Real Name: Jack Boniface
Affiliations: Mike Leroi (kind of affiliated, as Leroi is his successor)
Base of Operations:
First Appearance: Shadowman #1 (May 1992)
History: The city of New Orleans has a history of wild nightlife and Voodoo lore. Now, the superstitious folk whisper of a man in a carnival mask who prowls the night, savagely attacking members of the New Orleans underworld. The pushers and pimps are learning to fear the vigilante called "Shadowman" who's causing big trouble in the Big Easy...
Jack Boniface was a jazz saxophone player - just another Bourbon Street entertainer with big dreams. Unknown to him, he was chosen by a voodoo cult to become Shadowman to fight Master Darque. Darque is a necromancer and mightiest wielder of the Darque Power.
One night he was bitten by a vampiric Spider Alien named Lydia. Jack does not know what saved him after her poison knocked him out - only that when he awoke, she was gone. But she infected his blood with a poison that altered his use of the Darque Power when he became Shadowman.
Since that night, with each sunset, Jack is overcome by the urge to seek and destroy evil. Drug dealers, in particular, are targets of his nocturnal patrols. Jack's housekeeper, Nettie, provides his costume. Familiar with Voodoo, Nettie claims that Jack is inhabited by Voodoo Loa that compel him to be Shadowman (see the next Shadowman entry for more on her).
During the Unity conflict, Jack meets Elya, a warrior-woman from the forty-first century. After they fall in love, she reveals to him that he is destined to die violently in 1999. Upon learning this he realised this "prophecy" mean that he couldn't die before then and he took some incredible chances in an effort to prove it.
He soon became the nemesis of Master Darque, fighting him on many occasions. At one point, Darque's power made Jack into a "Blood-Runner". His life-force bled out for Darque to consume. Jack finally shook off Darque's influence when he recalled that he isn't fated to die until 1999. Then, as Shadowman, he attacked Darque at a critical moment, ruining the master necromancer's spell for absolute power. With Darque temporarily defeated, Jack set out on a journey of sight-seeing and introspection.
Eventually Shadowman was caught up in the events of Unity 2000. True to what Elya told him, he died heroically during that adventure.
But the story doesn't end there - Jack Bonniface might have died - but Shadowman lived on...
Comments: It was later revealed that Master Darque had arranged for Lydia to infect Jack, hoping that the infection would make him less powerful. As it turns out, the intervention of Darque probably made Jack a more powerful Shadowman than he would have been without the presence of the infectious Spider-Alien poison.
The next Shadowman
Real Name: Mike Leroi
Occupation: (former) English Lit student; taxi driver; hitman
Affiliations: Jack Boniface (kind of affiliated as Jack was his predecessor); Mamma Nettie, Jaunty
Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (deceased); Luke (brother, deceased)
Aliases: Zero; the Shadow Man ; the Immortal Voodoo Warrior; Lord of Deadside
Base of Operations: New Orleans
First Appearance: Shadowman
History: When Jack Bonniface, also known as Shadowman, died, it was not the end of the hero known as Shadowman. Because the legacy of Shadowman is longer than the story of Jack. He was only the most recent incumbent.
The Shadow Man is the undead Walker between living and dead. The ShadowMen of ancient times were African warriors blessed by the gods with supernatural powers to protect their native tribes emanating from the spiritual plane known as Deadside.
With the advent of slavery the lineage of the ShadowMen was broken and almost died out. In the eighteenth century, the powerful voodoo priestess Mama Nettie crafted the Mask of Shadows, enlisting the reluctant aid of the New World gods (Les Mysteres) to empower the wearer of the Mask to access the supernatural might of the Shadowmen of the past. From then on, there would only be one Shadow Man in existence at any given time, but the united powers within the Mask would make him the mightiest voodoo champion ever seen in this worid and the next. Certainly powerful enough to keep the forces of Deadside at bay.
