.

Following Jack deep into the French Quarter, Nettie ordered him to use the power to burn Darque’s army, and her command got through his mindless ID and he did as told. Looming over the charred corpses, Shadowman was insane with killing Darque, who at that moment in the cemetery, mused over how even if Shadowman were to defeat his army, he would still be crazy.

Amid the fire and riots, Maxim St James smelled Darque’s evil in the night and promised to stop him.

The One

Months after Darque slaughtered the monks in the temple of Ladakh, Brother Ting and others restored it to its previous state to ensure that it would flourish once again. Among the new comers to the temple was Chan, a young boy who Brother Ting took under his wing as his pupil. Weeks later, Chan asked his teacher why they had not sought revenge against Darque. Calling Chane the inevitability of life, Brother Ting told Chan that he believed that a greater good would come from the tragedy that befell their brothers.

Months later, at the estate of Hwen Mirage and his wife Carmen Ruiz, Carmen suggested that they go to their place in New York while the contractor rebuild their Miami estate. At that moment, in a nearby shopping mall, Mamma Fong confessed to Rico that she could not get over what happened to her son. Agreeing with her, Rico felt like giving Hwen and Carmen credit for sticking together in spite of his disability. Still, Mae could not shake a feeling of dread that filled her. Back in the estate, Hwen shared his mother’s dread, a sensation that felt like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In Ladakh, the monks awoke to discover a black hole of dark energy opening in the heavens above. Feeling that something incredible was about to occur, the monks witnessed as Ivar the Timewalker fell out of the hole into their courtyard. Gravely injured, Ivar reached for the sky and said that he had brought the end of everything with him before he lapsed into unconsciousness. Consigned to await the outcome, the monks saw as the hole engulfed the sky and inferred that, soon, it would engulf the world too.

The energies released by the opening caused a planetary shutdown of all electrical systems that spared no bit of technology. In New York City, the streets filled with people proclaiming the coming of the apocalypse, critical life–saving operations in hospitals came to a stop, and airplanes crashed into airports. In Miami, Mae and Rico found themselves in the midst of a blackout that confirmed her sense of dread.

Back at the estate, Hwen could sense that the energy disrupting all electricity was necromantic in nature. Frightened, Carmen sensed that something terrible was about to happen, when, suddenly, the surge of energy hit Hwen like it did the others. Moments later, Carmen and Hwen discovered that the surge had made him solid. Teary–eyed, Carmen and Hwen passionately kissed.

A passionate hour later, Hwen and Carmen laid on the floor, surrounded by their clothes. While Carmen felt happy for the first time in awhile, Hwen looked forward to telling his mother and Rico what happened, when then he realized that they were out there in the midst of whatever was happening. Pointing out that whatever happened was bigger than they were, Carmen told Hwen that they would find his mother and then find out what was happening to the world and him. At the mall, as Mae and Rico fought their way through a group of looters, Hwen appeared and sent the thieves on their way with a demonstration of his power. Hugging Mae, Hwen surmised that the necromantic pool exploded and broke down the laws of physics.

Sometime later, while pulling a woman out of her car, Hwen learned that his energy levels were unlimited. Throughout the long hours, the Mirages’ rescued one victim another, until Hwen saw a sinking fishing boat in the marina. Using his necromantic energy to substitute for the electrical current of coast guard’s vessel, Hwen and Carmen went to rescue the fishermen. At that moment, Sandria Darque appeared over the bow of the ship and told Hwen that he had to go with her, but he refused to leave until he figured out how to save the ship. Telling Hwen that the problem was in his thinking, and that he continued to comprehend like a mortal even after gaining the power of a God, Sandria levitated the vessel much to the Mirages’ awe.

Back in Ladakh, Chan asked Brother Ting if he believed that what was happening and the incident in their temple with Master Darque were connected. Assuring him that everything, from Darque, to the portal, Ivar’s arrival, and his very presence there were connected, Brother Ting told Chan that everything served some purpose that in time they would come to know. Staring at the mouth of the darkness above them, Brother Ting told Chan that their brother’s deaths brought him there, at that time, at that place, to play his part.

A short while later, while Hwen towed the boat back to shore, Sandria insisted that he had to go with her, but he refused. Though grateful for her help in rescuing the boat, Carmen still did not trust Sandria, who told her that trust would cease to be an issue if the world came to an end. Telling the Mirage that her brother was the only one who could explain what was happening to them in a way that they would find useful, Sandria took them to his sanctum in New Orleans through a door in space.

Taking the Mirages to the Dragon Maze Darque and Sandria willed the runes that covered their flesh off them to show them the fate that awaited mankind. Showing them the opening in the curtain of time over Ladakh, Darque reiterated his sister’s reference to Hwen being the one and told him that he had to plug the hole before they all perished. Opening a door way to Ladakh, Sandria asked her brother about the Shadowman, who she required in order to save the world. Called forth, Shadowman stepped out of the darkness and followed Hwen and the others through the doorway, leaving Darque behind.

In Tibet, Sandria and the others stepped out of the doorway into the temple’s courtyard, where Chan welcomed them. Standing under the looming rent in the sky, Sandria told Hwen that, with all the courage he could muster, he had to block the flow of energy until the others came to seal the breach. Teary–eyed, Carmen faced Hwen and told him that she had just realized that once he closed the rent he would revert back to his phantom state. Aware of what would happen, Hwen nevertheless felt that saving the world was the reason he gained a second life. After kissing Carmen one last time, Hwen rose to the mouth of the hole and plugged it.

The Darque Gods

Hovering over the cemetery adjoining the ruins of his home, Master Darque stared out at the chaos around him and wished that it could go on forever. Returning to his chambers, confident that his army of the dead would pursue Shadowman to his destruction, his sister could not oppose him, and that the Coven would be powerless without his champion, Darque had forgotten about Dr. Eclipse. Having gained the powers of a God like Darque and many others, Eclipse was at a loss on what to do with his newfound abilities. Focusing Eclipse’s attention on a miniature of the sun, Darque fooled him into visualizing the celestial spheres orbiting the fiery star and split himself into six individual planetoids orbiting the sun.

Running away from Nettie and Marcia, Shadowman saved an old man from a group of looters, but then the cops arrived on the scene. Resisting arrest, Shadowman beat up a cop after he shot him. Calling him Jack, Lt. Szymanski urged him stand down, but calling Jack weak, Shadowman beat up the lieutenant and escaped.

Elsewhere, Maxim and Rotwak made their way across the French Quarter looking for Darque. Curious, Rotwak asked Maxim how he knew that Darque was still alive if he had been in a coma since 1944. Pointing to the Shadowman symbol on his chest, Maxim told Rotwak that the closer he got to Darque, the more it burned, and that whatever restored his youth might have empowered Darque. Just then, a runaway carriage came running down the street, and Maxim mused that in the country of chaos, the 19th Century man might be king.

Back in Darque’s chambers, Darque hovered over a pit surrounded by his minions. Aware of Sandria’s need of Shadowman’s participation to end chaos, Darque, who was most anxious to see chaos cease once he had captured sufficient necromantic energy lest every fool receptive to it be ordained with divinity, used the flesh he scratched from Jack Boniface’s face during their battle to create a soulless double that served only him.

Just off the coast of Florida, while Hwen Mirage towed a fishing boat back to shore, Sandria insisted that he had to go with her, but he refused. Though grateful for her help in rescuing the boat, Carmen still did not trust Sandria, who told her that trust would cease to be an issue of the world came to an end. Telling the Mirage that her brother was the only one who could explain what was happening to them in a way that they would find useful, Sandria took them to his sanctum in New Orleans through a door in space. Taking the Mirages to the Dragon Maze Darque and Sandria willed the runes that covered their flesh off them to show them the fate that awaited mankind. Showing them the opening in the curtain of time over Ladakh, Darque reiterated his sister’s reference to Hwen being the one and told him that he had to plug the hole before they all perished. Opening a door way to Ladakh, Sandria asked her brother about the Shadowman, who she required in order to save the world. Called forth, Shadowman stepped out of the darkness and followed Hwen and the others through the doorway, leaving Darque behind. Before crossing the threshold, Sandria told her brother that he had not deceived her, and left, fearing that Jack’s clone would be the Shadowman her vision predicted.

Basking in the glow of the necromantic power that filled the sky, and the knowledge that his rivals had been neutralized, Darque was nevertheless aware that someone would inevitably stop the chaos effect, so he went about collecting as much Darque power as possible. After sacrificing one of his servants, Darque stepped out into the cemetery, which his dead servants had transformed into a battery to collect the necromantic energy that poured from the skies, and sealed the crypts and tombs. Surrounded by his rotting minions, Darque was satisfied that he had hoarded the energy of a billion deaths, enough to feed him for a thousand years, and had accounted for all those who might threatened him. Elsewhere, using the carriage, Maxim followed the burning sensation of his Shadowman symbol to Darque’s location, confident that Darque ignored that he still lived.

Back in the Quarter, Shadowman came upon a burning building. Seeing a little girl trapped in the top floor, Shadowman wrestled with his need to kill Darque and his sense of heroism, the latter of which won out in the end, restoring Jack’s dominant personality. Leaping inside the building, Shadowman rescued the girl and took her out the window, where Marcia and Nettie were waiting for him, glad to see that he was back to normal.

Alone, filled with power that would last him for centuries, and confident that his enemies were gone, Darque believed that now he would finally have time to study his fate, inscribed in the runes upon his skin that he called the Book of Darque. Outside the cemetery, Maxim followed his burning symbol to Darque’s chambers. Letting his body vanish, letting only the symbols remain, Darque transformed into energy and vanished, promising to return once he had studied his own destiny written in the air. Standing over the hovering runes, Maxim sucked them into his symbol to trap Darque within the purgatory of the Shadow Portal. Simultaneously, on a rooftop overlooking the Quarter, as Nettie told Jack that there was a link between his Shadowman symbol and Darque, Jack felt a door slam shut in his chest and both he and Nettie felt Darque’s departure. Sensing Maxim’s involvement, Jack was glad to know that he was too mean to die.

