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The Final Mission
by Chip Caroon
This story is not in continuity with the upcoming DC/Marvel Shadow 2000 series.

The place is New York City. The year is 1949. The war has been over for four years. America had inaugurated the Nuclear Age with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II in 1945. Hitler was dead by his own hand, and the world was returning to peace. America itself was returning to normal and expecting a baby boom.

However, crime had been unaffected by the war. There were just as many robberies and murders as before. Now that the war was over, and America was finally overcoming depression for the first time in two decades, crime was rising at a steady pace. But, the NYPD had a secret weapon on their side: The Shadow.

Recently, though, The Shadow had been feeling the weight of the increased crime. Sure, more super-heroes were emerging, and with the war over, there were more men available to be cops. Still, The Shadow was slowing down. He was gradually becoming to accept a fact that he was not yet ready to embrace. The fact that terrified him more than any criminal ever could.

The Shadow was getting old. It was almost time for him to retire.


On this night, The Shadow was chasing a murderer through the city, following the clues that he left behind. This murderer had an unusual modus operandi. He never killed the victims in person. He was able to do so over the phone. The Shadow was trying to find out how.

He had been able to track the murderer to an empty apartment. The Shadow looked around. He was unable to discern any signs of living inside the apartment. He had already checked on the tenant records. No one had lived here for years, but somehow, all of the calls originated from this apartment.

The room The Shadow was in was dark. He was standing in the doorway. Across from him stood a fireplace and mantle. He started to walk around the perimeter of the room, looking for a secret compartment or room. Suddenly, as he approached the mantle, he saw light radiate from behind it.

The Shadow lifted his hands and felt for a crack. He found one, ever so small. He looked around, searching for something to pry the crack open. He couldn't find anything, so he placed his ear to the wall. He heard the insane ramblings of a madman.

On the other side of the wall, unknown and unseen to The Shadow, the murderer was standing in front of what appeared to be a control panel. He was about 5' 10", had unruly short black hair, and black eyes. He appeared to be in his twenties. He was wearing goggles, and if to protect he eyes from something.

At the moment, he was changing plugs and pushing buttons. The entire time, he had a huge smile plastered on his face. He enjoyed doing this. 'Much better than the day job,' he thought.

Meanwhile, on the outside, The Shadow continued his search. He checked inside the actual fireplace. The back of it seemed different than most fireplaces. He looked up. The chimney didn't seem to be a chimney. In fact, it appeared to be a passage to some hidden place. 'That has to be it!' he thought.

He reached up. His hand hit something hard only a few inches above his head. It startled him at first because he expected the passage to go up several feet. He felt around on the top. He found a handle and pulled. The obstacle swung down on hinges. The Shadow climbed up. He found himself in a larger passage. This one continued to go up, but changed directions at the top.

The Shadow measured the distance. About seven feet high, he estimated. He braced himself in the passage and climbed up to where he could reach the second passage. He pulled himself up and began to crawl. This passage had better lighting, so he could tell that it was longer than the other.

When he reached the midway point, he looked down and saw a vent. He wasn't sure why it would be here. This couldn't have been an air duct. He looked down. He saw the murderer standing in front of the control panel. Suddenly, the murderer turned away from it and walked to the phone. He asked for the number and waited for the person on the other end to answer. While he was waiting, he picked up a gadget and began to make adjustments in the settings. The Shadow carefully began to open the vent and climb down.

"Mr. Drake?" the murderer asked into the phone.

The man on the other end answered with a basic answer. When he did, the murderer lifted the gadget, attached to the mouthpiece, and pressed a button. A loud noise entered into the receiver while the murderer ran to the control panel to flip a series of switches.

The Shadow ran to the phone and pulled the wire out of the wall. He then pried the gadget off of the phone. The murderer turned around quickly. "What happened?" he shouted. "Nobody's here!"

The Shadow laughed. "That's where you're wrong," he said. "The Shadow is here."

"The Shadow! I've heard of you! My dad tells me about you all the time!" the murderer said as he ripped off his goggles.

Suddenly The Shadow recognized who was standing in front of him. It was Christopher Weston, son of the commission of police!


Outside at that moment, the police were surrounding the building based on a phone tip from The Shadow. Commissioner Weston himself was leading the raid, because he wanted to catch the murderer himself. He was nearing retirement age himself and wanted one last moment of glory.

Weston's second-in-command came over to him. "Should we enter now?"

Weston shook his head. "Break down the door, boys!" he shouted.

