Marvel Crisis Protocol Lore: Who is Shadow King?

Shadow King (alter ego Amahl Farouk) is one of the many members of the X-Men’s Rogues Gallery. He is a telepathic supervillian who has a particular interest in Charles Xavier, and has battled him multiple times in the Astral Plane. How does he fit into the larger X-Universe, though? Why does he seemingly target Professor X more than anyone else? Who is Shadow King?


The Shadow King has been around since the dawn of humanity, and according to the comics was created by the first nightmare of humanity, and is a manifestation of the dark side of the human consciousness. Since his creation, he has been transferring himself between his hosts throughout time. Amahl Farouk merged with Shadow King as his psychic abilities grew. As Farouk, Shadow King worked with Baron Strucker in the 1930s where he tried to eliminate the English monarchy by conducting a mystical ceremony. Instead of being successful, however, he summoned Rachel Summers and Shadowcat. His ceremony failed, but he possessed Summers and then allied himself with Alasdhair Kinross. He would then try to sacrifice Kinross for a spell to eliminate the monarchy, but was interrupted by Shadowcat. He and Summers (who is possessed by the Phoenix Force) then battled on the Astral Plane, with Summers nearly killing him, but ultimately he was just weakened.

Forty years later, he would become the crime lord of Cairo and rule the Thieve’s Quarter. Charles Xavier discovered him after a young Ororo Munroe stole his wallet. Charles and Shadow King would battle on the Astral Plane after Xavier refused to join him in his criminal activities. Years after this encounters, Shadow King would take control of Muir Island by controlling Legion, Moira McTaggert, and Valerie Cooper, who he sent to kill Mystique. Mystique would survive this attempt and kill Valerie Cooper. Shadow King would then possess Carol Danvers and convince her to go to the Savage Lands. Magneto defeated her there, though. Shadow King would also try to possess Jean Grey, but would be thwarted unknowingly by Psylocke. 

After having his presence on Muir Island discovered by Professor X, the X-Men travelled to the island to remove his influence. Professor X again battled him on the Astral Plane and was defeated so badly that the psychic attacks of Shadow King actually caused physical damage to his body. Psylocke used her Psi-Blade on Polaris (the then-current nexus of the Shadow King) to break his tie to her. He then opted for the void instead of Xavier’s offer of redemption. 

After the events of House of M, Shadow King was released from his prison and escaped to an alternate reality, Earth-6141, where he possessed their version of Charles Xavier and created the Dark X-Men. He would bring the Dark X-Men to Earth-616 to try to get vengeance on everyone who had crossed him in that world. However, he was again foiled, this time by Lionheart, who killed Dark Xavier and sent Shadow King back to the Astral Plane.

In his latest storyline, Amahl Farouk has been summoned to Genosha with other psychic mutants to deal with a bomb that is vulnerable to psychic attacks. The other mutants, however, are not entirely sure if Shadow King is still a part of Farouk. This isn’t discovered until Shadow King begins to exert influence over the New Mutants, specifically Gabrielle Kinney and Rahne Sinclair. Kinney suspects that the Shadow King is behind this, and is then killed by Sinclair and then resurrected. Kinney and the New Mutants are then drawn into the Astral Plane and confront the Shadow King. They eventually convince Farouk to sever his ties to Shadow King. Farouk is scarred by this, and leaves Krakoa to seek rehabilitation. 

Publication History/MCU History

Shadow King was created by the legendary duo of Chris Claremont and John Byrne and made his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #117 in January of 1979 as the telepathic mutant Amahl Farouk. It was later revealed that Shadow King was an entity of the Astral Plane and has been around since the dawn of time, choosing to possess the bodies of telepaths and psychics to enslave other human beings. Shadow King has not appeared in the main MCU series of movies yet, but he has made several appearances in Marvel TV shows. He is the main antagonist in the FX show Legion (portrayed by Aubrey Plaza and later Navid Negahban), which aired from 2017-2019. He has also appeared in two episodes of X-Men: The Animated Series voiced by Maurice Dean Wint, and also appeared in one episode of Wolverine and the X-Men voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.

Recommended Runs

-Uncanny X-Men #117 (Claremont and Byrne): Like I do with all of these overviews, I will always recommend the first appearance of a character. Is it the best? No, probably, not. But you should always read where a character got their start to see how they have grown or changed over the years. This story also introduces us to the origins of Ororo Munroe, who picks the pocket of Charles Xavier while he is travelling in Morocco. Xavier then met Farouk when he felt his psychic presence and the two battled on the Astral Plane.

-Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1 (Charles Soule): Shadow King attempted to take over Psylocke (one of my personal favorite characters), who then sent out a distress signal that was answered by Bishop, Angel, Gambit, Fantomex, Old Man Logan, Rogue and Beast, who save her from him. She then sends a team (Logan, Mystique (as Beast), Rogue, Gambit, Fantomex) to battle him on the Astral Plane.
-Uncanny X-Men #278-280 (Claremont and Byrne): Shadow King possess Legion, Professor X’s son, to attempt to destroy the X-Men. Legion is never the same afterwards.

-FX’s Legion (2017-2019): He is the main antagonist for all three seasons of the show. If you have a way to stream it (Hulu, Youtube TV, etc.) I highly recommend it. 

Does the Model Miss the Mark?

Copyright Marvel and AMG

In this case, yes and no. The model itself is an amazing sculpt, and one of the best that AMG has created. It’s also very thematic that all of his attacks are Mystic.  He is an evil psychic entity, after all. I also think it’s a really good representation of the character that he is a 5-threat and gains an additional power during the Power Phase. However, while the character may be worthy of a 5-threat cost, I’m not entirely sure that his powers and abilities warrant that. For one, he’s only got six stamina, and with a physical defense of 3, all it takes is a couple of strong punches to the face, and Mr. Farouk is getting dazed. Additionally, his Astral Projection ability is incredibly thematic, but it doesn’t really send his power through the roof. Yes, you can measure ranges from it, but any opponent with a Mystic attack is going to do the same and remove it. It also costs as much power as his heal, Immortal Essence, which means you are usually choosing between one or the other. Astral Disintegration looks good on the surface, but it only has a Range of 2, which also means he is in range of most physical attacks in the game. And he does not like getting punched. Did I get it wrong? Are his abilities and powers accurate to his power level in the comics? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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