Shadowline (Epic Comics)
The Shadowline Saga was Marvel's first attempt at creating a mature-themed line of superhero comics. Further, it was the first line produced by Epic Comics utilizing a pre-conceived shared universe concept. The central concept tied all of the titles together, allowing them to serve as one unified crossover. The line could either be read as individual title(s) or the entire line of titles could tell a much broader story when read together chronologically.
The Shadow Dwellers were a race that were almost human. Their evolution paralleled humanity, though they evolved swifter and a great deal better. Meanwhile, humans evolved in far greater numbers. After reaching maturity, Shadow Dwellers would not age any further, until they had reproduced. This provided a natural balance, preventing their potential immortality from leading to overpopulation.
Individually, they were superior but they were no match for the great tide of humankind that came in time to rule the Earth. So they became a shadow race, living among us, speaking our languages, but secretly, eternally apart. Sometimes as protectors, sometimes as predators. Over the centuries, they became the stuff of our legends and our myths. Sometimes heroes. Often monsters.
But as the Twentieth Century moved nearer and nearer its close, the world had shrunk to the point that there was little room for living in secret and the power of humankind had grown to doomsday proportions. There was a more pressing need than ever to emerge, to make themselves felt; to influence, to control the destiny of the planet they shared with us.
Scattered on the Earth, separated from each other by centuries of secrecy and hiding, torn by their own feuds and personal strife, the need to emerge was answered in ways as varied as the people of the shadows themselves varied. But it was answered. By the likes of Doctor Zero, Powerline, and The Order of St. George. Cautiously, recklessly, with responsibility and without, they entered into the mainstream of human life.
Sometimes heroes. Often monsters.
The original line of The Shadowline Saga titles included:
- The most ancient and powerful of the Shadow Dwellers, effortlessly manipulating humanity with his Machiavellian ways.
- Two young Shadows joined together with the noble goal of balancing Dr. Zero's manipulations with acts of true heroism.
- The Knight of The Order of St. George, a human priest armed with Shadow-designed armor created to prepare its wearer for battles against today's dragons.
Doctor Zero, Power Line, and St. George #9 - 13 were supposed to be part of The Shadowline Saga "Critical Mass" Crossover. Due to poor sales, Epic cancelled the three Shadowline series and published the story in an anthology format as the Critical Mass limited series.
- The abilities of Doctor Zero, Power Line, and St. George have been called upon to put an end to the insane plans of Professor Henry Clerk, a physicist ready to set loose the dark forces of nuclear power on the heartland of America. But there are two things remaining before they can match their power against Clerk's: first, Powerline must come to the aid of Michael Devlin, the Knight of the Order, in his race to reforge his shattered armor; and then, Devlin must struggle to redirect Doctor Zero's blood rage to bear on Clerk, as the modern day St. George battles against Zero, an impossibly powerful dragon.
- Ed. Jim Salicrup, Marvel Age #62 "Epic Spotlight: The Shadowline Saga", Marvel Comics Group, May 1987
- Ed. Jim Salicrup, Marvel Age Annual #3 "Marvel A to Z", Marvel Comics Group, Jun. 1987
- Ed. Jim Salicrup, Marvel Age Annual #4 "A Shadowline Saga" & "Epic A to Z", Marvel Comics Group, Jun. 1988
- Ed. Jim Salicrup, Marvel Age #83 "Critical Mass", Marvel Comics Group, Mid Dec. 1989