The complete roster for the entire 1st Hero Brigade likely comprised
every American superhero (and perhaps those of other national origin) who volunteered for the war against the Axis forces,
including the Statesman and the rest of the Freedom Phalanx. The heroes listed below have been confirmed as members of the
1st Hero Brigade or one of the subsequent splinter groups, such as the Sand Kings.
Current HQ: Unknown
Turf: Unknown, but likely includes any area where American troops are stationed.
·None known at this time, although it is highly likely that any hero
who becomes one of the nation's super soldiers will receive training and missions from the Hero Brigade command.
During World War II, both the Axis and Allied forces began using
super powered soldiers to gain an edge in the conflict. In the United States, Paragon
City became the primary recruiting center for such soldiers. "The US Army set up
a special training facility in the city and amended the recruitment laws to allow costumed and anonymous heroes to enlist
in the war effort. Heroes from across the country and throughout the Western Hemisphere came to the
city and learned to not only use their powers and abilities but also how to fight as part of an army. Fighting mobsters and
costumed maniacs in the streets was one thing, but fighting thousands of armed troops led by trained, super soldiers was quite
another. By 1942 the first group of new recruits was formed into the 1st Hero Brigade and was ready to ship off to England.
"As the 1st Hero Brigade gathered for its send off in Liberty
Plaza, the ground shook with a tremendous roar and a preternatural blackness blocked
out the sun. Up from beneath he city streets came Nazi Super soldiers wearing the red and black uniforms that would soon become
feared up and down the Eastern seaboard: the Fifth Column had made itself known. The Nazi troops had been in hiding ever since
the December 7th attacks [on Paragon City's
harbor], waiting for a chance to strike again. The fighting 1st Brigade rose to the occasion and won the first of many epic
battles against Nazi forces both at home and abroad. Beaten but not defeated, the Fifth Column fled back into hiding, only
to return time and again over the next four years. As for the 1st Hero Brigade, they shipped off to Europe
to take the fight straight to the enemy.
super powered elite forces, the 1st Hero Brigade, saw their first action overseas in the deserts of North Africa.
Tragically, it became immediately apparent that heroes could die in war almost as easily as normal soldiers. In the first
engagement, the Hero Brigade took the German panzers head on and got the worst of it. Costume clad men and women who were
used to dodging through street toughs and gangsters found that an exploding tank shell was often much tougher to dodge. Even
the more powerful heroes, those capable of taking on a tank or two on their own, found that three or four panzers often proved
two too many. Scores died in those early battles, but the Hero Brigade's leaders learned much from those costly mistakes.
"The Americans decided that heroes could better serve the cause
by performing special operations and surgical strikes rather than working in large, military style units. The 1st Hero Brigade
separated into dozens of small strike teams and spread out across North Africa. Among the most successful
of these new teams was a group that called itself the Sand Kings. Made up entirely of heroes from Paragon
City, the Sand Kings were street level heroes headed by the mysterious Dream Doctor.
With the help of the Doctor's mind control and illusion powers they became the new model for how heroes could be most effective
in the war."
The 1st Hero Brigade was likely heavily-involved in the D-Day
invasions, following behind the Statesman and the members of the Freedom Phalanx as they entered France.
Despite violent opposition from the Nazi Storm Korps, the heroes proved victorious, allowing Allied forces to turn the tide
of the war. "During the following year of savage and costly battles across Europe,
heroes served much as they had in North Africa: as aides and adjuncts to the main job being done by
the soldiers. The Storm Korps took too long to recover from the blow they'd been dealt on D-Day. By the time the dread Nazi
hero legion had reformed the war was all but over. The Storm Korps retreated to its secret Black Forest
fastness, hoping to negotiate their freedom and escape to South America. The surviving members of the
1st Hero Brigade would have none of that. Although too injured to fight, the Statesman planned the final assault against the
Storm Korps stronghold. Hitler had shot himself the night before, but for the 1st Hero Brigade, there was one last battle.
"The Battle of the
Black Forest was a dirty, nasty, brutal conflict, fought over five days and almost entirely within
the sprawling underground labyrinth the Storm Korps called home. The remaining super powered Nazis had holed up behind reinforced
steel doors, maniacal deathtraps, and cunningly designed fortifications. Each fought to the last breath as the Allied heroes
dug them out of the ground with pure force and tenacity. In the final showdown the last few Storm Korps members suffered their
final humiliating defeat by being captured alive."
After WWII, the original Hero Brigade and all of its splinter
groups seemingly disbanded. Many of the surviving members were so disturbed by the horrors of war that they retired. The rest
returned to their original superhero teams or continued to adventure as solo crime fighters. The concept of the Hero Brigade
transformed during the Cold War. "In 1956, Congress passed the Might for Right act. This law proclaimed super-powered individuals
and vigilante heroes a valuable national resource subject to draft without notice into the service of the United
States government. For the next decade the CIA, FBI, and Department of Defense routinely
pressed heroes into service, both at home and abroad. Most were only too happy to help, but there were undoubtedly many, many
abuses of the law. Heroes with unpopular politics found themselves sent on suicide missions into Eastern Europe.
Minority heroes suffered particular discrimination during this period, often being forced into secret duty for months or years
at a time, with no contact with family and loved ones.
"From 1956 to 1966, the vast majority of those heroes pressed
into service were used to fight a covert war against the Soviet Union. While public hero organizations
like the Freedom Phalanx and the Dawn Patrol carried on their seemingly never ending war against costume-clad villains, many
of America’s 'lesser known' heroes found themselves fighting and dying behind the Iron Curtain or in the jungles of
South America and Southeast Asia. These battles, waged with ferocity by each side, did little more than maintain the status
quo, often at the expense of local populations and governments." It is highly unlikely that these suicide squads were identified
as divisions of the famous 1st Hero Brigade, which had helped to save the world.
Might for Right Act finally met its demise in 1967 when a case brought to trial by three African-American superheroes went
before the Supreme Court. The high court ruled the law entirely unconstitutional and ordered the immediate cessation of all
Might For Right draftee operations. In reality, it took close to three years for the last draftee to be freed from duty, as
many were deeply entrenched in covert operations that the government was reluctant to close in a timely manner." Despite the
repeal of the Might for Right Act, it's believed that the United States military continues to use super soldiers, albeit only
those who volunteer for service. It's unknown whether such soldiers are assembled into "Hero Brigades," as they were during
WWII, although it is highly likely that they are organized in some similar fashion.