|World War III|
Black Adam Battles The Superheroes of The World In China
World War III was a global conflict in 2006 instigated and principally fought by Metahumans. The aftermath led to the drafting of the Freedom of Power Treaty and a global turn of opinion against superheroes.
The story of World War III is the story of Black Adam. An immortal super-powered individual who had been active as a supervillain during the 80s and 90s, in 2003 he seemed to have something of a change of heart and returned to his original homeland of Kahndaq. He deposed the military dictatorship that had run the country for decades and reclaimed what he said was his "rightful place" as its ruler.
Despite protests in the UN, Black Adam showed no signs of relinquishing his position - and the populace of Kahndaq were seemingly overjoyed with their new ruler. However, neighbours in the Middle East were not so happy and Israel in particular clearly felt threatened by an Arab region on its borders with one of the most powerful metahumans in the world at its head.
Tensions only increased when Black Adam began gifting a fraction of his powers to his wife and her brother (who took the names Isis and Osiris respectively) forming a "Black Marvel Family" which was seen by some as the start of a metahuman arms race in the Middle East. However, the family (and Isis in particular) had been a calming influence on the formerly bloodthirsty Black Adam and were in some ways improving Kahndaq's chances of reconciliation with other countries.
War In The Middle EastEdit
The first shots of the war were fired when four metahuman assassins were deployed against Kahndaq by China. One member infiltrated the team under the name "Sobek"; he struck and killed Osiris and then was joined by his allies who killed Isis as well. As well as the loss of his family, it was also seen by Black Adam as proof that Isis' peaceful ways were doomed.
The four metahumans attempted to escape and made it as far as Bialya before Black Adam caught up with them. When the Bialyan military attempted to restrain him, he slew first the military before going on a superpowered rampage that saw effectively every man, woman and child in the country killed. At the end of this chaos he located the superhuman assassins and discovered the location of their creation - a secret island base owned by the Chinese.
The death in Bialya was the spark that set off a powder keg of chaos in the Middle East which began to spread across the world - both in the form of armed forces clashing, limited nuclear war and the sheer force of extreme metahuman conflict setting off earthquakes and other natural disasters. The biggest superhero teams in the world, including the Doom Patrol, Teen Titans and the Justice Society of America, attempted to stand in Black Adam's way but were unable to keep him from getting closer to China.
War In ChinaEdit
When Black Adam reached China, the superfunctionaries of The Great Ten attempted to keep him from reaching Beijing alone - partly out of national pride, partly because the country's rulers were worried their role in this conflict would be uncovered. The heroes of the world amassed outside China's borders, waiting for any sign of a change - but under clear instructions that if they attempted to cross the border without permissions, there would be a nuclear response.
However, Black Adam was too powerful even for China's elite warriors and eventually they were forced to grant permission for the foreigners to enter. In perhaps the largest metahuman battle ever fought on Earth, the united forces of a dozen metahuman teams poured across the Great Wall of China and clashed with Black Adam.
Despite many deaths and injuries, the superheroes were able to defeat Black Adam. While the front line forced him into the air, the magical heroes in the background (led by Zatanna) worked with Captain Marvel, Black Adam's nemesis who was powered by the same source of magic. Calling down the magical thunderbolt that transforms them both into superhumans, Captain Marvel forcibly transformed Black Adam and in doing so changed his magic word so he couldn't transform back.
Unfortunately, in the chaos, Black Adam escaped. He has not been seen since.
The grimmest consequence of World War III was the chaos in the Middle East, especially the genocide of Bialya. The Middle East remains tense and the actions of that period are still divisive, and conflicts across the next thirty years were often painted by the perpetrators as revenge for actions dating back here.
That Black Adam was never brought before a court was to the eternal frustration of the world, and many felt there was no possible "closure" until he was tried. Despite all this he is still considered something of a martyr in Kahndaq: the capital city, Shiruta, has a monument dedicated to Black Adam's "heroism" during that conflict.
Perhaps the biggest influence was the erosion of public confidence in metahumans. World War III was seen as a metahuman war, at heart - and for all their might, the Justice League of America and their international equivalents were unable to end the war before the death toll was in the millions. It was around this time that the slogan "Luthor Was Right" started to appear by anti-metahuman groups and became a rallying cry for those who felt metahumans had gone uncontrolled too long. Many nations, including the United States of America, started to take a firmer hand with their superhuman population.
Internationally, the UN passed the Freedom of Power Treaty, limiting the ability of metahumans to travel between countries in pursuit without explicit permission from those countries to enter. (In effect, reinstating border controls which had become lax or impractical with the rise of the superhero.) Superheroes and villains who broke these rules found not just the local authorities on their tail, but the UN body Checkmate with specific responsibility to police metahumans with specialist operatives and equipment.
Many superheroes retired in the next year or two and almost every high-profile one was gone by 2010. The only notable exception was Superman, who remained in operation but primarily dealing with natural disasters rather than criminal activity.