Dallas Gibson's life prior to his enrollment at the Xavier Institute is hazy. He lived a normal childhood and was cared for by his grandfather. The whereabouts of his parents and the events that lead to him being raised by his grandfather are unknown. Of course, as with most mutant children, the normalcy of existence was cut short. When Dallas' mutant powers first emerged, his grandfather had a severe heart-attack, which resulted in his hospitalization. Thankfully, Dallas' guardian would make a speedy recovery from the strain that was put on his heart. It was not long afterward that both were contacted by Xavier Institute.
At the Xavier Institute
While at the Institute, Dallas had a rather easy transition from his home life. Thanks to his upbringing, he had a great personality and therefore had no trouble fitting in or making friends. Dallas also showed huge potential, in terms of both mutant power and ability. And unlike many mutants his age, he was very comfortable with the fact that he was a mutant and had powers. Dallas was able to physically merge his body with that of his own shadow, creating one entity which possessed many super-human attributes. He also stated numerous times that his shadow was his best friend. It's assumed that when his mutant powers first manifested, his shadow gained sentience, enabling the two of them to communicate with each other. He looked at his powers and situation as a blessing, not a hindrance, and readily took on his future with a positive attitude.
Advisors and Code-Names
Due to the large number of students enrolled at the school, it was necessary for the two headmasters, Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Emma Frost (once known as the White Queen), to design a special mentoring system in place so that everyone would equally be given the same amount of attention. Each student would be able to select their own advisor. The advisors were all member's of the school's faculty. In most cases they were also current or one time X-Men or allies of. As advisors they would use their experience and wisdom to help the growth of each of their advisees. Each advisor could only have 5-6 students at most, as to not be overwhelmed or spread too thin. Dallas would select Ms. Frost as his advisor.
Emma took her job very seriously. She explained to all of them that, "There will always be those that are destined for greatness and it's my job to teach my advisees how to be among those select few." It was typical for the faculty to choose codenames for their pupils, but Emma decided that her group was intelligent enough to choose their own. Dallas insisted on the name Specter concerned that, "Anything with the word shadow would be cliché." Emma ended the meeting letting the students know that as her protegés, there was no price too high for her to pay for their success.
The Corsairs Training Squad
Changing things up in an effort to make teaching more effective, Cyclops would introduce the concept of "training squads." The new teams would have uniforms, team colors, and participate against one another to gain points. This lead to the annual "Field Day." The "squad system," resulted in some students being switched to other advisors. Unfortunately, Specter would be the only one of Emma's students to be reassigned to another squad.
Specter's new advisor would be the Headmaster of the Xavier Institute, Cyclops. Though he had to leave his group, Specter would enjoyed finding a permanent squad to be a part of. He, and the other members of his squad were named the Corsairs, named for Cyclops' space pirate father and one time leader of the Starjammers. Through Cyclops' incredible leadership skills the Corsairs placed 2nd in the annual competition.
M-Day and Stryker Attacks
Specter was among the 95% of mutants to lose their powers on M-Day. He awoke and attempted to call for his shadow as usual. When it didn't answer Dallas began to get nervous. After he realized that he wasn't the only one whose powers weren't responding, the reality of the situation hit him. Devastated, he started crying uncontrollably. He kept exclaiming, "He won't answer me!"
There wasn't much time for everyone to get adjusted to the new situation. William Stryker chose this day to attack, little knowing that the large majority of the students were now completely devoid of the mutant X-gene. The X-Men, whom mostly still had their powers, decided that the depowered mutants should be evacuated from the school since they now had now way to protect themselves. Some were picked up by family or by other means, and the last few were to leave on a bus in the middle of the night. At night, all the depowered students said their goodbyes and got on the bus to start their voyage. Suddenly, a missile was launched and hit the bus dead on, killing all aboard the bus. Stryker later realized that he murdered non-mutant humans instead of eradicating the mutant "menace." Dallas was at first thought to be among those on the bus, but it was later revealed that he was actually picked up by his grandfather. He was alive - depowered but alive, safe with his family.
It is assumed he is still living with his grandfather and adjusting to normal life.
Specter is an Alpha-Level Mutant.
Specter formerly possessed the mutant power of Darkness Manipulation. Specifically he had the ability to physically merge his body with his shadow. Fully merged he looked darker in appearance and exhibited many superhuman traits including (but not limited to):
Super Strength: Though untested, Specter exhibited extremely increased levels of strength.
Super Speed: Specter could move at superhuman speeds, far beyond that of the most highly trained athlete.
Heightened Invulnerability: Specter is able to sustain more damage then he would be able to otherwise.
Night Vision: Specter's eyes allow him to see in complete darkness.
Immunity to Darkness-Based Attacks: While merged with his shadow, Specter is a being of darkness. As such he is immune to attacks that are shadow elemental in origin.
His powers work strongest during the day time when most visible. Similar to the solar-mutant Sunspot, at night his strength levels are dramatically reduced.
Additionally, Dallas is only able to merge with his shadow for limited times. Extended lengths of time run the risk of him succumbing to the darkness and becoming evil. As it is while merged he takes on a slightly darker persona that though controllable at first, eventually takes over his personality.
Weight: 110 lbs.
Known Relatives: Grandfather (name unrevealed).
Citizenship: United States. Minor with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: Unrevealed.
Marital Status: Single.
Education: Xavier's Institute, High School level classes.
Xavier's Institute (New X-Men: Academy X) Yearbook
Each student submitted their likes and dislikes and they were voted on by the rest of the student body to see what the are "mostly likely to do" in the future. Here is Dallas Gibson's section.
Likes and Dislikes:
Dallas Gibson (Specter) stated that he liked that he finally had a squad and an advisor of his own [Referring to the Corsairs]. He disliked changing advisors, as he didn't want to have to do it again [referring to his unrequested change from Emma Frost to Cyclops].
Most likely to......
Dallas was voted "Most likely to marry a baseline," meaning non-mutant human
Specter has yet to be shown in any alternate realities.
Dallas was created by Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis and first appeared in New Mutants #10