by Bevan Thomas
The next installment in the Name Game, where I take the name of some DC or Marvel comics character, and construct a totally new entity from it (for either Universe-D or Universe-M, respectively), with the final result illustrated by some talented artist I know.
Funnily enough, while Cloak & Dagger were always defined by Susan Storm, I developed the idea of Shade for a long time before devising any field agents. I was much too busy thinking about the people in charge (the Joker, Dr. Occult, the Head) and their bizarre creations and it was only when I decided to sit down and write this article that I thought what could be a good name for the top field agent of a sinister, “occulty” government agency. Eventually I got “Deadman.”
Real Name: Richard Grayson
Group Affiliation: Shade
Richard Grayson was a CIA operative, incredibly efficient and mortal incorruptible. Then, when tracking down the criminal organization Red Hood, he was gunned by their agents. A while later, he awoke on a slab in an operating room with a strange man standing over him.
The man introduced himself as Dr. Occult, and said he had brought Grayson back to life in order to continue fighting the forces of evil. Grayson was introduced to Director John Jones, leader of Shade, and told that if Richard Grayson truly wanted to fight for justice, then Shade would point him in the right direction.
Now legally dead, Grayson moves from place to place, wherever the mission takes him. His name has long been abandoned, and he adapted the codename “Deadman” to show that he is no longer party of his old life.
He is very mistrustful of Shade, and especially of the enigmatic and emotionless Director Jones, but does recognize the various evils that must be fought and that perhaps the only weapons to fight them with are the ones only Shade can provide. Deadman has in particular become aware of the coming of the Sun Emperor and that the Red Hood was merely a tool of the Emperor’s Sun-Eaters. Grayson is obsessively trying to hunt down all Sun-Eaters on Earth to stop them from giving power to their master.
Over time, Deadman has started to wonder just what happened to him after he was shot. He has seen some of the things Shade is involved with, especially Dr. Occult’s sorcerous experiments. Is Grayson the man he used to be, or was he brought back as something else? Is he a clone, or possibly some sort of zombie? Does it matter?
Presumably none except for his special training. But if he is in fact a zombie, then who knows?
Though he has access to Shade’s resources, Deadman prefers to rely on his own abilities, rarely carrying anything more advanced than an assortment of pistols, and his shotgun Huntress.