Born in New Orleans, 32 year old Mike Leroi was a victim of his own demise. After flunking out of college to become an English Literature Professor, he resorted to drinking and spent the rest of his college fund from his parents on women, booze, and gambling. He then took up a job as a taxi driver in Chicago and lied to his family and pretended to be a college professor. In 1991, Mike was taking some young punk to unknowingly make a drug deal. When the deal started to go bad, the dealers shot Mike's passanger in the back of the head gangsta style and he floored the cab to get out of there and save his own life. When Mike ditched his cab, he was petrified and wiped the cab down of his finger prints and discovered a duffle bag in the hands of the dead punk and he took it. Inside the bag, he discovered $20,000! In a paranoid panic, he returned home to New Orleans and showered his family with gifts and payed for his little brother Luke's much needed operation with his newfound fortune.
It turned out that the Mob was responsible for the shooting and had tracked Mike back home and demanded their blood money or Mike and his family would die. In utter fear, Mike sought help from a Bokor, a voodoo priest, to cast a spell of protection from the Mob. Unfortunately, this spell the priest had cast worked far too well. To celebrate Luke's homecoming from his brain surgery, Mike was taking his family out to dinner and they were all murdered at a stop light in a drive by shooting, Mike barely survived.
After waking out of a coma of 5 years, Mike had lost all of his memory. He was brain washed and drawn into the voodoo underworld by the Bokor. Mike was now doomed to be the Bokor's zombie slave for eternity, the price he had to unknowingly pay for the spell of protection the voodoo priest had cast upon him. Taking a new identity as Zero, Mike had served as a hitman for the Bokor and was totally unaware of his true identity.
One dreary night, a very powerful voodoo priestess named Mamma Nettie walked into the Bokor's bar, the Wild at Heart, and seduced Mike into her bed. While Mike was sleeping, she summoned her powers and implanted the Mask of Shadows into Mike's chest making him the next Shadow Man, now her eternal slave and under her complete control. When Mamma Nettie regained her powers the next day, she destroyed the Bokor and took his soul. Then Nettie gave the Wild at Heart's deed to Mike and gave him back his memory, which he wished she hadn't, for it constantly torments him. As the Shadow Man under Nettie's control, Mike just can't simply "end" his suffering. Until he finds out a way to break this curse and seek redemption for the horrors he has commited, Mike is doomed to obey Mamma Nettie's every command for eternity.
There have been only three previous bearers of the Mask: Maxim St James, Cole Cardinaux and Jack Boniface. However, where the previous owners wore the Mask on their faces to access its powers, Mike Leroi has the mask implanted within his chest, making him truly a slave to it (and Mama Nettie). At night and in Deadside, the Mask emerges glowing from within his chest turning Mike into the Shadow Man - the Immortal Voodoo Warrior, Lord of Deadside...
Comments: Thanks to John Dotson for providing detailed origin information on this incarnation of Shadowman. He also provided the following on Mamma Nettie:
"Nettie is the powerful voodoo priestess who crafted the Mask of Shadows and has complete control of whomever wears the mask. Although this sexy mamma appears to be in her mid twenties, she is in fact centuries old. She simply stole the body of a young woman who she had drawn into the voodoo underworld. Although Nettie is a powerful voodoo priestess, she does not have the powers to travel to Deadside. She has an assistant in Deadside named Jaunty and uses Mike to carry out her orders of horror in Deadside.
Luckily for ole' Mikey, he must regularly have sexual relations with Nettie to sustain her powers and maintain her youthful form from the powers of the Mask of Shadows. Because she has never experienced Deadside, Nettie's advice to Mike on fulfilling the prophecy of the Shadowmen are just mystical allusions."
Thanks to Simon Dobson for additional information. He described two of Shadowman's supporting cast "Jaunty - a snake-like creature that lives in deadside, from Ireland Jaunty was kidnapped by a cult who performed a terrible ritual causing his appearance; befriended by Mama Nettie, Jaunty dwells in deadside guarding the "Marrow Gates", as his appearence means he is unable to live in "Liveside".
Legion (only in the shadow man video game by Acclaim) - The same that was found in the bible that Jesus transfers from a man into a herd of pigs, Legion is back in order to try and claim the "Dark Souls" and, in the most overused of cliches, try and take over the world."
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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