Back in the cemetery, Maxim told Rotwak that it was better that no one knew where he was going and rode away in the carriage.

Interlude IV

Aftermath

On the morning of June 22nd, in the cemetery adjacent to the ruins of what once was Master Darque’s manor, Darque’s army of corpses, which Shadowman burnt to ash, united into the Night Monster, a great beast commanded by Anton Quigley who went to find Shadowman to kill him.

Later that morning, Jack mused over how in the wake of chaos Marcia revealed unexpected heroism, Nettie had become young again, Darque disappeared, and Shadowman became too powerful for anyone’s good. Going their separate ways, Marcia left to take a little girl to a shelter until they found her parents, Nettie went to make some gumbo with mojo thrown in it to see if she got back to her right age, and Jack returned to Darque’s manor to retrieve Marcia’s motorcycle from where he hid it. Finding Marcia’s motorcycle buried beneath the ruins of Darque’s manor, Jack retrieved his sax and went back home to figure out what to tell her. Wondering if the Shadowman symbol on his chest, which the night before burnt its way into his skin and vanished by morning, would ever come back, Jack turned the corner to his apartment and discovered that his building had burnt down. Forty five minutes later, Jack realized that what did not burn was stolen, and that his clothes, music, and money were gone. Finding his leather jacket, Jack wondered what he was going to do. Going for a walk, he took off to think over whether or not he wanted to ask Nettie or Marcia for help.

One hour later in Jackson Square, Guy, a drug dealer, told Billy, his junkie runner, that he had until that night to pay him the money he owed him. As Guy walked away, Billy’s friends, Mose, Iggie, and Sunbeam, three street musicians, turned a corner and asked him if he was okay and he told them that he was fine. Minutes later, Jack walked by and saw Billy and the others playing for quarters, and realizing that he had no money, job, or apartment, he decided to join them, and though Iggie wanted to ask him to leave, Mose recognized him and told the others to let him stay. Four hours later, there were a hundred bucks in Iggie’s hat and Jack, who was playing better than he had in months, loved it. Taking a break, Jack, who had not slept in three days, asked the others if they had a place where he could crash, so Mose took him to a vacant courtyard where he showed him a crate he could use. Two hours later, Billy stole Jack’s sax to pawn it and pay Guy.

That night, Jack woke up screaming and feeling his skin on fire as the tattoo appeared on his chest. Donning the mask of shadows, Jack, who wondered what he had retained, took off to find out what he could do now that chaos had made him more powerful than ever before. Leaping over rooftops, Shadowman thought that once Darque vanished during chaos the night would not need him, but the power was still there, stronger than ever, which felt good, since that was better than anything else he had ever known. Having been through more pain, death, and violence than most men, Jack enjoyed the empowerment that being Shadowman gave him.

Later that night, Guy made Billy plant an incendiary device in a building for his boss in exchange for drugs. Shortly after midnight, Shadowman saw an explosion and followed it to a street corner, where he saw Guy and a kid he did not get a good look at but did think seemed familiar. Giving Billy enough drugs to last him a day, Guy told him that he would need him the following night, but Billy refused. Laughing, Guy told Billy that he would do what he told him because he was hooked. As Guy drove away, Shadowman swooped down on him intending to land on his van, but since he did not quite have his new power under control, he landed too soon and Guy ran him over. Standing behind a street lamp, Billy recognized Jack, and certain that he was dead, ran away, while lying on the ground until he healed, Jack deduced that the driver was the arsonist.

The next morning, Jack returned to the courtyard and discovered that his sax was gone. Enraged, he accused Iggie and the others of stealing it, but calming down he apologized. Twenty minutes later, while playing a comb and tissue paper with the others, Jack realized that Billy was the kid he saw, but decided not to confront him until after the gig. Three hours later, after Jack bid goodbye to the others, Billy confessed that he took his sax and pawned it. Telling Jack that he saw Guy run him over and he figured that he might be the Shadowman that people talked about, Billy asked him to help him because he was scared. Later, at the pawn store, Billy gave Jack the pawn ticket and told him that Guy was a thief, drug dealer, and arsonist for a crime boss that got him hooked because he could squeeze through tight places. As Billy pleaded with him for help, Jack agreed to help him that night, mildly upset that one more person knew that he was Shadowman. At the same time, in Nettie’s house outside New Orleans, Nettie asked Marcia if she really liked Jack, and warned her that with Darque gone, Jack was free and real powerful, but at the end of the day, he was still just a man.

That night, Billy confronted Guy and told him that he refused to blow up a building with people inside it, but Guy ignored him and insisted that he place the bomb. Telling Guy that he was getting into rehab and that someone promised to help him, Billy reminded Guy that he was his brother and pleaded with him to let him go. Chasing Billy across the roof, Guy grabbed him and, in a rage, threatened to drop him off the ledge, when then, Shadowman came out of the shadows and told him to let Billy go. Leaping after Guy, Shadowman pulled him off Billy, but then Guy activated the bomb and threw it over their heads. The explosion released napalm over Shadowman and Guy, who burnt to death and leap off the roof screaming Billy’s name. Letting the Loa move him, Shadowman stood still and drew the fire into his body, through the shadow man gateway. Going down to the street to look for the body, Shadowman and Billy found an open manhole, and though Billy asked him to go look for Guy, Shadowman had to rest and finish healing before dawn.

Meanwhile, beneath them in the sewer, the Night Monster absorbed Guy’s corpse into itself.

Hunger

At midnight in the bayou, the Night Monster, a thing of corpses born out of chaos from Darque’s army of the dead led by Darque’s mentor, the late Anton Quigley, whose sole directive was to destroy Shadowman, sat by the fire of the first cooked meal it would ever eat, listening to the voices in his head. Hearing the voices say that Darque was gone and asking him to speak to them, Anton, who felt hunger for the first time in a hundred years, loomed over the burning meat, eager to taste its flesh. Telling Anton that they should be themselves, a free creature under the sun, the voices wondered what they might become. Arguing amongst themselves, the voices said that first they would kill Shadowman and then be free of Darque, but then, the voice of Elijah Conklin, a preacher, condemned their existence as an abomination to the lord and said that they should destroy themselves. Annoyed with Elijah’s condemnations, Anton expelled Elijah’s corpse from his being and then acquiesced to the desires of the flesh by easting the burn carcass by his bonfire.

The next morning, Jack, Nettie, Marcia, and Billy went to the pawn shop to recover his sax, but though Billy told the owner that he stole it, since the ticket burnt up, the owner refused to give it to them no matter what they offered to pay out of fear that someone else would come with the ticket. While Nettie threatened to give the man warts unless he gave them the sax, Jack grabbed the saxophone and played it so beautifully that he convinced the owner that it belonged to him. Later, Nettie took her leave and told Jack and Marcia that after she took care of Billy she would take a long vacation. That evening, at Marcia’s antique store, Jack used her tools to repair the mask of shadows while Marcia watched over his shoulder. Thanking Marcia for letting him use her workshop, Jack told her that she came equipped, and making a quip, she asked him if he was making a sexist remark. Apologizing, Jack blushed, which Marcia found to be very nice. Saying that Shadowman would not blush because he was a wild hero in a mask, Jack told Marcia that it was still daytime and he was Jack, just a musician. Telling Marcia that when they first met he thought she was too wild for him, Jack took her in his arms and said that he liked it. Sharing an embrace, Marcia told Jack that he was not just a musician, he was much more. Walking into the bedroom, Jack asked Marcia if they could make love before it got dark. Telling him that he was blushing again, Marcia asked Jack when his hair would grow back.

Later that night, Shadowman dropped off Detroit Augie Farquar on the steps of the Dunois Street precinct house in New Orleans’ business distinct. Screaming at the top of his lungs, Augie crawled to Lt. Szymanski’s feet and offered to rat on every drug dealer in the easy long as he kept Shadowman away from him. Enraged, Szymanski screamed at Shadowman that he was not the law, and that he was going to bust him, unaware that Shadowman was behind a sculpture over the entrance to the precinct. Elsewhere, Sandria Darque and Jimmy, the looter who named her the Madonna of Chaos, drove at high speeds through the streets of the French Quarter in a convertible. Though he was afraid, Jimmy told Sandria that she was his one and only sunshine. Telling Jimmy that she hoped she would not disappoint him, Sandria crashed the car to test her Godhood, his faith, and her worthiness. Surviving unscathed, Sandria told Jimmy that they had no failed, and that it was good to be a God, have a disciple, and to have tested the gifts of chaos against the thrill of death.

While leaping over rooftops, Shadowman pondered that Lt. Szymanski wanted him in jail for annoying the cops, trespassing, disturbing the peace, and beating up bad guys. Finding a loose cable, Shadowman thought that he could use it to swing to the next building like Batman, but he crashed into a billboard and his foot got stuck in it. Thinking that it might be an acquired skill, Shadowman decided to practice some other night. Returning to his room behind Marcia’s antique store, Shadowman wondered if she had gone home or if she was still there asleep. Crawling through a window, Shadowman thought that walking Marcia up would not be such a bad idea, but just then, the Night Monster pulled him inside, and Jack saw Marcia tied to a chair.

While the Night Monster crushed Shadowman, Marcia tried to break her binds with her teeth. Kicking the Night Monster across the face, Shadowman broke free and shot him with a blast from his tattoo, but the Night Monster absorbed the energy. Showing Shadowman the faces of the corpses that made up his body, the Night Monster told him that they were the walking dead raised by Darque to destroy him whom he cremated into living ash and rose again to become the beast before him. Telling Shadowman that they thrived in his power, the Night Monster turned the blast on him, but Shadowman absorbed it too. Ripping her bonds, Marcia took a shot gun out of a closet and shot the Night Monster in the face, but even though the gun blasted half of his head off, he rebuilt itself. Throwing a desk at the Night Monster, Shadowman pushed him out the window and followed him into the street. Realizing that he could not fry him again, Shadowman wondered what he could do, when just then he noticed that it was almost dawn and his powers would soon fade. Leaping against the Night Monster, Shadowman grabbed the quills growing out of his back thinking that they were a weakness, but unfortunately the Night Monster used them to absorb his energy and then absorbed his body into itself. Pushing Marcia out of his way, the Night Monster left the city to digest Boniface.

