Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Platinum Age

After the encounter with Inverted Earth, the citizens of Emerald City faced a hard truth. The city has long prided itself on its absence of superheroes, but had it not been for the selfless heroes of Emerald City inverted twin metropolis both worlds would have been destroyed. Moving forward something had to change. Enter new mayor Amanda Talbot and local tech billionaire Maximilian Mars. Together they proposed a radical new direction for the city, one that involved a global response super team backed by Mars’ Vanguard Foundation and supported directly by the city government. Now Emerald City would join Freedom City in open support of superheroes. In this new millennium corporate heroes no longer sucked. The formation of the first traditional costumed hero squad Emerald City has experienced since the Golden Age Victory Squadron was Mayor Talbot’s first act in office. Partnering with tech mogul Maximilian Mars the City created the Vanguard for Victory, a global peacekeeping superhero team based out of Emerald Tower in downtown Emerald City. Emerald City now had its first mainstream super team since the Forties. Comparisons between this new protectorate and the Squadron of old is no coincidence. Hoping to create a new heroic face for a new age Mayor Talbot drew direct inspiration from the original Victory Squadron.

This is where you come in. You play a member of the Vanguard. The group has just been formed and there is an expectation for it to quickly make a name for itself globally. It is supported financially by a charitable foundation formed by Maximilian Mars, founder of local industry giant Marstech. The Vanguard helps protect the globe, primarily threats to the western half of North America, Australia, Russia, Asia and the Middle East. It is important to the current local government that their home team field members that draw inspiration from Emerald City’s past superheroes. Regardless of your identity I want you to think big. The Vanguard are Avengers level heroes. While the world sees Freedom City’s Freedom Legal as the premiere superhero team in the world Major Talbot wants to give them a run for their money.

Free free to use any of the heroes touched upon in previous ages as an inspiration for your hero or make up your own hero new to Emerald City. Maybe you are the next incarnation of one of the original Victory Squadron, maybe even the third Nightwatchman, leader of the original team. Maybe you are an alien recently released from one of the Grue containment canisters left behind by the Thrillseekers from Outerspace. You could be the Silver Age Doctor Spectre II, recently returned from exile in the outer dimensions. Perhaps you have discovered Christian Novoscotia’s long lost Viridian necklace and use it to become a new Captain Nevermind. You could even be a lesser known member of the Peak from Inverted Earth who decided to remain on this Earth instead of returning home.

The Encounter with Inverted Earth

In 2001 the fate of two entire worlds were threatened when a dimensional shift caused the world to be enveloped by a upside down and inside out mirror landscape that would quickly be known as Inverted Earth. On Inverted Earth everything was the opposite. Up was down, in was out and good was evil. The Freedom League was attacked by their supervillainous doppelgangers in the form of the Fascist Confederation and the peacekeeping agency AEGIS was beset by the destabilizing forces of PERIL. The forces were impossibly matched, neither heroes nor villains capable of gaining the upper hand. Worst still the two worlds were slowly approaching each other. With the threat of collision imminent salvation came from the most unlikely of places. Heroes unlike any seen before flew from Ruby City, the inverted version of Emerald City and gave the Freedom League the edge they needed to defeat the Fascist Confederation and reverse the destruction of both worlds. The Ruby City heroes were:

The inverted version of Emerald City was the last bastion for superheroes on their world. The called themselves the Peak, a desperate rebellion of heroism in a world subjugated by the supervillains of the Fascist Confederation. It took the impending eradication of both worlds for them to risk exposing themselves. With the Encounter with Inverted Earth over, the heroes of the Peak return to a world of supervillains fixated on their defeat. The superheroes that make up the Peak are:

• THE BODY BUILDER (Copernicus Oliver): This Copernicus Oliver was considered the one of the strongest men on Inverted Earth even before using alien technology to enhance his physique to impossible levels back in the 1950s. Unlike Emerald City’s Oliver The Body Builder always strived to be honest and selfless. He survived PERIL’s purge of superheroes through sheer physical determination. When Inverted Earth disappeared the Body Builder returned to it with renewed hope in his mission to defeat the Fascist Confederation.

