Shroud (Maxillian Quincy Coleridge) is a fictional superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Super-Villain Team-Up #5, (April 1976), and was created by Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe.
Fictional character biography
At the age of 10, the child who would grow up to become The Shroud saw his parents gunned down right before his eyes. He decided to dedicate his life to fighting crime. Upon graduation from college, he joined the mysterious temple called "Cult of Kali", where he studied various styles of martial arts. After seven years of intense training, he graduated from that temple. During the celebration ceremony, he was branded with the "Kiss of Kali," a red-hot iron. Following a period of intense pain and hospitalization, he realized that his eyesight had been replaced by a mystic extrasensory perception. Traveling back to America, he adopted the identity of Shroud.
His first appearance as a hero was in Latveria, where he was seen fighting Doctor Doom. Shroud wanted to kill Doom for his crimes against humanity, and even came close to it when he shifted gears in order help Doom oppose someone else with a longer track record of crimes against the humanity: Red Skull. In outer space, The Shroud was shot by a ray built by the Red Skull while Doom battled the Skull on the moon. The Shroud was rescued by Captain America, while the Red Skull was left defeated on the moon (he was later rescued by Hitler himself, as the Hate Monger). Captain America brought Shroud back to Earth, but because of his time in space, Shroud became insane and it took him quite a while to recover.
After this recovery, Shroud discovered that he was able to tap into the Darkforce dimension. He went undercover in Los Angeles and built a reputation as a criminal so he could destroy their world from within. This led him to create the group known as the Night Shift. Behind the scenes, Shroud made a deal with the West Coast Avengers not to interfere with his activities underground, but during a battle, Shroud went missing and the Night Shift battled the Avengers, causing a strain between the groups. When Shroud returned to action, it was revealed that he had spent some time with his family, though no actual names of that family have ever been revealed. Shroud made few appearances in the years following.
When the Superhero Registration Act
was proposed by the United States, Shroud refused to accept the proposal to give up his secret identity, and sided against heroes such as Ms. Marvel
and Iron Man
. He is also in a romantic relationship with Julia Carpenter
, the second Spider-Woman
, now known as Arachne. With Julia's help, Shroud managed to escape from Ryker's Island
, injuring a number of S.H.I.E.L.D
agents in the process. The two of them planned to flee to Canada
with Julia's daughter Rachel, but Wonder Man
and Ms. Marvel captured the Shroud and Julia the following issue. He is then broken out in order to join Captain America
's anti-registration army and takes part in the final battle.
Powers and abilities
- The Shroud possesses the mystical ability to summon the absolute darkness of the Darkforce Dimension by opening a mystical portal into the Darkforce Dimension and drawing its thick, inky atmosphere in various quantities into Earth's dimension. This darkness is not simply the absence of light, but the negation of it. No illumination can penetrate it. It is unknown how much of this darkness the Shroud can summon at once. He can blanket a small auditorium in darkness within several seconds. The darkness he projects does not fill a volume instantly: it is possible to see its hazy boundary move like thick, black smoke in the air. There appears to be no limit to the length of time the Shroud can maintain the darkness. However, if the Shroud is rendered unconscious the darkness seems to be naturally drawn through the portal from whence it came.
- The Shroud has control over the darkness so as to create hazy-edged, featureless black shapes with it, the complexity of which is limited only by his imagination. For example, he once created two tiny discs that covered Captain America's eyes to prevent Dansen Macabre from hypnotizing Captain America. These discs were so small that they were indistinguishable from the pupils of his eyes. He frequently forms the darkness into his own shadow in order to serve as a decoy. Unlike Darkstar's Darkforce, the darkness possesses no mass, and unlike Cloak, the Shroud is unable to travel into and out of the dimension from which he draws his darkness.
- The Shroud possesses a mystical sense of perception enabling him to "see" even through his own mantle of darkness. This mystical sense gives him psychic impressions of his environment within a radius of about 100 feet of him. Not unlike Daredevil, the Shroud can receive non-visual sensory impressions through solid objects. Thus, he can perceive people and objects in the room next to him with the ease that he can perceive the contents of the room he is in. The Shroud notes in Spider-Woman I #15 that (unlike Daredevil) he cannot read, he apparently does not have that Max Carrados' style sensitivity of touch that enables DD to read newsprint based on its feel compared to the rest of the page or its impression on the rest of the page. The Shroud recruits Spider-Woman to infiltrate a SHIELD facility so that they can access the files. Spider-Woman notes that though the Shroud's mystic senses enable him to detect what is inside (i.e. the hardware components) the computer, the Shroud cannot read what is on the screen.
- The Shroud is an Olympic level athlete with extensive training in several fields of Oriental martial arts, and is adept at acrobatics and infiltration.