#3 (of 6)
March 2001

Shadows in Shadows
by Chip Caroon

Victor Cranston was walking home with his girlfriend, Natalie Casswell. Vic glanced across the street and noticed several familiar blue jackets.

"Nat," he whispered, "Intergang's over there."

"Go," Natalie whispered back.

The two of them walked farther down the street. Vic then kissed Natalie on the cheek and dipped into an alley. Half a minute later, Natalie walked in the alley to pick up his stuff.

The member of Intergang known as Juke was giving out the firearms to the rest of his associates when he was slammed to the ground.

"What the--?!" he shouted. Looking up, he saw no one. "Aw, cripes. It's the Shadow."

"Hello, Juke," The Shadow said. "Having some fun?"

"Hey, man! Ain't there some superhero's rule that you can't bust the same guy twice in a row?"

The Shadow laughed. "Juke, you are as stupid as you look."

One of the other guys shouted, "Get him!" Three more people rushed at him.

"Don't hurt him!" Juke shouted. "The boss wants him to join!"

'Join?' The Shadow thought. 'After all I've supposedly done to them?'

The Shadow was able to toss the three wannabe gangsters down with ease. They lay in a pile on top of Juke.

"Get off me!" Juke shouted.

The Shadow walked over and picked Juke up from under the pile. He held him up in the air. "You seem to dish out orders pretty well, Juke. Well, let's see how well you fight." The Shadow threw the gangster across the alley, slamming him into a brick wall. Juke rolled over and groaned, unable to get up.

"Tell your boss that he should get some better help, but I'm not interested."

"Vic!" Natalie called as she saw her boyfriend coming to her.

"I took care of it for now, but I definitely have to patrol tonight," Victor whispered.

"Oh . . . "

Victor heard someone shouting behind him. "Yo, Cranston!"

Vic turned around and saw Jason Todd walking up.

"Vic, m'man," he said. "You free tonight? Some of the guys are gonna hang out at The Crib."

"Oh, I can't," Vic said. "I have a lot of, uh, homework and, uh, other stuff to do tonight. How about sometime this weekend?"

Jason nodded. "That's cool. Catch ya later, Vic. Bye, Natalie."

As Jason ran off, Victor shook his head. 'And once more, my social life loses out . . . '

When Victor arrived home, he noticed his grandfather was reading the Daily Planet, as he usually did. However, he wasn't reading the main section for once.

"What's up?" Victor asked.

"Hi, Vic. I'm just reading this special Election 2000 insert. It came with today's paper," Lamont replied.

"No kidding? I might read it later, use it for government. What's in it?"

"Mostly just bios of the candidates, and some insight on where they stand on the issues."

"Does it show any favorites?"

"What do you mean?"

"Who do they think has the best chance at winning?"

"Oh! I think it's going to be a close race between this Senator Cray and Alan Scott."

"Who are you voting for?" Victor asked.

Lamont smiled. "I'm not sure yet. Although, I do know Alan Scott.*"

*(as will be seen in an upcoming issue of The Shadow!)

"Well, I wish I had time to keep talking, but I have to hurry and finish my homework. I have to patrol tonight."

"Really?" Lamont asked, lowering the paper.

Victor nodded. "Intergang is still around, and I ran into them today. I might be able to find some stuff out tonight, especially about a rather cryptic remark one of them made."

"What'd they say?"

"I'd rather not repeat it."

Lamont nodded. "I understand. Good luck on your homework."

That night, Victor Cranston put on his hat and cloak as he walked out. No one could see him leave, because he had turned invisible, shifting into his alter ego, The Shadow!

The Shadow walked the streets of the city, looking for something. He had never really had a case before, since he was just starting the superhero business. However, due to recent events in the past few weeks, he was hot on the trail of Intergang.

Intergang was complex. They basically ruled the New York underworld. Nearly all street crime had some connection to Intergang. However, there were various levels of this gang. The Shadow only knew part of this strange hierarchy.

