Friday, August 10, 2012

Earth 3: the Age of Wonders

     Since World War II, there were always those guys.  The ones that got dressed in tights and Halloween costumes and hurled exploding frisbees at each other.  Mystery men.  Daredevils.  Acrobats.  Brave heroes and diabolical villains, but very, very few could actually be called "superheroes."  There were always rumors, legends, and stories about people with powers beyond those of normal humans, but few believed them and fewer turned out to be true.
     Then came the Age of Wonders.  An incredible trinity of beings came into the public light, and thankfully all three of them were on the side of humanity: the alien, the sorceress, and the genius.
     Unquestionably the Celestial was the most powerful and least human.  His first appearance at the turn of the century truly began the Age of Wonders.  Possessing incredible powers including godlike strength, the ability to fly through space, and the control of cosmic energy, the Celestial was literally quantum leaps ahead of anything that had been seen before.  At first people wondered if he was an angel, but he later revealed that he was a visitor from another world looking for a new home.  His relentless dedication to saving lives, preventing disasters, and fighting evil endeared him to his adopted world.
     Mystic declared herself to be the "Sorceress Supreme of Earth" when she appeared not long after the first appearance of the Celestial.  She would go on to say in later conversations with the authorities that "certain great powers" had determined that this was the time for her, and the truth about magic, to be revealed to the world.  If anything Mystic's powers were even more incredible than the Celestials, and thousands began to attempt to study what had previously been only the stuff of legends.  But no one could do what Mystic could do with a simple gesture and word.
     Without a doubt, however, the most popular hero of the Age of Wonders was Genesis Knight.  There are those who think that because Genesis Knight was, for all intents and purposes, a normal human being (albeit one in an unbelievable suit of high-tech armor) that people felt the most connection with him rather than the others.  Maybe it was because he was the most charismatic, most engaging, and most willing to deal with the press of the three.  Maybe it was because a man in a suit of armor that granted him incredible powers and weapons fed that dream that many people have of a future of spaceships and adventure.  In any case, Genesis Knight provided a needed element to the three "Wonders," a sense that humanity still had a place in the world.
     After these three, supervillany became a thing of the past.  Oh, there were supervillians like Mandlebrot, the Atomic Skull, and the Unholy Pact.  But against any or all of the Wonders, they never stood a chance.  Other superheroes were out there, but they were often in the shadows, paling beside the other three.
     Then came Invasion Day.  A mysterious device appeared in New York City which opened a portal to...somewhere else.  And from that portal poured an army of alien soldiers, vehicles, and monsters.  It happened so suddenly that the American government could not respond with any kind of coordinated defense.  All that lay between the alien horde and the deaths of the inhabitants of one of the world's largest cities was the Wonders.
     They fought for hours, employing the full extent of their various powers against the numberless invaders.  Finally the three managed to win, but only at the ultimate cost.  Mystic was killed defeating an alien leviathan.  Genesis Knight guided a nuclear warhead through the portal and into the alien mother ship, obliterating it.  And the Celestial was killed destroying the alien device and closing the portal.  New York City, and the entire Earth, was saved, but the three greatest heroes humanity had ever known were gone.
     Now, five years later, humanity has begun to feel the loss of its protectors.  Supervillains have begun to appear once more, and they have ruthlessly crushed any sign of resistance.  The newspapers carry stories of men and women in colorful costumes found dead in alleys or in their homes.  People have begun to pray for a new age, of new wonders, and of new heroes.

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