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Squadron: Birmingham - origins

There have always been costumed crimefighters and so-called "Superheroes". A case is often made that Robin Hood fits into the category.

But a defining moment in the definition and development of The Superhero in the UK, and, specifically, Birmingham came in 1984 following the so-called "Massacre on the Stratford Road" - one of the most shocking events ever to take place in this country.

Though the event itself took place in April of 1984, full details - sketchy as they are - didn't emerge until November of that year when Sir Rupert Evers forced his peers into calling an Inquest into the death of his son - St John Evers.

The final verdict was misadventure. St John Evers - well known for his unsuccessful forays into extreme sports, adventuring and expeditions to unknown regions - had apparently decided to try his hand as a Superpowered vigilante. Hiring a renegade scientist to built him a cyber weapon and suit of power armour, and surrounding himself with a group of hired thugs, he chose to make a public example of a suspected crime lord - Dominic Grey. This plan was disrupted by a group of five individuals, also apparently aspiring the the title "Superhero".

Though, as has been said, exact details are unclear and accounts are contradictory, what is known is that - by the time Police arrived - Dominic Grey was dead - beheaded. But also, all of his cohorts/bodyguards, most of Evers' hired goons, the Scientists he'd employed and a passing TV journalist. A total of a dozen, violent, unexplained, deaths.

Photographic evidence taken at the scene strangely disappeared. However, the accounts of the woman who took the photos - and the only three of Evers' Goons to escape the carnage - failed to support the various stories of the five "heroes" present.

The inquest found that - had St John Evers not chosen to become a vigilante and murder Dominic Grey - he would not have lost his life. The cybernetically enhanced "Ranger" - who'd lifted Evers into the sky and dropped him - was cleared of wrongdoing. His story that Evers was struggling and had been dropped inadvertently was accepted.

Sir Rupert Evers attempted to pursue Ranger through the courts for reckless endangerment, but the neophyte Superhero disappeared.

Though no official position was ever formulated, the City Council was noted from 1985 onwards to support the activities of a select group of Superheroes, known as Squadron: Birmingham. As well as assisting the authorities in combating Superpowered criminals, the Squadron also acted to self regulate the activities of Superheroes in the city.

None of the five "Superheroes" involved in the Stratford Road massacre - Ranger, Prism, Typhoon, Newton and Dark Chameleon - were invited to be members of the Squadron. All of them seem to have drifted into obscurity.

There are rumours of the group saving the city from a hidden nuclear device shortly after the massacre - which may go some way to explain their escaping formal prosecution. Further rumours of autobiographies written by one or more of the renegades continue to circulate but, to date, none of them has seen the light of day. The truth behind The Massacre of the Stratford Road will remain shrouded until one or more of them finally appears.

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