Nearby, Sandria told Jimmy that every time she experienced those small deaths she felt her divinity increase, giving her more power, more wisdom, more sympathy for mankind, and more humility, but all Jimmy said to her was beg her for another crash. Just then, Sandria spotted Marcia and parked her car next to her. Telling Marcia that she had just become a God, Sandria said that she looked as if she could use some help.

In The Belly Of The Beast

Somewhere in the bayou, the Night Monster, a patchwork creature created from the ashes of the living dead led by the resurrected consciousness of Master Darque’s mentor, Anton Quigley, hungered after his defeat and absorption of the Shadowman. Inside Quigley, Jack Boniface followed a light at the end of a long tunnel and came out of a tree into a glade, where a group of people was having an Edwardian picnic. Addressing the gathered spirits, Elwood urged them to remember that they were human once and not abide the evil of Anton Quigley. Satisfied to be alive again, even if they were just spirits, however, some souls told Elwood to join the picnic. Telling everyone that Anton had conjured the utopian glade to pacify them, Elwood asked them if they wanted to be pacified. Asking them if they wanted to acquiescence while Anton and the souls who supported him indulged in their evil, Elwood said that he would rather return to being ash. Stating that he would rather be nothing, Elwood said that they should find a new leader, one who had yet to experience the emptiness of death, one who brought life into the belly of the monster, like Jack. Declining to lead them, for he was a loner, Jack said that he could play, so he played his sax and the people danced around him

At the same time in New Orleans, at Marcia’s shop, Marcia told Sandria and Jimmy that Shadowman and the Night Monster broke through the window, and then the monster swallowed Jack up. Reaching for the Night Monster’s brains splattered on the wall, Sandria put a piece of it in her mouth and discovered that Anton Quigley was alive due to her brother’s work. Aware of where Anton was, Sandria told Jimmy to get her car and asked Marcia if she wanted to go with them to Giselle’s Bayou in the swamps.

As the Night Monster wrestled a crocodile in the bayou, the voices of the evil souls told him that the good souls were in revolt and taking Shadowman as their leader. Saying that the Shadowman’s strength was part of them, Anton ordered the evil souls to subdue the goodies’ opposition. Inside, Elwood asked Jack to speak to the good souls. Believing that neither he nor the souls were real, Jack wondered what to say. As his sax and mask vanished, Jack addressed the crowd, whom he thought were like automatons hanging on his every word. While Jack thought that perhaps they could not really think, Anton’s men arrived on the shore with clubs.

Surrounded by the fleeing good souls, Jack told them not to run away and stand up to the evil souls. Kicking an evil soul, Jack wished that it was night. Telling Jack that he could not help the good souls, Elwood said that the evil souls should not take him because he was their only hope. As spines replaced the vanishing trees, flowers, and lake, Jack asked Elwood how they could escape. Telling Jack that the evil souls were not too bright, and were just suppressing the rebellion like Anton told them, Elwood said that one had to be very specific with the dead. Curious, Jack asked Elwood if he was dead, so Elwood told him that Anton sucked him alive, which is why he could save them. Telling Jack that their energy allowed Quigley to exist in the real world, Elwood said that it was very hard to think and easier to just dream.

Taking Jack up a thorn–filled beanstalk, Elwood told him that if that were realism they would be approaching the monsters’ heart. Telling Elwood that he seemed to have his own mind, Jack asked him if he was not dead. Saying that he died in 1888, Elwood told Jack that the Baron restored his ability to take action. Welcoming Jack to the land of thorny imagination, a skeletal individual in a top hat introduced himself as Baron Zastrow.

Arriving in the bayou, Sandria, Jimmy, and Marcia rented a boat to go find the Night Monster. As Marcia asked her what they would do when they found the monster, Sandria told her that she needed to know more about him, and that his taste told her where he was but not what he was. Musing over how during chaos she would have known, and could have transported them there, Sandria said that divinity was a fickle power. As Sandria said that she needed to take more of the monster, Marcia asked her if then she would know how to get Jack out, and Jimmy said that Sandria could do whatever she set her mind long as they believed.

Back inside, Baron Zastrow told Jack that perhaps they existed only in each other’s minds and to behave as if that were reality, since it was after all the only one they had. Refusing to accept his surrounding as real, Jack told the Baron that he wanted to get out of there. Saying that it was the same difference, the Baron told Jack that what they needed to do was feed Anton Quigley his special gumbo, which would shake him up. Asking the Baron what made him different than the rest of the dead souls in there, Jack learned that like him the Baron was not a corpse. Telling Jack that what was left of Quigley’s soul was asleep, the Baron said that he was a spirit dreaming he was outside being real, and that his gumbo would wake Anton’s spirit and remind him that he was in there with them, then maybe the monster would not work so good anymore.

Fifteen minutes later, the evil souls told Anton that they had lost the Shadowman, while inside him the Baron promised Jack that if he succeeded and they got out maybe he would tell him a hell of a story. Following Elwood up the beanstalk to the Night Monster’s head, Jack asked him if he would know Anton when they found him, and Elwood said that he should since, in life, Anton was his son. Finding Anton asleep at the top of the beanstalk, Jack could tell by the look on his face that he was dreaming.

Outside, Anton could sense something happening in his head. Telling Anton that Shadowman was still loosed somewhere, the souls said that he had not become one of them, and remained himself. Just then, Sandria found Anton and ordered him to release the Shadowman, but calling her a gnat, Anton shot her with a burst of energy. Enraged, Sandria lashed out with a blast of her own that knocked the monster off his feet. Holding him down, Sandria ordered the monster to reveal his true self, but he refused. Kissing him on the lips, Sandria told the monster that she knew her secrets would yield to her kiss of knowing.

Simultaneously, while inside the monster Jack fed Anton the gumbo and woke him up, outside Sandria called the Night Monster by his name, revealing his identity. Enraged, the monster told Sandria that he killed her in 1895 and would kill her again, while watching from the sidelines, Marcia wondered if they should help her.

Inside, as Anton went berserk, Jack could feel that night had fallen and the mask of shadows appeared on his face. Poisoned and weakened, Anton called his creatures to rally to him, while Jack materialized his sax in his hand and played it to . get Elwood’s friends to come help them. Outside, as the Night Monster held Sandria in his clasp and chocked the life out of here, they could hear Jack’s music coming from inside him.

Inside Anton’s goons and Elwood’s followers arrived and a battle ensued, while outside the Night Monster burst into flames, burnt from the outside by Sandria and from the inside by Jack’s music. Inside, Jack grabbed Anton and ordered him to release him, but he refused to give up his power. Holding Anton over his head, Shadowman threw him down the gullet of the beast. Outside, the Night Monster agreed to release Jack, and suddenly, his body erupted with the faces of every soul within him and the Shadowman symbol.

Quest

In a bayou in Louisiana, Anton Quigley, the night monster composed of 101 undead souls, fifty of which were evil wishing to stay, fifty were good striving to escape, and the 101st was Shadowman, exploded, stretched to bursting by Sandria’s necromancy while baron Zastrow’s gumbo frustrated his bowels, and released fifty undead souls, with Jack Boniface making the fifty–first. Except for the Baron and Shadowman, all the corpses were living magic. Still alive after Sandria exorcized the good and left behind pure evil, the Night Monster shot her with a surge of necromantic energy. Running toward Anton, Jimmy hit him with a club, but then Anton killed him. Telling Sandria that she should not have gone there, Shadowman said that he fought for himself and did not need help some from post modern tattoo goddess. Challenging Anton, Shadowman shot him with a blast from the tattoo on his chest, and though Anton tried to pull him back inside, he could not do it, for his power had changed, and while he was stronger, he had no control over Jack.

Simultaneously, in Ebner Island, somewhere off the coast of South Carolina, Nettie Grampion returned to her roots, the birthplace of her voodoo altar circle, seeking to recover her lost age. Welcomed by Mamma Maxine and Rose, Nettie told them that her mojo did not work as good while being young, and that she needed her crone power. Taking a carriage ride to Mamma Maxine’s home, Nettie noticed a group of men sitting in the streets and asked Maxine if they were drunk. Telling Nettie that Columbian mobs started using the island, Maxine said that they hired their men and gave them drugs. Reaching Maxine’s state, Mamma Maxine told Nettie that the evil men had been going there for two years and asked her to help them since she was the only one old enough to know the Baron. Walking inside the house, Nettie told Maxine that she could do what the Baron taught her once she was the right age again. Staring at a picture of Baron Zastrow, Nettie said that she wished he were still alive because she could use his help.

Back in the bayou, the voices encouraged Anton to finish the Shadowman, while Shadowman taunted him to hurry up and kill him before the night ended. While Shadowman and Anton engaged in battle, Sandria stood over Jimmy’s body and told him that she would try to bring him back, when just then, the Baron told her that he needed her help. Surrounded by the souls of the living dead, the Baron and Sandria cast a spell while Shadowman kept the Night Monster occupied in the swamp. Standing by the shore, the Baron called the bayou demon, a giant alligator that dragged Anton under while the good souls watched in delight.

Helping Jack out of the water, Marcia asked him if Anton was dead, but watching the bayou fill with the alligator’s blood, Jack said that he did not think so, but that he did not think he would be back for awhile. Holding Jimmy in her arms, Sandria walked up to the others and said that a true God should be able to bring him back, and hoped that he would want to. Holding Sandria responsible for the soul’s predicament, Elwood asked her what would happen to them. Accepting responsibility, Sandria asked for time for Jimmy first. Fifteen minutes later, the Baron used a bonfire to learn that Nettie was calling his spirit for help.

On Ebner Island, while Mamma Maxine and her coven escorted her to the bayou, Nettie called to the memory of Baron Zastrow, the spirit of fire, and O Shun, the Goddess of love, to give her back the spirit of her age, let her be what she was, and give her back the power of her old age. Drinking water to make her clean mixed with rum to make her tipsy and blood to make her human, Nettie saw the way. Disrobing, Nettie asked for the serpent, so that together they could dance their way down the path of life toward her proper age.