• PLAYER ONE (Vassily Dragovich): Before the Fascist Confederation succeeded in conquering Inverted Earth Vassily was the head of Inverted Russia’s intelligence agency. Then PERIL released a toxin designed to eliminate human heads of state. Only Vassily survived, gifted with regenerative abilities instead. Gathering the world’s remaining heroic resources he created a secret spy organization to spread aid and support the Inverted Earth’s surviving superheroes. Although his forces took many casualties averting the collisions of the two worlds Vassily returned to Inverted Earth with renewed purpose and knowledge of a world full of potential heroic allies.

• THE PUBLIC SERVANT (unknown): The mysterious armored hero from Ruby City was the archnemesis of the evil Lightning Leader, the Inverted Earth’s version of Captain Thunder. This led many to conclude that the Public Servant is actually the inverted version of the notorious Freedom City supervillain, the Commander. It was the noble sacrifice of the Public Servant that saved both worlds from collision.

• BONAFIDE (Krist Werner): A local Ruby City mental patent who was captured by the Abnorm movement and experimented on by Canadian superscientist Professor Zed to grant him superpowers. The results were successful but cured Krist’s insanity. Krist was also now able to replace his own form with that of an idealized extra dimensional version of any superhuman he shared the same vicinity with. Krist defied the Abnorms by using his powers to humiliate other villains. Eventually he joined the Peak in assisting our heroes but it is unknown what became of him after the disappearance of Inverted Earth.

The Iron Age

The return of unregulated superheroes brought with it a change in traditional Superheroics. Influenced by over a decade of military service established heroes returned to the streets with costumes and attitudes that reflected their time as soldiers. Iron Age heroes were characterized by their heightened use of weapons, armored costumes, an abundance of equipment pouches and a grittier more lethal attitude. These heroes were also accustomed to a regular paycheck, leading many to form partnerships and endorsement deals with large corporations and research firms. As with most of the ages that preceded it Emerald City heroic response to the Iron Age was a direct contrast to the rest of the country. While Freedom City found itself protected by bombastic anti-heroes Emerald City experienced an emergence of young plain clothes heroes that rebelled against government oppression and corporate influence. With battle cries like “Corporate heroes suck!” and “Heroic is the last thing I wanted to be." This superhero movement referred to itself simply as the Norm or the Normal for Emerald City at the very least. It took less than a decade for Norm heroes to gain in popularity nationally, expose the overindulgence of other Iron Age heroes and implode under the pressure of their own success. The Norm membership included:

• ERSATZ (Krist Werner): A local Emerald City trust fund recipient who identified so strongly with the Norm movement he spent his fortune paying mad Canadian superscientist Professor Draimanis Zed to grant him superpowers. The results were successful but incredibly unstable. Krist was now able to replace his own form with that of a warped extra dimensional version of any superhuman he shared the same vicinity with. Krist began a solo career using his powers to highlight the absurdity of other Iron Age Heroes. Influenced by conspiracy theories and instabilities brought on by his own powers Ersatz eventually cross the line from Norm hero to mad supervillain. Krist was ultimately driven completely and incurably insane. Today Ersatz remains an unhinged challenge for the heroes of Emerald City.

Easily the most well known supergroup in the Norm movement, the new Thrillseekers went from unknown street heroes to global media darlings to disenfranchised casualties in less than five years. While they paid a heavy cost for their fame, the message of the Thrillseekers remains an influence on Emerald City to this day. To most of the citizens of Emerald City corporate heroes still suck. The New Thrillseekers membership included:

• CAPTAIN NEVERMIND (Christian Novascotia): A penniless street kid from Hookville, Christian gained impressive psychic powers after discovering the existence of long forgotten Viridian Stones. These stones, that he fashioned into a crude necklace, granted him empathic powers, heightened senses and the ability to cause mass confusion. The world was rocked in 1995 when news broke that the Captain took his own life after a long battle with paranoia and depression. His necklace has since gone missing.
• ONE ZERO (Vedda Blaylocke): It was believed at the time that Vedda was a teenager that found a highly advanced super suit of armor and used it to protect and protest against corporate corruption but today it is understood that One Zero was a crimefighting duo. The suit was itself a mechanical entity that covered Vedda's usually naked body so the two of them could fight together as one. Although retired both Vedda and the One Zero suit, now officially recognized as it own person, are the only surviving members left of the New Thrillseekers.

• THE SUPERUNKNOWN (Hiro Hosato): The grandson of the original Golden Age hero #1017 Hiro instead adopted the persona and tactics of his grandfather’s teammate, the Unknown. Using skill and disguise Hiro sought to expose corruption and hypocrisy in superheroics. It was Hiro who was quoted as saying the famous line “Heroic is the last thing I wanted to be." Frustrated with the Thrillseekers rapid rise in fame, Hiro quit the team at the height of their popularity. He was shot and killed in 1998 in an attempted break in at Majestic 20’s HQ. Hiro’s last words were reportedly “Expose the chamber.”

• DIRTMAN (Layne Mastain): A teenager whose body was made up entirely of animated soil, Layne blamed local tech giant Kessler Industrial Technology for polluting Emerald City and triggering his mutation. An outspoken critic of Iron Age heroes, Dirtman was known for several feuds with other Superhumans. Never accepting the suicide of Captain Nevermind, Layne became obsessed with finding his true killer. Dirtman spent the later 90s labeled as a supervillain after he began serial killing superheroes and villains he delusionally believed were involved in the conspiracy to murder his friend Christian. in 1999 Dirtman was apprehended and sentenced to Bethlehem Heights Psychiatric Hospital where he remains to this day.
• CORE (Robert Young): A victim of superpowered gang violence at an early age, Robert Young was saved by a mysterious mystic benefactor that linked the boy’s health with the heart of the nearby volcanic Mount Forge. Blessed with super human strength, invulnerability and explosive powers he called ‘eruption blasts’ Core was easily the most powerful member of the New Thrillseekers if not one of the most powerful superbeings on the planet. Unfortunately what appeared to be the beginning of a long career of heroism was cut short by a massive heroin overdose. Robert Young is now a brain dead patient of ECU Medical Center trapped in a body that refuses to die.

An important if generally overlooked part of the Norm movement in Emerald City was the rise of homeless and disenfranchised superhumans that populated the Undercity. Usually scarred victims of illegal genetic experiments, inadvertent mutation caused by super pollution or evidence of extra-dimensional visitation this unseen subterranean population collectively called itself the Changed. Generally left alone and small in number the Changed of the Undercity, like the Cryptids in the Elysian Forest and Visitors in the Atlas Mountains, remain ignored to this day by everyone except Majestic 20.

• LAWNMOWER AND STREAM (Yantek Killjoy and Albert Mondo):  Two of the best known of the Changed were the homeless crimefighting duo of Lawnmower and Stream. Highly active in the mid to late Nineties the two often acted as spokepersons for the Changed. Yantek “Lawnmower” Killjoy was a drug dealing runaway who could vibrate his body at extreme speeds due to exposure to tainted super street drugs. Albert “Stream” Mondo was an overweight homeless teen who unlocked latent precognitive powers after discovering a helmet once possessed by Copernicus “Big Brain” Oliver. Now generally considered has-beens to the Emerald City of today the unpolished partnership of Lawnmower and Stream did manage to shine a light on an otherwise invisible minority for a brief moment in time.

