Rac Shade is a lovelorn poet sent to Earth to stop a growing tide of madness from consuming the planet, while his M-Vest was now a Madness-Vest that he could use to warp reality. The comic still took place in the DC universe - John Constantine turned up for a three-issue story arc, Death of The Endless appeared in a subtle cameo in issue 50 and Shade appeared with a group of other Vertigo characters in 1999's Totems - and the original series was rationalized as being a story that Shade made up to amuse himself while travelling to Earth. However, this did not explain how the original Shade could work with the Suicide Squad.
The Shade that Kathy originally met was a young, romantic poet ill-suited to the task of saving Earth from the American Scream. He fell in love with Kathy and she with him, although he often felt inadequate about himself and his ability to please her sexually and emotionally. Eventually, he plunged into his own psyche and dredged up his repressed passions and desires, forming an alter-ego: Hades. Hades wasn't quite an evil twin, merely prone to giving in to his own desires. Hades generally spent most of his time lodged at the back of Shade's mind, although he was given the use of their body when the time arose, and briefly had a madness-constructed one of his own.
Shade was eventually killed, but his spirit wasn't able to pass on and he ended up inhabiting the body of a recently murdered red-headed woman. Shade attempted to force his old, male form on her body but what remained of the woman's personality resisted because her murder had gone unsolved. Shade, Kathy and Lenny investigated and found out the horrific circumstances of the woman's death, but not before Shade experienced sex as a female and endured the onset of his first period. Once at peace, the woman was able to pass on and Shade was able to shape the body to resemble his original form.
After further strange adventures Shade was killed once again, but this time the angels themselves forced him to return to Earth and do their bidding. They provided him with a human host created for just such an occasion - a twenty something male born with no soul or mind; a mere hollow shell. However, the strain of death and the afterlife had caused Shade's mind to become both unhinged and combined with that of Hades. This new Shade had no permanent hold on sanity and would bounce from impulsive mania to thoughtful collection within the blink of an eye. He met up with Lenny and Kathy again and they opened the Hotel Shade, where they met John Constantine and Peter Milligan himself.
After the death of someone close to him, Shade underwent another change, returning to his red-headed form, but with a short mod cut rather than flowing locks. Lost in mourning, he cut himself off from his old life and moved to the big city, where he found new and unusual friends including a deaf dancer and the reincarnation of Nikola Tesla. He also met his young son and attempted to bond with him only to find that the kid was suffering from an unusually fast aging disease and doomed to die soon. Eventually, the sadness got too much for Shade and he removed his heart and locked it in a metal box where it could no longer hurt him. But just because his heart was removed doesn't mean that made him apathetic. He only felt this way because he wanted to. That explained why he was still alive after he removed his heart. The Madness keeps him alive, not his organs, they're just a filled-in space.
Shade eventually lost control of the Madness, which began feeding on his subconscious and started to maim and kill innocents. Desperate to put things right, he gathered up his remaining colleagues and developed a time machine. They rocketed off into the past to correct all of the things that had gone wrong, with limited success. By the end of the series, this Shade was accepted once more into the arms of love while his son found himself trapped in a girl's body.
Shade, restored to his male form, eventually returned to Meta but was recalled to Earth by John Constantine in order to assist him. This, Shade did, despite being jealous of Constantine's flirtation with Kathy George years before. He eventually returned to his home world, taking Constantine's girlfriend Epiphany with him (he eventually gets fed up with her and sends her back to Earth to the year 1979).
- 74 Appearances of Rac Shade (Earth-85)
- 2 Images featuring Rac Shade (Earth-85)
- Quotations by or about Rac Shade (Earth-85)
- Character Gallery: Rac Shade (Earth-85)
This character exists under the Vertigo Imprint which is intended for Mature Readers. Vertigo titles although they may cross over into regular DC continuity.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Vertigo Characters."
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