The terrifying swamp plants had invaded dozens upon dozens of alternate and parallel Earths. Each arm of the invasion leeched the lifeforce from the the planet(s) and fed them right into the mad godling known as Ragnarok. Superheroes and villains alike attempted to stem the tide of the various invasions, and fell before the might of the seemingly sentient swamp and the mighty minions who followed Ragnarok with a loyalty that bordered on unhinged fanaticism.
Sitting in the swamped ruins of what was would have been the thriving city of Seattle on any other Earth but Earth #864040-F, nicknamed 'The TechnoSwamp', the teen terror soaked up the life energies of world after world, adding them to his own power. Most teens were in a hurry to grow up, but, Ragnarok was indeed a special case. As powerful as he was, he wanted to be a full on God of Destruction, and he wanted it NOW!. After supping to the point of bursting, he sent his army to enact the next phase of his master plan. He sent his dogs on the hunt for two special power signatures.
It was an Earth not unlike the ones you know - vibrant, modern, and teeming with metahuman power signatures. It was Menagerie who broke into this world. She, with her ability to transform parts of her body into mutated animals, was quite the hunter. Transforming into a land-whale with stegosaurus spikes, gigantic bat wings, a scorpion tail and the head of a fearsome bloodhound, she flew low over the Louisiana bayou, following a scent that she had become familiar with in her parallel world travels for conquest - That of Dominic Penn - the speedster criminal-turned-antihero calling himself "Runamok".
This Earth obviously took a slightly different path from most, or, perhaps its timeline was a little behind the curve. In most realities, Runamok was a speedy sneakthief, robber and pickpocket who had switched to the side of the angels due to his infatuation with the superheroine, Gryphon. Later, once their little impromptu group of heroes disbanded, Runamok went back to his old ways in a big way - joining the superhero organization called The A-Mortals. In THIS world, he was still a hero and still in league with Gryphon and others. This misfit band of young heroes, who didn't even have a NAME for their group challenged the various supervillains who skulked in and around their small city of Bastille, Louisiana. Villains like the demon-possessed pyrokine, Morningstar and the mutant scientist, ElephanTitus. Theirs was a world mostly bereft of magic, though, there was SOME. Most of it, in the form of medallions, artefacts and ensorcelled trinkets were hunted and collected by the villainous wannabe sorcerer who called himself "TalisMan". It was he that Menagerie was truly hunting for her master. She figured that, if she found the speedster and his little friends, she would be able to find TalisMan and divest him of a reality warping medallion in his possession: The Orb of Proteus.
Elsewhere, on yet another Earth, one that was already visited by Ragnarok's forces and was slowly but surely transforming into the techno-swamp, there was a sad resistance building - The surviving heroes and villains of the assault had tried to take back their planet, but were failing. it was all they could do to sequester and protect the ragtag surviving normals.
The young superhero, Fab, who had been rescued from death by his teleporting compatriot, The Cuckoo, unlike the rest of his team of young heroes, lay on what for an average man would have been his deathbed. He was tough, but, most of his physical toughness stemmed from the all-but-invisible energy field that surrounded his body. He'd deflected many a bullet in his time, but, whatever the deadly Gremlynn's prehensile barbed tentacles were made of ripped right through his field. Were he conscious, it would have been his worst nightmare to know that Gremlynn was once again prowling the planet, and that this time, she was not alone, Her partners - The climate destroying Cataclysm and the green ionic energy dynamo known as DefCon were with her, and that they were hunting the boy who had saved his life not so long ago. Unbeknowst to most, The Cuckoo's teleportal powers were not natural metahuman abilities, but, were the product of a mystic trinket that he kept on his person: The Crystal of Khronos. The Cuckoo didn't simply teleport himself through space, so much as unhinge himself from time for exactly half a second, either forward or backward. The teleportation was due to an impurity within the crystal. This impurity was to be a safeguard from that reality's Hephaestus, who crafted the crystal from Khronos's blood and bones. If a mortal used it, he or she would wind up shunted to someplace that they did not wish to be, like Tartarus, instead of moving about to anywhen they wanted to go, throughout time. Hephaestus didn't take into account the diversity of human DNA and the changes that it would undergo over time. He also didn't take into account the changes that would be visited upon his own pantheon after they fell from worship. Now, on this Earth, there was no Tartarus, and perhaps, Jordan Luciano, aka The Cuckoo, may even have a few drops of Old World blood in him. Who knows? Regardless, the Crystal of Khronos gave the lad the ability to teleport just about anywhere within a 5 mile radius, and one half second into the past or future. His powers were mystical in origin, and Ragnarok wanted them.
