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 Xavier, inspiring Xavier to form the X-Men. In his most recent appearances, it's suggested that Shadow King is an essence of pure psionic energy existing within the Astral Plane and possessing the bodies of those in the living world. Previously, he was portrayed as a disembodied mutant moving from one host to another after his original body had died.
Shadow King was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and first appeared in The (Uncanny) X-Men Vol.1 issue 117 (1979). He had harassed the X-Men on a number of ways througout the years.
Major Story Arcs
As Amahl Farouk in the 1930s
In 1931 he went by the name of Amahl Farouk, working for to special agents of Hitler's named Wolfgang von Strucker and Geist. They were planning to dethrone King Edward of England and replacing him with a fascist ruler in favor of the Fuhrer. 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 heir to the throne of 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 to 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 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.
As Amahl Farouk in the 1960s & 70s
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 crimelord in Egypt, controlling the Cairo Thieves Quarter. This is where a young Charles Xavier was pickpocketed by 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 in 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.
Versus The New Mutants
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 antogonish 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.
Return of The Shadow King / The Muir Island Saga
The Shadow King wouldn't resurface until many years later in the body of a deceased FBI agent, 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 took control of him, Moira MacTaggert, and Valerie Cooper. He then sent Valerie Cooper to kill Mystique.
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 her 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.
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 Storm's mind.
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 shot his host in the head, destroying his brain. Due to the sudden shock and removal of Farouk's control, Legion became unstable. X-Factor, then discovered that Farouk's nexus was Polaris, but in that time, Farouk possessed 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. Forge use then Psylocke's psi-blade in Polaris, breaking Farouk's nexus. Farouk's energy dissipated, overcoming the X-Men. Xavier and Grey tried to absorb whatever they could and shield the others. Xavier even offered Farouk a chance to redeem himself, but he opted for the void. Legion's mind damaged in the process, leaving him in a coma.
Although defeated, the Shadow King could live feeding only on one dark thought in one man's heart. He only needed time and a chance.
In the Aftermath of Onslaught
After Onslaught, Charles Xavier disappeared. The psionic plane had suddenly lost its guardian. Farouk found his chance to return to the physical world. After taunting Storm by attacking one of her relatives, Psylocke took Storm to the astral plane to fight the Shadow King. 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, telepaths 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.
With the psi-plane damaged and 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 astral form vulnerable. Psylocke then stabbed his astral form, equivalent of his soul and mind, and decided to trap it inside herself. His power, separated from its source, dissipated into nothing. She had to keep a full focus to control Farouk, and never ever use telepathy again or he would be freed. She accepted this sacrifice, resisting even when Farouk tried to tempt her from the inside.
Psylocke's Murder & Shadow King's Freedom
Psylocke was eventually murdered in a fight with Vargas. This event freed Farouk. Looking for a host, Farouk decided to use Donald Pierce, then 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 X-Men and Xavier. 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. She fled when his attack backfired.
However, Rogue managed to overcome the her fear, using her past and her weakness to become a stronger person. She decided to use "light" to defeat 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.
When Jamie Braddock brings Psylocke back from the dead, the Shadow King returned as well, but due to the cosmic whim created by the Scarlet Witch during the House of M, the Shadow King found himself in another universe where he takes control over Professor Xavier and his team of X-Men, dubbing them the " Dark X-Men". The Shadow King apparently possessed "Earth-6141" Professor X and through him took over the X-Men, who later became known as the Shadow-X Team (Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl). Together they slaughtered the super-heroes of their world. Later after the world is shifted back to normal, the Shadow King and his mind-controlled X-Men team travels back into Earth-616. Once on Earth-616, Shadow King attempts to take over the world, starting with the women of Excalibur - Rachel Grey, Sage, Nocturne, Dazzler and Psylocke. After unsuccessfully attempting to control Rachel Grey, an inhibitor collar/headpiece is placed upon his new, Xavier body. This traps his mind and releases Shadow-X from his control. The inhibitor was also intended to make his death finally permanent, so Psylocke killed him with her telekinetic katana.
X-Men: Worlds Apart
Again, the Shadow King returned. This time he took possession of the Black Panther in order to take revenge on Storm. Shadow King forces a mutant, Gentle, to commit a mysterious murder in Wakanda initiating Storm's investigation. 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 makes Cyclops believe that he needed to attack Emma Frost and the rest of the X-Men in California while he forces the Black Panther to reek 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. Next, Storm single-handedly takes down Gentle and the rest of the active X-Men, all under the influence of the Shadow King. Storm then strikes Cyclops (Shadow King's then host) with a bolt of lightning, stopping his heart. Shadow King then enters Storm's mind to find the Panther God waiting for him. Storm lured Shadow King into a trap, beating him at his own game. The Panther God then "eats" the Shadow King, apparently killing him. Storm then resuscitates Cyclops. Ultimately, Farouk's plan to separate Storm from her relationships inadvertently strengthened them.
- Telepathy: Farouk is one of the most powerful telepaths on earth, and possibly more powerful than Professor X.
- Astral Projection Possession: can possess other beings while on the astral plane
- Astral Plane Alteration: can control the astral plane (which only the most powerful telepaths can do)
- Immortal: In his astral form he can only be harmed by telepathy or certain magic weapons; he has demonstrated the ability to live beyond the death of his physical body.
