It all started with Platinum City. Not New York. Not Los Angeles. But Platinum City: the new center of the universe. A massive megalopolis smack dab in the middle of the United States built in the hollow space produced by the greatest earthquake the country had ever felt. For decades, the ol’ Red, White and Blue had been dividing more and more politically, economically, sociologically and any other ideologically divisive ideal you can think of. But it wasn’t until the Quake of 2016 that the country finally and literally divided right down the middle!
Black Jag has no super powers, but he is extremely agile and continues to train in a variety of martial arts and battle strategies. This gives him above average human speed and strength and makes him a very effective combatant. He is also extremely intelligent. Black Jag is proficient in a variety of weaponry, but his primary tools are an invention of a friend of his – a pair of “Energy Sticks.” The stick he carries in his right hand produces an energy shield that can block or absorb nearly any projectile fired his way, while the stick in his left hand produces a battle axe that can cut through almost any substance on Earth. He can adjust the strength of the Energy Sticks at any time.
No one knows exactly what caused the groundbreaking to take place, but what is known is the split began in little Lebanon, Kansas – the exact geographic center of the continental United States – and ran all the way up to Towner County near the North Dakota-Canadian border in one direction, and all the way down to Brownsville, Texas in the other direction. It was an earthquake like nobody had ever seen before and it quite literally turned America on its head. It’s a little ironic, but a nearly 13-mile expanse left everything left of Lebanon on one side and everything right of Lebanon on the other. Now the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave truly did have an east side and a west side.
The destruction of the actual event, though catastrophic in scale, was minimal compared to the tectonic shift in society that took place. While some people demanded answers and others even formed a variety of teams meant to either decipher the cause and meaning of the quake or find the individual (or individuals) responsible for it, most citizens of the country saw this as an opportunity to pledge their allegiance to one side or the other. And so, bridges were built and people were encouraged to relocate to the side of the country that most closely resembled their set of ideologies. It was drastic. It was unreasonable. But at that time, it was the American way. And despite the efforts of a small contingent of extremists to ratify amendments that would essentially un-amend America and give birth to two new countries, the vast majority of Americans considered the logistics of such a move to be a nightmare for a multitude of reasons. So, the country remained as one. However, a familiar, yet unsettling phrase rose to prominence again – it was the idea of “separate, but equal.”
The country eventually moved on from that tragic day, with life continuing as it does after a disaster in a first world country. Though the 13-mile expanse remained the same, the two sides moved further and further apart. The voices of the extremists grew louder and their influence began to sway the minds of the masses. Something had to be done.
That something eventually took the form of being Platinum City. It began as a settlement on one of the seldom used bridges connecting the sides. But as more and more people moved away from the radicals on either side of the divide, the settlement grew into a town. That town eventually grew into a city. And as more people of influence, means and power flooded the expanse, that city grew into the largest megalopolis in the history of the planet. With the help of advanced technology and the rise of the hyper-humans and hyper-beings, it took about 4 years to construct the initial incarnation of Platinum City.
By 2066 – 50 years after the Great Quake – Platinum City had become a beacon for those hoping to escape extremism and engage in reasonable discussions about differences of opinions and ideologies. And while Washington D.C. continued to be the center of politics, Platinum City became the center of mutual discourse. It was by no means perfect and the officials of Platinum City rarely agreed on everything, but the free exchange of ideas was enough, and somehow, they were able to get things done for the people.
At the turn of the 22nd century, the 10th graduating class of Platinum City University received their diplomas. At the top of that class was Kwame Archer. He was only 17 years old and to say he was smart would be somewhat of an understatement. Kwame was born in the Bronx and was personally recruited to attend Platinum City University by the institution’s president at the age of 14.
After graduating from PCU he dove straight into Law School with the goal of continuing the fight to reunite the country, or at the very least keep it from splintering even more. Upon completing his studies, he took a job in a Constitutional Law office that operated out of Platinum City – at this point several government firms had moved from D.C. to PC. But after about six months of living in the City as a working man, Kwame found that arguing the interpretation of the constitution was doing little to help the people who were suffering on a much more visceral level. After all, just like any other large metropolitan area, Platinum City had its share of poverty, crime, hunger and socioeconomic stratification. And just like any other period where “separate but equal” was a rallying cry, the true devastating effects of such an idea were only felt by certain segments of the population, even in a place as supposedly enlightened as Platinum City. Kwame left the Constitutional Law office and started his own Civil Law firm where he fought for the rights of those who did not have the money to fight for themselves. Several wise financial investments while still a teenager had afforded him the ability to work pro bono cases while still having the means to pay the bills comfortably.
In fact, just like several other super smart rich guys with lots of time on their hands and hero-complexes, Kwame decided to create his own superhero persona.
And so Black Jag was born.
As Black Jag, Kwame hit the streets at night and did the hero thing – busting bad guys, taking down mobsters, intimidating corrupt officials and acting as a comforting presence in some of the poorer communities of Platinum City, where police just didn’t patrol.
Kwame was making a difference. In several neighborhoods, he fought for the civil rights of the people during the day, while ridding their streets of crime during the night. The quality of life for many was changing and Kwame finally felt fulfilled.
Then came a day Kwame and everyone else was waiting for. The mayor of Platinum City, Gemini DeLisi, was set to give a speech that would be broadcasted across both sides of the country. He would call for the end to the Divide and encourage the government to take a page from the PC playbook and figure out a way to mend the country sociologically AND geographically! Gemini DeLisi had worked with a team of engineers and hyper-beings to come up with a plan that would physically unite the country again. Mayor DeLisi had a rare sensibility that people on either side of the divide could relate to. His speech was going to be the beginning of a new future for America.
Kwame Archer was there in the crowd at Platinum City Hall when Mayor DeLisi stepped to the Podium. He sat forward in his seat as the man that was going to change the world opened his mouth to speak. But before any words could be uttered, chaos erupted as reports of an armed bank robbery taking place next door poured in over the wire. Mayor DeLisi was immediately whisked from the stage and taken to safety and everyone else was left to wonder what was happening.
The answers came quickly, as it was learned that not just one bank was being hit by armed robbers; it was every bank in Platinum City that was being hit by armed robbers. All at the same time! Hundreds of small teams of crooks were smashing and grabbing anything and everything they could get their hands on. Officers were dispatched in droves, but they were simply overwhelmed. Dozens of car chases and shootouts all up and down the expanse turned Platinum City into a warzone. It was madness!
Kwame was not about to let the City he loved become the representation of everything he hated. So, he bolted from City Hall, got back up to his apartment, put on his gold suit, grabbed his Energy Sticks and leapt into action. The bank robbers never saw him coming…