Cities of Adventure
Earth-777 is a busy place. Supermen walk – or more usually fly faster than a speeding bullet around – the Earth, everywhere from America to Zandia.
But everyone, his brother, father, mother, and best friend’s uncle’s nephew’s aunt’s sister’s cousin knows that the US of A is the heartland of costumed superhumanity on Earth.
From Coast City to New York America is stuffed to the bursting with superhumans and the surreal Fortean phenomena associated with them. It has more than it’s share of Heroes and Villains.
Here’s a few of the places where they like to hang out.
Coast City CA
Created in 1959 out of the small towns that had sprung up to service nearby Broom Air Force base – itself created as a base for the fighter squadrons intended to protect nearby San Francisco and Star City from the Japanese raids which the government feared would arrive in the wake of Pearl Harbour – Coast City has been a Flyboy’s town ever since and swiftly differed from it’s neighbours by becoming a stronghold of conservative, suburban values in a decidedly liberal area, largely attributable to the large numbers of ex-Air Force personnel who settled there with their families. (While Coast City may not have beaches it does enjoy all the advantages of a California climate).
It was this surplus of trained personnel that attracted Ferris Aircraft to the city and it‘s had the run of the town ever since and become a leading light in the production of Aerospace craft, with some of the finest test pilots on Earth – and boy do they know it.
That was before Coast City was destroyed in a holocaust that killed every single living thing in it.
While the City has since been reconstructed under mysterious - and almost certainly supernatural - circumstances since, few have wished to move back to a city with such a hideous event in it’s past. Still a lot of Coast Citizens who moved away before the Inferno have returned, unwilling to let their hometown die without a fight, the Air Force has resumed use of Broom Air Field and Ferris Aircraft is back in town. There have even been a few new faces in Coast of late, attracted by the attention – Of the Government and Media – given to the newly nicknamed ‘City without fear.’
Most old-time – four years and counting! - Coast Citizens think they’re pretty weird bunch, positively alien, and in many a case they’re spot-on right.
The recent carnage unleashed by the ‘Lantern Wars’ has made many a sentient homeless or cut them off from their homeworlds and they’ve been drawn to Earth – and more particularly Coast City – by the Green Lantern Corps' well-known commitment to the planet. One Green Lantern makes a sentient feel safe, four makes them feel positively placid and many a sentient has decided to settle. The Corps are quite happy to allow this, so long as these new Coast Citizens keep their true nature under wraps for the time being.
As Guy Gardner recently put it “It’s like Casablanca, only we’re the Nazis.”
Central City (MO) and Keystone City (KA)
The largest half of the famous Quad cities, these mismatched but harmonious twin burghs - set on either side of the Missouri River - serve as the foundation of the United States in it’s Heartland and all have profited by it. Unfortunately this includes criminals and the well-organised syndicate of ‘Rogues’ are deeply enmeshed in the cities’ underworld – making this one of the few locations in the United States where Intergang has gained no foothold.
Almost every day sees a super-criminal heist of some kind and often several, while the ordinary criminals go about their business amongst the ever-flowing rush of commerce and industrial production. It’s a hustling, bustling, at times dangerous twin city complex and the Police Department would often feel overwhelmed if it weren’t for the fact that the Fastest Men Alive - The Flash, in all his forms - have made their home in Central and Keystone since the 1940s.
Central City (Formerly no more than an offshoot of Keystone on the other bank) has been literally at the centre of the United States transport links since the mysterious disappearance of Keystone City in the 1950s, railroad tracks swiftly laid to make sure the engines kept running and goods kept flowing from one end of the continent to the other - from top to bottom as well. Since the equally-mysterious return of Keystone City a fair bit of the rail traffic has returned to the old routes – So Central City has become centre of a new web: Communications. It’s now one of the biggest telecommunications and internet hubs in the country, a centre for their development and prospering mightily by it. Some are even starting to call it ‘Silicon City’ for this and the shiny new buildings going up about town.
Keystone City, on the other hand, remains much as it always has: Blue collar, industrial and stubborn about it. It’s called Keystone because it served not merely as a keystone between East and West, North and South but as a centre of industrial production between the raw resources of the West and the hungry producers of the East. Business has gone down a little since the War – When Keystone was to America what the US was to the rest of the world; The Arsenal of Democracy – but plenty of companies stay in business, since the ongoing modernisation of its industry has resulted in increased production – and separation from the US economy means Keystone Citizens (or as they insist ‘Keystones’) will work cheap. But not too cheap. The old-fashioned architecture and charm of the city means a lot of Central Citizens are moving to their older sister, including Wally West the Fastest Man Alive.
There’s a – mostly good natured - debate between Metropolitans and New Yorkers for as long as the nickname ‘Cinderella City’ has persisted: “Who gets to be Cinderella?”
Gotham City somehow never comes up as a potential candidate.
As old as New York, formerly a major industrial centre and port, Gotham City was always corrupt and crime-ridden – but the founding of Metropolis and Lex Luthor’s manipulations meant what was a significant slump became an economic depression which is nearing its thirtieth year. The hand of organised crime around the cities’ throat – and to an only slightly lesser extent government corruption – meant that the destitute became desperate.
