The Shadow King's origins are hard to determine, partially due to several retcons of his character that are contradictory, both in detail and chronology.
For many years, the Shadow King's primary human manifestation was a man named Amahl Farouk. It was as Farouk that he originally confronted Professor X, inspiring Xavier to form the X-Men.
In 1931, he went by the name of Amahl Farouk, working for two of Hitler's special agents named Wolfgang von Strucker and Geist. They were planning to dethrone King Edward of England and replace him with a fascist ruler in favor of the Führer. During a mystical ceremony Farouk was conducting, he accidentally brought back the current host of the Phoenix Force, Rachel Summers, and her teammate Shadowcat. Von Strucker was not happy and began to doubt Farouk's abilities. The Shadow King quickly possessed Rachel Summers and as Shadowcat escaped she allied herself with Alasdhair Kinross. Farouk kidnapped the heir to the throne, Lilibet, and fled to Edinburgh. Shadowcat tried to reach Rachel telepathically, only to find Farouk in control. Kitty surprised Farouk when she said his name "Shadow King" allowing her to escape. Farouk took control of Kinross and tried to kill them both but Kitty used her phasing powers to disrupt Kinross's nervous system, knocking him out.
Farouk was going to sacrifice Kinross to some demons in return for a spell that would annihilate the bloodline of the English monarchy, but was interrupted by Kitty and his crystal knife was shattered. The demons entered Farouk's body but they were too powerful for him. He began dispersing the energy and ended up killing all of the Nazi soldiers, making von Strucker upset enough to accuse Farouk of treason and tried to shoot him. Farouk transformed into his monstrous Shadow King form. The Shadow King tried to use his power to force Kitty and Kinross to fight each other but they were saved by a young Logan. Phoenix unleashed all of her power on Farouk but was quickly subdued and possessed. Lilibet escaped and fled to Holyrood House. Farouk possessed the servants of the house and sent them and Phoenix after her. Logan ambushed Farouk, von Strucker, and Geist but Farouk had Rachel and the servants attack him. Farouk then possessed Kitty and Lilibet and began to taunt them.
Kitty started to speak of the future and the fall of Hitler leading to Lilibet attacking Farouk and injuring him long enough for Kitty to use her powers to disrupt his nervous system, stunning them both. This allowed Rachel the time to regain control of herself. Farouk recovered and tried to retake his prisoners but Phoenix battled Farouk on the astral plane and was going to kill him when Kitty struck the two of them with the Sword of Scones causing them to return to their respective bodies. Farouk's body was supposedly destroyed by an energy blast from the sword.
Confrontation with Charles Xavier
In 1971, the Shadow King was somehow able to duplicate the body of Farouk and return where he met with James Watkins Jr. leader of the V-Battalion. Watkins offered him full support of the V-Battalion if Farouk was able to obtain information about the Everlasting. With a quick mind scan he came up with the name Marduk and gave it to Watkins.
Farouk eventually became a crime lord in Egypt, controlling the Cairo Thieves Quarter. This is where a young Charles Xavier was pickpocketed by a child named Ororo Munroe. After Xavier stopped her and retrieved his wallet he was hit with a bolt of psionic energy. When Xavier recovered he found that the source of the attack came from a nearby tavern where he met Farouk. Xavier walked into the tavern and sat at a separate table from Farouk and they had a mental conversation with one another. Farouk told Xavier that he could sense another powerful telepath close by and that the attack was a warning for him to stay clear of his area.
Farouk tried to persuade Xavier to join him in his criminal activities but Xavier refused. Xavier believed that people with such gifts should use their abilities to better the world. The two went into astral form and battled on the astral plane where Xavier defeated Farouk with a powerful psionic attack. This left Farouk's body physically dead. Farouk having been Xavier's first encounter with an evil mutant is what led to his formation of the X-Men. Farouk's body may have died but he moved his astral form to another plane. Now afraid of Xavier, he waited for a better opportunity to fight him safely.