Villains and Vigilantes

In 1983 then US President Franklin Moore passed a key piece of legislation during his presidency, the Moore Act. This new law made several key changes to how the federal government defined superpowers. Overnight costumed superheroics were outlawed and active costumed heroes were required to register for military service to help fight the Communist super threat. Many heroes obeyed the law, becoming soldiers for the US Government. Others defied the Moore administration by becoming vigilantes or hanging up their masks and capes and returning to normal life. This period was marked by an increasing domestic threat from super villains and a darker time for the nation as a whole. Ultimately, the Moore Act proved only to make heroes into killers and empower villains. With the coming of Glasnost the entire country was relieved to see the Moore Act repealed and the return of true heroes. The Moore Act had little impact on Emerald City. Almost all of the Fasinating Folkheroes had ‘retired’ by the time the law was adopted and the few that hadn’t weren't the military or vigilante types anyway. During this time Emerald City was protected by the following heroes:

THE NIGHTWATCHMAN II (identity unknown): Unlike his Golden Age namesake this Nightwatchman was a lethal vigilante that focused primarily on street crime riding his one of a kind rocket cycle. Most of his career was spent fighting the Blood Brothers gang and the Manetti crime family. In 1987 his costumed was found in an alley below a spray painted message that read “Nightwatchman no more”. This incarnation of the Nightmatchman, whoever they were, was never seen in Emerald City again.

Majestic-20 is a covert organization that originated during the Red Scare as a clandestine tool of the United States to safeguard the country against alien invasion and dimensional incursions. In the late Seventies it was revealed to the public that this previously unknown agency was operating domestically, keeping tabs on anyone suspected of being of alien or extra dimensional origin. The Moore administration revealed that Emerald City was the location for Majestic 20’s headquarters and that the US government consider the region as a nexus point for alien and extra-dimensional events. The 1980's saw a rise in the number of men in black and unmarked helicopter sightings in and around the city. Majestic 20 still exists to this day, waging a silent war against the cryptids in the Atlas Mountains and monitoring the population for the presence of alien manipulation. Notable members of Majestic 20 still active today are:   

• CAPTAIN LINCOLN: USAF Captain John Parker Lincoln was tapped to lead the new organization and
prepare them for the task of defending the United States (and Earth) from extraterrestrials by Harry Truman in 1957. Alien DNA treatments have extended Lincoln’s lifespan so that he only ages 1 year for every 5 that pass normally. Although the director of Majestic 20 for decades Captain Lincoln is not above going out in the field or enlisting the help of superhumans to fight alien threats.. Today Majestic 20 is led by a new director but Captain Lincoln remains directly connected to the secretive agency.

• QUIN AND FOALY (Agent Somber Quin and Agent Wendy Foaly): Quin and Foaly are the senior field agents stationed in Emerald City. Since the public learned of the existence of Majestic 20 the pair have been seen as the figureheads of the agency’s efforts. Quin is a dedicated investigator in weirdness who is obsessed with trivia and media portrayals of aliens and extra dimensional entities. Foaly is more of stone faced peacekeeper, more concerned with the danger poised by such invaders than learning about them. The Majestic 20 of today is led by Director Foaly while Quin has retired from government service, contributing often to the popular Ghost Sighting blog.

The Silver Age

By the mid to late 1960s paranoia against Superheroes gave way to a new resurgence of costumed heroism, aided by fantastic leaps forward in science and experimentation of a super powered counter culture. While Freedom City and other East Coast locales saw a huge upswing in the  superhuman population, Emerald City remained fairly untouched by the Silver Age of Superheroes. The only superhumans active in Emerald City at the time were a number of counterculture notables collectively coined the Fascinating Folkheroes by the local newsppaper, The Courier Express. The F.F., as they were more commonly known, did not fight crime or dress in traditional costumes. Instead the majority of them lectured, peacefully protested, supported local bands and responded to weird events that signified superhuman activity in Emerald City in the sixties and seventies. The Fascinating Folkheroes didn’t even consider themselves to be a team, rather a free collective of like minded intellectuals drawn to freakish happenstance in all forms. During their time the F.F. defended Emerald City from attacks by giant monsters, extra dimensional invaders, the god Ardhanarishvara and a particularly mutative form of brown acid. The Folkheroes’ membership included:

DR. SPECTRE II (Karlton Kovack): Son of the original Golden Age hero and gifted with similar abilities, the Silver Age Dr. Spectre was also an accomplished magician and dimensional traveler. Dr. Spectre investigated crimes with unlikely causes, particularly those that law enforcement refused to follow up on. It is believed that he died banishing the god Ardhanarishvara from Magic Hill Amusement Park.

