Shade, The Changing Man

© DC Comics / Used without permission
Origin: Gimmick
Real Name: Rac Shade
First Appearance: Shade the Changing Man #1 [DC Comics June-July 1977]
                            Character created by Steve Ditko


Prowess 4 {Fair}
Coordination 5 {Good}
Strength 3 {Average}
Intellect 4 {Fair}
Awareness 4 {Fair}
Willpower 4 {Fair}

Stamina 7
Determination: 1


Area (Meta)
Martial Arts 


All powers derived from his "Miraco Vest"
       Dimensional Travel [Limit: One Dimension, "Meta-Zone"] 8 {Amazing}
Meta to Earth-Zone via Zero-Zone
Meta to Earth-Zone via Zero-Zone
Meta to Earth-Zone via Zero-Zone
Meta to Earth-Zone via Zero-Zone
       Emotion Control [Fear] 6 {Great}
       Flight 3 {Average}
       Force Field [Limits: Always on, minimum level is 1, no effect against gas] 6 {Great}
       Images [Limit: Obscure his features to surveillance machines] 2 {Weak}


. Security measures prevent the M-Vest from being removed, or used by anyone else.
. "Great Meta!"
. The only person emerged from Area of Madness without screaming until his heart burst.

Points:  53


One of the leading security agents on Meta, Rac Shade's fascination with, and studies of, Earth, led to him being one of the primary agents dispatched when criminals fled there from Meta. Discovering a weak section where the Zero-Zone got close to the Earth-Zone, he found an empty apartment which he rented as his base there.

To see to the safety of fellow Earth scholar, Agam Loron, Shade was assigned to mentor Agam's daughter, Mallu, a junior officer in the security service. She learned quickly, and a romantic bond formed between her and Shade.

Shade's mentor and superior, Colonel Kross, assigned him to investigate the theft of the Miraco-Vest, which he suspected of being an inside job. Shade discovered the vest in the possession of a resident of the Zero-Zone who was able to break through and loot items from the Meta-Zone. He recovered the Vest, but wasn't sure he knew the full story of what had happened to it, and still suspected corrupt agents of being involved. He hid the Vest and some of the other stolen equipment in his Earth apartment until he could be sure.

When Agam came to Shade having learned of a plot by treason forces to take over Meta, Shade reported it to Lt. Emp, his acting superior while Kross was away. Shade fell under suspicion when seen outside Agam's house just before it exploded, crippling Agam and his wife, Mira. When Emp claimed Shade had never reported the suspected treason to him, Shade was convicted of treason and sentenced to death.

Taking advantage of a prison break which dumped inmates in the Zero-Zone, Shade used a sensor implant to locate the weak point which let him reach his Earth apartment. Donning the M-Vest, he was determined to prove his innocence and uncover the real traitors.

Knowing Emp was on Earth, using his Kempo identity, Shade began searching for him, investigating his links to local organized crime. He also responded to reports of Metan criminals on the rampage, battling Zokag and Form, and learned that Mellu had been assigned as the N-Agent sent to negate him.

Finally catching up to Emp, Shade got the better of him, and forced him to admit he answered to Captain Majan, and didn't know anyone else in the conspiracy. Mellu's unexpected attack gave Emp the opportunity to flee while Shade incapacitated her.

Heading back to Meta to follow the trail, Shade stumbled across a security patrol being ambushed by natives of the Zero-Zone. Coming to their aid, he was too late to save more than one of them, Sergeant Barak, and he was badly wounded and unconscious by the time Shade reached him, although not before recognizing his saviour. Shade took him to a hospital undetected.

He contacted Kross, now retired due to his closeness to Shade, who agreed to help. Shade infiltrated Meta Security Headquarters and confronted Majan. Attacked by an invisible assailant, the Cloak, he was kept off balance until the assassin had killed Majan. Shade was leaning over the dead body when Mellu walked in, and fled before she could stop him.