In the bayou, the Baron told Jack that Nettie’s dace was something to behold, and that he should play for the people that came out of the monster, who loved him and wanted to hear him one last time. Lacking his sax, Jack played air saxophone for the souls, who did seemed happy as clams. While Marcia asked Elwood where he would go from there and he said that he planned to travel the world spreading the Gospel of Shadowman, Sandria told them that she brought Jimmy back to life, but was not sure what he would become. Just then, the Baron told Jack to stop playing and that Nettie was in deep trouble on Ebner island.

On Ebner Island, an armored transport interrupted Nettie’s dance. Leaping off the vehicle, the drug dealers ordered the coven to drop their machetes, but when they refused they shot them and hit Rose. Placing her hand on Rose’s shoulder, Mamma Maxine urged the coven to stop fighting. Holding the snake in her arms, Nettie told the drug dealers not to harm the others because they were helpless and asked them what they wanted. Telling Nettie that his boss, Luis Rojas, wanted the island, Cortinas said that he thought he would want her too. Holding tightly to the snake, Nettie said that no man had the power to have her, but Cortinas said that Rojas had the power to take whatever he wanted, and then beheaded the snake with a knife.

Sensing that the circle was broken, the Baron told Jack that Nettie needed him. Saying that where Nettie went trouble followed and that Shadowman followed trouble, Jack found it exciting. Walking out of the bayou holding Jimmy’s hand, Sandria said that she brought him back but that he could not live in the real world and had to stay there, so she created a place for him and the souls his brother resurrected. Watching Sandria, Jack was surprised that she actually seemed to feel something for Jimmy as he did not think that she could feel. Changing his mind, Elwood decided to stay and help since the souls knew him, which made Jack happy, as he did not want him going around preaching about Shadowman. Watching the souls, Sandria said that they would rest in a bayou of eternal picnic shielded from discovery. Walking toward the boat, Jack thought that he wished he trusted Sandria, but he had a feeling that eventually they would try to kill each other.

Arriving on Ebner Island, Luis Rojas told Nettie to dance for him. Watching him with a stare that said that she knew more about the dance than him, Nettie agreed to dance, while behind her, Shadowman and the Baron watched from atop a tree. Thinking that Rojas and his men had knives, guns, automatic weapons, grenades, and they were going to get a Nettie dance, Shadowman was certain that they were in deep trouble.

Song For The Dead

Sitting on a wicker chair, Rojas told Cortinas that she was very beautiful, while his lawyer, Albert Morgan, said that they were wasting time. Watching from a tree, Baron Zastrow told Jack that Nettie remembered the powerful Voodun dance, and assured him that she needed help. Ordering Cortinas to take Maxine and her followers away, Rojas told Nettie to dance for him and show him what a Voodoo Queen could do. Inside a shack, Maxine grabbed Cortinas’ lapel and, telling him that they were sick of them, demanded that they leave their island. Enraged, Cortinas slapped Maxine, who as she fell down ripped his shirt.

Outside, after Shadowman dispatched two sentries, he climbed up a tree to get the lay of the land and saw Cortinas and his men in near the jungle, the Voodoo people imprisoned, and Rojas and his followers ogling Nettie, who seduced Rojas with her moves and got him to stand up and dance with her. Fascinated, the guards only had eyes for Nettie, giving Shadowman the opportunity to snatch them into the dark.

Inside the shack, Maxine used the piece from Cortinas’ shirt and a hat pin to make a voodoo doll that let her control him. Outside, Cortinas told his men that Nettie bewitched Rojas and said that he was no longer fit to be their boss, but his men told him that he was crazy. Enthralled by Maxine’s spell, Cortinas killed his men. Hearing the gunfire, Rojas’ men ran toward the jungle, but Shadowman floated out of the darkness and took them out them. Taking a grenade, Shadowman threw it at the armored transport and blew it up.

Startled, Albert told Rojas that his men were dying, but, bewitched by Nettie’s spell, he paid no attention to him and immersed himself in the dance. Running away, Albert found Ramos, one of Rojas’ men, who told him that everyone was dead, taken by ghosts. Just then, Ramos vanished in front of Albert’s eyes, pulled into a tree by Shadowman. Watching Albert run away, Shadowman went to find Cortinas. Elsewhere, the Baron dug up an old coffee can sealed with electricians tape and opened it up to released his skin.

Chasing Cortinas, Shadowman taunted him enough to make him mad. Coming out of the jungle, Albert asked Cortinas what was happening. Crazed, Cortinas said that everyone was trying to kill him and shot Albert. Standing over Albert’s body, Shadowman told the Baron that he was going after Rojas, while the Baron told him that he was going to introduce Cortinas to his skin. Coming out of the darkness, the Baron’s skin wrapped itself around Cortinas and sucked out his life, leaving him dead as stone.

Hypnotized by Nettie’s dancing hips, Rojas told her that he loved her, and asking her to show him more skin, promised to take her with him and make her rich. Walking out from behind the smoke of the campfire, Nettie restored her real age, and, showing Rojas her true self, broke her spell over him. Sickened, Rojas ran away and discovered that his men were dead. Terrified, Rojas came upon Shadowman, and shot him with his gun, but the Shadow power ate the bullets and pulled them into the Shadowmark, spitting them out in the unreality zone. Telling Rojas that he was finished, Shadowman got him to take the gun to his temple and kill himself.

The next day, Jack and Nettie returned to New Orleans, leaving the Baron home with Mamma Maxine.

A Song For The Dead.

Lyrics

Jack Boniface, Nov. 15, 1994

I am the man of shadow We come, the baron man and me.

We drive the bad men out of this island So honest people can run free.

Beware the drug man devils As they try to steal your soul

Beware the drug–men devils And the poison that they hold

We strike down, the bad men one, two, three Bone–man, the Baron, Voodoo women, and me

She dances Her eyes dance Her hands Her mouth Her lips Join her dance

The Baron, he diggin’ in a cold, dark place He can’t be a–sweating ‘cause he got no face.

Behind guarded doors, the Voodoo, it start! Dark magic enter Cortinas’ heart

Don’t come to the island to steal and kill. If the magic don’t get you, the Shadowman will

You coming here Playing like you bad–men You lose your mind The island make you madmen

Beneath d’skin There lie d’bone,

But d’skin of d’baron exist all alone

It wrap all round you so you wheeze and moan

Suck our your life – leave you dead as stone

I am the shadow I enter the nighttime of your soul like a velvet knife

D’bad men come, d’bad they go; the island still here, d’wind still blow. Carryin’ us back to our N’awlings home Carryin’ us back.

The old be young – the dead be live on Ebner Island, where the Voodoo thrive.

Victorian Voodoo

On June 21st, 1900, in a blimp over the Azores, Professor Moriarty and Sir Cedric Baseheart, the owner of the Hellfire Club, sacrificed a girl who a Miss Klug had assured them was a virgin, when then a lightning bolt hit the blimp. Cursing the girl for not being pure, the professor and Cedric escaped with their servant, Abdul, on gliders that took them to a ship that was waiting for them in the waters below. While flying toward the vessel, the professor said that he would send Miss Klug to America to find a sacrifice that he would examine himself.

A year later, on the Yankee Steamship Intrepid, William Buchanan, the heavyweight champion of America, who happened to be a racist, pulled a gun on Maxim St. James, the 19th Century Shadowman, during a poker game because he felt offended by his attitude. Challenging Buchanan to a hand to hand fight, Maxim trusted the Captain to watch over his winnings. Concerned for his safety, Penelope Mather, the daughter of Senator Mather, cautioned Maxim against fighting Buchanan, but he assured her that he could take care of himself. Though Penelope begged her chaperone, Miss Klug, to let her attend the fight, she refused. That night, Maxim had to flee the fight with Buchanan when he heard Penelope scream for help on the other side of the ship. Finding a masked assailant dragging Penelope to a rope ladder tied to a blimp, Maxim rescued the young girl, but then Buchanan distracted him and gave the would–be kidnapper a chance to escape.

The next morning in Southampton, Maxim bid goodbye to Penelope and told her that he would be gambling nightly at the Hellfire Club. Promising to give Miss Klug the slip, Penelope assured Maxim that she would see him again. After Miss Klug took Penelope away, Maxim met with Aram Anni–Padda, an old friend of his. Curious about the Hellfire Club, Maxim asked Aram to tell him about it, and he learned of rumors that Sir Cedric was heavily into black magic. Making their way toward the club on a steam–powered car Aram won from Moriarty, Aram said that Sir Cedric, who dabbled in Satanism, allegedly held the odd Black Mass under the name of the Great Beast, and that a year earlier with no past and little money, he had within a fortnight won enough gambling to open his club.

That evening at the Hellfire Club, Aram introduced Maxim to Professor Moriarty, who was well aware of Maxim’s reputation. Five hours later, having lost all his money paying for a 24–hour membership to get into the club and in against Moriarty in a poker game, Maxim signed up for a fight against Buchanan to earn what he owed. Thought Aram warned Maxim that Buchanan was undefeated and that the fights would begin in the afternoon, Maxim was adamant that he would fight.

That afternoon in Glaston Park, Maxim was glad to see that Penelope had slipped away from Miss Klug and was there to watch him fight. Before the match began, Penelope asked Maxim to wear her scarf as a good luck charm, and he gladly tied it around his head. After reciting the rules to the fighters and ringing the bell that signaled the start of the first round, Moriarty told Cedric that he would meet him in the docks that night. Two minutes later, Miss Klug arrived looking for Penelope and ordered Abdul to wait until dark to take her, certain that when Buchanan defeated Maxim he would be in no shape to help her. For the next two hours, Maxim endured a beating unlike any he had taken in his life, but he refused to bow down to Buchanan and resisted until, finally, the sun went down and night fell. Possessed by voodoo Loa and filled with the power of the night, Maxim stood up to Buchanan and knocked him out much to Penelope’s delight. Just then, Miss Klug dragged Penelope inside a carriage where Sir Cedric drugged her to put her to sleep. Learning of the abduction from one of the Intrepid’s crewmen, Maxim and Aram followed Sir Cedric to the docks.

