Most scholars that studied the metahuman emergence and the corresponding rise of the superhero point to three major events:
1- The meteor storm of 1978 which theoretically introduced alien particles into Earth’s atmosphere which interacted with the human genome, causing an increase in the number of persons with meta-genes
2- The beginning of Batman’s career in Gotham, which inspired others to put on masks, capes, and costumes to take a stand against crime and corruption. Likewise, this is also referenced as the inspiration for the rise of the “costumed criminal”
3- And while magic seems to have always existed, there was noticeable rise in its power in the late 90s, during which time magically influenced events happened that Hippolyta decided it was time to reintroduce the mortal realm to the Amazons, sending her only trueborn daughter to Earth as her ambassador of goodwill
Though these three events contributed to the rise of the ‘superhero’ and ‘supervillain’, for as long as there has been an Earth, there have been those who have gained unspeakable power and likewise, as there is balance in all things, there would rise people of likewise ability to defy them.
Perhaps the first example of this was the Lords of Chaos and their counterparts in the Lords of Order. Even these cosmic beings are not sure why they exist, unaware that they were created by the Monitor of the 27th Reality to intrinsically oppose each other and through their agents create tension and conflict which would then create what the Monitor desired most: stories.
While the Lords of Chaos were the manifestations of destruction, entropy, and discord; the Lords of Order sought creation, unity, and stability. Lacking physical forms, they would have to find ways to assert their consciousness through agents. Some chose to do this directly, while others preferred to act through agents.
One among the Lords of Order that sought the more direct approach was Nabu. At some point, Nabu took an interest in the magical nexus of Earth. Looking closer, he found the ancient kingdom of Egypt. Fascinated by this nation’s people, Nabu found a mystic with a mind open enough to receive instruction to create talismans of such magical ability to allow their wearer to directly merge with Nabu, becoming a composite entity. These talismans were the Cloak of Destiny and the Amulets of Anubis.
This mystic and Nabu became a royal sorcerer of many pharaoh and eventually the mortal mind was lost to senility, leaving only Nabu. As the body of his host became increasingly frail, Nabu began to fear losing complete control and sought a means to bypass the composition of minds, looking for a method which would give him direct control of a mortal body.
Nabu would find what he needed from an unlikely source. One night while stargazing, Nabu sensed an unearthly pair of visitors near Earth. Using his magic, he pulled the craft to Earth and used his magic to anchor it temporarily in a corporeal state. These visitors were a pair of Thanagarians, an avian race whose star had become unstable and had caused the planets orbiting it (and the inhabitants living on those planets) to shift into a ‘shadow’ dimension. When their world had depleted their resources and began to search the cosmos, the Thanagarians were distraught to find that no world existed on the same dimensional frequency as their own.
Rather than die on their homeworld as it plunged into wars over the remaining resources, this pair had sought to travel together in their final days, spending them embracing their love for one another rather than become overwhelmed in the madness of their homeworld. Touched by their story, Nabu offered them a deal. He could use magic to seal their incorporeal Thanagarian forms to a human host, much like he had done with his own incorporeal form; and in return, they would gift him their spaceship as its incorporeal metal could become a key ingredient in creating a talisman that would allow Nabu to impart his consciousness directly upon a human host.
The Thanagarians accepted this arrangement and with Nabu, they protected ancient Egypt and the surrounding lands from unspeakable evils and agents of chaos. Eventually, Nabu awarded the Thanagarians with weapons forged of the same metal as his new helmet: Nth metal.
Over time, Nabu and the Thanagarians would seek out allies to help them combat chaos and its agents. At first they were bold and public, openly displaying their powers but as mortal men grew suspicious, skeptical, and superstitious it became easier to work within the shadows, as did their enemies.
Using Nabu’s magic, they would seek out potential allies who had access to exceptional powers, magic, or skills that would make them an asset to the Lords of Order. But as they continued in their efforts, on occasion, a new ally would find them. Through this, Aztar, the manifestation of righteous wrath, found them and sought to add its power to their own.
In more recent times, this secret society was molded by Nabu’s insistence that a great reckoning was on the horizon and he sought to make sure that his champions were experienced and ready and thus he began to seek out those who had some abilities of longevity and sent others on tasks that were likely to bestow them with some form of age deceleration to increase their lifespan.
Of course, Nabu’s magic could only do so much and so when his own host, Kent Nelson passed away, he was powerless to do anything when Nelson’s widow decided that she had little interest in seeing someone else suffer the same fate as her husband and locked the helm away.
As the rise of heroes began to take form, Nabu was returned to action when Giovanni Zatara convinced Nelson’s widow that he needed the helm to find his daughter. With Nabu’s return, however, tragedy struck when James Wright and Shiela Carr had just passed away, the hosts of the Thanagarians at this recent turn of the century. Once the Thanagarians returned with new hosts, those of Carter Hall and Shiera Sanders, Nabu decided that they should install themselves and select other members of their order into the newly found Justice League of America.