Upon hearing that command, the five officers standing in front of the door rammed their shoulders into the locked door. It gave very easily. The pulled out their guns and entered. Two more men entered behind them, followed by the commissioner and second-in-command.

The first officer to enter walked back to the commissioner. "Sir, the first floor is empty. Shall we proceed?"

Weston nodded his head.

The nine officers walked upstairs. They searched each room. They came to the end of the hall and saw a room that looked different. It appeared as if to be used more than the other rooms. They all stood beside the door. Weston pointed to two officers, then motioned for them to follow him. They walked into the room and looked around.

One of the officers spotted the light behind the fireplace.

"Sir! Look!" he whispered.

Weston came over. "Looks like we found something."


On the other side of the fireplace, The Shadow was confronting Chris Weston.

"I can't see you Shadow!" Chris shouted as he picked up a gun. "But I can kill you!"

"Chris," The Shadow pleaded. "What would your father think? Do you know what this will do to him?"

"Leave my father out of this! He doesn't care about me! All he cares about is getting glory one last time!"

"That is not true," The Shadow said, moving around the room, examining it, and preventing Chris from shooting him.

"YES IT IS!" Chris shouted, tears forming in his eyes. "HE DOESN'T CARE!" With that, Chris pulled the trigger.

On the other side, the officers heard the shot.

"Get over there!" Weston shouted. "Lieutenant! Get in here, now!"

The officers immediately tried to begin knocking brick loose, hoping to reach the other side.

Inside, Chris heard voices. "Cops! They've found me!" He turned to where he thought The Shadow was. "It's your fault! You led them to me!" He fired the gun again.

Just then, the police had begun to break through. Chris looked around, hoping to find something to brace the wall with.

In the corner of the room, The Shadow was hiding, making Chris think he was injured. He studied the control panel. If he reworked some of the wires and plugs, he could blow the system out. Maybe that would let the cops in.

He ran over and began working on the panel. Chris was too busy searching the room that he didn't notice The Shadow. Finally, The Shadow had reworked everything. He put the final plug in.

The room filled with sparks. The control panel blew out of the wall, falling backwards. The mantle in the other room swung open. The Shadow laughed.

Chris cursed at The Shadow, turned around and began to use his secret escape hatch. However, it had been jammed in the explosion. The police officers charged in. Weston shouted, "POLICE!" One of the officers saw Chris and fired. The bullet struck Chris in the hand. Two officers ran over and grabbed him. One handcuffed him.

"Oh, man," he groaned when he saw who it was. They stood Chris up and walked him over to the rest.

"Chris!" Weston shouted. "It was you?!"

Chris didn't said anything. Instead he looked down. Weston slapped him. Chris looked up.

"Go to hell," he said just before the officers took him out.

Weston walked over to the wall and leaned against it, tears forming in his eyes.

"Sir?" the lieutenant asked.

"I just need a moment alone," Weston replied.

The officer walked out of the room. The Shadow walked over to Weston. He placed his hand on Weston's shoulder. Weston looked up, startled.

"Wha-?!"

"It's me," The Shadow said.

"The Shadow, eh?" Weston replied. He was silent for a moment. "What a way to go out, huh? I've been trying to find that one case that would be a great way to go out. I thought this would be it. Instead, I find out that my own son is a murderer."

The Shadow took his hand off of Weston's shoulder and was silent for a moment before he spoke. "Life is like that, sometimes."

"The thing is, I don't have it me any more. I can't continue being commissioner." He turned around. "I'm done. You can expect to see the announcement of my retirement in the papers soon."

"How long?" The Shadow asked. "How long until you leave?"

"I figure a month is enough. Maybe I can get another case." Weston paused. "Who am I kidding?" he asked.

The Shadow didn't say another word. Instead, he turned around and left.


The Shadow walked to his car, where Margo Lane was waiting in the driver's seat. She saw the door open. As The Shadow entered, she saw him gradually fade back into visibility. She began to drive off as The Shadow took off his cloak and hat.

"Lamont, what is so depressing this time?" Margo asked. "I saw the cops bring out the murderer."

"I learned who did it," Lamont replied, looking down.

"What was so terrible about his identity that you are looking so grim?"

"It was Chris Weston."

"The commissioner's son?" Margo said with a gasp.

Lamont nodded.

The remainder of the ride was silent.


The next morning, Lamont Cranston was fixing breakfast when he heard the doorbell ring. He was dressed, so he didn't mind answering the door. He opened it and saw Margo standing at the door.