Deducing that Cedric planned to sacrifice Penelope, who happened to be a direct descendant of Cotton Mather, to use the necromantic energy of her death to raise an army of the dead, Maxim noticed a blimp tied to a yacht in the river and realized that Cedric plotted to kill Penelope beneath the moonlight. Renting a boat, Maxim and Aram had the captain take them to the yacht before it cast off. Fighting their way through Cedric’s men, Maxim took hold of a rope ladder tied to the blimp and climbed up while Aram stayed behind.

Inside the blimp, Cedric, having realized that Maxim was a Shadowman, ordered Abdul to capture him so he could use his blood to fuel his dream. Breaking free of Abdul’s hold, Maxim tossed him against Cedric while Moriarty opened fire on him with a gun. While Maxim freed Penelope, Miss Klug stabbed him on the back with a dagger, but then Penelope set her ablaze with a ceremonial candle. Afraid that the fire would ignite the gas, Cedric had Abdul push Klug outside. Using Maxim’s blood on the dagger, Cedric conjured the mists of unspeakable seven to squeeze the breath out of him, but since Maxim also used necromantic energy, he had no problem standing up against Cedric’s magic. Grabbing Cedric’s hand, Maxim stabbed Abdul with Cedric’s cane and pushed him out the blimp, but then, Moriarty shot him with his shotgun. Before he could finish him off, however, Penelope wrestled the gun from Moriarty’s hand and shot the blimp.

Blinded by smoke, Cedric tried to hit Shadowman with Abdul’s sword, but he missed and hit Abdul instead as he was climbing back inside the blimp, while Maxim, retrieving the cane from Abdul’s abdomen, killed Cedric with it. Grabbing a glider, Penelope and Maxim jumped out of the blimp before it exploded.

Upon reaching shore, the constables cited Aram for reckless driving, but Maxim assured him that he would reimburse him for his expenses and then the three of them drove away into the sunrise.

Cinderella Blues

Cinderella Blues – Part I

During a rainstorm, Roger kicked Marcia out of his car after she told him she was seeing someone else and drove off. Wondering where Jack was, Marcia reached into her pursue to search for money for a taxi, when then she heard a voice coming from a warehouse at the docks. Going in, Marcia saw Apehanger accuse Rudy of cutting a deal with the special prosecutor to go into the witness protection program while he got the chair. Snapping Rudy’s neck, Apehanger dropped him into the river, but then he heard Marcia gasping and went looking for her. Running away, Marcia lost a shoe and her dress ripped on the fence. Watching Marcia get away in a taxi, Apehanger held her dress to his nose and decided to call a specialist to deal with her.

The next morning, Apehanger hired Ishmael, the sharpshooter killer, to take out the witnesses against him in his murder trial, including Marcia. Taking a list of names, Ishmael began with Bennie Green, who was staying at the Tryatt Inn. Posing as a copier repair man, Ishmael got past the federal officer in the lobby. Knocking on Bennie’s door in the second floor of the inn, Ishmael kicked the door in and then slid the throat of the officer guarding Bennie with a piece of paper. Cowering, Bennie asked Ishmael to tell Apehanger that they made him, but looming over him, Ishmael assured Bennie that he would not have to testify at all.

That night, while playing at Gumbo’s jazz club, Jack mused over how things had gotten better for him; he had a new agent who returned his phone calls and there was a man there from Downbeat to write about him. Taking a break, Jack went to speak with the reporter, when then he saw Ishmael. Confronting him, Jack asked Ishmael what he was doing there, and Ishmael told him that, whether he believed it or not, he was his favorite sax player, and that it be a shame to kill him since he had only released one record. Upset, Jack told Ishmael to leave, but, Ishmael asked him if he wanted to get it on and disappoint the people who were there to hear him play. Returning to the stage, Jack dedicated his next song, Mack the Knife, to Ishmael.

The next morning, Jack read on the paper that Bennie was murdered, and that the DA would not speculate about Apehanger ordering the murder. Just then, Marcia walked into the dinner and told Jack what she saw. Saying that she heard about the witness getting killed Marcia told Jack that she was afraid that Apehanger might be after her. Certain that Apehanger had hired Ishmael to kill her, Jack asked Marcia to tell the feds what she saw, but distrustful of the cops and refusing to turn herself in, she walked away, upset that Jack would not help her. Grabbing her arm, Jack told Marcia that he knew a place where she could go. Shortly, Jack took Marcia to Gumbo’s crash pad to hide, then, after taking his leave, he promised her that he would check in on her before he went on stage. Realizing that he could not protect Marcia as well as the police, Jack anonymously called Lt. Szymanski and told him to check out the witness staying above Club Gumbo.

Sometime later, Lt. Szymanski went to Gumbo’s pad and found Marcia. Assuring her that he was not gonna bust her, Szymanski told Marcia that she needed protection because she knew something about Apehanger. Telling her that if he could find her, Apehanger’s killer could too, Szymanski convinced Marcia to let him take her somewhere safer. Arriving at the small town of LaBugue, Szymanski took Marcia to the police station, where his friend, Sheriff Boudreaux, agreed to let her stay and deliver her where and when Szymanski told him. Confident that Marcia would be fine, Szymanski promised to see her on Monday and left. After Louise, his assistant, settled Marcia in his office, the sheriff left, unaware that she worked for Apehanger.

At the Bayou Hotel in New Orleans that Jack called home, Jack told Nettie that he had to cancel his gig at Gumbo’s club to find Ishmael and stop him. Telling Jack that he made the night proud, Nettie said that he made up for a whole lot of evil. Leaping out the window, Jack promised Nettie that next week she would be his guest at the club. Elsewhere, Ishmael posed as Jack Boniface to enter Delmar Brigg’s mansion and kill him. Inside the state, Delmar and a young girl were getting high, when then, Ishmael came into the room offering Apehanger’s regards. Suddenly, Shadowman broke through the window and challenged Ishmael.

Cinderella Blues – Part II: Flames Of Rage

Inside Delmar Brigg’s mansion, an enraged Delmar did not think that Ishmael and the saxophone reeds in his hands were dangerous. As Shadowman told Delmar that Ishmael could hurl the reeds with hurricane force, he jumped out of the way of one that hit the girl instead. Urging Delmar to get the girl out, Shadowman punched Ishmael, who burned him with a can of hairspray. Pushing Ishmael out the window, he and Shadowman fell into the garden, where Delmar’s men opened fire on them. While Ishmael escaped, Shadowman jumped on the roof and, hearing sirens in the distance, decided to call it a night. Sometime after the police and Feds left, Ishmael returned and strangled Delmar with a garden hose. Believing that he saved Briggs, and that not even Ishmael would be able to touch him with a dozen Feds on the grounds, Shadowman returned to the Bayou Hotel feeling like he had just gone twelve rounds with George Foreman. Crawling in bed, Jack went to sleep.

That night, Apehanger called Ishmael and told him where he could find Marcia Lewis. Arriving in LaBugue, Ishmael killed the deputy guarding the door to the police station with his badge, then took his keys to go look for Marcia. Inside the Sheriff’s office, the sheriff took off after Marcia beat him in a hand of gin too many to relieve the deputy. Walking into the station, the sheriff saw a closed door that should remain open at all times. Calling the deputy, the sheriff reached for the doorknob, and when he grabbed it, it electrocuted him. Walking out of the room holding Marcia’s shoe, Ishmael called out to her, telling her that she had her slipper.

Sometime later, Ishmael called Jack to tell him that he captured Marcia, and making him follow his direction, he led him to a commercial dock where he told him to get on a skiff and row out to a yellow channel marker. Seeing Ishmael standing over Marcia on an oil rig, Shadowman barely avoided getting hit with a hook that Ishmael threw at him. While Ishmael looked over the edge looking for Shadowman, Marcia pushed him in the water. As Ishmael managed to pull himself up, Shadowman jumped out from behind him and told him that his ego was going to cost him his life. Kicking Shadowman off, Ishmael said that nobody got a second chance with him. Grabbing an oil drum, Ishmael threw it at Shadowman, who kicked it out of the way. Repeatedly punching Ishmael, Shadowman told him that his problem was that he did not know what do if his hands were empty, he needed a knife, a gun, a rock, or a soda straw, and pushed him into the oil drill. Grabbing a chain, Ishmael swung it over his head to strike Shadowman, but then the tip of the chain hit the metal rig and caused a spark that ignited the petroleum, causing a massive explosion that Jack and Marcia barely escaped from.

On Monday morning, Marcia showed up in court to testify against Apehanger.

X-O Manowar/Shadowman

First Impressions

During an otherwise uneventful evening in New Orleans, a nightclub suddenly exploded and many patrons died in the wake of the blast. Watching from afar, Ishmael, an assassin with deadly accuracy whose face was covered in bandages to hide the burns that he sustained during his last encounter with Shadowman, told his unnamed client that the destruction of the club put him one step closer to regaining control of all the night clubs in the area. As he took his leave, the client, pleased with Ishmael’s results, suggested that he eliminate face–to–face contact with his clients until his face healed. Stepping out of the shadows, Blister, the leader of the Cult of Shadowman in the 30th Century who found himself in the present during an encounter with Shadowman, told Ishmael that he was tired of waiting to play. Indulging Blister, Ishmael told him that he could do the next job, long as he did not get himself killed as he had big plans for him.

Sometime later, at Aric Dacia’s house in Ulster County, New York, Aric threw a tantrum to vent his anger over Randy Cartier leaving him. Trying to soothe Aric, Ken Clarkson suggested that he accompany him to New Orleans, where he had some Orb business to take care of as someone had just destroyed one of their nightclubs there. Upset that a fool had declared war on him, Aric was eager to leave to make them pay in blood. That night in New Orleans, Blister crashed a car into a nightclub in the French Quarter. Walking out of the wreck while people died around him, Blister commented that the destruction made him very happy.

