Three years ago, the citizens of Metropolis looked on in horror as an airliner spiraled out of control, heading for a crowded residential block in the heart of the City of Tomorrow. The resulting crash would have been an unthinkable tragedy which would have broken the city's spirit, and ended hundreds, if not thousands of innocent lives.....
.....instead, the course of human history was changed forever.
Seemingly from nowhere, a man in a bright blue costume and red cape did the blatantly impossible for all of the world to see, defying gravity itself to fly up and catch the crashing plane with seemingly unlimited strength. Dubbed the 'Superman' by an awed media, the caped hero would become known as an incredible force for good not only in Metropolis, but around the world.
Mankind was no longer alone, now faced with the prospect of living alongside a genuine super-human from beyond the stars. And what's more, Superman's arrival was like the first leak in a dam, just before the flood bursts through. Not three months after the debut of the Man of Steel, another caped figure was spotted in nearby Gotham City, an elusive and brilliant vigilante known as the Batman. Unlike Superman's spectacular rescues and phenomenal feats out in the open for all the world to see, Batman kept his actions in the shadows, silently dismantling Gotham's criminal underworld and bringing down the city's corrupt political machinery before vanishing without a trace. Cloaked in mystery, the Batman quickly became the stuff of urban legend, reducing even the most hardened of criminals to a cowardly and superstitious lot when faced with the Dark Knight.
Over the course of the next few months, reports and sightings of more 'super-heroes' began to sweep the nation.
A massive attack on Washington, DC, reportedly comprised of unknown creatures of supernatural origin, was single-handedly stopped by a woman armed apparently with little more than a golden lasso.
The Twin Cities of Central and Keystone were host to countless rescues, large and small, by a man who could break every speed record known to man....on foot.
Coast City saw an alleged extraterrestrial monster wrestled into submission by a man wearing a ring that created objects out of shimmering green light.
Hundreds of unconnected stories from coastal cities all around the world mentioned lives being saved by a man who could seemingly command the ocean itself.
Nine months after the debut of Superman, a danger emerged from the depth of space that threatened the entire world: a swarm of alien parasites called the Sta'rro. The world's military forces were quickly overrun by the parasitic creatures, and even Superman himself was of little use on his own. However, a combined effort of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, the Green Lantern, Aquaman, and another extraterrestrial simply dubbed 'The Martian,' were able to find a way to counteract the Sta'rro parasites and drive their colonies back into space. In the aftermath, the seven heroes agreed that as powerful as they were individually, they would still need to join forces when confronted with threats they could not handle alone. Thus the Justice League was formed, a network of superhuman crime-fighters and rescuers that could respond to any crisis on Earth and beyond.
With the foundation of the Justice League, the age of the super-hero began in earnest. Dozens more came following in their lead, some immensely powerful, some mere mortals with nothing but a costume and motivation. Impossible feats became facts of life, science and reason were pushed beyond their limits on a daily basis. The superhero was now the ideal to which humanity aspired, and just like the costumed wonders that now populated the skies and rooftops of cities aorund the globe, the world began to move faster than anyone would believe.....
What happened next, some would say, was inevitable. Criminal organizations, terrorist factions, and corrupt governments all crumbled before the awesome might of the Justice League throughout what many refer to simply as 'Year One.' The response came at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, when a series of deadly poision-gas attacks left hundreds dead all across Gotham City. The culprit, an anarchic madman known as the Joker, claimed his actions were a direct result of the arrival of the Batman a year earlier. If Year One was the year of the super-hero, then Year Two produced its opposite, the super-villain.
Month after month, the heroes of the Justice League found themselves in mortal danger at the hands of threats that rivaled their own tremendous power. Superman was nearly killed in a battle with Intergang boss Bruno Mannheim, who attacked the Man of Steel with a mysterious chunk of meteorite, eventually dubbed 'Kryptonite' by the scientists at STAR Labs. Wonder Woman was ambushed by a duo of super-powered villainesses named Cheetah and Giganta. The Flash found his Twin Cities turned into an elaborate death-trap by a group of criminal Rogues. The Green Lantern was waylaid by the psychic Hector Hammond. Again and again, heroes around the world found themselves embroiled in increasingly destructive battles against fellow superhumans, with no signs of the attacks letting up.
As the violence grew out of hand, new forces emerged to swing the tide in one way or another. A second group of super-heroes, known as the Justice Society, banded together to aid the League, who were already stretched beyond their limit. To curb the spread of superhuman violence, the United States government formed the Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive. Agents of S.H.A.D.E. began a nation-wide crackdown on any and all superhuman activities, branding the Justice League and Justice Society as outlaw vigilantes, and their villainous counterparts as terrorists. While the conventional military forces could do little against the likes of Superman or Wonder Woman, S.H.A.D.E. eventually did find their equal in the nigh-omnipotent Captain Atom as their enforcer, and rumors began to circulate of S.H.A.D.E. agents employing incarcerated super-villains as a "Suicide Squad" to do the government's less than heroic tasks.
Following the Americans' lead, the United Nations formed their own anti-superhuman task force, known as Checkmate. With ostensibly the same goals as S.H.A.D.E., Checkmate agents were elite intelligence or military operatives from all over the world, enhanced with genetic modifications or cybernetic implants provided by the mysterious think-tank known as Cadmus. While Checkmate was clearly subservient to the UN Security Council, Cadmus seemed to have an agenda all of its own....
The standoff between the superheroes, villains, and authorities came to a head in the Middle Eastern nation of Khandaq. During a skirmish between the Justice Society and the Khandaqi king Black Adam, agents of Checkmate carried out a raid against all superhumans involved. While most escaped the raid unharmed, the Society hero Hourman was killed in the fighting. The government-sanctioned assassination of a superhero sent shockwaves throughout the super-powered community, creating a sharp divide between those that wanted retribution, and those that wanted a peaceful solution. This culminated in a cataclysmic battle between Superman and Captain Marvel, who matched each other blow-for-blow in a brawl that spanned the entire planet, to the farthest depths of the ocean and out into space, before Batman ended the battle by discovering that Hourman was not killed by Checkmate at all, but that the UN agents were framed by a third-party assassin of unknown origin.
It is now Year Three in the age of the superhuman. The Justice League and Justice Society have patched up their relationship, and maintain an uneasy alliance. Rumors have begun to spread of a "Secret Society" of super-villains behind the series of attacks against the heroes, possibly even the assassination of Hourman that led to what media pundits have dubbed "The Ten-Minute War" between Superman and Captain Marvel. S.H.A.D.E. have begun taking increasingly blunt measures in reining in superhuman violence, detaining people accused of having "secret identities" and silencing media opposition to their tactics. Checkmate's reach and influence has grown, publicly supported by anti-superhuman critics like Lex Luthor, and Cadmus's weapons and projects to stem the tide of villains and so-called heroes have become more advanced.
And all the while, new heroes are emerging. New villains lurk in the shadows. A New Frontier waits just beyond the horizon.....