|Real Name||Neil Langford|
|Aliases||Black Shadow, Mr. Diamond, Mr. Gravemold, No Dice, Shad, Wall Walker|
|Wild Card Traits||Wall-walking, energy absorption, darkness control, enhanced reflexes, enhanced strength|
|Citizenship||Citizen of the United States, wanted for murder|
|Base of Operations||New York City|
|First Appearance||Jokers Wild|
|Previous Mention||Wild Cards|
|Creator||Walter Jon Williams|
Black Shadow is the most publicly known identity of the ace who self-identifies as Shad. Born Neil Langford, he was a bright student who secretly assumed the superhero identity Black Shadow after his wild card turned. Langford was a PhD student in physics at Columbia in 1976 when, during a riot, he was manipulated by the ace Puppetman into murdering some police officers. Now a wanted vigilante, Langford dropped out of college and began to think of himself as Shad. Over the years, Shad has developed several different identities, including the gangster No Dice, the joker Mr. Gravemold, and the nat businessman Mr. Diamond. He continued using the Black Shadow identity to violently fight crime in New York City, often leaving his victims hanging from lamp posts, sometimes dead and sometimes alive.
In the 1980s Shad, in his Mr. Gravemold identity, assisted Modular Man in apprehending Croyd Crenson when the later developed a contagious version of the wild card virus. A few years later, he ran afoul of the jumpers. Shelley, a trust fund baby and former lover of Shad's, had been jumped into the body of an aging female joker as part of the "Jump the Rich" scheme. Recognizing Shad on the street, Shelley begged for his help and Shad somewhat unwillingly helped his old friend contact and come to an agreement with the jumpers. In exchange for a new human body (her original form already having a new occupant) and enough money to start her life over, Shelley would pillage the bank accounts of her new body and turn the bulk of her funds over to the jumpers. Shad allowed this, but had no intention of letting the jumpers continue their operation indefinitely.
With Shelley safely in her new body, Shad began stalking the teenage criminals, intent upon killing them for what they did to his friend. Assisted by Croyd Crenson, then in a bat-like joker form, Shad tracked the jumpers, and their apparent leader Dr. Tachyon, to one of their front operations, Global Fun and Games. Following them to the Rox with the help of Chalktalk, Shad learned from Bloat that the real Dr. Tachyon, trapped in the very pregnant body of Kelly Ann Jenkins thanks to the jumpers, was as much a victim as Shelley. In exchange for Shad releasing Tachyon from her cell, Bloat provided the identity of the ace who had manipulated Shad for over a decade, Gregg Hartmann. While effecting Tachyon's escape Shad proved his combat skills by single-handedly defeating the genetically engineered soldier Durg.
Responding to an offer of amnesty for his crimes, Shad agreed to help the government oust the jokers on the Rox. However, when Shad was wounded and George G. Battle reneged on the deal, Shad was imprisoned on Governor's Island, a facility for the containment of dangerous, mentally unstable wild cards. Reunited once more with Croyd Crenson, this time in the form of a giant telepathic insect, Shadow and several other inmates escaped the island. Back in New York City, the two of them sought revenge against the Card Sharks conspiracy which had imprisoned them. Shad and Croyd foiled an attempt to jump the President, killed the remaining jumpers, and killed or arranged the imprisonment of the remaining Card Sharks.
Blaming Hartmann/Puppetman for all the troubles in his life, Shad finally took his revenge. Shad kidnapped Senator Hartmann and tortured him to death, but he was unaware that Hartmann had also been a victim of the jumpers and his body was actually inhabited by the Card Shark George Battle at the time of his death. When Shad later learned that Hartmann was alive and in Battle's loathsome joker body he declined to take revenge, feeling that being trapped in the body of a joker was punishment enough.
Wild Card Traits Edit
Shad is an ace with a number of wild card abilities. He is stronger, faster and more resilient than a normal person, and can stick to walls and ceilings. He can also absorb some electromagnetic wavelengths, primarily visible light, thus creating a cloud of darkness and/or cold. While this darkness is absolute for others, Shad is able to see perfectly in it, thus giving himself an extreme tactical advantage in most fights. He can use this power to absorb all the heat from a target giving them instant hypothermia.
Shad is a tall, muscular African-American man. He has a tracheotomy scar on his throat and the CBS eye logo was carved into his shoulder by a knife. Shad affects different modes of dress for his different personalities. In his Black Shadow persona he wears a black jumpsuit with a cape.
One notable aspect of Shad's personality is that he assumes a number of different public identities. While this does not rise to the level of a true multiple personality disorder, Shad does cultivate a different manner of dress, behavior and speech when inhabiting each of these different identities.
Shad's true personality has been shaped by the trauma of Puppetman's intervention as well as a lifetime of violent behavior, including at least one prison term, sporadic drug abuse, and childhood trauma. He generally acts for the greater good, but over the years has honed the casually brutal instincts of a predator. He is generally able to commit acts of violence with little hesitation, although he sometimes needs to talk himself into it, such as when he and Croyd killed the teenage jumpers.
- Neil Langford: his birth name, now so abandoned that Shad doesn't even think of himself as Neil anymore.
- Shad: the real personality, this is how he describes himself.
- Black Shadow: a vigilante who debuted in the 1970s. After the 1976 Jokertown Riot, Black Shadow became increasingly violent, even killing people, and was wanted by the law. In this identity he wears a black jumpsuit complete with a cape.
- No Dice: an identity which Shad adopted to infiltrate local gangs. No Dice speaks in a street slang different from Shad's own dialect.
- Mr. Diamond: this identity is a wealthy businessman specializing in the gem trade. In this persona Shad wears suits and a diamond ring. This identity seems to exist mainly to allow Shad to own several pieces of property.
- Wall Walker: this persona is that of a Jamaican ace who can walk up walls, but possesses none of Shad's other powers. In this persona Shad speaks with a thick Jamaican accent and wears a mask for disguise.
- Mr. Gravemold: this persona is a joker. He possesses cold based powers. While in this persona, Shad wears a creepy death's head mask, which supposedly covers a facial deformity, and smothers himself in formaldehyde in order to produce a strong scent. He comments to Croyd Crenson that when assuming this identity he snorts a large amount of cocaine in order to deal with the smell.