The Shroud and the Marvel Underworld (Shadowland spoiler?)

Posted by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
#DateWelcome to my blog:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
807/19/10Shroud and the Marvel Underworld, The (Shadowland spoiler?)(Blog) (Forum)Shadowland(Back) (Next)

(PLEASE NOTE: If you're looking for the POSSIBLE Shadowland spoiler, I haven't hidden it in one of those little pink boxes, so read at your own risk. You were warned.)

(NOTE #2: At this point, Shadowland SPOILERS are being discussed in the comments. So if you don't want to know, please don't go there.)

(NOTE #3: Yeah, I was nowhere near right with this, but it's still good for a laugh. Enjoy...)

First appearing in April of 1976, in Super-Villain Team-Up #5, six years before the similarly designed Cloak, the Shroud seems to have started as a throwaway, derivative character. Blind like Daredevil, but dressed in a dark costume that's closer to Batman, it's been said that these were exactly the inspirations for the character, and his origin certainly seems to bear that out. His parents having been murdered when he was a child, he grew up determined to fight crime. The Cult of Kali trained him and gave him "The Kiss of Kali," which left him scarred, blind, and with some sort of extrasensory perception. Sometime later, he was blasted by a weapon of the Red Skull, which left him with the ability to manipulate the Darkforce. The Darkforce seems to work a little differently for every user (a detail that makes the Darkforce a little too convenient of a plot device for me) but in the Shroud's case, it seems to mean that he carries the cover of darkness with him wherever he goes, emitting dark clouds to shroud his comings and goings.

Here's the thing though: even though he started out as a derivative character, he took an interesting turn, when he decided he would fight crime from within, and started building his reputation as an underworld crime boss. At least, that's what I remember the Official Handbook saying about him. All I've ever seen of him over the years is the typical Marvel fight-of-misunderstanding - some hero runs across the Shroud, they fight, and the Shroud eventually reveals (and/or proves) that he's really a hero. That's always kind of bothered me too, because a guy that's trying to become known as an underworld bigboy really shouldn't be telling his secrets to every superhero he runs across. That was kind of typical for the time though, so I guess it just has to be overlooked. Marvel has missed many chances over the years to revamp this character though. I really think they should have made him seem like a bigger villain in the Marvel Universe.

Apparently, I'm not the only person to think that pairing him against Moon Knight would have been a good place to start. Moon Knight has enjoyed a few long running titles, since the 1980's, and the Shroud would have been a perfect visual counterpoint to Moon Knight, fitting the mood of any of his books perfectly. There was one encounter between them in the original Moon Knight series, and another in February of 1988, in Solo Avengers #3, but nothing I know of after that.

Since then, Marvel has had ample opportunity to make use of the Shroud, really flesh him out, and mold him into a fan favorite villain. He could have featured prominently in books like Moon Knight, Punisher, Daredevil, or later, Immortal Iron Fist. Any one of those books could have had a crime driven story that featured the Shroud at the center of it, showcasing him as the crime boss he's supposed to have a reputation for being. All those opportunities have been missed.

Marvel has featured him some, since Civil War, but they seemed to have been steering him away from the direction of supposed criminal leader. Finally though, he is being featured in Shadowland, and that is just the kind of story that could make his name big. From what I understand about this story, Daredevil has taken control of The Hand, and the advertising has implied that Hornhead is on his way to being "the Marvel Universe's greatest villain." I started this blog with the thought that Shadowland might finally showcase the Shroud as an ultra-cool villain, and get his name out there, but as I write this, I'm suddenly wondering if that's the whole point of the story. Could the 'Devil in the red suit merely be a red herring? Could Marvel be twisting "blind man's bluff," making us think that Daredevil will be the villain, but blindsiding us (oh yeah, that pun was intended) with the Shroud, at the end?

The Shroud and the Hand would be an outrageously cool visual, and would finally make him the crime lord he was always supposed to be, in the eyes of the rest of the Marvel Universe. The Shroud wants to fight crime from within, and the Hand have already started this story with killing other criminals. Would the Shroud be interested in taking over the Hand for that purpose? The more I think about it right now, that has way more possibility to it than I thought. With their similar powers, it could even be the Shroud in the new Daredevil costume - it could be the Shroud that killed Bullseye. I will be as surprised as anyone else if I turn out to be right, but Shadowland might be a whole new launching pad for the Shroud.

