The plot is almost always some approximation of the following: a bad guy, maybe a crime boss, more often a powerful supervillain, embarks on a project of world conquest, destruction, theft, extortion, or revenge. The hero is alerted to the danger and figures out what’s happening. After trials and dilemmas, at the last possible minute the hero foils the villain’s plans. The world is returned to normal until the next episode when exactly the same thing happens once again.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on here. These “heroes” are purely reactionary, in the literal sense. They have no projects of their own, at least not in their role as heroes: as Clark Kent, Superman may be constantly trying, and failing, to get into Lois Lane’s pants, but as Superman, he is purely reactive. In fact, superheroes seem almost utterly lacking in imagination: like Bruce Wayne, who with all the money in the world can’t seem to think of anything to do with it other than to indulge in the occasional act of charity; it never seems to occur to Superman that he could easily carve free magic cities out of mountains.
Almost never do superheroes make, create, or build anything. The villains, in contrast, are endlessly creative. They are full of plans and projects and ideas.
The supervillains and evil masterminds, when they are not merely indulging in random acts of terror, are always scheming of imposing a New World Order of some kind or another. Surely, if Red Skull, Kang the Conqueror, or Doctor Doom ever did succeed in taking over the planet, there would be lots of new laws created very quickly, although their creator would doubtless not himself feel bound by them. Superheroes resist this logic. They do not wish to conquer the world—if only because they are not monomaniacal or insane. As a result, they remain parasitical off the villains in the same way that police remain parasitical off criminals: without them, they’d have no reason to exist.
There is a natural objection to this argument. Perhaps it is not always wrong to kill innocent human beings. For example, such killings may be right when three conditions are met: (a) the innocent human has no future because he is going to die soon no matter what; (b) the innocent human has no wish to go on living, perhaps because he has no wishes at all; and (c) this killing will save others, who can go on to lead full lives. In these rare circumstances the killing of the innocent might be justified. However, where is the line drawn if the conditions are just shy of being met, or if there are massive amounts of life to be saved but only two conditions are met?
In eons past, many dread gods rose and fell, thrown down by deities of good and their heroic champions. Most of these elder gods, the Ginnvaettir, were born when the world. They were young, savage and feral, drawing their power from the primordial forces of nature perverted to evil and destruction. Most of these elder gods have long since been destroyed, but a few remain, sleeping away the ages and waiting for the opportunity to rise again. One such elder god is Althunak, the Lord of Ice and Cold. His is not the natural changing of the season, of the cycle of autumn, winter, and spring, but instead the continual death of a perpetual winter. His cult once flourished when the races of the world were young, but some of the earliest heroes to walk the world challenged and destroyed him, or so it was thought...
It is a son of the Ulnat who awoke the Lord of Ice and Cold ten years ago, and has placed his people, and possibly all the Northlands, in peril. Elvanti was a cruel and haughty man who quarreled constantly with his elders and his fellow villagers. His family was wealthy by his people’s standards, and well connected. Elvanti lusted after the most desirable maiden in his village, but was rebuffed by her and the village elders. In his anger and shame, he journeyed out across the tundra, seeking to prove himself in their eyes, all the while cursing them for not recognizing his great worth...
Elvanti returned the following spring to his village, and struck down those who opposed him, taking the maiden as his bride. Ruling one small village was not enough for Elvanti or his new god, however, and so he began a series of conquestsand forced conversions until he ruled all but one of the villages of the Ulnat.
Into this sailed the Long Serpent and her crew, chasing the dream of good sealing and a profitable voyage. The ship had sailed north for three weeks in search of new sealing grounds. Far beyond any land they knew, they found a long, treeless coastline. The area was rich in fat seals, and so the men set up a camp and began the labor of hunting and rendering. After five days, a party of strange men armed with spears and knives attacked them. The leader of the voyage, one Jarl Olaf Henrikson, was slain in the battle, and his men decided to seek revenge. The next evening, they sailed farther north and came upon their attackers’ village at dawn. Taking the villagers by surprise, the Northlanders quickly overwhelmed the settlement, driving the inhabitants away and thoroughly looting the place. In addition to a wealth of hides and ivory, they found several heavy gold and amber necklaces. Information gleaned from the few prisoners they took revealed that the necklaces came from a ruined “village of great stones” inland. Their numbers reduced in the previous day’s ambush, the crew of the Long Serpent decided to sail for home.
And now they've returned to claim their vengeance.