The Shadow King became aware of a young mutant named Karma, a member of Xavier's New Mutants with the psychic ability to possess other beings. In one of the team's earliest missions, Karma was seemingly killed during an explosion at the Viper's hideout. However, really the Shadow King had used Karma's own powers against her to possess her body. As Karma, Shadow King rebuilt his worldwide empire, all while indulging Karma's every gluttonous urge to grow grotesquely obese. He used Karma to take control of a group of mutants called the Gladiators by using a holographic image to appear as their leader Alexander Flynn. The Shadow King used the Gladiators to abduct Magma and Sunspot, forcing them to fight each other until their teammates Cannonball, Shadowcat, Dazzler, and Magik attempted to rescue them. In their battle to escape the Gladiators' clutches, Cannonball and Shadowcat recognized their obese antagonist as Karma – not realizing she was under the control of the Shadow King. The team followed Karma to Madripoor, where they fell under Karma's mind-control (as augmented by Shadow King). The remaining New Mutants and Storm fought their teammates in Cairo, where Karma took control of both Storm and Mirage. Magik realized Karma was possessed by the Shadow King, and was able to release her teammates from Karma's control and Karma from the Shadow King's possession. Having lost his host, Shadow King transferred to Cypher's body, but Karma entered the Astral Plane and defeated him – seemingly destroying his astral form.
The Shadow King would not resurface until many years later in the body of a deceased FBI agent, Jacob Reisz, at a time when Storm had been reduced back to a child by the Nanny and waking up with amnesia. Forge used deep meditation to enter the astral plane. He found out that Storm was still alive, but at the loss of his cybernetic arm. Farouk tried to claim the child, but when he was questioned about his motives he killed a man and framed Storm for the murder. On Muir Island the telepath Legion was using Cerebro to look for Storm and the other X-Men when Farouk attacked him and possessed him to use his powers to psychically increase the amount of hatred in the world and feed on the malignant energy. He also controlled Moira MacTaggert and Valerie Cooper. He then sent Valerie Cooper to kill Mystique. During this time the Shadow King, as David, killed the mutant Destiny, apparently only to avoid her from revealing his presence.
Storm avoided police protection and became an art thief. She stole pieces of art from those who had already stolen them and returned them to their rightful owners. Farouk set a bait for Storm and captured her. Because of her age she had no use of her mutant powers but when Farouk tried to possess her mind, it put a lot of pressure on to her that was so strong she unknowingly hit Farouk with a lightning bolt. Farouk soon found her with Gambit. The two worked together to fight him, and they escaped though with Farouk's hounds after them. Mystique defeated Valerie Cooper and impersonated her, even appearing on TV reporting Mystique's death. Meanwhile, a part of Carol Danvers separated from Rogue, after she had emerged from the Siege Perilous in the X-Men's former hideout in Australia, and traveled to Muir Island where she was forced to fight Legion and Moira MacTaggert. She defeated them but was immediately possessed by Farouk. Farouk had her go to the Savage Land to find Rogue, only to be defeated upon her arrival by Magneto.
Polaris and Siryn went to Muir Island soon afterward, and both of them were captured and mind-controlled. Farouk had ambitious schemes and was afraid of other telepaths identifying him too soon. He needed a nexus between the astral and the psionic planes, to generate a disturbance affecting other telepaths. Polaris's powers had been recently altered by Zaladane, attracting Farouk's interest. Thus, Farouk chose Polaris to become that nexus. Jean Grey then tried to access the astral plane with Cerebro. Farouk easily overrid Cerebro's defenses and then noticed that Grey had lost her telepathic powers; without them, Jean was helpless and so he tried to turn her into the Shadow Queen.
Psylocke entered the astral plane to help her and threatened Farouk with her psi-blade. Farouk mocked at Psylocke - her blade would hardly hurt him. Psylocke then used the blade on Grey, returning her to the physical world. However, both of them were so shocked that they could not remember the details of the encounter. Farouk's identity was not compromised. After encounters with Proteus, X-Factor, and the New Warriors, his identity was only discovered when Professor X probed Colossus's mind after he tried to kill him.
