The idea of the 'super-hero' has been around for ages. There was Captain America, of course, storming Fortress Europe and socking Hitler on the jaw. There were the X-Men, Mutant activists turned champions of the downtrodden. There were the Fantastic Four, a family of scientists and adventurers pushing the boundaries of the impossible. While they captured imaginations and grabbed headlines, most people barely considered these colorful crime-fighters and vigilantes to be an actual part of their world. That all changed about ten years ago, when an alien race called the Chi'tauri launched a full-scale invasion, pouring out of a wormhole centered directly above the island of Manhattan. Such an unprecedented threat brought Earth's Mightiest Heroes together, forming an alliance the world would know as the Avengers.
In the wake of the Invasion, everyday life for New Yorkers changed dramatically. Whole neighborhoods had been razed to the ground, and everyone from major corporations to powerful crime syndicates wanted their hands in the reconstruction. Government agencies, rogue mad scientists, and violent street gangs scrambled across the Five Boroughs for leftover pieces of alien technology. And while the Avengers could often be seen flying overhead to combat some world-ending crisis, it fell upon local men and women caught up in unlikely events to protect their homes and their loved ones.
New names began popping up in almost daily conversation. The Spider-Man of Queens. The Devil of Hell's Kitchen. The Punisher. The Crew of Brooklyn. Other names were seen displayed across billboards and skyscrapers to rival the influence of Tony Stark. Rand. Fisk. Osborn. Others still gained notoriety by causing mayhem and bloodshed wherever they went. Jigsaw. The Green Goblin. The Kingpin.
The age of black-and-white heroics and dramatic technicolor battles lasted the better part of a decade before things began to fall apart. Three years ago, a clash of ideologies sundered the Avengers, leading up to a series of conflicts dubbed the 'Civil War' that left many of the world's most revered protectors disgraced, missing, imprisoned, or possibly dead. A year ago, a city-wide battle between an alliance of vigilantes and the city's criminal underworld resulted in the downfall of the notorious Kingpin of Crime, who was revealed to be the billionaire philanthropist Wilson Fisk. This scandalous unmasking of such a high-profile figure in the city was quickly followed by another, as a horrific final confrontation between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin led to the exposing of the bloodthirsty lunatic as the beloved OsCorp CEO Norman Osborn, and ended with the deaths of Osborn, the 19-year-old Gwen Stacy, and evidently Spider-Man himself.
The world's greatest heroes have scattered to the wind. The city's most notorious crime lord is in jail, and its favorite son and most feared villain both believed dead. Both sides of the law now see a tremendous vacuum of power, and nature abhors a vacuum. With the criminal underworld splintered, the city at large unprotected, and a thousand paths to power and fortune laid bare, conflict between the myriad forces at play is inevitable.
With the kings and queens wiped from the board, it falls upon the Knights of New York to begin the game anew.