Follow-Up:08/02/10Revised Call on Shadowland (possible SPOILER)(Blog) (Forum)Shadowland

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#1 Posted by daredevil21134 (11527 posts) - - Show Bio

I doubt that man
#2 Edited by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@daredevil21134: <shrugs> Like I said: I'll be as surprised as anyone else if that turns out to be true - especially since I haven't actually read the first issue (I've only seen the music video, watched the Unscripted on #1, and read a thread about who's in the story).  It makes an awful lot of sense though.  In the review, when G-Man's talking about how Cage is talking like he doesn't know DD, he shows a panel where Cage is saying, "His attitude is seriously starting to challenge my [something]."  That could be a clue that this isn't DD that we're dealing with.  Outside of the comic, everyone is saying they can't believe DD would turn villain, and Marvel is trying awfully hard to convince everyone that DD turning villain is what we're seeing.  The Shroud is already there - he has intentionally built a reputation of being a badguy, in order to fight crime from within.  You can't build a badguy rep unless you've done something bad.  He's got an extrasensory perception that's something like DD's, so it's possible he could imitate him well enough (nevermind that DD was part of the inspiration for Shroud's character). 
 
Also, Marvel's done this same thing recently, with the Dark Avengers being villains posing as known heroes (Bullseye/Hawkeye, Venom/Spider-Man, etc.).  They did something similar further back, when the original Thunderbolts turned out to be known villains posing as new heroes.  And for one other twist, when Spider-Man was wanted, he posed as four other new heroes, while he looked for the Trapster, who btw, had been posing as Spider-Man.  So the Shroud posing as Daredevil isn't exactly out of the realm of possibility here.
#3 Posted by daredevil21134 (11527 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop:

Well the reason why i said i doubt is because i went behind the scenes I've read multiple different Interviews from Andy Diggle the writer of Shadowland  and he truly wants this to be about Daredevil and if you read Daredevil 508 that will put all your spculayion to rest
#4 Posted by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@daredevil21134:
Hm... okay.  Sounds like it's Daredevil then.  That could be misdirection on Diggle's part, but probably not.  I like to speculate though. lol
#5 Posted by Vance Astro (91196 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop said:
"

(PLEASE NOTE: If you're looking for the POSSIBLE Shadowland spoiler, I haven't hidden it in one of those little pink boxes, so read at your own risk.  You were warned.) 
 
First appearing in April of 1976, in Super-Villain Team-Up #5, six years before the similarly designed Cloak, the Shroud seems to have started as a throwaway, derivative character.  Blind like Daredevil, but dressed in a dark costume that's closer to Batman, it's been said that these were exactly the inspirations for the character, and his origin certainly seems to bear that out.  His parents having been murdered when he was a child, he grew up determined to fight crime.    The Cult of Kali trained him and gave him "The Kiss of Kali," which left him scarred, blind, and with some sort of extrasensory perception.  Sometime later, he was blasted by a weapon of the Red Skull, which left him with the ability to manipulate the Darkforce.  The Darkforce seems to work a little differently for every user (a detail that makes the Darkforce a little too convenient of a plot device for me) but in the Shroud's case, it seems to mean that he carries the cover of darkness with him wherever he goes, emitting dark clouds to shroud his comings and goings.
 
Here's the thing though: even though he started out as a derivative character, he took an interesting turn, when he decided he would fight crime from within, and started building his reputation as an underworld crime boss.  At least, that's what I remember the Official Handbook saying about him.  All I've ever seen of him over the years is the typical Marvel fight-of-misunderstanding - some hero runs across the Shroud, they fight, and the Shroud eventually reveals (and/or proves) that he's really a hero.  That's always kind of bothered me too, because a guy that's trying to become known as an underworld bigboy really shouldn't be telling his secrets to every superhero he runs across.  That was kind of typical for the time though, so I guess it just has to be overlooked.  Marvel has missed many chances over the years to revamp this character though.  I really think they should have made him seem like a bigger villain in the Marvel Universe. 
 