Extremely disorganised criminals began to gnaw at the edges of Gotham’s mafia strongholds and the death of Carmine ‘The Roman’ Falcone meant that Gotham City was up for grabs. Various crime gangs squabble over the body of Gotham and it seems that more Freaks emerge every day.
Most of the Arkham headcases think they’re a “Natural adaption of mankind to the stresses of 21st Century living.” Everyone else thinks the chronic pollution of just about everything in Gotham might have a little something to do with it.
Even No-Mans Land and the Reconstruction didn’t change much. There’s been a bit of prosperity, but it’s a bubble and no-ones sure when it will burst. The freaks and the gangs are still there and there’s more on the way because now all of Gotham is up for grabs and there’s more to fight for. Corruption in Government is re-asserting itself more slowing, but it’s there.
Most think the only thing that keeps Gotham City from sliding into an ocean of $^*% is the Batman – and rumours are spreading that he’s dead.
The ‘Great Cinderella Debate’ generally revolves around Metropolitans arguing that the ‘rags to riches’ story of their city makes them a shoo-in. New Yorkers argue back that if that were true, Lex Luthor would be their prince. It’s at this point that the first punches start flying.
But it’s true that, while Alexander Luthor may or may not be a self-made man, Metropolis is his self-made city. Formerly composed of Fort Hobbs and whatever families cared to take up residence nearby, these small settlements were united in 1938 under the grand name of Metropolis – A name bestowed more in hope than expectation.
Luthor lived up to these hopes and beyond any expectations, turning sleepy Metropolis into a commercial and scientific juggernaught – by means both fair and foul and more often the former than the latter, as Gothamites will attest. He also ran it as his personal fief and the profits (and the cost) of that arrangement can still be seen in the skyline of Silver and Steel that climbs above New Troy, Lexcorp brands still nearly everywhere.
This state of affairs might have persisted for decades – but then Superman showed up.
Since then Metropolis has been the home-away-from-home for the Man of Steel and just about every extra-terrestrial tyrant, pan-dimensional despot and costumed crook who fancies a shot at the Greatest Superhero in Earth’s history – although New York will once again make loud noises to debate and ridicule this claim, though not too loudly – has shown up to cause chaos.
The eggheads in STAR Labs and on the Avenue of Tomorrow are still gloating about some of their finds amongst the wreckage.
Still, if Metropolis has the best in science, superheroes and civic resources they also have the best – most accomplished, at least - in Crime. Intergang began its long and bloody climb to power in the city and it maintains a substantial hold on the cities’ Underworld. The various invasions and the special projects on the Avenue of Tomorrow have produced many an oddity as well – and not all of them are friendly.
New York, New York
If a superhero can make it here, they can make it anywhere.
While other cities have superhumans in them – especially since the Stanford Registration Act passed into law – New York has been the Capital of the Caped and Cowled set since Namor the Sub-Mariner and the first Human Torch waged their now mythical struggle amongst the skyscrapers.
Since that day New York has been a hotspot for superhuman and paranormal weirdness, seemingly acting as a magnet for all the strange phenomena one can think of – and as much again. Other cities may – just may – be as weird or weirder in their own right (Gotham City, Metropolis, I’m looking at you!) but New York completely exceeds them in sheer scale.
Where else in the world can you find Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The First Family of Superhumans, The Oldest Superhuman institution in the World, the World’s only law firm dedicated to superhuman cases and one of its foremost Businesses on a single Island and there are rumours that the X-Men make their home not too far away from the Big Apple.
That’s without mentioning Urban Legends about Giant Pre-Adult Kung-Fu Reptiles in the sewers.
Star City was founded by a large collection of miners, lumberjacks, woodsmen and human odds-and-ends from all over the Pacific Northwest and California who’d got together and decided to make a place where they could live, love and drink as they pleased, without bosses and profiting by their own labours. It was a worker’s – and a drinker’s and a brawler’s – paradise, so the stories go.
Then an equally large collection of timber barons and tycoons got together, decided that all labour without anyone – well, besides the workers, but they didn’t count . . . – profiting offended their sensibilities, put their heads together with the local marshals and started smacking the workers around till they’d taken over the town. Their families and descendents have ruled Star City (for fun and family profit) and everyone else has been ticked ever since.
Basically Star City’s problems boil down to being run by an utterly corrupt administration bossed and staffed by families of nepotistic plutocrats and policed by Fascists in Blue. This has been the case for ages, but it only became obvious recently when the money started to go away and the men making the biggest profits became the only people making any profit.
It’s no Gotham, at least, but at least people are willing to admit that Gotham has an actual problem and they have guys – in the System, even! – trying to fix it. As far as the Man in Star City is concerned this ‘burghs problems are just business as usual and hang the workers.
Man it’s no wonder hippies stayed popular here: You need to ride the magic dragon to get through the &^*& this city puts you through.
Founder of H.E.R.O.I.C, Complimenter-in-Chief, Co-Arch Henchman to the Grin, Servant of the Hoff!
Rule Brittania! Praise the Hoff and the Grin!
Warning!: May cause Thread Drift.