The trail led next to Majan's ex-lover, the criminal Gola Zae. He arrived in time to see her transport the unconscious Mellu to the Area of Madness. Knocking out Gola, Shade transported himself and her after Mellu. He rescued Mellu, but not before she was affected by the Area. Taking her to Dr. Sagan, Shade convinced him to use an experimental device to transfer Mellu's memories of the Area of Madness to him. Sagan did so, and Shade and Mellu survived the process.

Spotting an attempt by crime forces to break the prisoners recovered from the Zero-Zone out of the hospital, Shade intervened to stop them. He succeeded, but was captured by Mellu. He was imprisoned again, in a prison under the reinstated Kross' command, but security measures in the M-Vest prevented it being removed.

It took some doing, but Shade managed to break out of his cell, only to be captured by agents of the crime chief Sude. In Sude's grasp, Shade got the chance to escape when Mellu and Barak interrupted proceedings to help him, Mellu having been told what he did for her in the Area of Madness and after. The Sude automaton was destroyed, but its operator escaped.

Suspicious of Kross, Shade decided to investigate his new posting as advisor to President Olon. Approaching the Presidential Palace, he found the security perimeter breached, and rushed in, arriving in time to find Khaos trying to take over Sude's role by killing the President, who'd resisted his demands to cede power.

They fought, and Khaos explodes, leaving Shade apparently dead. Kross and Olon hid him from the security forces, calling in Dr. Sagan to help, although all he could do was observe while the Vest kept Shade safe until he recovered consciousness. Olon became convinced of Shade's innocence, but was unable to do anything openly while the treason charge remained.

They learned Dr. Z.Z., head of the crime school, has travelled to Earth with his students, taking over the ORC and destroying the transporter allowing easy travel to the Earth-Zone. The M-Vest offered the only way to travel to Earth in time to stop Dr. Z.Z. putting his plans into action, so Shade agreed to travel there. After a brief reunion with Mellu, he set off.

[The final issue was cancelled before publication, but printed in the Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, and while the ending is a bit awkward for the start of the next entry's History, it's included here for completeness] Shade's journey back to Earth was hampered when he was captured by a Zero-Zone resident building an army of slaves. Recognizing the danger such an organized force could pose Meta or Earth, when he broke free, Shade also freed the other prisoners, letting them turn on each other while he dealt with their master. Leaving them in chaos, he continued on to Earth, where he made plans to deal with Dr. Z.Z.

Shade’s homeworld of Meta is more technologically advanced than Earth, and exists in a separate dimension, which is linked to Earth’s by the Zero-Zone.

Metans have set up a base on Earth, in the form of the Occult Research Centre, run by Wizor, where they act to discredit appearances of unauthorised travellers from Meta by claiming all unusual events are true, and providing them occult explanations.

Meta is an authoritarian society, with a heavy police presence that seems to be at war with organized crime. Corruption and paranoia are rampant, and no one is above suspicion, although the fact that members of the ruling council are secretly crime chiefs makes the paranoia understandable.

The Zero-Zone is an unstable landscape of shifting shapes and colours, populated by an array of hostile creatures. Travelling it is dangerous, but some criminals take the chance to avoid the authorities. The security services only travel there in trained squads on specific missions, or when travelling to the Earth-Zone.

The most feared part of the Zero-Zone is the Area of Madness. Anyone caught by it who escapes is left screaming maniacally, never shutting up until the stress causes their death. The only person to survive it with their sanity intact is Rac Shade, who’s actually survived two journeys there.

Steve Ditko, more than any other comic book creator, impressed me when I was a child. His creations were always a bit out-of-the-norm, on the verge of lunacy somehow. I guess this impression came after reading the Creeper and Shade, but also because of his trademark eye/eyebrows expression of his characters. Converted characters, most of the times, unavoidably exceeds the 45-point limitation that the ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game core book recommends. Character revised according to rules presented in ICONS Great Power book. Streamlined, once again, according to ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying: The Assembled Edition.


Anonymous said...


Fabrício César Franco said...

Thank you, Anonymous. Glad you like my depiction!

Post a Comment

(c) Fabrício César Franco 2015. Powered by Blogger.