The next night, at the Resident Hotel, Jack Boniface watched a news report about the explosion at the Empora Club, the fourth target in the recent random series of destructive attacks in the area. Disheartened, Jack turned the TV off, when then Nettie turned it back, claiming that what was happening might be Shadowman business, but, angered, Jack tossed the TV on the floor. As Nettie told Jack that there were forces at work that he did not understand, Jack interrupted her and he was sick of her always telling him what he had to do, then he told her to leave him alone and get off his back. Walking away, Nettie told Jack to sulk for awhile and that she would see him later at the club. Enraged, Jack tossed the furniture around, when then, he saw his saxophone. Taking it to his lips, Jack played his saxophone to relax.

Several miles away, at the Orb Industries–owned Ritz Carlton Hotel, Obadiah Johnson, the manager of the Jelly’s Blues Bar at the hotel, introduced himself to Aric and Ken. Telling Aric that he knew he had contacts in the records business, Obadiah extended an invitation to him and Ken to see Jack Boniface, a great sax player he was certain would go far, play at the club that night.

Sometime after eleven, Devon and Nettie walked into Jelly’s Blues Bar to see Jack’s set. Upon seeing Aric in the audience, Nettie walked into the bathroom and, seconds later, emerged transformed into her younger self, which took Devon by surprise. Seeing Nettie walking towards him, Aric, bewitched by her beauty, could not take his eyes off her.

All of a sudden, during Jack’s set, a group of armed individuals in masks broke into the club and opened fire on the patrons with machine guns and flame throwers. Summoning the Good Skin, Aric donned the Manowar Class Armor and dispatched the assailants. Seeing Shadowman come out of the flames, Aric wrongly assumed that he was their leader. Alerted by the Good skin that Shadowman had Spider Alien blood cursing through his veins, Aric took great delight in the knowledge that he would wipe out the last of their kind.

As Aric fired an ion blast at Shadowman, both men were surprised to see a magic shield manifest out of thin air between Shadowman and the blast. Though he sensed dark sorcery at play, Aric was not discouraged and continued his tussle with Jack. Standing in the sidelines, Blister rushed toward Shadowman to kill him, but Ishmael stopped him and told him to wait and see if the armored thug would take him down so they could catch Shadowman at his weakest.

Empowered by a sudden outburst of necromantic energy emanating from the mark on his chest, Shadowman pummeled Aric repeatedly. Using the Darque Power to even the odds, Shadowman caused the Good Skin great pain and agony that made Aric feel that his mind was being ripped apart. Nevertheless, the Visigoth damned Shadowman and refused to surrender.

As the Good Skin morphed into a monstrous three–headed creature, Shadowman let out a blast of Darque Power that rendered Aric unconscious as well as left him powerless. Just then, Blister walked out of the wreckage of the nightclub and challenged Shadowman to a fight.

Aric

Shortly after 11 pm, a gang of hoods in ski masks armed with flame throwers busted into Jelly’s Blues Bar, ruining Jack Boniface’s act, which really upset him as he was playing real good and his friends, Devon and Nettie, where there. Suddenly, the X–O Manowar wrapped itself around Aric Dacia, who by the time Jack pulled on his mask, had dispatched the assailants, which Jack thought was a good thing, until Aric turned on him. As Aric proved too tough, Jack did not think that he could take him, but then, the Shadow Power kicked in, and necromantic energy flowing from the mark on his chest disrupted the X–O Manowar.

As Jack stood over Aric, who laid unconscious on the sidewalk, Nettie went outside to see how Aric was doing, while Devon tried to get Jack to calm down, unaware that Ishmael was watching them from the other side of the street. Back inside, Blister, who was upset that Jack left him in Oakland after he took him through time, came out of the men’s room and challenged Jack to a fight. Punching Devon aside, Blister rushed Jack.

Outside, as Nettie and Ken carried Aric inside his limo, the police arrived. Changing between her young self and old self, Nettie told the cops that strange things like they never see, that they never gonna forget, and that would give them nightmares for all their life were happening. Frightened, the two officers fled on foot, then Nettie got inside the limo and gave directions to the driver for where to go.

As Blister and Jack fought, Blister tossed Shadowman out through the front window into the sidewalk. Wondering why the Shadow Power had not kicked in, Jack was certain that with it he could fry Blister, who had gotten stronger since the last time they fought. Using a door that he ripped from a van, Blister tried to hit Jack, who leapt out of the way and jumped on his shoulders, but Blister, who had acquired new fighting skills while on the wrestling circuit, did a flip and slammed Jack against the sidewalk. All of a sudden, the leash around Blister’s neck zapped him and he ran away calling his master’s name. Recognizing Ishmael’s name, Jack followed Blister.

Hours later, in Nettie’s house, Nettie used a voodoo spell make Pol–Bekhara release Aric from its grasp. Staying behind with Nettie, who he was certain was young and beautiful when she touched him while he was laying on the street, Aric told Ken to leave and that he would see him later at the hotel. Embracing Nettie, accepting the mystery of her age, Aric passionately kissed her and, as she transformed back into her younger self, she promised him that he would not be sorry.

Before dawn, Shadowman followed Blister to an abandoned warehouse, where he ran across Ishmael, who ordered Blister to fight him again. As Blister rushed toward Shadowman, dawn broke and Jack could feel the strength ebbing. Looming over the two combatants, Ishmael mockingly told Jack that he hurt like him, but that he learned to embrace the intense pain. As dawn exploded, Blister knocked out Jack with one punch.

As Ishmael raised his walker over Jack’s face and released a scalpel inches from his eye, X–O Manowar broke into the warehouse and tossed Blister through the wall. Sensing that Ishmael was the more dangerous of the two, Aric turned his attention to him, but then Nettie walked into the warehouse and Ishmael shot her with phosphorus pellets from his walker that badly burned her. As Aric and Jack looked after Nettie, Ishmael fled.

Though Aric wanted to find Ishmael to avenge Nettie, Jack convinced him to take her to the hospital and leave Ishmael to him.

Interlude V

Wild Card

At 6:45 a.m., as Aric and Jack debated which one of them would go after Ishmael, Nettie changed from her injured younger self to her pristine older body much to their amazement. Slightly dazed, Nettie said that her older and younger selves would be fine, and that her younger self was crazy anyhow because she only wanted to hang out with men. Though Aric wanted to pursue Ishmael and Blister, Nettie told him to go home for her sake while Jack assured him that Shadowman would go after them when night fell. Watching from the roof, Blister wanted to fight Shadowman, so he decided to follow Jack home and wait until he changed. That day, Aric flew back home, and while Jack thought that Nettie was indifferent to his leaving, she walked away thinking that Aric was quite a man, but that it was good he left because she was too much woman for him.

The next night at 9:30 p.m., Jack had a gig at Jelly’s at one of those times after sundown when he and Shadowman came together and their madness and music collided in a jazz that screamed out of his horn like a hot idiot wind. As the light fought the night inside Jack’s sax, wrestling each other with notes only a mad man could invent, the night won and the crowd went wild. As Jack left the stage and headed for the alley back of the club, the crowd’s cheers echoed in his ears, but all he could think of was his need needed to put on the mask and run away to find a fight, some action, and a beer. Out in the alley, Jelly told Jack to go back in and perform an encore, but he refused because he did not want to chance going wild inside. Walking away, Jack told Jelly that if he wanted him to work there he would do it his way, so Jelly fired him.

Leaping across rooftops thinking that if he had stayed he would have punched Jelly out, Jack stowed his sax on a rooftop, like he had done before, instead of leaving it at the flophouse that passed for his home. Feeling a fire within him that urged him to move, Jack donned the mask of shadows and left, certain that his sax would be safe as no one but he would be crazy enough to jump around the rooftops after midnight. Unbeknownst to Jack, however, Blister had followed him and found his saxophone.

At 1:45 a.m., Shadowman saw a couple of armed robbers inside an all night grocery store in Dumaine through the window and went inside before they even got started. Though the men were nothing but two–bit crooks, Shadowman enjoyed the rush of the fight, and the sounds of breaking glass, shotgun blasts, and the crack of his knuckles slamming against their faces.

Five minutes later, Shadowman returned to the rooftop to collect his sax, which was no longer there. In its place, Shadowman found a Jack of hearts with a message from Blister written on it challenging him to a fight the next night. As dawn broke, Shadowman returned home asking himself why, if Blister had followed him, he wanted to wait to fight him, but he was too tired to think about it.

The next afternoon in Leo’s Pool Hall, Blister agreed to play a game of pool against a man for $50 dollars a ball. While ranting about Ishmael, and how he had not zapped his collar in a while, Blister used his strength to lift the table off the floor and put all the balls on it in the pocket. Leaving the establishment with his earnings, Blister decided to use them to take some saxophone lessons.

At 3:30 p.m., Jelly called Jack at Elmo’s flop house and told him that an agent who Aric called had offered him a recording contract and wanted him to record a live CD at his club. Excited by the news, Jack went to have breakfast and ponder how to recover his sax. While Jack wondered if Nettie was a part of his new–found luck, he pondered what she would do next for him.

At Nettie’s house, Nettie conjured a spell that compelled Ishmael to go to her so he could explain why he burned her. Summoned by words that he could not fight that made his every move an agony, Ishmael walked through the door of the house and asked Nettie who she was. Telling him that she was the young woman that he burned, Nettie offered to heal Ishmael like she healed herself in exchange for a life and a death.

That evening, as the sun went down Jack felt the darkness stealing into his spine, and an insidious black monster of rage and adrenaline pushed Jack Boniface into the recesses of his brain and Shadowman rose to the force, savage and reckless and addicted as hell. Standing on the roof of the flop house, Jack donned the mask of shadows and leapt into space, where instead of plunging to his death he floated to the Earth like a killer angel in search of his stolen saxophone.

Though it was hard to red Blister’s scrawlings, Shadowman followed his directions to the French Market. Arriving just as Blister was tearing up the place and tossing cops left and right, Shadowman was horrified to see him playing his saxophone. Appalled, Shadowman leapt off the roof and rushed toward Blister.