At the bottom level were the common gangs. Intergang had rounded them up years ago. It was their training ground. There, they could watch the young people, and someday, possibly promote them to the higher ranks. The minor Intergang, as some of the higher-ups call it, had already caused a lot of trouble recently, letting the public know of their existence.*

*(in the last two issues)

The Shadow wasn't sure of the higher ranks. He knew that there were at least two more levels in the hierarchy above street gangs. At the top was the "big boss" that controlled everything. Somewhere in there, there were middlemen that communicated between the big boss and the street gangs. Obviously, only two or three gangs worked for one of these middlemen. It was nearly impossible to tell which ones worked for the same person though. Some middlemen liked to let his gangs compete against each other. It gave him more power. The Shadow also knew that there were some more, big time members. They weren't merely gangsters, but cold-hearted criminals. He also believed that there were some super powered criminals somewhere in the organization, possibly even pulling the strings.

With the help of Spider-Man, The Shadow had already opened the lid. But now, he was trying to take it off and see inside this strange can of worms he had opened.

The Shadow neared Suicide Slum, a poor part of the city. Not many of those who were born here ever left. Because of its bad nature, it was a huge magnet to crime. The dozens of abandoned warehouses lining the docks also made the place a nice attraction to the underworld.

I can sense them. These aren't the petty street gangs that I've encountered. No, these are the "big boys."

The Shadow walked down the docks, toward the warehouse district.

Coming closer, I sense something different. Not only the big boys. The street gangs are there. It's a freakin' Intergang meeting! This I have to see.

The Shadow crept over to the nearest warehouse. It was the only one with a light on. He peeked in and saw a lot of people standing - and sitting - around the warehouse.

The meeting seemed to be centered around a makeshift podium. Standing on this podium was a man dressed in black pants and a tan vest. However, he had an interesting feature which stood out to The Shadow. His skin was jet black, the color of a shadow.

The Shadow was silent as the man began speaking.

"For a long time, Intergang has controlled nearly everything in this city, without anyone knowing it. Well, that all changed recently when some of our longer members screwed up. Many of us have been saying that controlling all gang activity was not a good idea, especially in the name of Intergang. They are young and inexperienced. Had those gangs not been directly affiliated with our fine organization, we would not have to worry about covering our tracks now. And we would not have The Shadow on our trail."

"Here, here!" several men shouted.

"Something needs to be done! Since the city knows we exist now, we might as well make our presence known! Nobody messes with Intergang!"

The room cheered as the man walked off the podium. He came over to the window, just in front of where The Shadow was looking in. Shortly after another man took the podium, the black man turned around. The Shadow stayed calm. Being invisible, no one could see him. The black man walked away, and The Shadow could once more see in.

As he concentrated on observing the meeting, he did not notice the shadow growing larger behind him. Suddenly, the shadow grew and engulfed The Shadow.

"What in the world!!" The Shadow exclaimed as he was covered in black.

When he was able to see again, he found himself landing on a hard floor. Looking around, he could tell that he was in some sort of underground lair.

"Where am I? Who are you? What do you want?"

The darkness reformed into the shape of a man.

"I am Ebon . . . "

"Ebon? You're the guy who was in the meeting. You're part of Intergang."

"And proud of it. I'm from the real Intergang, not like those cheesy morons you've already beat up on," Ebon replied.

"I guessed that. What do you want with me?"

"Naturally, you would assume a fight," Ebon answered as he walked to his chair in front of The Shadow.

The Shadow stood up and faced Ebon. "But you don't want a fight?"

Ebon nodded. "Exactly. No, I have better plans for you. Intergang has a better use for you."


"Yes. We want you."

"Dead or alive?"

"As a member of Intergang . . . "

"After trying to kill me?"

"We weren't trying to kill you. We were trying to persuade you."

"What made you think I would want to join?"

"Oh, we knew. If you didn't come willingly, we'd force you."

"Didn't you get the message from the people that I beat up today?"

"I was hoping you'd changed your mind," Ebon replied. "But it doesn't look that way . . . "

Ebon's voice faded away as The Shadow found himself back in the streets, far from where Ebon had ambushed him. He stood up, looking around. The fog was too heavy for him to be able to ascertain his location, so he just started walking in a certain direction, hoping it was the right way.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, The Shadow felt something hit him in the back. It tingled and his back felt numb. The Shadow turned around but he couldn't see anything. He could hear the screaming in his head: Whoever was attacking him was nervous and telegraphing their moves. The Shadow was able to jump out of the way before he was attacked again. He could see the blue light pierce the fog around him.