"Margo!" he exclaimed. "What brings you here?"

Margo walked in and took her coat off, handing it to Lamont. "I'm here to talk about you and The Shadow."

"Whatever for?"

Margo turned around and looked Lamont straight in the eyes. "Lamont. I love you. You are getting too old to be The Shadow. Your reflexes aren't as fast. I need you."

Lamont was startled by this. "Let's discuss this in the living room," he said.

The two of them walked into the living room and sat on the sofa. Margo looked directly at Lamont.

"So, let's start over here," Lamont said. "Why are you here?"

"Lamont," Margo replied, "times are changing. The Shadow is getting old. I am tired of waiting. I want to get married. I want to have kids. I want you."

"Whoa," Lamont said, exhaling. This was a lot for him to take in. Suddenly he remembered something in the other room. "Wait here," he told Margo.

He returned a minute later. He walked over to Margo and bent down on his knee. He pulled a black velvet box out of his pocket and opened it up. Inside was a diamond ring. "Margo," he said, "will you marry me?"

Margo looked down at him, tears beginning to fill here eyes. She leaned down and whispered, "Yes," before kissing Lamont.


A month later, Commissioner Weston was sitting in his office. Everyone else in the department was outside at his retirement party. The lights were off, and Weston was looking out the window.

He heard a noise behind him. He knew from experience what it was.

"So, Shadow, come to wish me well?" he asked.

"Actually, I came to tell you good-bye," The Shadow replied. "You aren't the only one retiring. It's time for me to quit."

"What?" Weston exclaimed, turning his chair around. "Are you sure?"

"Yes. I've been doing this for almost twenty years. I'm not as fast or as great as I used to be. It's time for me to quit and start a family."

"I guess I never thought about The Shadow having a real life."

"Yes."

"End of an era?" Weston asked.

"I guess it is," The Shadow said.

Weston stood up and walked over to where he thought The Shadow might be standing. He put out his hand.

The Shadow lowered his cloak of invisibility. He shook hands with Weston and smiled. He then turned invisible again and left the room.

Weston sighed and walked out into the party.

A few minutes later, Lamont and Margo entered. They had been invited because of their closeness to Weston.

"Commissioner!" Lamont exclaimed.

Weston walked over and met Lamont in the middle of the room. They shook hands. "How are things?" Weston asked.

"Well, I'm getting married," Lamont said, lifting Margo hand up, showing the ring off.

"Very nice. I hope you can keep him out of trouble, Margo."

"I'll try," Margo replied.

"Congratulations on your retirement," Lamont said.

"Thank you. Congratulations to the two of you," Weston replied.


Lamont and Margo were married later that year. The next year, Margo gave birth to their first son, Lamont Cranston, Jr.

The NYPD changed with the new commissioner. The Shadow never showed up again, leaving behind the mystery of who he was. Eventually, over time, The Shadow was forgotten by many.

Later, Lamont decided to write down some of The Shadow's adventures. The novels he wrote sold well, and he was praised highly for them. No one ever knew that he was really writing autobiographies of sorts. He never kept a penny of sales, though. All money was donated to charity. "The Shadow will always help people. One way or another," Lamont would later say.

It wasn't long before Lamont Cranston, Jr. had grown. He discovered at a relatvly early age that he possessed mystical powers. His parents told him of The Shadow. It wasn't long before he became the second Shadow.

He made sure that the legacy of The Shadow would live on.


In Detective #1 at DC/Marvel: The Merging - It's the public debut of the third Shadow, bringing the legacy into a new century!
WRITER'S NOTE: The hardest part of this story was trying to figure out when The Shadow was around. He first appeared in pulps in 1931. His last pulp was in 1949, but his radio show lasted until 1954. He never aged at all during the show. (At least, it was never touched upon.) I decided on choosing this time period, because I wanted Shadow III to be about 17 or 18 in 1999 (or 2000). I figured the best way would be to have Lamont Jr. born in 1950.

The version of The Shadow in this story is from the radio show. This makes it easier for the secret identity. Having Lamont marry Margo, and having Weston retire would be the best way to end The Shadow's career.

I better stop rambling, so I can start on the DCM series. It will feature the debut of Shadow III, and set up many plotlines. This Shadow will be part of the DCM merged universe, as will be seen soon.

Thank for reading,
Chip Caroon, DCM co-EiC, writer of Spider-Man, The Shadow 2000, and X-Men co-writer