While Shadowman drop kicked Blister, at Nettie’s house, she asked Ishmael to pull off his wrappings and trust the Loa and her. While Nettie enveloped Ishmael in her flames, which burnt away his scars and peeled his dead flesh, Shadowman ran away with Jack’s sax from Blister, who caught up with him atop a trolley that crashed into a truck, a collision that as Shadowman left he surmised no one could have survived, not even a steroid–brained goon like Blister. After healing Ishmael, Nettie asked him to leave Jack alone and told him that she would let him know when and where she needed him to deliver on the death that he promised her.

Three hours later, Shadowman watched from the river as the rescue teams pulled Blister out of the wreckage and he passed out asking who won the fight. Wondering if the police could hold Blister, Shadowman mostly, after cleaning the mouthpiece, played his sax. Watching Jack from afar, Lt. Szymanski was certain that he was responsible for what happened and told an office that he was going to get him.

Funeral Rap

At 12:45 a.m. in Jackson Square, as Mose waited for Devon to finish performing a rap in a street corner they shared, the Jackson Square mugger came up from behind Devon and punched him out to steal all his money. Listening for Devon’s moans, Mose, who was blind, searched for him to get him some help.

The next morning at Eve’s Barbecue, as Jack read on the paper that the police arrested Blister, he wondered what happened to Ishmael, who was still out there waiting to kill him. Just then, Eve told Jack that he had a call from Blind Mose, who told him what happened to Devon. Leaving to go see Devon, Jack’s thoughts would not leave Ishmael, and he continued to wonder where he was.

Meanwhile, at the home of Anjentta Grampion, Ishmael tossed a tin can lid at a tree branch to test how well Nettie had healed him. Hitting his intended mark, Ishmael was pleased that he had recovered. Reminding Ishmael not to target Jack or Shadowman any more, and that he still owed him a death, Nettie warned him that she had made deals with lot worse devils than him.

After taking Devon home from the hospital, Jack took Mose for a beer at Ernie’s bar. Though Jack told him to use whatever money he had to get into a shelter, Mose said that he was saving his money for a first class street funeral. Impressing Jack with his uncanny ability to hear the exact position where the darts hit the board in the bar, Mose convinced him to stand against it while he threw darts at him and hit the bullseye for five bucks. Two hours later, Jack had lost 50 dollars that went toward Mose’s funeral After Jack left, Ishmael asked Mose to teach him how to hit the board blind folded, and within three hours he had learned how to listen as the darts hit the board with a blindfold over his eyes.

That night, Shadowman went to Jackson Square to find the mugger, and saw that Devon was back and Mose was watching too. While Shadowman listened to Devon rap and thought that he had found his calling, Mose left to find his own corner, unaware that the mugger had followed him. Reaching out from behind a fence, the mugger grabbed Mose and demanded that he give him his money, when, suddenly, Ishmael threw a dart at his eye that hit him on the hand before Shadowman could play hero.

Never stopping to consider that Ishmael might have been helping Mose, Shadowman drop kicked him and demanded to know how come he was not burnt. Telling Shadowman that Nettie healed him, a revelation that he refused to believe, Ishmael threw a hubcap at him that hit a lamppost instead but did not because he gave his word not to kill him. Refusing to accept Ishmael’s claims, Shadowman engaged him in battle despite his urging him to go save Mose. Enthralled in berserker mode, by the time Shadowman recovered is composure it was too late to save Mose and Ishmael was gone. Kneeling beside Mose, Shadowman promised him that he would get his funeral right before he passed away.

Shadowman spent the rest of the night looking for the mugger, who he found at 3 a.m. attacking a couple of tourists. As Shadowman kicked the mugger, the man pulled a gun and shot him, which pushed him into a berserker rage. Running after the mugger, Shadowman grabbed him by the neck and was ready to kill him, when, suddenly, he realized that he was just a kid and Jack’s voice made him hesitate. Unexpectedly, Ishmael threw a dart at the mugger that hit him across the eyes and killed him instantly. Telling Shadowman that Mose was his friend, Ishmael urged him to make sure he had his funeral and then he left.

At 9 a.m. the next morning, a funeral procession of mourners and a wagon draped in black with Mose’s coffin pulled by horses with black plumes rolled through the old streets toward St. Louis Cemetery. While the mourners wept and the tourists gawked, Jack Boniface and the band woke up the late sleepers of Basin Street with their renditions of “Gambler’s Blues”, “Didn’t He Ramble”, and “When the Saints Go Marching In”, a performance that Jack was certain old Mose would have been proud of.

Undead Love

At 1:30 a.m. Anne Stoker, author of a series of fabulously popular gothic pulps about vampires, took a stroll through a graveyard to find inspiration for her latest opus, unaware that Master Darque had used the cemetery she had wandered into to store necromantic energy . Desperate for a fresh cliché, Anne neither heard nor felt the marble crumble and she fell into a chasm where the Darque essence enveloped her.

Two weeks later, Jack and Marcia watched on television as Anne’s agent told the press that, in his opinion, her disappearance was a publicity stunt to boost sagging book sales. Jack did not really care that Anne was missing, but three kids with their throats torn out had been murdered near Darque’s old cemetery, and he figured that maybe the same thing happened to her. Teasing Jack, Marcia said that she used to date Anne’s agent to get him jealous. Aware that Marcia was tired of making love in the light with a man who would leave as soon as it got dark, Jack liked Marcia a lot, but he knew that she loved the man he became after dark. Two hours later, while they were taking a shower together, Marcia asked Jack to stay with her that night, but he changed into Shadowman and left to investigate the cemetery. Upset, Marcia told Jack that his version of night life, which used to be a kick, was starting to wear, but Shadowman told her not to squeeze him.

As a kid and his girlfriend hid from the rain ran inside an open crypt in the cemetery, Anne, who had become a vampire, killed the girl. Watching from atop a crypt as Anne pursued the boy, Shadowman leapt at her and ordered her to stop. Raving in pulp speak to describe her actions, Anne tossed Shadowman against a fence and raked his eyes with her nails. Though the mask saved his eyes, Shadowman could not see or focus, but he went after Anne to stop her before she slaughtered the boy. Staggering toward the kid’s screams, Shadowman tripped over his body and fell on the ground. As his vision cleared, Shadowman grabbed the kid and took him to the hospital, unaware that Anne was watching him.

The next day, Jack asked Marcia to introduce him to Phillip Angle, Anne’s agent, so he could learn more about her. Upset, Marcia told Jack that she was very taken with him, a sentiment he reciprocated, but neither one of them was brave enough to tell the other that they loved them.

Though she was angry with Jack, Marcia made the call and that Shadowman stood watch outside Angle’s eyesore of a condo waiting for him to return from the opera. Seeing movement in the balcony, Shadowman rushed upstairs and got there just as Anne got to Phillip and bit him in the nose. Disgusted, Shadowman tossed Anne, who continued to speak in pulp speak and sounded like one of her novels. Leaping toward Jack, Anne bit him in the neck with night strength that matched him. As Shadowman threw Anne off him, she escaped through the window ranting that by the next night he would be like her. Feeling like Anne had left her teeth in his neck, Shadowman pulled out a broken porcelain fang that Phillip told him was from false teeth that Anne made for publicity shoots and popped on whenever she got drunk.

The next day, Nettie suggested they treat Anne like the vampire she believed that she was and hunt her during the day, so she, Jack, and Marcia went to Darque’s cemetery, the first place where Shadowman saw her, to find her. Feeling Darque’s presence, Jack knew that his necromantic energy permeated the very stones of the place, and surmised that it was responsible for making Anne stronger.

Following the energy seeping through the ground down into an open crypt, the trio found Anne sleeping in a coffin just like a vampire from a movie. Looming over Anne, Jack asked Nettie what he had to do to get rid of her, when, suddenly, she rose up and attacked them while Marcia stayed back and used a cross to keep her at bay. Mocking her, Anne asked Marcia if she had read any of her books and said that the cross was useless, but just then Marcia hit Anne with the cross and knocked her out. While Jack and Marcia grabbed Anne, Nettie took out one of her books and read a passage that said that the vampires’ one true fear was the cursed sun.

Dragging Anne up the stairs, Jack and Marcia took her outside into the daylight. The necromantic power, Jack surmised, had made Anne believe she was a vampire, and now she believed that she was dying, even though that was not so. 10 minutes later, the paramedics put Anne in a straightjacket and took her away while she screamed that she was melting.

The Death of Shadowman?

Under Arrest

On June 4th, 1995 at 9:30 p.m., an unlikely meeting between Pappa Napoleon, the crime Czar of New Orleans, and Lt. Szymanski took place in a vacant building. Napoleon tried to kill Shadowman and Szymanski tried to arrest him to no avail, so they agreed to set a trap for him the next time he beat up one of Napoleon’s boys. Napoleon’s plan was for Szymanski to arrest Shadowman and give his guys immunity to testify against him at his trial, but the problem was who exactly to arrest. Napoleon was certain that Jack Boniface had to be Shadowman, so even though Szymanki thought it was difficult to get him, he believed it was doable.

Two nights later, Shadowman engaged a group of Pappa Napoleon’s men in an alley and swiftly defeated him. Looming over them, Shadowman ordered the men to tell Napoleon to give up the night, as after dark New Orleans belonged to him, then, as the sound of sirens became louder, he left before the cops arrived. Emerging from his squad car, Szymanski grabbed Bardolphe Dupré, one of Napoleon’s men, and offered him immunity in exchange of his pressing charges against Shadowman.

The next afternoon at Renfro Recording Studios on Governor Nichols street, Jack Boniface had problems performing for the Colonel, the agent Aric contacted for him. On the twelfth take, Jack, who was aware that he could not play worth a damn, told the Colonel that he needed to perform after dark, but the Colonel refused to pay Wilbur overtime to indulge his fetish for darkness. Upset, Jack stormed out of the booth and told the Colonel to forget about the contract and the CD. Out in the hall, Marcia told Jack that they were on his side, but he told her that he knew that it was not him that they wanted, it was Shadowman. Just then, the Colonel came out of the recording room and agreed to listen to Jack play that night, after dark, like he asked.

