In the dawn of the superhero in 2037, of the two superheroes on Earth only one had powers. In 2046, there were 36 frighteningly powerful superheroes fighting each other in a conflict that seemed unlikely to ever end. Both sides claimed the moral high ground: one group for radical change and revolution, the other for establishment and peace.
On a cold, windy day in late December in Walton, Ohio, a hundred kilometers from Columbus, Solar, leader of PowerTrip, was speaking at a local school. The event was being streamed live and most of the planet was watching.
Solar was only 23 but she had made PowerTrip more than a desperate UN response to marauding superheroes. She made mistakes, but never the same ones, and she talked candidly to the world about her regrets but deep confidence in herself, her team, and her UN leaders.
“So, I have no answers for you today, girls and boys, but I’ve always preferred a good question to a good answer. Especially since the questioning and discussion gives more options, and answers and argument give few or none.
How are you to decide who is right when good, wise women disagree? Your religions tell you much about how it feels inside when you are seeing your truth of what is good, what evil, and what to do. You’re all little wise people who only lack experience to be heroes who say, we won’t be like this anymore. We’ll live together in this new way—Stop. All of you put down your weapons. This is a school.”
Five women and two men wearing uniforms—maroon or red on top with navy Kevlar from the waist down—took firing positions around Solar. They looked like a pack of hyenas grinning at a lone lioness. Solar began to glow and her feet left the ground. The children looked at Solar, some smiling, some frightened.
The armed group looked to a leader, a powerfully built woman who removed her maroon mask; her hair was long and greying, her face lined, and her uniform had a gold dot on the centre of her chest. She nodded. The group fired and cones of thick black gas flooded Solar, coating her. Solar pointed at one of the women to incinerate her with a blast of heat. Nothing happened. The women and men grinned again. “Do it,” The leader said. One of the women chambered a round in a second weapon she carried. She shot Solar through the head. The invincible, invulnerable Solar. Dead of a gunshot.
The leader thrust her face into the camera of a frightened man who just managed to keep it trained on the middle-aged menace. She smiled from her eyes, not her lips, and spoke. “The age of gods on Earth is over. The human age begins. No faith in gods we can’t see and not in gods we see too well. We are the god killers: the Human League.”