The first super villain appeared in 1952. Attired in a tattered fedora and white pinstriped suit, with baleful purple glowing eyes and a Mexican skull for a face, he called himself Dr Muertos and possessed powers and abilities the likes of which had never been seen before. It also became readily apparent that not only was he an evil genius, but he'd secretly been building an army of skeletal robots and mutants. He made his aim clear, not just to the American government, but to the United Nations: Give me the world or I will kill you all.
The armed forces tried to fight his diabolical Horde, but their weapons were no match for them, nor for Dr Muertos’ sinister powers. His grip on the planet slowly, inexorably, tightened. He could control life itself, corrupting and destroying all who stood in his way, and his victory seemed assured.
That is until 1957, when a Horde battalion attacking London was wiped out by an unearthly light. The haze cleared to reveal an imposing, pale-skinned figure. Standing over seven feet tall, with androgynous features and blazing white eyes, it called itself The Guardian. Whether an agent of Heaven or extraterrestrial being, it would not say. All it claimed was that it had been watching our planet for some time, and knew its help was finally needed. And with saying this, The Guardian set to work decimating the rest of the Horde, before finally vanquishing Dr Muertos in an epic battle, leveling two cities in the process. Though the cost in collateral damage was great, The Guardian had saved the Earth from its greatest threat.
However, Dr Muertos was not the only individual with powers. From the rubble of his defeat rose a new danger: the League of Doom. Led by a former protégé of Dr Muertos who called himself Muerte, the League comprised of other super-powered individuals, not all of them human. Muerte wanted to complete his master's plan and conquer the Earth, and realized that forming his own, globe-spanning army of villains would be the best way to do it.
The Guardian could not allow this to happen, of course, and so formed the Protectors, a worldwide contingent of people who choose to use their gifts to help others.
Subsequent years were filled with constant battles, with one side pushing the other, back-and-forth, until everything reached a state of super-powered stalemate. Both sides were equally-matched, and it looked as if things would stay this way, in an uneasy equilibrium, unless something or someone could find a way to tip the balance.
But when this happened, it wasn't in a way either side wanted or expected.
Dr Muertos reappeared in early 2008. Nobody knew how or why, as The Guardian had managed to atomize him during their last battle. Some suggested that the doctor's power over life was so great that death was a mere inconvenience; others whispered that the villain had made a deal with a dark and ancient god. Whatever the cause or reason, Dr Muertos was more powerful than before, and this time he didn't want to rule the planet – he wanted to utterly destroy it.
Many heroes, and even some villains, tried to stop him, but Dr Muertos killed them all, or changed them into his minions. And because over forty years had passed since his initial defeat, many of the original, most powerful members of both the League of Doom and the Protectors were dead and buried. A few remained, notably The Guardian, who did not age, and Muerte, who remained young by stealing the life from others and they understood that, as much as the idea of working together offended them, it would be the only way to halt Dr Muertos’ diabolical resurrection.
Both the League of Doom and the Protectors journeyed to the heart of Australia's outback, where Dr Muertos grew a corrupt and repulsive organic city from the bodies of the dead. There, he revealed his new true form of a vast, tentacled beast, and a fierce battle tore through the heat and dust for several intense hours. The brief and violent war did not end with The Guardian's victory once again, nor did Muerte manage to slay his former mentor. Instead, something went horribly, horribly wrong.
Satellite images showed an electric red mushroom cloud suddenly bloom over Australia, accompanied by a visible surge of black energy which blasted out in a radius across the country. There were no eyewitness accounts or news reports because everyone and everything caught in the shock wave was obliterated.
This event was dubbed The Cataclysm, and happened on 20th November 2009.
Nobody could be certain exactly what happened, but experts reasoned Dr Muertos had unleashed a final, fatal blast of 'death energy', and in doing so decayed and withered all forms and traces of life; cities were reduced to rubble, rainforests to skeletal wood, and rivers and lakes to stagnant expanses. The Guardian and the Protectors were wiped from the face of the planet, along with Muerte and the League of Doom. The death toll totaled twenty-one million people and Australia was left a desolate wasteland, without any trace of life whatsoever.
Through cowardice or other reasons, some members of the League were left, and they came together to rejoice in the aftermath of The Cataclysm. Their victory may not have been gained in a way they expected, but it was the outcome they wanted: all the heroes were dead and the world was theirs.
Or so they thought…
A group of heroes who missed the battle have banded together as a confederation to continue to protect the world. They call themselves The Last Protectors and soon the remaining villains will learn they are not alone.
Along with the heroes, other powerful beings with neutral allegiances who avoided The Cataclysm are making their own ways in the world, but how they react to the unbalanced situation remains to be seen.