The myth of the hero of Redbridge is curious. Most myths are an amalgam of different truths and half truths, legends and prophecies, and a good bit of fictional chest-puffery. Achilles was in fact three men with half a brain between the lot of them and extremely good luck. Robin Hood? Extra Terrestrial with great aim and a cloaking device. King Arthur, believe it or not, was actually Maid Marian in a suit of armor. But this was not the case of Red Crusade. Every word spoken about him is true. But to understand the hero, one must understand the city.
Redbridge didn’t start as a major metropolis: it was a small mining community about an hour north of Toronto, home to maybe two hundred residents. Pitiful and forgotten for decades, until October Tenth, Nineteen Ninety Eight, when a fresh faced mining inspector by the name of Zachary Easton found something in the caves below: a new element. The element was super-heavy, not only dense, but it could be used to power all sorts of new technology. One gram of this new element could power the eastern seaboard for a week. Thanks to the joys of an increasingly interconnected world, word got around fast. Every last major tech corporation began setting up temporary homes with an unseen quickness in this sleepy Canadian burrow.
Redbridge went from two hundred residents to ten thousand within three months of the discovery of Element 117. Within a year, that number rose to fifty thousand. By the time that the new millennium rolled around, Redbridge had surpassed the population of Des Moines and Portland. In 2005, United State President George Bush declared Redbridge to be the single most important city in the western world. By 2010, Redbridge rivaled Chicago’s population.
Then, on July 19th, 2011, everything changed. On a day known now as “silent tuesday”, a man, dressed from head to toe in black, with a black skull painted on his face, broke down the doors of the local CBC affiliate.
With a Tank and fifty heavily armed men.
Regina Davenforth, the receptionist for WKTV was the first dead. Then George White. Then Jacob Sennis. Taylor Moranis, Richard Firth, Richard McKenna. All dead.
The common judgement of the insane is that they are mad. But the man in black was not just insane: He had a purpose. He walked calmly to the desk where sportscaster Devin Desoto was executed, moved the slumped body from the desk, and stared at the camera. And then he sat in silence.
Staring into a camera. He did not move, those who were alive then swore he did not even blink.
The longest five minutes before he broke the silence.
A long inhale, and then words.
“One of you will die today. And another tomorrow, and another the day after that. This will continue until you have repaid your debt to me.”
And this is how Redbridge, and the world, were introduced to Entropy. The man in all black. Of course, within hours, the heroes were called in. And each one who attempted to destroy him was killed. Justice Force was first. All five members were killed and quartered on national TV. The parts were sent to Alpha And Omega, Lynx, and Doppelganger: The New Future. They responded by attempting to raid the town. Five days later, their decaying bodies were dropped from fifty thousand feet onto a Planned Parenthood protest in Toronto.
Until The Red Crusade saved the day. He was the stuff of legend. A man from nowhere: a superhero in a cape who found the right time to be in the right place. The hero worked to dismantle Entropy’s militia, before publicly calling out the villain to a match for the fate of Redbridge. Three hours later, and Entropy was in a coma, and incapacitated. Red Crusade was near fatally wounded, but managed to live with a bit of luck and super powers.
And just like that, The City of Redbridge had a hero. And although the city had found it’s hero, new enemies arose: new and greater challenges. Red Crusade could not handle keeping his home safe, so he called in favors from five friends and formed a new team of unstoppable heroes to guard this city, Element 117, and the world from danger.