The X-Men uncovered Farouk's control over the Muir Island and sent a task force to remove his influence, including Storm, Forge, Gambit, Banshee, Wolverine and Jubilee. Farouk sent his slaves to defend the Island, and they defeated the invaders. Xavier understood that Farouk needed both a human host and a nexus to continue his exploits so he planned to cut both of the links. Mystique eventually reveals herself and shot Jacob Reisz in the head, destroying his brain and cutting the Shadow King link. Due to the sudden shock and removal of Farouk's host, Legion became unstable. X-Factor then discovered that Farouk's nexus was Polaris, but in that time, Farouk took possession of Legion. He ordered the slaves to cover themselves underground because he was going to use Legion's power to destroy the surface of Muir Island. Jean Grey's telekinesis protected X-Factor and X-Men.
Xavier then used Jean Grey as a psi-anchor to fight Farouk in the astral plane. However, he was defeated. Archangel, Colossus, Cyclops and Storm joined Grey in the astral plane to help Xavier, unaware of Legion's physical body nearby. They provided Xavier with more willpower and energy, but Legion was in a good position to destroy their bodies as a result Xavier's spine is shattered, returning him to his former paraplegic state. Forge then uses Psylocke's psi-blade on Polaris, breaking Farouk's nexus. Farouk's energy dissipated, overcoming the X-Men. Xavier and Grey try to absorb whatever they could and shield the others. Xavier even offers Farouk a chance to redeem himself, but he opts for the void and as a result, David is left in a coma.
In the aftermath of the Onslaught incident, in which Charles Xavier lost his powers, Farouk found his chance to return to the physical world since the psionic plane had suddenly lost its guardian. Posing as Ananasi, the Shadow King takes over the African tribe that had worshiped Storm as a goddess. After taunting Storm by attacking one of her relatives, Psylocke took Storm to the astral plane to fight the Shadow King. The Shadow King reveals to Psylocke that while he was defeated by Charles Xavier, he was not killed as everyone thought, since he can live feeding only on one dark thought in one man's heart. He only needed time and a chance. Psylocke injured the Shadow King with her psi-blade. The damage was transferred to every being under the control of the Shadow King at the speed of thought. This caused a chain reaction magnifying the assault a trillion times, which destroyed Psylocke's astral being. The wave of psi-energy was so intense and pure that it broke the psi-plane itself, damaging the collective subconscious of every being on Earth, the basis of the psi-plane. Most humans felt things such as déjà vu, nightmares, migraines or nosebleeds. However, those born with psionic, telepathic or intuitive abilities were overloaded and, in a sense, maimed. Jean Grey, Nate Grey, Cable, Emma Frost, Chamber and Bianca LaNiege were devastated. "Maddie" Pryor, Nate Grey's psionic construct made from Madelyne Pryor's psionic remnants, was completely obliterated. Dr. Strange and Spider-Man were also affected.
With the psi-plane damaged and the Shadow King controlling the astral plane, chaos manifested in the world. Psylocke was re-constructed as a creature of shadows due to her exposure to the Crimson Dawn. Her new shadow-astral form was both incredibly powerful and undetectable by the Shadow King. Psylocke pretended to be tempted by Farouk's offer of becoming the Shadow Queen; however, she only wanted to distract him while Storm was freeing the other X-Men. Farouk saw through the trick and Psylocke sent the X-Men to the physical word. She herself remained behind, weakened.
Farouk then extended his influence to all the population on Earth. This stretched his power too thin, leaving his nexus point, which is a pink orb and is the equivalent of his soul and mind, vulnerable. Psylocke decides instead of predictably using her psychic knife, to instead subtlety bind his nexus in telepathic shadow tendrils, essentially trapping him in the astral plane while she focuses her power on him. The Shadow King screams in pain as he began losing his grip on all the minds he took, the people of the real world regain their sanity and senses. Enraged for his moment of glory endding so fast the Shadow King begins to crush Psylocke with his whips, she tells him that he is one mind controlled by greed and one mind cannot poison millions without leaving himself open.
The Shadow King begins to be dissolved in the shadow, as he tells her that she cannot contain him. She tells him that she is only containing his soul and that the rest of him will disappear into nothing after being cut from its source. Shadow King reminds her that she cannot hold him forever. She is one mind as well and it will keep the total focus of her powers to stop him. As his face disappears from existence, he tells her that the instant she uses her telepathy again the barrier will be weakened and he will be free. Psylocke admits that it is probably true but she accepts this sacrifice, resisting even when Farouk tried to tempting her from the inside.