Earth-295: Age of Apocalypse
In this reality, Shadow King also encounters Charles Xavier, and the two engage in a psychic battle on the astral plane, which kills Farouk's physical body and forces his mind into the Astral Plane. Later, he is converted in a bodiless Apocalypse´s agent, is shown as his right hand, packaged in a glass container as one of the few telepaths remaining in the world. Somehow ,he managed to spread his influence to many hosts across the Earth.
He warns Apocalypse about X-Man's existence and how his powers could be a risk to the dark lord. He later realized that Domino had been defeated by X-Man, angering his master.
He has a major role in X-Calibre series, where he is camouflaged in Dead Man Wade´s mind in order to follow Nightcrawler to the Sanctuary known as Avalon. Inside the sanctuary, he manages to possess residents, making them to kill themselves. He is stopped by Nightcrawler, who teleports to the astral plane and combines the powers of Damask and Switchback, which reduced the Shadow King's intellect to hissing shreds.
His final fate is unknown.
Earth-1610: Ultimate Universe
This version of the Shadow King is still connected to Storm, but is a younger, more handsome man. Amahl Farouk was once Storm's lover and the leader of a group of thieves that included Yuriko Oyama. However, one day, Storm accidentally electrocuted him with her powers, causing him to become comatose. While in a coma, his mind ended up in a dimension populated by the Brood. There, he became the Shadow King, and began plotting his revenge.
After joining the X-Men, Storm secretly began writing a play called The Shadow King, telling only the Professor and Kitty Pryde of its existence. She began having strange dreams, which she intended to add to the play, only for the Shadow King to warn her that he was coming for her. He attempted to kill Storm in her dreams, but was forced out of her mind after she electrocuted him, seemingly destroying him. She later deleted the play from her computer, stating that part of her life was now over.
The Shadow King appears in the series, voiced by Maurice Dean Wint. Flashbacks from the episode "Xavier Remembers" reveal that the Shadow King was the first evil mutant ever encountered by a young Charles Xavier, who used his powers to trap the villain's spirit in the Astral Plane. In a departure from the comics, Farouk was depicted as a handsome man with a full head of hair, rather than an obese, bald man.
In "Whatever it Takes," the Shadow King lures Storm home to Mt. Kilimanjaro by 'possessing' her young spiritual son Mjnari . After a brief fight with Storm and Rogue, Mjnari lures Shadow King back into the Astral Plane and the Shadow King is once again trapped there.
During the day when Storm is about to receive the gifts of her fellow Africans, Amahl transferred from bodies to hold Ororo's hand and possess her. Storm was then deceived and made her believed that Africa was under a great fire.Ororo used her powers to its highest level for believing that she will destroy the fire not realizing that she is destroying Africa.
The X-Men then came to stop her. Emma Frost then entered her mind and found out that Shadow King is controlling her. Emma fought Amahl and defeated him. Storm then came back to the X-Men.
He was voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.
The Shadow King appears as the main antagonist of the series, assuming the guise of David Haller's friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) for the majority of Season 1. In the latter half of the season, it is explained that Amahl Farouk was once a powerful and cruel Egyptian mutant who was defeated by Charles Xavier many years ago. However, his weakened consciousness survived, and entered the mind of David, Charles' newborn son. A vengeful Farouk spent the ensuing decades tormenting David and feeding off of his extraordinary mutant powers, worsening his mental illness in the process. His ultimate goal was to one day become strong enough to regain his power and take vengeance on Xavier for nearly destroying him.
Throughout David's life, the Shadow King would appear to him in a variety of guises, including the Devil with the Yellow Eyes (a grotesque monster played by Quinton Boisclair), the Angry Boy (a character from The World's Angriest Boy in the World, a terrifying book David had read as a child, played by Devyn Dalton), and King (David's nonexistent pet beagle). In the present, Farouk takes the form of David's friend Lenny after her death, and attempts to manipulate him so that he can finally destroy David's consciousness and take his body for himself. In the season finale, Farouk is finally defeated by David, but manages to escape by possessing the body of Oliver Bird, a powerful mutant psychic. Bird and (with the Lenny persona by his side) is last seen driving off in a stolen car, with David and the others left unaware as to where he'll go next.
In the second season, the Shadow King is seen in person, with his original body portrayed by Navid Negahban.
- Shadow King appears as one of the main antagonists in X-Men Legends, voiced by Dorian Harewood. In the game, at the urging of a mysterious someone (implied to be Apocalypse, the villain of the sequel), he kidnaps the young mutant Illyana Rasputin in order to lure the X-Men into a trap. While Jean Grey and Emma Frost go off to rescue Illyana, the Shadow King captures Professor Xavier, vowing revenge for his defeat years earlier. After many trials and tribulations, the X-Men are eventually able to free Xavier, who transforms himself into the Astral Titan (a giant being resembling a Roman gladiator) to fight the Shadow King in a final battle. Xavier defeats the Shadow King, and tells the X-Men he won't bother them again, or at least not for a long time.
- The Apocalypse figure ToyBiz's X-Men: Age of Apocalypse toyline came with a Shadow King pack-in.
- Shadow King was featured in the HeroClix figure game in both his comic and 90s animated incarnations.
- The Marvel Legends Professor X figure from Hasbro came with a Shadow King head that could be used on the company's earlier Kingpin Build-a-Figure to convert it into a Shadow King figure.