Apparently, I'm not the only person to think that pairing him against Moon Knight would have been a good place to start.  Moon Knight has enjoyed a few long running titles, since the 1980's, and the Shroud would have been a perfect visual counterpoint to Moon Knight, fitting the mood of any of his books perfectly.  There was one encounter between them in the original Moon Knight series, and another in February of 1988, in Solo Avengers #3, but nothing I know of after that. 
 
Since then, Marvel has had ample opportunity to make use of the Shroud, really flesh him out, and mold him into a fan favorite villain.  He could have featured prominently in books like Moon Knight, Punisher, Daredevil, or later, Immortal Iron Fist.  Any one of those books could have had a crime driven story that featured the Shroud at the center of it, showcasing him as the crime boss he's supposed to have a reputation for being.  All those opportunities have been missed. 
 
Marvel has featured him some, since Civil War, but they seemed to have been steering him away from the direction of supposed criminal leader.  Finally though, he is being featured in Shadowland, and that is just the kind of story that could make his name big.  From what I understand about this story, Daredevil has taken control of the Hand, and the advertising has implied that Hornhead is on his way to being "the Marvel Universe's greatest villain."  I started this blog with the thought that Shadowland might finally showcase the Shroud as an ultra-cool villain, and get his name out there, but as I write this, I'm suddenly wondering if that's the whole point of the story.  Could the 'Devil in the red suit be merely be a red herring?  Could Marvel be twisting "blind man's bluff," making us think that Daredevil will be the villain, but blindsiding us (oh yeah, that pun was intended) with the Shroud, at the end? 
 
The Shroud and the Hand would be an outrageously cool visual, and would finally make him the crime lord he was always supposed to be, in the eyes of the rest of the Marvel Universe.  The Shroud wants to fight crime from within, and the Hand have already started this story with killing other criminals.  Would the Shroud be interested in taking over the Hand for that purpose?  The more I think about it right now, that has way more possibility to it than I thought.  With their similar powers, it could even be the Shroud in the new Daredevil costume - it could be the Shroud that killed Bullseye.  I will be as surprised as anyone else if I turn out to be right, but Shadowland might be a whole new launching pad for the Shroud.

"
Are you suggesting that this "Daredevil" in Shadowland is Shroud? Why would Shroud kill Bullseye? DD is the one who had every woman he's ever loved besides his ex-wife killed by him.What grudge would Shroud have on Bullseye? Also why would Marvel use Shadowland to make a character that has spent his whole career playing the background look good? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the event altogether?
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#6 Edited by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@Vance Astro said:

"Are you suggesting that this "Daredevil" in Shadowland is Shroud? Why would Shroud kill Bullseye? DD is the one who had every woman he's ever loved besides his ex-wife killed by him.What grudge would Shroud have on Bullseye? Also why would Marvel use Shadowland to make a character that has spent his whole career playing the background look good? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the event altogether? "


Hi, Vance.  I'm totally guessing here, and I like to bet on the darkhorse when I do that, but yes, I'm suggesting that this "Daredevil" is the Shroud.  What I'm saying is that I think this might be a classic case of Marvel misdirection (although dd21134 is telling me above that there are articles I haven't read, that would make me stop thinking this way).
 
Would that defeat the purpose of the event?  No.  The event promo promises "the Marvel Universe's greatest villain," and that's it.  What I've seen so far has not said that Daredevil is becoming a villain.  The tagline said, "the Marvel Universe's greatest villain."  Daredevil's in that ad's picture, but is that Matt Murdock in the costume?  The Shroud has the abilities to pull off an impersonation of Daredevil. 
 
Why would Shroud kill Bullseye?...What grudge wold Shroud have on Bullseye? It doesn't have to do with any kind of a grudge against Bullseye, accept the grudge he has against all criminals - the death of his parents, which put him on the road towards crimefighting.  He's been doing that from within criminal networks though, and the only way to maintain that kind of cover is to do criminal acts yourself, or walk a very fine line that makes you appear to be a criminal.  I'm suggesting that he's crossed that line, and decided the best way to beat all the other criminals is to be the greatest criminal.  He's impersonating DD, so he went after DD's main nemesis, and put him down like a dog. 
 
