Here’s a brief timeline of relevant recent events on Earth-3. Expect other timeline posts covering other subjects (like the distant past and potential futures) but this a roadmap for both y’all and I. Red links will eventually lead to other posts as I type up the relevant material.
1930s: Exposed to ancient magic, strange chemicals, and all other sorts of weird substances, men and women across the world gain strange and terrifying powers. Initially called “mutant-humans”, the term later developed into “muta-humans”. Most muta-humans used their powers for crime, hoping to live like kings and queens amidst the terrible Great Depression. But a few, like the mysterious Guardian, used their powers to punish crime instead of commit it.
1940: To avoid all-out war, coordinate crimes, and foster cooperation for bigger heists, the Crime Lodge of America is formed.
1941-1945: After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt contacted the CLA requesting their aid in the war effort. Motivated by greed, racism, and a small amount of patriotism, the CLA accepts on condition that they are pardoned for all their crimes. World War II ended in an allied victory.
1946-1960: Content with the loot and public admiration they gained from their patriotism, the CLA degrades into little more than a country club for retired muta-criminals. Their “amazing heists” become infrequent and outlandish spectacles done more for attention than for wealth.
1966: In an alley in Gotham City, a mugger kills Martha and Bruce Wayne. Thomas Wayne sr. and Thomas Wayne jr. survive the attack but scarred by this event.
1973: Thomas Wayne jr. abandons his father and begins his journey into the criminal underworld.
1974: A mysterious magic ring is discovered by a marine named Stewart Johnson in an ancient temple Vietnam. For a solid week the mysterious new Power Ring manages to turn the tide against the Viet Cong until he collapses dead, apparently from exhaustion and dehydration. A crashed USAF pilot named Martin Harrolds recovers (but does not don) the ring and takes it back to the United States.
1982: Thomas Wayne jr. returns to Gotham as Owlman and begins a campaign of petty vengeance against his father, who has now become the mayor.
1986: An unidentified object enters the atmosphere and crashes in Kansas. Besides the impact crater there are no clues as to the nature of its source. Meanwhile, Lt. Clark Kent of the USAF and four others test a spaceship equipped with a new experimental engine. Something goes catastrophically wrong and all the crew are presumed dead.
1988: Now both more and less than he was before, Clark Kent returns to Earth. Conscious of the passage of time and fearful of how his parents will react to his strange new powers, he settles into a life of anonymity
1989: After reading Nietzsche and several books on the CLA, Clark Kent re-styles himself as the Ultraman. Meanwhile, Joseph Harrolds inherits a strange ring from his dead father’s estate and becomes the new Power Ring.
1990: Concerned with the sudden appearance of muta-criminals, the governments of the world begin several covert projects dedicated to containing muta-human threats, particularly Checkmate and Project Cadmus.
1991: Mary Batson is visited by a mysterious being calling itself “The Super-Power”. She becomes Superwoman.
1992: Owlman, Power Ring, Superwoman, and Ultraman band together to form the Crime Syndicate of America. Elsewhere and to little fanfare, John Garrick discovers a “super-speed drug” that enables creatures to move at exceptional rates of speed. Billionaire industrialist and philanthropist Alexander Luthor begins assembling a group tentatively named “Justice Underground” to oppose the CSA.
1993: Unable to secure funding or subjects for his super-speed drug, John Garrick tires it on himself. Under the influence of the drug and inspired by the recent exploits of the CSA, he adopts the muta-criminal persona of Johnny Quick. Meanwhile, the Crime Lodge of America reforms with a mix of botrh new and old members to cash in on the CSA’s popularity. In Europe, muta-criminals band together under the banner of the Crime Syndicate of Europe.
1994: Johnny Quick is inducted into the CSA, quickly rising to expand the “Big Four” into a “Big Five”. In Asia, the operations of both the CSA and the CSE are sabotage by a mysterious group calling itself The Greater East Asian Co-Delinquency Sphere.
1995: Joseph Harrolds successfully manages to convince a young man to take his cursed ring. Todd Scott becomes the new Power Ring. The CSA, CSE, and Sphere enter into an unsteady cold war as they try to contain each other and the innumerable splinters of the Justice Underground movement
1996: The current year.
Why 1996? Well, mainly because I like that era of DC comics. It also makes the history pretty tight: Seven years is enough time for the new crop of muta-criminals to impact the world in notable ways without impacting it too much. In fact, most of the "big events" of Earth-3 don't actually start happening until 1992 when the CSA itself forms.