Months have passed since the COLLAR act was passed in an effort to bring oversight to superpowered heroes of the city, but the initiative has caused strife and infighting. Meanwhile an insidious group of villains lurks in the shadows, ready to take advantage of the unrest to launch their campaign of chaos...
The first superheroes to fight crime in this city were solitary, working together only when circumstances provided no other option. But this “lone wolf” attitude would prove a liability as smarter, stronger villains emerged. Gradually the heroes began to unite into pairs and small teams before coming together as a single entity to fight evil in all its forms as CAPES (Costumed Adventurers Protecting Endangered Serenity).
Founded to bring the heroes together and backed by the city and its police force, CAPES proved to be a powerful force against crime. A period of calm tranquility settled over the city, as no one villain was a match for the full might of the united heroes!
Of course, the criminals and villains had their own plans. As with the heroes before them, the evildoers were quick to realize that individually, they were no match for CAPES, and thus BAAAD rose from the shadows.
Helmed by an unknown mastermind, this new organization provided a harsh ultimatum to the city’s villains: join, or be exiled from the city. A few left, but those who remained represented a much greater challenge to the heroes of CAPES and resulted in an ongoing battle to determine the fate of the city!
The rise of BAAAD left the superheroes scrambling to catch up, as their group didn’t revolve around a singular entity and resulted in internal chaos and disorganization. In an attempt to bring order to the group, A younger, but respected, hero stepped forward into this chaos to help his fellow crimefighter. The Retriever wasn’t the strongest, but he fought faithfully alongside his fellow heroes, helping them track down their quarry with his super hearing and keen sense of smell. Most of the heroes soon fell in line behind him, trusting him to lead them into battle.
But not every member of CAPES was so quick to accept this new order. While The Retriever excelled at finding villains, some heroes noticed that he fell out of rank when the fighting began. However, another prominent hero, Golden Ghost – a deer with lightning fast reflexes and the ability to seemingly appear and disappear in an instant – stepped forward to support The Retriever. While the two were often at odds, this uneasy arrangement kept the remainder of heroes in line
Tenuous though it was, formal leadership of CAPES meant they could once again turn their attention to fighting BAAAD. The Retriever’s and Golden Ghost’s parallel efforts to to find villains and stop them in their tracks were so effective it seemed like the end was near for the evil organization.
And it nearly was, but BAAAD wouldn’t go down without a fight – and what a battle it was. The city center where the showdown occurred was nearly destroyed – a black mark on the heroes’ reputations but a small price to pay for so many captured villains – including the devious mastermind of BAAAD.
But as the glory of their victory faded from public memory, the inconveniences of the collateral damage persisted. A major artery of the city was destroyed and would take years to fully repair, presenting an ongoing headache for locals who would begin to wonder if these superheroes were really worth the cost…
At the urging of some of the city’s most prominent citizens, the city council considered ways to make CAPES accountable. The mayor, looking for a way to appease his voters, stepped forward with the COLLAR (Charter On Licensing, Leashing & Activity Registration) Act. At the core, it would be a way to know the true identities of the heroes that claimed to serve the city and hold them accountable through the courts of law. Next time a superhero caused excessive damage to property, they would need to justify their actions or face sanctions.
It was a tough measure, and some on the city council saw this as possibly going too far. The heros of CAPES had a history of protecting the city from threats that no civil organization was able to prevent. Would the superheroes continue to shield the city with such a restrictive new law in place? But that question would be left up to the heroes themselves, as the city council quickly passed the COLLAR Act into law.
HEEL (Helping Eliminate Evil Legally), formerly a small city department tasked with superhero relations, was now tasked with monitoring superhero activity and tracking down any hero that didn’t follow the new rules. Even given a larger budget and additional enforcement powers, the overworked and harassed agents of HEEL had their work cut out for them.
Even before the COLLAR Act passed, the former comrades of CAPES were finding themselves divided by the new law and the battle that had precipitated it. The Retriever backed the new law, claiming that the battle had gone too far and done too much damage. Superheroes should uphold the LAW, all of the law! Why should heroes that protect the city hide their identities?
But not everyone agreed, with many superheroes pointing out that they are there to fight evil, not enforce the law! Not to mention what might happen to those close to them once evil-doers find out their true identities! Golden Ghost quickly became the most vocal superhero against the new law, making it clear that she could not continue to be part of CAPES if the new law passed. Hadn’t they always done their best to protect the city from harm? Why were they being blamed for damage that had mostly been inflicted by the villains of BAAAD?
With the new law in place and the new agents of HEEL set to force all the heroes of the city to register, a splinter group led by Golden Ghost left CAPES to work as their own team. Calling themselves MASKS (Morally Against State Kontrolled Superheroes), these heroes continued their fight against evil while evading the government agents and their former superhero colleagues.
It didn’t take long before members from CAPES and MASKS found themselves facing off against one another while in pursuit of criminals. But with the heroes from CAPES not wanting to hurt their former allies, those from MASKS found it relatively easy to escape, often with agents of HEEL attempting to follow them. And while the citizens were safe from crime, a feeling of tension had settled over the city.
After months of small skirmishes and chases all across the city, the heroes of CAPES and MASKS have grown tired of fighting one another rather than the villains they both seek to capture. Even though they claimed to still support the COLLAR Act, the city council itself secretly suggested a ceasefire and meetings to discuss the future of heroes in the city. Although now wary of the city and it’s agents, Golden Ghost agreed to meetings with The Retriever and a representative from the city council, moderated by HEEL.
However, neither leading hero would budge from their position, putting the city council in an awkward position. If they leave the current law in place, the city will never be truly peaceful, nor will it be as fully protected as before. But if they remove the COLLAR Act entirely, then they lose what little control they have over the heroes that they see as necessary to prevent additional damage to the city.
With the future of the city and it’s heroes hanging on their decision, the city council suggests a conference for all the heroes in the city. A meeting that would bring together CAPES and MASKS to work out a compromise to restore order to the city. One way or another, this convention of heroes seems set to decide the fate of the city, its citizens and the heroes that help protect it!
Costumed Adventurers Protecting Endangered Serenity
These heroes are open about who they are and what they do. They are proud to defend the city and happy that they can help. While they may feel constrained by some of the new regulations they are under, upholding the law is the priority.
Morally Against State Kontrolled Superheroes
These heroes are hesitant about the new government regulations and what it might mean for them, as well as their families and friends. They feel the new law is more about protecting the city council rather than the citizens.
Artwork by Toren Thespis