As Jack and Marcia walked down the street, he told her that he did not know where the music that he played at night came from, and that when night fell and the sun went away he became another guy who he did not like and was sure did not like him either. That same day, in the Police Station on Esplanade, Lt. Szymanski paraded a series of witnesses willing to testify against Shadowman in front of the police sergeant, including RL McNeeley, who started telling stories about Shadowman after the police picked him up for vagrancy. As Szymanski left to get a warrant, RL had fun showing the sergeant his power to make people’s thoughts real. Meanwhile, Judge Donald M. Pearl agreed to give Szymanski an arrest warrant if he got the DA to cooperate.

Later that day, after dark, Shadowman jumped across the rooftops of the business district to kill time until his recording session began. Rescuing a woman from a mugger, Shadowman took the man’s shirt to put it on so he could arrive at the studio as Jack. Sometime later, on the rooftop of the studio, Shadowman stashed his mask and shirt away and wore a sweat shirt with his hair tied back to come off as Boniface, a prospect that disgusted him. Arriving in the studio at ten o’clock on the dot, Shadowman took Jack’s sax from Marcia and performed a song in a single take that amazed the Colonel.

Suddenly, Szymanski and a group of officers burst into the room and accused Jack of being Shadowman. Holding the mask of shadows in his hand, Szymanski read Jack his Miranda rights, but then Shadowman lashed out and tried to take it from him. Enraged, Shadowman leapt after Szymanski, through a pile of cops, and they fell through a window onto the roof of a police squad. Obsessed with capturing Jack, Szymanski cuffed himself to his left arm so he could not escape.

Amused, Shadowman tossed Szymanski over his shoulder and they crashed into the window of a bar. Looking at a TV screen, Shadowman was shocked to see a picture of Jack Boniface, who according to the anchorman’s sources was really the Shadowman. With his identity now public knowledge, Shadowman knew that the police had finally caught him.

Night Court

As Jack Boniface and the record company’s lawyer, Steve Massarsky, went into the courtroom, a reporter reiterated for her audience that Jack was going on trial for assault, resisting arrest, destruction of property, breaking and entering, and attempted murder, charges for which he could go to jail for 83 years if the DA proved that he was Shadowman. Watching from a roof across the street, Pappa Napoleon assured Szymanski, who was expressing discontent, that his boys would testify against Boniface and send him away for a million years, after which he could stop associating with their type.

Inside the courtroom, Marcia and Nettie watched as Sandria Darque came in and sat behind Jack to witness the trial. Soon, while Stella Lines, the assistant DA, and MK Stanley, Jack Boniface’s trial lawyer, began their opening statements, Jack wondered why he let the court appoint him an attorney and allowed the record company to send Massarsky. As the DA requested that the judge held the proceedings in the evening since Jack’s bizarre behavior occurred at night, MK unexpectedly did not object and the judge granted the motion.

Later, Jack asked MK why he did not object and MK told him that the prosecution's case was air-tight and suggested that he plea insanity, a fact that he would demonstrate himself soon as the sun went down. Meanwhile, outside, Nettie told Marcia that she was certain that something wrong was going on, and that they were gonna force Jack to show himself to be Shadowman unless she did something.

That night in the county jail, Jack tried to hold Shadowman in him because he feared that if left him during the trial he would be finished. Just then, RL, who had used his ability to get past the guard, showed up and offered to help. Reaching out to Jack, RL released an apparition of Shadowman that demanded to be let out. Urging RL to keep touching him, Jack had to keep fighting Shadowman off.

At that same time in a deserted cemetery, Nettie used an onion and a doll that shed Jack’s shadow in the light of the moon to free Shadowman from his soul. As Nettie poked holes in the onion, back in jail, beams of light pierced the Shadowman apparition and destroyed it. Tossing the onion into the graveyard, Nettie proclaimed that Shadowman was gone, as she no longer needed him. Meanwhile, in Sandria Darque’s boudoir, Sandria awoke from a dream and proclaimed that she could not let the night be without its hero.

The next evening, in the criminal justice building, Jack felt fine, certain that nothing was going to happen after dark. Soon, the trial began, and the DA called a procession of witnesses that ranged from Leland Paige, to Rotwak, and Blister, all of whom testified against Jack or strengthen MK’s insanity plea.

That same night, Sandria found Maxim St. James, who for almost a year had dwelled in the secluded bayou holding the spirit of Master Darque captive in his body. Linked to her brother’s spirit, Sandria tracked Maxim, who told her that he was dying, and had aged a hundred years in ten months because of her brother, who had become a cancer waiting to be born. Opening his shirt, Maxim revealed Darque’s face protruding from his chest, waiting to wake up and live again. Saying that her brother had to be released since the world needed a demon and a hero, a Shadowman and a Darque, Sandria told Maxim to let him out and allow Boniface to take his place because otherwise he would die and her brother would still go free. Accepting the inevitability of their fates, Maxim agreed to make strange magic love with Sandria, but asked her to wait until the darkest hour, when some of his shadow strength would return.

An hour after dark, Jack had still not changed into Shadowman, which worried the DA but convinced MK that he was not insane. Back in the bayou, as Sandria finally made Maxim her lover just as he was always meant to be, the Darque energies that rose from their embrace formed into Darque’s paisley hieroglyphs of evil, and as they dispersed into the wind, the spirit of Darque was freed. Not long after, Maxim, who had regained his youth, asked Sandria what would happen now, and she told him that she would martial those that Jack trusted to tell him that her brother was free.

An hour later in the county jail, Sandria appeared outside Jack’s window with Baron Zastrow and Anton Quigley, and told him that Master Darque was free, but he refused to believe her. Before vanishing, Sandria told Jack that Shadowman had to be there in 1999 to fight her brother and fulfill the prophecies. Watching as Sandria and the others vanished, Jack knew that what she had told him was true.

The next night, while Sandria whispered something into Massarsky’s ear and the DA interrogated RL, Jack felt the sudden urged to change into Shadowman but was unable to effect the transformation. Reaching out to Jack, RL offered to help him and infused him with energy that undid Nettie’s magic spell.

Enraged, Shadowman took his mark and Jack’s sax from the DA’s table, when just then Maxim leapt off from the crowd and said that he was Shadowman and had been so for a hundred years. Obeying Sandria’s whispers, Massarsky asked the judge if anyone could swear that Jack Boniface was Shadowman and not Maxim. Using his saxophone, Jack disarmed and knocked out Szymanski, who he blamed of going after him. Watching from the pulpits, Nettie and Marcia were amazed that Shadowman had returned of his own accord, when just then the judge proclaimed a mistrial and ordered everyone to vacate the courtroom.

Refusing to hide from the reporters or anyone else, Shadowman ran out the main door proclaiming that he was not Jack Boniface, he was simply Shadowman.

The End?

At 3:30 a.m., tattoos floating in the velvet night, all that remained of Master Darque, wondered why his sister set him free and Maxim St. James had allowed his spirit to escape his wizened body, but concluding that neither question mattered, he was certain that in a few months he would live again to confront Boniface.

Running away from a pack of baying reporters that followed him through the business streets of New Orleans, Shadowman led them on a merry chase to show them things that they were never going to forget, play them sounds like they had never heard, and give them a finale like they had never seen.

At Sandria Darque’s house, Sandria invited Maxim to her parlor and asked him to remove his mask, a request he vehemently complied with as he no longer considered himself that century’s Shadowman. As Sandria gave him a drink and passionately kissed him, Maxim told her that he had lost himself in her, just like they lost Jack, who refused to go with them. Offering to show Maxim how Jack fared, Sandria turned on a television. Elsewhere, Marcia, Devon, and Nettie watched the same news report and Marcia worried that if they did not find Jack in time she would loose him forever.

Bored with the reporters that chased him around, Shadowman tossed a garbage can at them and searched for a place where the reporters, the cops, and the voodoo people could not follow him and he could think about death, God, and the meaning of life. Climbing a building, he asked himself who he was, Jack, Shadowman, neither, or both, and if Darque no longer existed, why did he. Sitting on the ledge, Jack took the sax to his lips and mused that all he ever wanted to do was play.

Arriving at the Duteau building, Marcia, Nettie, and Devon witnessed as Jack kept entertaining the crowd with his saxophone and a striptease. Watching from afar, Jack could not hear his friends, but was pleased to se them handle themselves on their own against a group of leather boys yelling for him to jump without his help. As the sound of fire truck and police car sirens grew louder, Shadowman kept playing his sax and wondered if he could change Elya’s warning that he could not die until 1999. Back in Sandria’s house, Sandria assured Maxim that Shadowman would life until 1999, but he refused to believe her and wanted to go help Jack.

Refusing to let the firemen rescue him, Shadowman broke a sculpture off the side of the building and tossed it at an empty truck to scare them off and give the crowd a rush. Watching from the sidelines, Marcia wondered why Jack was acting that way. As the hours passed, and Jack continued to play, somewhere in space and time Darque felt a twinge that made him think about Jack.

Just before dawn, RL McNeeley climbed on the ledge beside Jack and offered to bring his darkest thoughts to life so he could see what was bothering him. Wondering if he should hang around for four more years just to die, Jack reached out to RL, who released an apparition of Master Darque, who told him to embrace his fate and accept that he would die in 1999 fighting him, and maybe kill him as well. Taking the sax to his lips, Shadowman mused that while Shadowman could not die yet, maybe Jack could, then he played a note on his sax that made the apparition vanish.

Somewhere in space and time, Darque, even in his ethereal form, felt a stab of pain and knew that Boniface had discovered himself.

As dawn broke, Shadowman sent RL away and prepared to play one more song, when just then Maxim climbed down from the top of the building and offered to help him go inside through the dome and slip away. Refusing to slip away, Shadowman told Max that he had to know whether or not Jack Boniface could die, then he took his mask off and tossed it along with his sax off the ledge and they both shattered upon impact.

Certain that the magic was within him, even if it was not that much, Jack leapt off the ledge to find out if his life belonged to him or to fate.

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