I think you, my readers, should have some background on the universe in which these stories are set. To facilitate this background, I will refer to 4 worlds;
world A – the world you and I live in,
world B – the world of the DC and Marvel comics you and I read,
world C – the world you see in this website,
world D – the world described in the comic books the people of world C read.
OK, off we go!
We in world A don’t have any superheroes (“supers” for short) running around, but we are used to reading about fictional ones in world B where supers are common, and we readers know their secret identities pretty well for the most part. In world C, which you will read about in The Story, there have been a very few supers; Captain America, and more recently Hardware, Cobblestone, and Kitty Pryde. Captain America, publicly known as Steve Rogers, has a daughter, Stephanie, who some people think might be super-powered also.
Recently, a tragic event precipitated a sizeable number of new supers and the world is struggling to come to terms with the influx. Their fictional superhero comic books (world D) had different supers than you and I (in world A) read about (in world B) which is why the secret identities of the supers appearing in C, many of which bear surprising similarities to the fictional ones we read about in world B, are not obvious to everyone. This background discusses some of the fictional world D heroes this world C is used to.
World D’s Batman (as opposed to The Bat in C) is a not-quite-broke landlord who lives in the basement of his building in a rough part of the city. He was violently orphaned as a child and was thus motivated to fight crime. The grandfather who moved in to live with him and care for him becomes his accomplice in sustaining the Batman operation. The broke landlord’s name is not Wayne, the grandfather’s name is not Pennyworth. They benefit from the discovery of old catacombs inhabited by bats which inspire his crime-fighting personality. Funding is helped by some valuable discoveries in the catacombs (plus some abandoned subway and sewer systems that are fortuitously connected) but sustaining his crime-fighting campaign is accomplished by freely looting the operations of the criminals he fights. His tactics include more deceiving enemies to fight each other rather than direct confrontation, although he can fight well. His costume is darker than the Bat, there is no yellow bat symbol on his chest, his utility belt is not yellow, and his face is fully obscured by his mask. In world D, the fictional Batman can screech to disorient his enemies and echo-locate things and people around him. He can also actually fly (using gadgets) so he does not have a car, boat or helicopter. He uses the catacombs, sewers, and subway tunnels extensively to move about undetected. World D does not have a Nightwing. World D’s Robin is known as Raven and has a dramatic, winged, circus-performer looking outfit and also flies with gadget assistance. Robin was an orphan street urchin Batman took in at his building, looked after, and included in his crime-fighting “family.” Their cooperation with their police is entirely covert, no bat signal, no rooftop stuff, it’s all in a “closed off” section of the newer subways under the precinct.
World D’s fictional Captain America is much the same as their “real” one in world C and our fictional one in world B. World D doesn’t have an American Pryde character; neither does world B – our comic universe. In this story (world C), Miss Pryde is the alter-ego of Captain America’s daughter, Stephanie. Their fictional Captain America runs for President (funded by a billionaire inventor), serves two terms, and vetoes a Constitutional Amendment that would have allowed him to continue being re-elected as long as he wanted. Their real Cap doesn’t do anything of the sort. Yes, dear reader, I’m aware that our Constitution does not give the President any power to veto a Constitutional Amendment, but in world D, apparently, it does.
In world D, Thor is your basic Asgardian deity with no need for a secret identity much like Thor in our comics (world B) in the 70’s. In world C, Tor -one of their new “real” supers – is a product of the poisoning and has a secret identity. The Asgardian hero inhabits someone who drank the poisoned drink and, in super-form, uses the archaic spelling. In normal form he has picked up the life of the guy who died from the drink.
Superman, who doesn’t exist in C, can be found in D looking much the same as in our comics (world B). There is no mention of a Supergirl in D. Xtreme, world C’s nearest equivalent, is laid out well in the “Recruiting” story. She and her parents crash-land near Roswell, but her parents didn’t survive long enough to benefit from the yellow sun and the baby girl was adopted and raised by earth parents. She has no secret data-storage crystals, so she has no super-power primer to watch and instantly become powerful. She also doesn’t have an alien insignia on her bare chest (so don’t expect me to come along 70-80 years after the fact and suddenly decide it has a meaning derived from some demographically-popular politician’s campaign slogan). She was once attacked by several powerful villains and rendered naked because no earth clothing could stand up to the assault she shook-off before beating her attackers – literally. (This occured before I joined the campaign so that story won’t appear here unless another player contributes it – and DON’T expect any illustrations of the end of the battle either!). The Hulk, also referenced in the “Recruiting” story, appears in their fictional world D much the same as you are used to seeing him in our fictional world B. In this world (C), “something” similar appears once, but he is grey.
World C’s real Hardware, Cobblestone and Kitty Pryde resemble their counterparts in our fictional comic world B; Dakotaverse’ Hardware, Marvel’s the Thing, and Marvel’s X-Men respectively. Like Captain America, they were adapted into the fictional comics of world D. World C’s Kitty Pryde is the “adopted sister” of American Pryde, purely by coincidence, The Rogers family has an adopted younger girl too. Purely coincidence. No link there what-so-ever. Riiiiiiiiight!
On the villian side, world C has a real Dr. Victor von Domovich who has a Dr. Doom alter-ego, much the same as our fictional Dr. Doom in world B. World D has no Dr Doom but there is a Skeletor of similar power and disposition who has no known alter-ego.
This is by no means a complete list. Hope it helps. The point is that the comics these folks read are no help at all identifying the supers who begin appearing in this world after the poisoning.