MISTER NORMAL (Bob Normal): A mystic guru known for his aphorisms on the evils of the modern world and the salvation to be found in supernatural living. Having renounced the material world Mr. Normal lived off anything he could get in exchange for his words of wisdom. Mr. Normal’s career, if you could call it that, ended in controversy over a porn film shot in 1974 called Down in Flames that he starred in with the Fairly Fur-covered Freaks. His whereabouts today remain unknown.

THE EXPANDED MAN (Paul Bunyon): Nearly a hundred years since his legendary adventures as the Giant Lumberjack, Paul Bunyon returned to Emerald City with a new persona, a size shifting war protestor called the Expanded Man. Bunyon stood out among the Folkheroes in his choice of spandex costume but his attitude was clearly counter culture. Expanded Man was at the center of drug experimentation on the West Coast, attracting rock musicians, hippies and alternative chemists to Emerald City in droves. He even occasionally fought crime, including apprehending the notorious masked villainess Madame Joy who had been active along the West Coast since the 1940s. Eventually he was implicated in a domestic terrorist bombing and disappeared again before being apprehended by the federal authorities.

PACK RAT (Benjie Carver): A teenage urban explorer known for popularizing the Undercity beneath the normal sunlight streets of Emerald City. For years Pack Rat and his gang of meddling kids disrupted weird goings on inside of the maze of subterranean structures. It is believed he is still down there today.

DRAGONEYE (Larry Chin): A little known Chinese immigrant hero who spent much of the 1970s working against the Golden Dragon Society crime syndicate. By modern day Larry has died and his mystic dragon infused abilities have transferred into his child, the new Dragoneye.

• THE STEPDAUGHTER OF SATAN (Lily Ether): A teenager who waged a secret war against the shadows of Emerald City for decades. Eventually she would fund her nocturnal mission by hosting horror movies as the overtly sexualized Madame Macabre, an alias we would eventually adopt in her battle against the Devil. She hasn’t aged since the early seventies, retaining her youthful beauty to this day.

The Red Scare

The 1950s were a bad time for Superhumans. In 1947 several UFOs crashed landed in the western United States. While most hit New Mexico one craft fell into the Atlas Mountains. The ships belonged to a red skinned alien race known as the Grue. The ship in the mountains above Emerald City was never discovered. The New Mexico crash was originally contained by Freedom City heroes and their army allies. Only a few weeks later the Grue succeeded in infiltrating, eliminating and secretly impersonating many of the Golden Age heroes from the 1930s and 1940s as well as their military allies. After their Hidden Invasion was discovered, public perception turned on heroes, chaos reigned and the heroes of Freedom City barely thwarted an attack from space. The aftermath of the Red Scare saw a witch hunt waged by the government against real heroes, most that were never involved in the Hidden Invasion. While most of the conflict took place on the East Coast, Emerald City was not untouched by the invasion or the hysteria it caused for years after. During all this Emerald City was protected by the most unlikely heroes:

While heroes fought heroes in Freedom City a small number of Grue invaders infiltrated Emerald City looking for their lost ship. They were intercepted by a ragtag group of regular townsfolk led by a middle aged high school science teacher. Their efforts ended the Red Scare in Emerald City almost before it began and even managed to expose and defeat a Grue impersonating the Golden Age hero the Dreadnought. The Sunset Hill Irregulars membership included:

• THE PROFESSOR (Patrick Hughes): A normal, if brilliant, high school science teacher who formed an unlikely resistance against aliens after a student of his, Copernicus Oliver, brought him a Grue raygun his father wrestled off of an alien. By reverse engineering the technology Hughes and Oliver were able to create devices that allowed the Irregulars to identify and resist the Grue in any form they took. After the Red Scare the Professor eventually retired to a nursing home on Sunset Hill where he still lives today.

