Old and friendly faces are returning in DC’s Rebirth comics, restoring a sense of hope in the DC Universe. But, as revealed in The Flash #10, old enemies are coming back too.
In this week’s Flash #10 from Joshua Williamson, Barry Allen ponders the events that restored the original Wally West into existence. Whatever forces — be it Doctor Manhattan, or “Dr. Oz” — that allowed Wally to return, Barry worries it will also let old enemies wreck havoc again.
That’s when a new villain shows up in Central City: an elusive boogeyman called “The Walking Shadow.” He’s the internet’s newest conspiracy phenomenon. The younger Wally West, compelled to prove himself worthy of being a hero after messing up an earlier fight against a lame-o meta named Papercut, pursues the Shadow. Wally tracks him down only to be outmatched, because it’s Shade, a Gardner Fox creation who first appeared as a villain fighting Jay Garrick back in 1942.
Voted as one of the greatest villains of all time by IGN, Shade has had a long history in DC whose back now in Rebirth. First a villain against Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, Shade came into his own as an anti-hero and mentor to Jack Knight, aka Starman, in James Robinson’s acclaimed Starman that ran from 1998 to 2001.
In Flash #10, Shade has become more demonic and evil, who in his cryptic exchange with Kid Flash says “Hope … was taken” and that without hope, “Life is meaningless.”
It’s more than a reference to “hope” being gone from the DCU. During 2008’s Blackest Night, Shade was in love with a woman named Hope O’Dare, whose whereabouts are unknown. Perhaps she’s missing, or taken; at New York Comic Con in October, Williamson told Inverse Shade is in search of something.
“He’s in search of something that he is missing, he is hoping to get help. But his ways are not helpful to Flash and Kid Flash,” he said. But who is powerful enough to have taken Hope from Shade? There are only more questions than answers in Rebirth.