- "I have been watching. I have seen each and every one of your misdeeds. I know who you are. But, questions remain. Why do you do the things you do? Do you not see the futility of your tiny, insignificant existence? You are but fragments of a bigger universe. Your sins serve only as an invitation... An invitation to an evil beyond your imagination. I'll lead the way. I will show you the path. Only through me, the Shadowman, will you find your redemption."
- — Shadowman
The Shadowman is a character appearing in Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombies in the maps Shadows of Evil and Revelations and is the main antagonist of the Black Ops III Zombies storyline. He is voiced by Robert Picardo. He also appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 as a playable Blackout character, and can be heard in Blood of the Dead through radios. He also appears in the intro cinematic of Alpha Omega, and is mentioned by Nikolai Belinski in Tag der Toten.
Much like his now-Apothicon brethren, the Shadowman was once a Keeper, who was corrupted by the energy of the Dark Aether. He was also once the best friend of Dr. Monty, who described him as "sweet, charming, and funny". When he was corrupted by the Dark Aether, his friend Monty attempted to save him, but failed and became corrupted in the process. As with all the Apothicons, he was banished from Agartha to live in the Dark Aether for an eternity following the war with the Keepers.
Somehow, the Shadowman managed to escape from the Dark Aether, and managed to infiltrate the 63rd dimension, where he attempted to retrieve the ancient artifact known as the Summoning Key, in order to free his kind. To do so, he took on a human disguise known as "Mr. Rapt", and he enlisted a reporter to research Morg City, a location that was known to be a gathering place for the Order of the Keepers. After digging around, the reporter traveled to various locations, such as the South Pacific and Russia, in order to find the Key. Finally, the reporter drove a truck back to Morg City to deliver the Key, which was sealed inside a crate with magical chains. The reporter was intercepted by Edward Richtofen, who was supposed to retrieve the Key for his own mission. The reporter, for unknown reasons, began to babble while waving around a letter, containing one single letter: "M". Richtofen was then attacked, but he killed the reporter by stabbing him in the chest. Richtofen left the truck at a corner around Easy Street.
Knowing of the seal and Richtofen's interception, the Shadowman took the next step in his plan. He began to manipulate four individuals: Nero Blackstone, Jessica Rose, Jack Vincent, and Floyd Campbell, who have all committed heinous crimes for their own gains. By branding them with the Apothicon Mark of the Beast, he was able to use them to break the seal and retrieve the Key. As the four were plunged into a twisted version of Morg City, infested with zombies, the Shadowman offered them guidance from afar, telling them that only from him will they find redemption for their sins. After having guided them to perform various rituals to retrieve Gateworms, the Shadowman finally tricked them into opening the Apothicon Rift, allowing a giant Apothicon beast to overshadow the city, before revealing his true nature. The four then worked together to track him down and finally trap him in the Summoning Key on a ritual table with the help of the Keepers. However, before they could retrieve the Summoning Key, Richtofen came out from a portal and took it, while thanking them for their effort.
For a time, the Shadowman would remain imprisoned within the Summoning Key. While in there, he learned of the sins committed by Primis and planned to escape once they completed their mission with the Summoning Key.
Much later, after Richtofen and Primis managed to retrieve the souls of their other selves, he delivered the Summoning Key to Maxis with the souls within Doctor Monty's perfect world. The Shadowman, who had been residing in the Key, manipulated Maxis to release him, resulting in Maxis being trapped in the Key. Now having arrived in Dr. Monty's perfect world, he released the Apothicons into the realm, turning it into a fractured world, comprising of various dimensions and locations that Primis have visited as well as their other selves from the past. While they traversed the realm, the Shadowman would taunt the group, telling them the same message he told the Shadows of Evil Cast. Soon after, Primis fight the Shadowman with the help of S.O.P.H.I.A and the Summoning Key as well as the Kronorium itself; eventually the four shoot the Shadowman in an Apothicon statue and use the Kronorium so S.O.P.H.I.A could destroy him. Ultimately, the Shadowman is killed by Primis.
However, in another cycle, it is revealed that the Shadowman has been manipulating the Warden of Alcatraz to imprison 4 prisoners in a purgatorial state: Salvatore DeLuca, Billy Handsome, Finn O'Leary, and Albert Arlington, as well as trapping Richtofen in this purgatory in order to gain his blood.
While still trapped in the Summoning Key, the Shadowman was killed once and for all by Primis Nikolai when he destroyed the Summoning Key.
- Main article: Shadows of Evil/Quotes#Shadow Man
- From the Shadows - (Bronze/25) - In Shadows of Evil, spot the Shadowman five times in one game.
- According to the Shadowman, the Ultimis version of Richtofen was his apprentice.
- This is later explained in the official timeline, stating that the Shadowman was one of the voices in Ultimis Richtofen's head.
- According to Audio Logs, the Shadowman is aware of the mobsters "escape" as Stanley Ferguson reported the events to the reporter working for him.
- This is due to the fact that the Shadowman is behind the events of Mob of the Dead.
- According to the Revelation files in the game, the Shadowman was going to be a new Demonic Announcer. However, these files were removed from the final version of the map for unknown reasons.