ORIGIN STORIES: Red Shift – The True Story of My Secret Shame

Galactus the Devourer was one of those weird mini-series that seemed to be in continuity at the time, but over time, fell by the wayside. With Louise Simonson and Bill Sienkiewicz attached, you’d think it was a no-brainer. You’d be wrong… in oh so many ways. Here’s your basic plot review: Galactus is super hungry. The Silver Surfer is like, “whoa bro, chillax.” Galactus refuses to chillax. Epic battles ensue. Eventually, Galactus dies. The end. Yeah, it’s probably up there in the Top 10 worst stories I’ve ever read. But, you have to remember, this was back in 1999, way before comics became cool again so I guess I should cut it a little slack. Shit, I did reference it heavily when researching and designing the set skeleton for Heralds of Galactus. And writing art descriptions. And flavor. And Red Shift.

Ugh… I’m such an idiot.

Issue #2: the triumphant debut of the Mayor of Stainsville, Red Shift<>Rift Walker. I’d just not read this comic… if I’d just left it on the shelf… if I’d just killed myself the day before… if I’d gone on that trip to Cleveland liked I planned…

Red Shift, the Viking Pirate. God, just look at how stupid he looks. As far as character design goes, I feel like the joke is on us. Shit, he looks purposefully lame. The artist did it on purpose, I tell you. Bill was like, “Hey Louise, what’s the lamest character I could design?” And then Louise goes, “A Viking Pirate! ARRRRR!” And then Bill draws Red Shift<>Viking Pirate. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “He ain’t so bad. Lay off, will ya’?” No. No, see, you guys are full of shit. He is that bad. You’re biased. Biased by his Vs. awesomeness. Christ, thank God we had a great talent like Trevor Hairsine reinterpreting this lame-o for our game.

Okay, I’ve scanned 90% of the panels he appears in, and I will show them all because they are THAT AWESOME. On this first page, Red Shift explains his nerdy name, if you’re interested: click here for the titillating exposition. So, he’s got these two swords, one red and one blue. And he uses them to open portals. Sounds fine in theory… hey, wouldn’t “Blue Shift” work better as a name? Doesn’t Red Shift imply cowardice since it’s the light moving away from us? Anyway, in this next series of panels, Red Shift reveals the master he serves and the basic outline of the plot whilst striking super badass poses. Next, Red Shift turns a couple of panels blue and opens a random blue portal in an empty panel. WTF is he talking about? Then he cuts a cosmic swath with the red sword while giving Surfer solid brotherly advice. Eventually, the fight starts and Red Shift and the Silver Surfer get sucked into a dying star… a black hole, noob. The fight continues until the Surfer figures on using Red Shift’s dimensional powers against him, thus trapping him in the black hole, forever lost.

Oh my sweet ass, “it’s just a matter of time!” is your final farewell?!?!? You fucking melodramatic moron! You are the worst, sir. You win the “Worst Character of 1999” award. Seriously, how lame are you, Red Shift? That fight scene wasn’t even half an issue, and then you get trapped by your own powers? How did you ever make in into Vs. System?

“Shit, yeah! This guy looks sweet!” – Andrew Yip

Of course, I can hear the familiar refrain… after reading a couple of those panels, some of you might say, “This guy’s cool!” You are all lying sacks of shit. Plasma is cooler than Red Shift… and she sucks. That’s a scientific fact. THAT’S SCIENCE!!! IMMUTABLE!



Red Shift
Setting: Space.
Action: Red Shift floating in the center. He’s holding two swords, both crackling with energy. One glows red, the other blue. He is swinging the red sword across the frame toward the viewer. The sword has created a tear in the art. The edges of the hole are burning with crackling red energy.
Focus: Red Shift
Keywords: Power, Breaking the 4th Wall
Note: Hey, this is going to be the ALT_ART card, we need to talk!
References: Galactus the Devourer #2

I did the best I could with what I had to work with, which wasn’t much. I highlighted his strengths (cool swords, ripping holes in space) and minimized his weaknesses (lame dialogue, crappy 90’s coloring).


Early in development, Yip had Red Shift as this weird visible 5-drop that did basically the same thing he does now, but didn’t come back with his opponent till the NEXT recovery phase. A power you can use pretty much once or twice a game: CRAP. Then, he was a 6-drop for a while. According to my notes, Hump thought it was “too strong”. Then, Down Shift Stainer went back to being a 5-drop, this time with concealed. Oh, exciting times. Not too strong for you Humpty Dumperson? With some final wording tweaks, he turned into the 5-drop you’ve come to know and love… or loathe, depending on whether or not you run the Fate set.

ON THE ISSUE OF ALTERNATE ART: Yes, it turned out kind of lame. We know. I know. The Versus logo was supposed to be centered and reversed with his portal powers breaking the borders of the card. Imagine if you will, the “black scar” twice as big on both sides instead of the weak sauce black tear we ended up with. Got that in your head? Well, then you can see what it could have been. Second thought, maybe that sucked too. No more excuses, I guess… sorry for the shitty alternate art.

That does it for this week’s installment of Origin Stories. I think I can finally let my feelings for Red Shift fade into obscurity… like the shifter himself. Thanks for listening guys, this was very therapeutic for me, and really, that’s all that matters. Come back next Wednesday for– I don’t know, I guess I’ll have to look at the list. A reminder: keep checking VsSystem.com for Marvel Universe Preview updates from now till the set releases in June. This Friday, my very first team preview debuts, starring… The Avengers. Hop to it, fellows. Also, feel free to hit me up with all your Vs. System related questions, and if you’re wondering, I do take requests.



10 thoughts on “ORIGIN STORIES: Red Shift – The True Story of My Secret Shame

  1. He was in Annihilation. Well, slightly. Then he died (probably), although Stardust survived that blast (also because Stardust is f&$ing crazy). Oh, Red Shift. How silly.

  2. I never said Stardust wasn’t awesome, just that he is crazy. I mean, Beat Ray Bill’s mini-series showed he was pretty crazy, but Annihilation: Heralds (2, I believe) showed how dedicated and crazy Stardust is.

  3. Yeah, but Stardust isn’t Morg crazy. Though I guess crazy and psychopathic are slightly different. You’ve gotta be pretty far gone to be deemed too crazy by Galactus., though I guess killing two Heralds’ll do that for ya. I also read somewhere (Might have been that Annihilation: Heralds issue) that the reason Stardust survived Annihilation was because he was a being of pure energy. Red Shift isn’t so lucky, and I’m pretty sure he’s gone for good.

    Now one thing has to happen. Air-Walker comes back and gets a guest spot in Nova or Guardians of the Galaxy. That would be awesome.

  4. Oh come on! And how many times has the Air-Walker been destroyed. Hell, I have an old Thor issue where he fights Firelord and they fight because of something to do with Air-Walker who dies in the end. I mean, honestly, is he powered by the Phoenix Force as well?

    I wasn’t looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy and thought it was going to be something like the older series with Major Victory and whatever. Then I saw a preview in my comic and I became super-excited. More Drax! Woot! (Although to be fair to Air-Walker, Drax has also died and come back numerous times)

  5. have you read his first appearance? i managed to track down a copy when i was researching MHG, and i have to say, it’s riddick in a Red Shift kind of way. the dialogue had me busting a gut. haha, simpler times.

  6. The FF issue? I’ve been looking for it whenever I’m somewhere that sells back issues, but it’s pretty far back there at #120. Oddly enough, the last time I went looking I ended up coming away with the issue where Galactus turns Frankie Raye into his herald. I do want to get all this stuff. All in due time.

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