This prison was proven to be temporary however as soon enough Psylocke would be killed by a new villain known as Vargas. With Psylocke's death, the Shadow King is released from his prison. Looking for a host, Farouk decided to use Donald Pierce, the leader of the Reavers. He then turned his aim to Rogue, because she could absorb the powers and minds of others. If he could have her, he could access to all the people she ever absorbed, specifically the mutant known as Gateway hoping to gain her current ability to enter dreamtime. Pierce then sent the Reavers to attack the X-Men in Sydney, Australia, and he himself assaulted Rogue. He disturbed her powers trying to control her but she fled when his attack backfired.
However, Rogue managed to overcome her fear, using her past and her weakness to become a stronger person. She decided to use "light" to defeat the Shadow King and attacked him directly. Using the remnants of what she absorbed from Psylocke and Sage, Rogue absorbed the Shadow King in her own body, becoming the new host.
Due to the cosmic whim created by the Scarlet Witch during the House of M, the Shadow King is released from his prison but found himself in another universe, "Earth-6141", where he eventually takes control over Professor Xavier and his team of X-Men, dubbing them the "Dark X-Men". Later after the world is shifted back to normal, the Shadow King and his mind-controlled X-Men team travels back to Earth-616. The Shadow King attempts to kill Captain Britain with the controlled New Excalibur but is defeated once again by Psylocke, who was brought back to life by her brother Jamie Braddock. The Dark X-Men try to free their Xavier from his prison and are assisted by Lionheart, whom the Shadow King attempts to control. However, Lionheart has a device that prevents this and places a collar on the Dark Xavier that seals the Shadow King in that body, releasing the Shadow-X from his control. Lionheart then killed Dark Xavier by stabing him in the chest revealing that the inhibitor was also intended to make "Shadow King"'s death finally permanent.
X-Men: Worlds Apart
This death proved once again to be temporary however, as the Shadow King appeared once again, this time in Wakanda, where he killed a Wakandan priest and framed the former New X-Men member Gentle for the murder. He then takes control of Black Panther in order to confront his longtime enemy and T'Challa's wife, Storm. Shadow King intended to break Storm psychologically, forcing her into a position where she had to choose: Will she stand with the X-Men or with her husband? Shadow King forces Cyclops to attack Emma Frost and the rest of the X-Men in California while he forces the Black Panther to wreak havoc in Africa. On one hand, her husband. On the other, her teammates. While Storm raced to save the lives of the Black Panther and the X-Men, she recognized a third option: take down the one responsible for making her choose in the first place. Storm defeats the Black Panther and flies with Gentle to San Francisco. Storm single-handedly takes down Gentle and the rest of the active X-Men, all under the control of the Shadow King. She strikes Cyclops (Shadow King's then host) with a bolt of lightning, stopping his heart and forcing the Shadow King to possess Storm. However Storm had actually lured Shadow King into a trap, as when entering Storm's mind, the Shadow King finds Bast, the Panther God waiting for him. Storm reveals that she allowed the Panther God of Wakanda to hide within her mind in order to take vengeance on the Shadow King for violating T'Challa's mind which happens when Bast essentially eats him. Ultimately, Farouk's plan to separate Storm from her relationships inadvertently strengthened them.
While consumed by the Panther God, a small part of the Shadow King still lives in all dark thoughts. He eventually recuperated and took over a nuclear facility, with the propose of using its nuclear missiles. He then aimed the missiles at both Utopia and New York apparently to kill all the remaining mutants. The X-Force soon heads to the military base after losing contact with Deadpool who was snooping around because of the weird physic emanations Betsy felt coming from it. After getting there, the team learned the base was being controlled by the Shadow King. As they tried to defeat the Shadow King, the team was mind controlled with the exception of Fantomex and Betsy.