Why would Marvel use Shadowland to make a character that has spent his whole career playing the background look good?  He's been in the background of Marvel Comics, because nobody has bothered to use him, but that's not his story.  The Shroud's bio (in OHOTMU) never said that he worked in the background.  It said he made a name for himself as a criminal, in order to fight them from within.  You don't make a name for yourself working in the background. 
 
I'm saying this could be Marvel bringing him to the forefront, as a name villain.  Think about the shock this would be.  They've heavily implied that it's DD turning badguy here.  Andy Diggle has said in interviews (according to dd21134) that he wants this to be about DD.  That could be exactly what's happening, or it could be marketing at work - misdirection to us fans, so that the ending is a shock, if it's revealed that the Shroud (or someone) has been impersonating DD this whole time, and is now in control of the Hand.  Remember when they first introduced the Sentry?  They said it was an old character that had been left in a desk drawer for years and years, and they were bringing him back.  Once they had done the first Sentry story, they said, "Yeah, we tricked ya.  He's new.  But cool, huh?"  This could be a similar thing. 
 
I think if Marvel was really going to turn Daredevil into a villain, they wouldn't have told us a thing.  Shadowland would've been hyped as a gangwar story that "will change everything for one Marvel hero," or something like that, and they'd have never even suggested that one of them was going to turn villain.  The problem with that is the scene at the end of #1.  If they'd left it as some mysterious, impending change, everyone would've gotten to the end of #1, and said, "Oh, it's Daredevil," and then they don't need to read the rest to find out whose life is changing, if they don't want to.  By implying that it's DD up front, we're expecting it, and we're reading to see how it happens.  I'm saying that's too easy - why would they give us what we're expecting?  They've pulled off some awesome surprises the last several years, with one character in another character's costume.  I think this is another of those cases.  Again, I'm betting on the longshot, but that's half the fun.
#7 Posted by daredevil21134 (11527 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop thats cool
#8 Posted by brendon277 (513 posts) - - Show Bio

I doubt this but if it does roll out to be like this it'll probably be like he kidnapped DD and acted as him played his role for some reason but i doubt this is true it would sort of be like what the skrulls did with Elektra 

#9 Posted by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@brendon277: Yeah, it's a longshot, but I'm really curious to find out what happens (I don't have the money for comics right now, so I'm reading all the spoilers I can get to).  A good clue would be if they've shown Daredevil's perspective of his radar sense.  That would be a giveaway.  If they haven't shown it, then there might be a reason, because Shroud's perspective on his mystic sense looks a bit different from DD's radar sense perspective.  If they have shown DD's radar sense perspective, then I'm wrong. lol
#10 Edited by PB210 (3 posts) - - Show Bio

" First appearing in April of 1976, in Super-Villain Team-Up #5, six years before the similarly designed Cloak, the Shroud seems to have started as a throwaway, derivative character.  Blind like Daredevil, but dressed in a dark costume that's closer to Batman, it's been said that these were exactly the inspirations for the character, and his origin certainly seems to bear that out".
 
Actually, Steve Englehart, who introduced the Shroud, states that he took partial inspiration from the Shadow. Note that while the Shadow's Oriental scholarship stood as established decades earlier than the Shroud's debut, the trip to Tibet for Bruce Wayne did not incorporate itself into his backstory until years after the Shroud's debut.  
 
The Shroud's strategy of pretending to operate as a racketeer himself to infiltrate the underworld mirrors the Green Hornet, who did this in his original radio show and the 1960's TV show with Van Williams. 
____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 
 
Although many people refer to the Shroud as derivative, and while overwhelmingly true, one idea from the Shroud seems to have ended up copied for another property.     

I just noticed something; in Fantastic Four#278, it is established that Doctor Doom was actually largely disfigured when a monk in the Himalayas put a still hot newly forged metal mask on his face, and Doom then rushed out into the snow to cool the mask and his face down. This story was published in the 1980's.

