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.
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.
The Americans decided that heroes could better serve the cause by performing special operations and surgical strikes rather than working in large, military style units. The First Hero Brigade separated into dozens of small strike teams and spread out across North Africa. Among the most successful of these new teams was a group that called itself the Sand Kings. Made up entirely of heroes from Paragon City, the Sand Kings were street level heroes headed by the mysterious Dream Doctor. With the help of the Doctor's mind control and illusion powers they became the new model for how heroes could be most effective in the war.
The Sand Kings lived and fought behind enemy lines, operating totally free from the normal chain of command. They specialized in sabotaging Axis equipment and kidnapping high-ranking Nazi soldiers. Allied watchmen would routinely stumble across sedated and bound German officers, delivered like Christmas presents to American intelligence. The Sand Kings caused so much disruption and chaos that the German High Command was forced to divert much of its own super powered resources to the North African front, providing relief for the besieged Britain.
In the British Isles things were desperate. The Dawn Patrol had originally opposed war with Germany and was still reeling from the public relations backlash that came with the war's outbreak. They fought bravely alongside the RAF during the Battle of Britain and escorted Royal Navy and American convoys across the Atlantic, taking terrible losses in the process. However, they found their greatest challenge in fighting off the Storm Korps, Germany's elite super soldier cadre. After the fall of France, The Storm Korps began a prolonged series of raids into the British Isles. Their super powers allowed them to cause tremendous damage, much more than normal Special Forces operations could ever hope to accomplish.
The most daring Storm Korps raid came within a hair's breadth of striking a tremendous blow against British morale. Three Storm Korps super soldiers, led by the nefarious Eisensturm, managed to breach Buckingham Palace's defenses and kidnap his royal highness the King of England. Alistair Sutton, leader of the Dawn Patrol, chased the kidnappers down and fought Eisensturm to a standstill in the Scottish Highlands. He bought enough time for the rest of the Dawn Patrol to arrive and help rescue the captured monarch from the hands of fascist villainy. It was shortly after this that American victories in Africa drew off much of the Storm Korps' resources and many credit Sutton's victory over Eisensturm as the turning point of the war for Great Britain and the Dawn Patrol.
On the Asian front, the fire wielding Captain Volcano led America's heroes in their drive across the Pacific. Japan had unleashed its own super powered strike force, the Imperial Wind shortly after Pearl Harbor. The Wind sat atop the Japanese military as the best and brightest the empire had to offer. In the otherwise regimented army culture, the members of the Wind each maintained his own individual flair and personality, many of them ruling over occupied territories in the Philippines and China like medieval lords. Much like the western heroes, they operated according to their own plans and desires and were universally formidable foes. The deadliest of all was of course the Wind's leader: The Lord of Frosts, who commanded the Imperial Wind in the south pacific and had his sights set firmly on the American West Coast.
The island hopping battles in the Pacific theater had a very different character from the massive land engagements tearing across Europe. This was nowhere more true than in the battle between opposing super powered soldiers. The bitter war between the Imperial Wind and America's heroes quickly became very personal. Captain Volcano and The Lord of Frosts clashed again and again and each became utterly obsessed with defeating the other. The maelstrom of their enmity drew in the rest of the heroes from both sides, effectively creating a separate war from the main conflict that raged around them. While Navy fighter planes and carriers fought at Midway and US marines stormed Iwo Jima, the super powered rivals fought epic but strategically pointless battles over desert islands and empty expanses of ocean.
Back in Europe, the Allies were massing in Britain for D-Day. When invasion came, the Freedom Phalanx and Dawn Patrol were part of the first wave to enter France. Many dropped in the night before with the airborne troops, providing protection against Storm Korps jet pack troops. Both sides took horrendous casualties in those first bloody hours, with the super powered soldiers on both sides fighting in the vanguard. Late on the first day the Storm Korps launched a massive counteroffensive in an effort to drive the Allies back into the English Channel. Fought largely in the air above Normandy's beaches, this was one of the most spectacular hero battles of the war. Statesman himself was in the forefront, powering through hundreds of enemy super soldiers. The Allies repulsed the counterattack and the armies pushed on into France. Victory did not come without a terrible cost. Scores of heroes lost their lives and Statesman suffered critical wounds that left him crippled for the rest of the war.
During the following year of savage and costly battles across Europe, heroes served much as they had in North Africa: as aides and adjuncts to the main job being done by the soldiers. The Storm Korps took too long to recover from the blow they'd been dealt on D-Day. By the time the dread Nazi hero legion had reformed the war was all but over. The Storm Korps retreated to its secret Black Forest fastness, hoping to negotiate their freedom and escape to South America. The surviving members of the First Hero Brigade would have none of that. Although too injured to fight, Statesman planned the final assault against the Storm Korps stronghold. Hitler had shot himself the night before, but for the First Hero Brigade, there was one last battle.
The Battle of the Black Forest was a dirty, nasty, brutal conflict, fought over five days and almost entirely within the sprawling underground labyrinth the Storm Korps called home. The remaining super powered Nazis had holed up behind reinforced steel doors, maniacal deathtraps, and cunningly designed fortifications. Each fought to the last breath as the Allied heroes dug them out of the ground with pure force and tenacity. In the final showdown the last few Storm Korps members suffered their final humiliating defeat by being captured alive. They later stood trial at Nuremberg and all five were found guilty of war crimes. Their trial was a legal landmark of sorts, in which the world court agreed that super powered individuals must be held to a higher standard of behavior than normal soldiers.
The last act of the war should have been the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, and for most of the world this was the end. Not however, for the Lord of Frosts and Captain Volcano. The surviving members of the Imperial Wind refused to accept Japan's surrender and continued to fight on for several more months. Captain Volcano and company kept after the rogue Japanese super men and fought a series of battles across the South Pacific. The years of dueling between the two finally came to a tragic end in the far off island of New Ireland. There the Lord of Frosts finally overcame Captain Volcano, killing the American hero and snatching some small personal victory out of the jaws of his nation and empire's defeat. The US mourned their hero's passing and a worldwide manhunt for the missing Lord of Frosts was launched. Unfortunately the villain escaped when the United States suddenly had much more serious matters to worry about: Washington DC was under attack.