DC Database

Carl Sands, also known as the Shadow Thief, is a career criminal who possesses the Shadow Vest, a device that allows him to imitate shadows. After an upgrade to the Shadow Vest from Lex Luthor, Sands can completely control shadows.

The Shadow Thief primarily battles the hero Hawkman.

The Dark Gift

Carl Sands was never a real threat to his arch-nemesis Hawkman, who was always able to outsmart him. He possessed a device known as the Shadow Vest, which allowed him to shift through solid objects.[1]

One night, Sands was sent a message by Lex Luthor, who wanted to meet him on a rooftop in Midway City. The Shadow Thief went to the meeting spot, where he was greeted by a holographic projection of Luthor. Luthor offered Sands an upgrade to his Shadow Vest, free of charge, which would allow him to not only imitate shadows, but control them entirely. Sands gladly accepted the offer, as he craved the power to finally defeat Hawkman.[2]

Desecrating History

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Shadow Thief toys with his arch-nemesis

Upon obtaining his upgrade, Sands sought to become the true "Master of Darkness". To do this, Sands knew he would have to defeat Shade, the elusive super-hero who held dominion over shadows and darkness. Thief formulated a plan to draw Shade out. Sands would steal Hawkman's shadow, which would allow him to track Hawkman wherever he went. He would then steal countless artifacts, until Hawkman would be forced to seek out the help of his friend the Shade, at which point Shadow Thief would strike.[1]

Sands tracked Hawkman to Kenya, where he was meditating in a secret and sacred cave. With his new found powers, Shadow Thief was able to easily defeat his arch-nemesis when the latter was caught off guard. He then promised to destroy any remnants of the ancient cultures Hawkman cared so much about, proceeding to desecrate Hawkman's sacred meditation zone. The Thief then stole Hawkman's shadow as well as a sacred artifact, leaving Hawkman's beaten body behind in the cave.[2]

Master of the Shadowlands

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Sands and a shadow dragon against Hawkman

A couple of days later, Hawkman fled to Shade for help just as Sands had foreseen. Shade, upon learning that Carter was missing his shadow, immediately understood Shadow Thief's intentions and evacuated Hawkman to a safe room made of pure light which shadows couldn't breach. Unfortunately for Shade and Hawkman, Sands was able to use the shadow cast by Shade's open mouth to breach the room. After breaching the room, the Shadow Thief swiftly stole Shade's shadow, and fled to the Shadowlands, which he now controlled.[1]

A short while later Shade and Hawkman entered the Shadowlands in an attempt to retain their shadows and defeat the Shadow Thief. In response to the invasion, Shadow Thief unleashed his minions, which were able to defeat Shade. However Hawkman was able to survive Shadow Thief's onslaught.[3]



  • Shadow Vest
    • Shadow Manipulation: Shadow Thief has complete control over shadows and the Shadowlands. He can steal and control other people's shadows, which allows him to track that person wherever they are.[1]
      • Intangibility: Sands can take on a "shadow state", which effectively allows him to transform into shadow, making him untouchable.[1]
        • Phasing: In his "shadow state", Sands can move through solid objects.[1]
      • Shadow Construct Creation: Shadow Thief can create solid constructs made out of shadows.[2]
      • Shadow Summoning: Shadow Thief can create humanoid shadows to fight for him which will follow his commands to the letter.[2]
      • Shadow-based Teleportation: Sands can teleport anywhere in the world instantly by warping between shadows. The gateway does not need to be particularly large, as he was able to teleport using the shadow cast by someone opening their mouth.[1]



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