Shadows of Steel: A Shadow/Superman Adventure
Niall Mor mac Liam
DISCLAIMER: The Shadow was created by Walter B. Gibson and is copyrighted by Advance Magazine Publishers, Inc. Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and is copyrighted by DC Comics, Inc. The characters of Matthias and Renfield Lane and Karl Dietrich are mine. This work of fan fiction is distributed free of charge solely for the enjoyment of the reading public and is not intended to infringe on these copyrights. All persons, places, and incidents used are fictitious or are used fictitiously.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Since The Shadow first appeared in his own magazine in 1931 and Superman first appeared in the June 1938 issue of Action Comics, this story takes place only a few months after The Man of Steel began appearing in the skies over Metropolis but several years after The Master of Darkness first haunted the streets of New York. My portrayal of The Shadow is not based on the 1994 feature film as much as it is a blend of the Walter B. Gibson pulp novels and the Shadow radio program which aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System from 1937-1954. Consequently, in this story Margo Lane's father is not a scientist, and Margo is not a blonde. Those readers so inclined may consider this an alternate universe story.
"Ladies and gentlemen, your attention, please. The Metropolis Flyer is now arriving, Track 22."
The gleaming sleek, streamlined locomotive with the string of passenger cars behind it slid into Metropolis Station with a rumble of engines, a screech of brakes, and a rush of escaping steam that nearly drowned out the announcement over the public address system. After a moment, doors on the Pullman cars opened and passengers began to emerge. Among them was a stunning brunette in a simple black overcoat and hat. She carried only a single overnight bag. She stood in the doorway of the Pullman car, surveyed the scene before her anxiously, took a deep breath, and stepped from the car. She made her way quickly to the taxi stand where rows of gleaming yellow cabs were waiting.
"The Daily Planet building, please."
As the yellow Packard wound its way through the busy city streets, the woman leaned forward anxiously in her seat, straining for the first glimpse of the huge revolving brass and steel globe atop the skyscraper that was her destination. The sight of it filled her with the first hope she'd felt in days and also with a touch of fear. She didn't know what kind of reception she'd get here. She didn't know if she'd be welcome. She didn't know if she'd be believed. She didn't know if anyone could help.
Lois Lane sat hunched over her Underwood typewriter pounding out a story, a pencil between her teeth, a reporter's notebook at her side. She loved moments like this. The Daily Planet was backing a young, progressive candidate for mayor. If she could finish her expose on corruption she'd uncovered in the current mayor's organization, it would mean a change for the better in city government and a juicy front page byline for her. In her imagination she was just accepting her Pulitzer when the buzz of her intercom snapped her back to reality.
"Gertrude, I asked not to be disturbed! I'm on a very tight deadline here. Mr. White'll kill me if I don't get this in on time."
"I'm sorry, Miss Lane, but there's a young woman here to see you, and she won't take no for an answer. I tried to tell her you're very busy, but she says it's urgent, a matter of life and death, and . . . she's on her way up now."
Lois Lane groaned in frustration and turned towards her office door just as she heard a sharp rap on the frosted glass panel. Whoever this woman was, Lois thought, she'd give her a piece of her mind. The nerve of some people! She marched to the door, yanked it open, and stood transfixed by the person she saw there.
"Hello, Lois," said Margo Lane to her sister.
The meeting was not a happy one. The two daughters of the wealthy financier Matthias Lane had never really gotten along and hadn't spoken to one another for years. Lois, the younger, had a temperament as fiery as her red hair and quickly developed a reputation as something of a rebel, a tomboy, and a troublemaker. She despised the seemingly endless round of finishing schools, debutante balls, lawn parties, and charity events that made up the lives of her father's circle of friends. Margo, by contrast, had thrived on them. The striking brunette remained in New York as her father had wished and moved easily among the city's rich and powerful, where she met Lamont Cranston. Lois had moved to Metropolis and gone into journalism over her father's objections and struggled to make ends meet on a reporter's salary.
There was also the matter of a long ago rivalry for the affections of a certain blond-haired, blue-eyed young man that neither woman had been able to forget. He had begun that summer as Lois's beau, but by September he had Margo on his arm. As it turned out, the romance between Margo and Karl ended just a few months later, but Lois had never quite been able to forgive her sister.
"Hello, Margo," Lois replied stiffly. "Well, this is certainly a surprise! Won't you sit down?" she said, offering the one other chair in the tiny office without much enthusiasm. "I'm sorry I can't stay and chat, but I'm really rather busy. Deadlines and all, you know. What's this all about, anyway?"
"Thanks, Lois," Margo said, taking the proffered chair, "I came because I need your help."
"My help? You never needed my help with anything before. Why don't you go to that rich dilettante you're always keeping company with? What's his name . . . Crandall, Cranford--"
"Cranston. His name's Lamont Cranston, and he's not a dilettante," Margo said, sniffling. Lois could see Margo was near tears, and for the first time she regretted being quite so cold.
"Look, Margo, I'm sorry I was so catty before," Lois said more gently, "I know there are some hard feelings between us, but let's let bygones be bygones, all right? What's this all about? Is it Lamont?
Margo nodded quickly. "Oh, Lois, he's missing! I don't know where he's gone or what's happened to him! I've checked with all his friends and acquaintances, and no one's seen him in days! If anything's happened to him, I'll never forgive myself!" she blurted.
"Oh, Margo, that's terrible," Lois answered, "but I still don't know how I can help. Can't you go to the police?"
"Well, yes, but you see . . ."
Margo stood up. "I think it might be your turn to sit down, Lois. There's something you should know about Lamont."
End of Prologue