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Detroit

“I have learned the truth. 
The stuff of heroes is within us all.
The willingness to go beyond the routine and lend help to those who need it.
” – Harbinger

Detroit, founded on July 24, 1701, is the most populous city in Michigan and the largest city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County, the most populous county in the state. It is a primary business, cultural, financial and transportation center in a region of 5.2 million people and a major port on the Detroit River, a strait that connects the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

The Detroit area emerged as a significant metropolitan region within the United States as construction of a regional freeway system was completed in the 1950s and 1960s. With these commuting ties allowing social and economic integration across a larger area. Detroit has become the third-largest economic center in the Midwest, behind Chicago and Minneapolis, respectively.

In 2010, Detroit experienced a more than a 60 percent drop from a peak population during the 1950 census. This resulted from suburbanization, industrial restructuring and the decline of Detroit's economic strength. While Detroit has since held an increased role as an entertainment destination in the 21st century, with the opening of three casinos, new sports stadiums, and a riverfront revitalization project, many neighborhoods remain distressed.

On July 18, 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history, citing $18.5 billion debt and declared that negotiations with its thousands of creditors were unfeasible.

The Avengers

Timespan: c.1963

It was twenty-five years after the discovery of Superman that Detroit had it's first brush with superheros. A brush that was hugely significant but often miss-attributed to occurring in New York City. On July 12, 1963 Iron Man chased the Hulk inside a huge auto factory in Detroit, he was later joined by Thor, who had brought Loki in order to reveal his plot to blame Hulk for a train wreck. Loki tried to escape by becoming radioactive but Ant-Man trapped him in a lead container. Ant-Man then suggested that they work together, and the rest of them agree, to which Hulk asks what they're naming themselves. Wasp says something dramatic, like "Avengers", to which Ant-Man agrees that Avengers is the perfect name.

And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat! On that day, the Avengers were born, to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand! 

Shortly afterwards, however, the Avengers returned to New York City, establishing themselves as a viable alternative to the Justice League, and leaving Detroit behind.

The Detroit League

Timespan
: c.1984 – c.1987

Twenty years later, the Avenger's greatest heroic rivals decided to setup shop in the city the Avenger's had forgotten. The informally known Detroit League was actually the second iteration of the more well-known Justice League of America. The first team disbanded following the destruction of the Justice League Satellite during the Martian invasion of Earth. Aquaman, a founding member of the original League, possessed the authority to disband the team, and did so, only to reconstitute it with a fresh new roster. One of Aquaman's recruits was a brash, young man named Hank Heywood III. Hank was the grandson of the Golden Age hero, Commander Steel. Steel wanted to see his grandson prosper as a hero, so he leased one of his Detroit facilities to the League as a base of operations. 

After reconnecting with his wife Mera, Aquaman chose to leave the team, turning over leadership to J'onn J'onzz. Upon encountering an extra-terrestrial life form in the old JLA Sanctuary, a distress call sent out to all members reunited the old League with the new to contain this alien threat. 

The team lasted for a few years, though it never acquired the stature that its previous incarnation of team members have attained. When the team failed to stop Brimstone during Darkseid's Operation: Humiliation the surviving team members abandoned the group, leaving Martian Manhunter as the sole remaining member. He soon joined the next incarnation that became Justice League International and the doors to the Detroit League were closed.

John Stewart

Timespan
: c.2008

In 1971 Detroit born architect, John Stewart, was selected by the Guardians of the Universe as Hal Jordan's backup after Guy Gardner was seriously injured in a disaster. Although, Jordan objected after seeing that Stewart had a belligerent attitude to authority figures, the Guardians stood by their selection. Jordan complied, recruiting and equipping Stewart with the standard uniform and power ring, and Stewart left Earth to serve the Green Lantern Corps.

Over the next thirty-seven years John Steward would come and go from Detroit as his business with the Lantern Corps allowed. Finally, in 2008, after a significant restructuring of the Corps it was decided that each sector would have two Green Lanterns assigned to it, and Stewart and Jordan now share the responsibilities for Earth's sector 2814 and Stewart returned to live permanently in his old hometown.

Crime in Detroit

Timespan: c.1970 – c.2015

"Renaissance" has been the city's phrase for development since the 1970s and while crime in Detroit has decreased in many categories since the 1970s, it remains a serious issue. In 2012, Detroit had the highest rate of violent crime of any city in the United States. Annual increases in homicides, combined with a shrinking population, have made Detroit competitive with New Orleans for the highest murder rate in the nation. 

The number of homicides peaked in 1974 at 714 and again in 1991 with 615. By the end of 2010, the homicide count fell to 308 for the year with an estimated population of just over 900,000, the lowest count and rate since 1967. By 2012, however, the murder count had rebounded to 411, with 386 considered criminal homicides. According to a 2007 analysis, Detroit officials noted that about 65 to 70 percent of homicides in the city were confined to a narcotics catalyst. In 2013, Detroit's number of criminal homicides was 333, a reduction of 14% compared to 2012. However, taken in context by population, Detroit remains as a city with one of the highest rates per capita for homicide in the United States.

The city has also faced many cases of arson each year on Devil's Night, the evening before Halloween. In the 1980s a number of residents noted that they had turned to arson of abandoned homes to keep drug dealers from using the empty buildings. The majority of citizen arsonists were never prosecuted or charged. The Angel's Night campaign, launched in the late 1990s, draws many volunteers to patrol the streets during Halloween week. The effort reduced arson: while there were 810 fires set in 1984, this was reduced to 742 in 1996. In recent years, fires on this three-night period have dropped even further. In 2009, the Detroit Fire Department reported 119 fires over this period, of which 91 were classified as suspected arsons.

One of other interesting issues, while not as extreme as murders or arson shows system-wide decline of basic city services, is a large number of stray dogs roaming the streets. Fifty-nine Detroit postal workers were attacked by stray dogs in 2010, according to a Detroit postmaster.

In April 2008, the city unveiled a $300-million stimulus plan to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods, financed by city bonds and paid for by earmarking about 15% of the wagering tax. The city's plans for revitalization pledged substantial funding to neighborhood revitalization efforts as crime is unevenly distributed throughout the city with much of the violent crime emanating from selected neighborhoods. However, the recent city bankruptcy has thrown the continuing efforts of these revitalization plans into doubt.