• THE BIG BRAIN (Copernicus Oliver): The bespectacled bookworm that secretly saved Emerald City. Copernicus used a helmet that enhanced his already impressive intellect to out maneuver the Grue invaders and eavesdrop on their telepathic communications. After the Red Scare Copernicus found brief national fame as a televised quiz bowl champion, until it was discovered he cheated to win.

• CANNERY CARL (Carl Oliver): Copernicus’ father was a dockworker and bare knuckle fighter. He didn’t share Hughes or his son’s genius but he made up for it with alien powered boxing gloves and a iron backbone. Carl died in the fight that stopped the Dreadnought and ended the Grue siege on Emerald City.

• BLONDIE (Natalie Nelson): The Olivers’ next door neighbor and high school cheerleader. Natalie turned out to be a skilled shot with a raygun. Her time with the Irregulars attracted the attention of the military. Eventually Natalie was recruited for the new organization called AEGIS as one of their first female agents. 

• NEWSIE JOE (Little Joey Nelson): Newsie Joe was a twelve year old kid with a knack for getting into trouble, an obsession with outer space and a paper route. Newsie Joe used a modified flying bicycle against the Grue and loved every minute of it. Rumors say Joe went on to be a masked vigilante.

The lone Grue spacecraft that crash landed in the Atlas Mountains did so with a little help. The ship was a prisoner transport carrying troublemakers from a dozen different worlds. In the space battle that ultimately led to the Grue falling to Earth a handful of these prisoners escaped their containment tubes and overpowered their Grue jailers causing the ship to fall out of formation with the others and crash prematurely. The four juvenile delinquents that escaped immediately went to explore the city below them. Looking for fun these Thrillseekers from Outer Space quickly learned that humans were unaccustomed to alien visitors and that the crash of the Grue ship unleashed other alien criminals into the Atlas Mountains far more ruthless and bloodthirsty than their irresponsible quartet. Ultimately the Thrillseekers did their best to recapture the other escaped prisoners and repair the Grue vessel. Eventually they headed back out into space leaving behind a few dozen undiscovered containment tubes. The original Thrillseekers were:

• CAPTAIN MASTERMIND (Lorik-Nor): The runaway crown princess of the Lor Republic, a collection of hundreds of united worlds. Lorik-Nor is a blue skinned member of the Lor race who possesses prophetic sight similar to her mother, the reigning High Prophetess of the Republic. While on Earth Lorik-Nor gained a fondness for greaser culture, sockhops and drag racing. Eventually Lorik-Nor returned to Lor space as Captain Mastermind, reluctant leader of a rebellion against the Imperium her Republic becomes.

• KARESS: A catlike androgynous humanoid kleptomaniac from the planet Zulstar. A slave on its home planet, Karess marvelled at the freedom and opportunity that the Terrans of Earth experienced. During its time with the Thrillseekers, Karess was the main motivator for recovering the more dangerous criminals released in the crash. Eventually Karess would join the Starknights’ nemesis Blackstar as one of his cosmically powered Blackguard warriors.

• THUNK WHIR: A defective robot fugitive from the mechanical planet of Xor. Thunk Whir was a peacenik from a race of transforming kill machines locked in a millennia old war. While on Earth Thunk Whir was moved by Terran machines and their ‘love’ for squishy humans. After the Thrillseekers left Earth Thunk Whir left behind a proto-module that would eventually grow into a new Terran raised Xorian.

• SQUINN: A chameleon skinned defector of the Grue Unity. Squinn never fit in with his scheming Gruen brothers and sisters and was considered a reject and traitor as a result. Squinn quickly became obsessed with early television programs of the 50s and would often shapechange into characters from his favorite shows when interacting with Terrans. It is unclear what happened to Squinn after the Thrillseekers left Earth. It is possible he remained in Emerald City.