Well, let us take a look at the origin of the Shrould published in the 1970's:
a monk in the Himalayas put a hot brand on his face and he ran out into the snow.

http://bp3.blogger.com/__p6Clhn9WDI/R84f49BIHOI/AAAAAAAACJk/yz3_QHeSsjE/s1600-h/03-04-2008+08%3B14%3B47PM.JPG

http://random-happenstance.blogspot.com/2008/03/how-dcs-lawyers-missed-this-i-have-no.html

#11 Edited by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@PB210: I couldn't remember the exact details of the Shroud's origin and creation, so I went with the info here on CV.  I only remembered that he's supposed to be known as an underworld figure.  The Shroud's disfigurement surely came after Doom's.  Doom was already disfigured from the explosion in college.  He had the mask designed to hide this disfigurement, but in his impatience, didn't heed the advice to let it cool.  When it burned him, he ran out into the snow.  This story was in place way before the Shroud came along.
#12 Posted by PB210 (3 posts) - - Show Bio

Actually, John Byrne added the specific scene of Doom running out into the snow to douse the scalding in the 1980's (Fantastic Four I#278), printed long after the Shroud's origin, published in the 1970's. Note that before then, people had presumed that Doom's disfigurement simply resulted from the lab accident during his youth. FF I#278 adds the scene of him having the heated metal on his face and then running out into the snow to douse the scalding. 
 
@cbishop said:

" @PB210: I couldn't remember the exact details of the Shroud's origin and creation, so I went with the info here on CV.  I only remembered that he's supposed to be known as an underworld figure.  The Shroud's disfigurement surely came after Doom's.  Doom was already disfigured from the explosion in college.  He had the mask designed to hide this disfigurement, but in his impatience, didn't heed the advice to let it cool.  When it burned him, he ran out into the snow.  This story was in place way before the Shroud came along. "
 
 
 

 
 

#13 Posted by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@PB210 said:
"Actually, John Byrne added the specific scene of Doom running out into the snow to douse the scalding in the 1980's (Fantastic Four I#278), printed long after the Shroud's origin, published in the 1970's. Note that before then, people had presumed that Doom's disfigurement simply resulted from the lab accident during his youth. FF I#278 adds the scene of him having the heated metal on his face and then running out into the snow to douse the scalding."

I'm not doubting you here, because I'm no expert on Doom - I think I've kind of assumed the story was in place for so long, but I don't remember reading it as a kid.  But, are you sure that Byrne was the first one to use the snow thing for Doom, or was he reusing it for that FF story?  At this point, I don't know, so I'm seriously asking.
#14 Edited by Donovan Montgomery (5429 posts) - - Show Bio

Didn't have time to read it all but wanted to comment that it would be cool if the "new" Daredevil was the Shroud, if anyone could pull it off.......this way matt could die....for at least a month :'/
#15 Posted by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@Donovan Montgomery said:
"Didn't have time to read it all but wanted to comment that it would be cool if the "new" Daredevil was the Shroud, if anyone could pull it off.......this way matt could die....for at least a month :'/ "

Yeah, I revised my call in a later blog, from the Shroud being the villain to the Shroud being the new Daredevil.  The powers are so similar, I think it's a great fit.  We'll see what happens.  I'm completely willing to be wrong, but I have a feeling this time... :)
#16 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5429 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop:
I would like to see it happen, I mentioned in another post somewhere that if Matt Murdock does die, I would like it to be permenent even tho he is pretty much the only reason I buy comics still. 

I would just like to seea major character stay dead.  Then The Shroud could take the DD guise to new areas.......I would miss Foggy tho :(   Maybe he could appear in the new Dakota North title (that will never happen)
#17 Posted by cbishop (7597 posts) - - Show Bio
@Donovan Montgomery: Well, I don't think anybody believes that Matt Murdock will stay dead.  It would be a greater surprise if he just decided to hand over the DD identity to someone else, and either retired from superheroing or fully committed to being a villain.  Temporary death seems more likely.

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