|The Shadow of Death|
|Comic Series||Devil's Due|
|Previous Comic||The Beast of Carthage|
The Shadow of Death is issue four in the Devil's Due Spartacus comic book series. It was later turned into a motion-comic.
In the Greek village of Laconia, a woman gives birth to her son, Theokoles. His massive size at birth cripples her for life. Despite this, she loves her son, using the rest of her strength to breast-feed him for several years. On her death bed, she tells him to honor her sacrifice and never die.
Theokoles lives a solitary life for years, only entering town when needed. The only person who shows him any kindness is Karina, and the two soon become lovers. During their love-making, Karina is unintentionally killed. When the town discovers this, they turn on him, forcing Theokoles to kill several of them in self-defense.
Theokoles travels aimlessly, eating and sleeping when needed, but without goal or desire, until he "reaches the end of the earth".
They teach him the ways of fighting at sea, and how to board, attack and destroy ships. He becomes a fearsome pirate and loyal crew-member and friend to Gharib. Any loot they find would be split among the crew, whilst any slaves on board were resold. Soon, Gharib becomes almost like a father to Theokoles, and the crew like a family.However, one night, Theokoles is horrified to find some of the crew raping several women captured from a ship they attacked. Theokoles begins to attack and kill the pirates. After killing the pirates, Theokoles attempts to steer the ship to a safe place but storms force him to crash in Rome, where he is captured and sent to the Arena. Despite his ugly and beast-like appearance, he is praised and revered by the spectators, and he sees himself as finally being where he belongs. He quickly becomes known as "The Shadow of Death", as everybody who faces him dies. One day, he is pitted against a Gladiator in the house of Batiatus, a man by the name of Oenomaus. Theokoles saw Oenomaus as a man carved of stone and built like a god. The two fight for hours, both evenly matched. Every wound is matched by their opponent, until Theokoles finally beats down Oenomaus. As he prepares to kill his opponent, he sees the face of a woman in the crowd, and sees the face of his mother, and softens for the only person to face him as an equal. He tells Oenomaus to take his sword, which is currently lodged in Theokoles. Oenomaus, surprised by the act of mercy, hesitates, but only for a moment before doing as he is told. The match is ended and the Editor, the local Magistrate, calls the fight a draw and praises them both as equals.
While Theokoles accepts this end, Oenomaus feels shame, knowing he should have died, but doesn't know the reasons behind him being spared. Oenomaus becomes the Doctore of his house and trains the Gladiators within its walls, praying for a day to get his revenge. Oenomaus thinks on these thoughts of revenge as he begins to train Spartacus.