• GREEN KNIGHT (Barney Bridge): The first Terran met by the Thrillseekers. Soon after their initial encounter Barney and Lorik-Nor began dating. Ultimately he helped the Thrillseekers repair their Gruen spacecraft and left Earth behind for greater adventures in space. Eventually Barney became the first Terran Starknight, protecting the Milky Way galaxy as the Green Knight for decades to follow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Golden Age

While their fame never rivaled that of the world-renowned Liberty League, the Emerald City-based Victory Squadron was nonetheless a vital component in protecting America’s home front from Golden Age Axis agents who learned to greatly fear the sound of the team’s “V for Victory!” battle cry and accompanying two-raised-fingers sign. The Squadron first came together in response to the June 24, 1942 attack upon Fort Breckinridge, at the behest of the Nightwatchman, they remained together as a team throughout World War II, becoming celebrated heroes. The Squadron’s membership included:

THE NIGHTWATCHMAN (James Holland): A wealthy crusading attorney by day and well-known radio commentator and playboy by night, he somehow found time to use his superior wits, fighting prowess, and arsenal of gadgets to battle injustice. He served as team leader and sponsor, and tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to resurrect it after the war until his death in a mysterious plane crash in 1950.

DREADNOUGHT (Michael Dunn III): A brilliant engineer, inventor and dwarf, Dunn’s grandfather was a Civil War era hero-turned-villain called the Ironclad. Like his ancestor, Dunn employed a suit of powered armor, battling Axis tyranny in an attempt to redeem his family name. Unfortunately an aging Dunn was replaced by a Grue during the Red Scare and ultimately died in disgrace much like his grandfather.

COLUMBIA II (Phoebe Dorin): Michael (the Dreadnought) Dunn’s longtime girlfriend who wielded a special flaming-torch weapon of Dunn’s design in her Statue of Liberty themed costume. She was brutally murdered by the Crimson Katana during World War II.

BLAZE (Mary Grindstaff): A teenager who gained flame-based powers after being accidentally caught in the explosion of an experimental Japanese weapon in 1944. The team’s sole surviving member, after the war she capped off a colorful and semi-famous life by penning a candid book about her experiences.

THE UNKNOWN (Alonzo Cheney): A seemingly superhuman master of disguise who kept his true identity and gender hidden throughout the war, striking from the deepest of covers to defeat Axis agents and acquire their secrets. He is presumed dead, but his fate is (fittingly enough) unknown. Ironically, this man of secrets is one of the team’s more famous members today, as he was outed as a bisexual after the war and is now honored by Emerald City’s gay community for his wartime service.

DR. SPECTRE (Tom Kovack): A formerly mundane man who was in involuntary contact with the spirit world, and could temporarily channel it to gain supernatural abilities. Years after the war he was eventually driven mad by his abilities and died in the Bethlehem Heights mental hospital.

MADAME CROSSBOW (Karla Miller): A bored socialite who wielded a crossbow that fired special trick bolts. Throughout the war, she managed to keep her costumed adventures secret from her husband, then retired for good after the war to raise a family.

ATLAS (Michael Forest): A circus strongman of who used his incredible physique to battle the Axis menace. Forest died of a heart attack in 1949.

THE SCARLET CYCLONE (William Schallert): Operator of an incredible armored submersible autogyro christened the Albatross, the Scarlet Cyclone was instrumental in defeating the Japanese submarine menace on the West Coast. He was assassinated by Green Dragon Society ninja after the war.

#1017 (Takei Hosato): A highly honor-bound Nisei, Takei regarded the interment of his people as such a dishonor he only answered to the prisoner number assigned to his family until he could vindicate their name. Trained in the ancient arts of the ninja, Takei used his lethal abilities to aid the Allied cause until he fell in battle with the Hinomaru.