Even in her childhood, it was obvious the Sister Psyche was blessed. The tremendous scope of her mental powers was far beyond that of any hero, past or present. When the Rikti War descended, Sister Psyche knew she had to make her gift count. She did, but at a price. She exhausted her powers so thoroughly that she fell into a coma. A young heroine named Aurora Borealis offered to play host to Sister Psyche's projected mental self. Of course, the situation could not last forever. Now back in her own body, Sister Psyche has dedicated herself to helping to shape the tremendous gifts of the young Aurora. It's a responsibility she takes seriously, as well as a consolation for the loss of her former protoge, Malaise. When the psychic link between the two women was first disrupted, Sister Psyche lost her control over Malaise's dual personalities. The old Malaise reasserted himself, and quickly made his departure. His present whereabouts are as yet unknown.
No metropolis in the world is more associated with heroes than Paragon City. What began as a quiet collection of colonial villages in the 18th century had by the time of the Civil War become a bustling port city. After the war it became a center for industry, science and commerce in America. Throughout the first quarter of the 20th century Paragon City truly rose to fulfill its name's promise. It was the height of everything a city could hope to become.
Then came disaster: the stock market crash in 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. Decades of unbounded expansion left Paragon City particularly vulnerable to the depression's ravages. The economy collapsed, bringing social and political order crashing to the ground with it. Crime, organized and random, moved in to fill the void. The bootlegging gangs of the roaring twenties had already established themselves during Prohibition. Now the mob bosses, through bribery, intimidation, and murder, seized control of the city itself.
Paragon became a city where every cop was on the take, every politician under a mob boss' thumb, and one out of every two people was out of work. There was nowhere to turn for hope, no one to stand for the oppressed and downtrodden. And then came Statesman. Born Marcus Cole, he began his transformation from a poverty born child to world hero after serving in the US Army during World War I. Instead of coming home in 1918 he headed east, bent on exploring the world now that he'd had a taste of it. Where he went and what happened to him during that lost decade remains a secret to this day. What is no secret is that when his ship pulled into Paragon City port in 1931 he was much more than the young private who had shipped out to fight for freedom in Europe.
Cole claimed to have unlocked the power of his own Inner Will, an obscure explanation at best. Whatever their true origin, it was undeniable that Cole possessed something that hadn't been seen since the age of the Greek Heroes: superpowers. Cole was strong beyond human limits and impervious to fists, knives and even bullets. However he'd come by these powers, Cole now found a cause to which he could apply them: saving his beloved Paragon City from itself. The would-be hero took on the name Statesman, an identity that personified all the values and ideals that Paragon City currently lacked.
Statesman went after crime head on, going after gang bosses, corrupt politicians and other lowlifes with a vengeance. His costume allowed him to hide from police while still leave behind an indelible impression on the city's populace. In a few short months he had begun to make a difference. But his initial successes only served to unite the city's criminals against him. The tide began to turn when out of nowhere another costumed hero appeared in the city: the Dark Watcher. Soon after others appeared: The Dream Doctor, Maiden Justice, and others. Extraordinary men and women, inspired by Statesman's example, were rising to meet the challenge.
Fighting organized crime called for a team of organized heroes. Statesman, inspired by the shoulder-to-shoulder discipline showed by ancient Greek soldiers in the face of Persian tyranny, called his new team of heroes the Freedom Phalanx. Throughout the 1930's the Phalanx fought the good fight and cleaned up Paragon City. The city council and mayoral elections of 1936 swept a platform of pro-hero candidates that resulted in the passage of the Citizen Crime Fighting Act of 1937. This law made it legal for vigilantes to bring criminals to justice as long as they followed the same restrictions police officers use.
Thus in the space of just five years the Freedom Phalanx went from an ad hoc band of would-be heroes to a legally recognized, nationally praised crime fighting organization. The costumed hero became a part of the national psyche, larger than life figures that shone as beacons of hope in the darkness of the Great Depression. Other heroes joined the fight as well and super powered villains appeared and offered new, more dangerous threats. Paragon City itself strode in the forefront of these changes and its heroes soon transformed it from the most dangerous city in America to the pride of a nation. The age of the super powered hero had begun.
* This History can also be found on the City of Heroes website.