Though every advantage seemed to belong to Ragnarok, the side of good was not without its own resources. The dimension hopping being known as Anomaly still existed. This, of course, was not the "original", but an alternate universe version of the villain who died stopping the original Ragnarok. Whereas the other Anomaly was male and rather deranged, this version was female, lucid and younger. She had just come into her own powers when Ragnarok's lieutenants, Sapphion and Andronicus Omega unleashed hell on her planet. She'd only jumped to a few parallel Earths as a tourist. She was joyous at her newefound ability. Then, when things got serious, her abilities became a mechanism for survival. She had appointed herself the "Paul Revere" of the multiverse, trying to stay just ahead of the invaders. Warning all and sundry about the impending doom of Ragnarok's troops. Of course, most times the very people she was trying to warn thought her unhinged. It wasn't until the luminescent waters and carnivorous insects of the TechnoSwamp began slithering into their realities that they took her seriously. By then, it was often times too late. Still, she managed to save a hndful of crusaders in each reality she visited. Often times, it would take a confrontation with their very own counterparts to make them listen.
Anomaly had one small ace in the hole that her other counterpart(s) didn't. She had her own pocket dimension. It wasn't an "Earth", per se. It was just a small white space - a Purgatory that seemed to be generated of her own powers. Each time she shunted herself and others to parallel Earths, the space would get larger. It had it's own gravity and was full of oxygen. Perhaps it siphoned it from the various Earths that she visited. She never gave it much thought. In the 6 months or so that she'd had these powers before Ragnarok's forces laid waste to her home reality, the 'space' was just barely larger than her own bedroom. She used it as a storage space - a glorified junk drawer for the clutter in her room. She laughed at that now. Over the months that she spent hopping from world to world, the space seemingly got larger with every leap. In turn, she filled it with more and more junk. Mostly disposable cameras and scrapbooks and thumbdrives that she filled with pictures and souvenirs from parallel worlds: music and dvds of movies that were slightly different from the ones we know. Potted plants, bottled drinks and ready-made foodstuffs. She'd build a "tent city" where she would often go to relax. A little world of her own. Now, that world was the size of a football stadium and growing with each leap she made. She had rescued, coerced, kidnapped and conned many different world's superheroes, villains, rescue workers, police, soldiers and even entertainers and set them up in her PocketWorld. She figured that maybe they could work out some way to stop what was happening. They were the big guns, after al. She was just a young girl with unlimited 'frequent flyer miles' to some very exotic places.
The "Big Guns" were, indeed trying to suss out what was going on. They'd routinely send scouts and gatherers with Anomaly on her jaunts. Teleporters and speedsters like Rush and Rift to gather food and drink, generators and fresh clothing. Imposing and Charismatic Heroes and Villains, Politicians, Generals and even a President or two to try and convince each new world of what was happening in the multiverse and how it was, most likely coming their way!
This football stadiums sized crack in the Space Between Spaces held some of the most important and imposing people in all of creation. But, at present, no one truly knew the big picture until one day in week 7 of the occupation, when Anomaly, two parallel versions of Sir Simon Church, and Bernadette Kimball, the speedster known as Ms. Mercury, (Who was retired in most realities) brought back two very special new occupants to Tent City: An alternate, older version of the teen hero, Fab, and an also older version of the superhero SunDevil, generallly known to be a member of the California superteam called the StarBrats. They were bruised and battered, but alive. They told the tale of how their superheroes and villains on their Earth got it together and formed a united front against the TechnoSwamp and Ragnarok's minions and almost beat back the invasion. It seemed that Anomaly and company got to their planet in what would be years before Ragnarok's forces would. They had their local telepaths probe the visitor's minds to see if they were telling the truth. It seems that planet's heroes had coalesced into a world-wide army of supers, and they called in their every agent. They formed interdimensional beachheads and monitoring stations in anticipation of the invasion. Via their monitoring, they observed Raganarok's marauding demigods decimate an Earth similar to their own, and they managed to fortify their planet. Every hero, anti-hero and reformed villain was ready for the attack. It became an all-out war that lasted over 9 months. Sadly, The Technoswamp did wind up victorious, but not without a grand cost to Ragnarok's forces. Andronicus Omega, Golden Ghost and Gemini were killed in the melee, along with dozens of Ragnarok's Ferrymen, which inhibited his access to various Earths. Fab and SunDevil were rescued by Anomaly and company just before what would have been their deaths at the hands of Sapphion and Coalmine. It came at a cost, but the displaced duo did have vital information: The history of the TechnoSwamp, The location of the home planet of the alien race that had created it, The Qollitaar, and what they had learned was Ragnarok's final objectives: The original Ragnarok - Brian Brentwood - was not dead... at least, in the conventional sense. Due to some form of temporal shenanigans, Ragnarok 'Prime' survived his last encounter with Earth's heroes and wound up in an alternate reality ruled by sorcery. He'd stayed there for almost 500 years, learning the Craft, and he re-emerged with an army of hellbeasts in that Earth's 2017 to lay seige to Earth once more. THIS Ragnarok intended to join him - bolstering his forces in order to destroy the Earth, remake it in his own image, and rule side by side with his counterpart! He had absorbed several realities' worth of life energy, all he needed now were two magickal items with the abilities to warp time, space and reality itself to zero in on the one Earth in a billion that Ragnarok Prime would appear on, and get him to the proper date and time, while retaining all the power he had absorbed once he leaves the TechnoSwamp!