"Birthday": It is October, and sharing tea on his balcony overlooking Opal City with Mikaal Tomas, Richard Swift - The Shade - has grown rather melancholy. This, after all, is the month in which he was created. His melancholy see
- You need to get back to being the guy you used to be. And not just for me. For you, Dickie.
- -- Hope O'Dare
Appearing in "Birthday"
- Shade (Apparent Death)
- Les Diaboliques (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Birthday"
It is October, and sharing tea on his balcony overlooking Opal City with Mikaal Tomas, Richard Swift - The Shade - has grown rather melancholy. This, after all, is the month in which he was created. His melancholy seems to spark Mikaal's own, and the pair of them begin to argue about what room there might be in lives such as theirs for life, love, and children. Even beyond that, something is troubling Shade, and he hopes that cold tea and gloomy conversation are the worst that this month will have to offer them.
Meanwhile, in Germany, William Von Hammer, a private detective, is on the run from a group of Belgian assassins known as Les Diaboliques. After carefully killing all but one of them, he questions the survivor as to who hired them. Despite the fact that his jet-pack will soon explode underneath him, the assassin manages to say "Cald-" just before it does. That half-name is enough to confirm what Von Hammer already knows. He will have to warn The Shade.
Shade in the meantime, has just been making love to his new girlfriend Hope O'Dare. Despite the fact that he obviously cares about her, his brooding about the breakup that he expects to happen is growing dull for Hope. She admits that she loves him too, but that it should be enough that she does - whether it's October or not. She urges him to get back to his old self for his own sake, as well as hers. He warns that a life of crime would likely lead to his ruin. Hope clarifies that it is not crime that she meant, but adventure - just as long as that adventure doesn't take him too far from her.
As Shade wanders Opal City alone, with the sun setting on the horizon, he wonders where he might find an adventure. On the other hand, maybe an adventure might just present itself to him. He turns around to find Deathstroke waiting for him. At first, Shade thinks it's a recruitment, but Deathstroke has always been about nothing but business. He seeks the death of the Shade. He will not go so easily, though, using his power to manipulate darkness defensively. Unfortunately, Deathstroke planned for this. He reveals that the man that Shade has decommissioned is actually a robot.
Coldly, Deathstroke slices off Richard's hands, slits open his chest, and finally, decapitates him. His dying thought is that October consistently brings him melancholy.
- This book was first published on October 12, 2011.
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