The Shadow King once again taunted Psylocke revealing that her mind does not hold any secrets to him anymore as he quickly releases the Archangel persona out of his psychic prison in Warren's memory, an act he refers to be a revenge against Psylocke, however Archangel cuts the Shadow King's "head" off and erases Betsy's memory so she could not remember and kills the man who was under the influence of the Shadow King. The Shadow King later delivered to a reporter photographs of Warren killing the military, forcing the squad to apprehend their teammate and seek help from Dark Beast.
Using his Amahl Farouk body again, Shadow King appears as a member of Daken's Brotherhood of Mutants (consisting of Sabretooth, Mystique, Skinless Man, the Blob from Earth-295, and the Omega Clan) in a plot to attack the members of X-Force.
Powers and Abilities
Telepathy: He is a telepath of a very high order. (He was said to be second only to Professor X, but this has probably changed because other telepaths have since surfaced).
- Astral Projection Possession: Shadow King is able to possess other beings while on the astral plane.
- Astral Plane Alteration: He can control the astral plane (which only the most powerful telepaths can do).
Immortality: As an astral form, he can only be harmed by attacks able to damage such a form, such as psychically or using certain magical weapons. He has demonstrated the ability to live beyond the death of his physical body.
Normal human male with little regular exercise when alive. As an astral entity, Shadow King has no physical strength.
None known. When manifested as a gladiator on the Astral Plane, Shadow King usually appeared armed with Roman weapons.
Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse storyline, the Shadow King story is essentially the same as in the Main Reality. He also assumes the guise of crime lord Amahl Farouk, and encounters Charles Xavier, and the two engage in a psychic battle on the astral plane, that kills Farouk's physical body forcing Farouk's mind to shift to the astral plane. With the death of Charles Xavier, the Shadow King somehow become an agent of Apocalypse, seen manifested as a cloudy face inside of a bottle in Apocalypse's sanctum.
He was used by Apocalypse to hunt down all telepaths that refuse to join Apocalypse as well as to teach those who accepted the offer and had psionics powers.
The Shadow King is the first to sense the presence of Nate Grey, forcing Apocalypse to send Domino and her Bounty Hunters to track the powerful mutant and capture or kill him.
He was also responsible for the destruction of the secret heaven located in the Savage Land known as Avalon, but was eventually defeated by Nightcrawler, Mystique, Switchback, and his former student Damask.
While defeated the Shadow King is last seen reporting to Apocalypse the downfall of the Southwest Kingdom by the Eurasian High Council's radioactive bombs.
Shadown King has since made his presence known after Weapon X becomes the Overlord known as Weapon Omega. He's still the chief telepath and is seen reporting to Weapon Omega, appearing as his cloudy face inside of a bottle in Weapon Omega's sanctum (though his true body is seen in what appears to be a penthouse apartment surrounded by bikini-clad women), about the presence of Quentin Quire.
In an alternate universe, the Shadow King has conquered the Hellfire Club.
In the Mutant X dimension, Shadow King merges with Professor Xavier to form an evil being.
In the Ultimate Marvel series, Shadow King appears as Storm's lover and the leader of the group of thieves that she and Lady Deathstrike belongs to. Storm sends him into a coma after unintentionally electrocuting him when she used her powers to summon lightning for the first time. As a result, his mind is sent to another dimension where he encounters the Brood and others to become the Shadow King.
- Shadow King appears in two episodes of X-Men: The Animated Series (1992–97), voiced by Maurice Dean Wint. Flashbacks reveal how he was the first evil mutant faced by a younger Charles Xavier, who banished his spirit to the astral plane. Farouk is depicted as an athletic, middle-aged bearded man instead of the bald, obese look from the comics.
- Shadow King appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "Overflow" voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. A flashback showed how he took in Ororo to steal for him until Professor X fought and defeated him. He possesses Storm and makes her see Africa burning. Storm tries to put the fire out with her powers, not realizing it is she who is destroying Africa. The X-Men come to stop the Shadow King and Emma Frost fights with him on the astral plane. Emma seemingly kills him by slicing him in half with a telepathic sword.
- The Shadow King is the main villain of the first season of the 2017 show Legion on FX
Shadow King is one of the three primary villains in the video game X-Men Legends voiced by Dorian Harewood.
Shadow King is a figure in the Mutant Mayhem set from Marvel HeroClix.