For a moment everything was silent. The Shadow thought he saw a flash of light reflecting off of metal. He moved around in a wide arc, hoping that he wouldn't bump into anything. The smell of ozone permeated his nostrils. He could feel his hair beginning to stand up. Then, out of nowhere, he felt a large electrical charge slam into him, running through his body, sending him flying. He crashed through a window before landing.

"Wha' in de world?" a man asked, looking over The Shadow. He was a big man, with cauliflowered ears, stubble covering his face, and beer breath. "Who crashed into Bibbo's bar?"

The Shadow groaned.

"Who's dat?"

"Don't worry," The Shadow replied, standing up. "I am The Shadow. Someone sent me through your window."

"Dat's okay," Bibbo replied. "I got lots of money to replace dis here window. You go out and beat dat guy."

"You aren't even wondering why you can't see me?"

"Nah. I'se heard of youse. You're de Shadow, and no one can sees ya!"

'Got that right,' The Shadow thought as he leapt back through the broken window. "Call the cops." He quickly glanced up at the sign above the door. It read Ace of Clubs. The Shadow knew he was in Suicide Slum.

Just then, The Shadow could smell ozone once more, and his head was standing up again. He had enough warning to jump out of the way. The blast of electricity fired, and ricocheted down the street.

At that moment, the attacker stepped into the light, and The Shadow was able to get a clear shot of him. He was wearing an all black suit with metal bands around his ankles and wrists. He had a semi-helmet covering the back of his head and sides of his face made from the same metal -- The Shadow assumed it was chrome. He also wore a belt of metal and he had some strange triangular contraptions on the tops of his hands. The Shadow guessed that the electrical shocks came from those. The only other noticeable feature was his eyes. The Shadow could see the white energy coming out of it.

"What do they call you?" The Shadow asked. "Shocker?"

The attacker nodded.

'Well, what do you know!' The Shadow thought to himself. Aloud he said, "Intergang sent you, right?"

Shocker nodded once more.

"They want me alive, correct? They want to recruit me?"

Shocker nodded yet again, aiming at The Shadow's head.

'How can he see me? He must have some sort of heat vision. Or maybe he can see energy?'

Shocker fired and The Shadow jumped, but almost got hit.

Elsewhere, Ebon was able to watch the battle using his special shadow powers. Gathered around him were the rest of his superpowered agents, and even a few of the lower members.

"This is an excellent fight," Ebon said. "I couldn't ask for a better one even on Pay-Per-View."

"So, do you still think The Shadow will join?" a woman asked.

"Not a chance," Ebon replied. "Yet, I don't want to see him hurt . . . yet. I still have a few more surprises for our young friend."

Mrs. Cranston walked into the living room, where she saw her father-in-law watching television.

"Where's Victor?" she asked.

"He said that he spotted Intergang today and had to find them tonight," Lamont replied.

"I wish he didn't have to do this."

"He's seventeen. In a year, he'll be off at college. I think he's old enough to handle the responsibility."

"Yes, but . . . "

"He has special talents. It is his duty to use them for good. If taking down Intergang is the way he must use his powers, then so be it."

"But Intergang is so dangerous."

"No more dangerous than any other criminal he might face."

"Why couldn't he just work on simple robberies or murders or something?" Mrs. Cranston asked.

"Even if he worked on those simple cases, he could still be dealing with dangerous people. You know that."

"You're right. I'm just worried because I'm his mother, I guess . . . "

"Hey, Maggie," Dan Turpin shouted across the room. "Let's go. Dispatch just called and said that SCU* has a case!"

*(Special Crimes Unit)

Captain Maggie Sawyer stood up from her desk, saving the file on her computer. "What's up?"

"Some guy spraying electricity is attacking Suicide Slum," Turpin replied.

"Anything else?" Sawyer asked.

"We'll brief ya on the way. But you should know that a superhero is involved."


"Well, the guy said that The Shadow was out there!"

The Shadow stood in front of Shocker, waiting. He could see his eyes growing brighter. Unfortunately, he didn't notice that Shocker's hands were glowing as well. Suddenly, Shocker let loose a large burst that lit up the entire neighborhood of Suicide Slum with a charge as powerful as ten lighting bolts!
Continued in The Shadow 2000 Secret Files #1! If The Shadow survives, he'll meet the SCU. Plus, a familiar, yet strange face returns!