Paragon City: Post War: Rise of the Super Villains
Just as victory over the Axis powers seemed assured, disaster struck at home. While heroes on the home front bravely fought against the nearly defeated Fifth Column, another, more terrifying threat was sinking its tendrils into the American Dream. The super villain known as Nemesis, not seen since the last days of World War I, had been hiding in the United States for decades, planning his next move. Thanks to years of patient plotting, Nemesis now secretly controlled much of America's arms and war material manufacturing capability. Through his agents and minions he had access to not only the latest military equipment, but also to vast sums of money that he used to build his own secret army. While America slept off its hangover after celebrating VE Day, Nemesis played his hand.
In the predawn hours, the Prussian Prince of Automatons assembled his silent horde of fanatic robotic followers within striking distance of Washington DC. As the sun rose over the Capitol Dome it brought flights of jet powered strike bots, the arcs of rocket-rifle fire, and devastating atom ray blasts. Nemesis and his clockwork troops quickly overran military and super powered protectors alike, and President Truman only escaped thanks to a well-placed hero with teleportation powers. Nemesis now held most of Congress and the entire Supreme Court hostage. He staged an elaborate ceremony on the Capitol steps, and forced the Chief Justice to swear him in as Emperor of the Americas.
Heroes came flooding back from across the Atlantic to face this unanticipated threat. By the time the first heroes arrived, led by Statesman and the Freedom Phalanx, they found the situation even more dire than they could have imagined. Nemesis had hidden nerve gas bombs throughout the twenty largest cities in America. With the touch of a button he released the deadly toxin, ensuring a painful death to tens of millions if they did not receive the antidote within 24 hours.
What followed was the most desperate hour America's heroes had ever known. World famous champions of freedom fought deadly robots and atomic armored shock troops in the streets of our nation's capital. Finally, the heroes faced down the evil genius himself on the steps of the Capital building. Nemesis was ready for them, unleashing his atom-ray upon the assemblage, instantly killing dozens of heroes. However, in the chaos, Sister Psyche managed to use her telepathic powers to pick the location of the antidote from Nemesis' mind. The rest of the heroes fell back before the metal clad monster's onslaught.
Wounded but still mobile, Sister Psyche escaped the scene of the carnage and got word out to the Army. Within hours Dr. Mnemonic had synthesized an airborne version, and the air force and flying heroes were spreading it across the infected cities. Nemesis' poison was neutralized and Washington surrounded. Hundreds of heroes converged on the capitol and joined together for a second march on Washington. They fought through the remainder of Nemesis' forces and thought they had defeated the evil genius himself, only to find that all they had captured was a robot duplicate. Nemesis had escaped once again.
Although Nemesis lost, he had done great damage and, more significantly, ushered in a new era for super powered heroes the world over and in Paragon City particularly. With the defeat of the Axis powers, the disappearance of the Fifth Column, and the crippling blows organized crime had received before the war, Paragon City had suddenly become a remarkably safe place to live. But villainy abhors a vacuum, and Nemesis had shown the way. A single individual with extraordinary powers, evil ambitions, and enough loyal minions could challenge a whole nation. Yes, Nemesis had failed, but there were more than a few willing to step up to the plate and show him where he'd gone wrong. The age of the super villain had begun.
Many of the super villains that arose during the late forties and early fifties were actually veteran heroes who had fallen on hard times. While lauded across the land as heroes, for some the pride of patriotism was not reward enough. They had come to see themselves not as protectors of the common man, but as superior beings. And as superior beings these greedy souls felt the world owed them more than anyone else. In fact, they felt it owed them whatever they could take for themselves, by whatever means they chose.
Although these new super villains made their presence felt across the country, Paragon City became the center of their activities. As the richest, largest city in the nation and home to so many super powered veterans, Paragon proved the perfect breeding ground for evil. With no mafia to compete against them, the super powered criminals found plenty of room for success in their nefarious agendas. Among the many villains who reared their ugly heads in this era were: the gun toting Calamity Jane, the deadly Mesoamerican villain The Feathered Serpent, the wily Huckster, the mysterious Jade Maiden, the deadly Rakhasha, and the mercenary team known only as The Horde. Their activities ranged from simple armed robbery and theft to murder, mayhem, and the occasional attempt at world domination.
In the end, none of these villains or evil groups came close to posing the threat Nemesis did. For many it was simply a lack of deadly and evil intellect, but for most the biggest hurdle was the increasingly active hero community in Paragon City. The police could do little against these high-powered crooks, but the city's heroes were more than happy to step up to the plate. In 1952 the city decided to expand upon the groundbreaking Citizen Crime Fighting Act, expanding it to include officially licensed hero organizations that could in turn deputize their members. In 1953 the Freedom Phalanx became the first group to take advantage of this new law, and the Dawn Patrol and the mysterious Midnight Squad quickly followed suit.
Thus, despite the rising tide of super powered villainy in the city, the brave and selfless efforts of Paragon City's heroes managed to stay the flood and keep the city a relatively safe place to live (and certainly always an interesting place to live). However, even as things at home began to settle into a predictable if super powered routine, trouble abroad was growing. Since almost immediately after the war, the United States and the Soviet Union and been waging an ever more vicious Cold War. Now it seemed that this arms race was to include not only nuclear weapons, but a world power's other most deadly weapon: super powered heroes.