Given the things that happen in Danger Babe Central’s Delta City, I had to consider how the laws might vary in such a world. I managed to piece together a few key differences from the real world that help explain how Delta City is… out there.
The 28th Amendment: I borrowed this idea from ‘The Tick‘ live action show. The one from 2001 that’s still available on Amazon Video. This constitutional amendment came into play after a superhero was framed for a crime, caught by police, and forced to unmask and reveal his identity. The hero was later cleared, but his identity being out there led to the assassination of him and his immediate family. To protect other superheroes from a similar fate, a costumed crime fighter’s identity is now constitutionally protected.
This means it’s a federal civil rights violation for law enforcement OR A VILLAIN to unmask a costumed crime fighter. Because it’s almost a given that a supervillain will claim to be a framed hero, it effectively means that villains have the same protections.
To counteract this, and eliminate villains potentially never being able to be identified, there was an extension added to the amendment that extends the protection only to three felony convictions. After a criminal’s third strike, they’re unmasked.
Good Samaritan Damage & Injury Immunities: This one one borrowed loosely from ‘The Boys‘, with a similar rationale. For a brief time, superheroes were avoiding taking action in the defense of others due to attempted personal injury lawsuits and civil suits over property destruction. During that time, supervillains ran amok. Public outcry led to laws that shielded heroes and heroines from these lawsuits. In ‘The Boys’, it was Vaught International that pushed the legislation through Congress, since they managed almost all superheroes. In the wold of Delta City, it was Insurance companies that pushed it all through, hoping to sell expensive “metahuman damage riders” to existing health plans and property insurance.
There are exceptions built into the laws for ‘clearly malicious destruction or injury’, superficially similar to police ‘reasonable force’ laws but with more latitude.
Assumption of Risk Laws: Here is where the law works against heroes and heroines. It’s essentially a Marvel rule originally. Since a hero can’t be unmasked, and there’s no way to identify them in court beyond a costume that anybody could be wearing… There’s no way for them to act as witnesses in criminal proceedings, even in regards to assault on themselves. Masks also prevent other witnesses from making a positive ID. The only option for authorities was to declare an “assumption of risk” when somebody puts on a costume and tries to combat a villain. This had the unintended consequence of making anything done to a superhero or superheroine legal.
The authorities rationalized the negatives away, insisting it was the only way to prevent the court system from becoming even more clogged. Conspiracy theories quietly circulate that there was never any modification made to the law to help cover sanctioned elimination of metahumans by government agents, and that wealthy backers of the metahuman slave trade also made large contributions to politicians to avoid the modifications.
Under the law, a person in costume is considered a civilian in a party or Halloween costume until the point that they actually make an effort to engage or arrest a suspected criminal.
Laws and Enforcement in Delta City
Police and Government Corruption: Readers can pretty much equate the level of corruption in Delta City to that of Chicago in the 1920s. A fair number of police and government officials are on the take, and many of the remainder are too afraid to take a stand, or view it as an unfixable problem that they have to live with. Payoffs, Blackmail and threats mean that smuggling, human trafficking, drugs and more are common in Delta City
Prostitution in Delta City: Delta City is much like Altanta and a few other cities in the real world that have chosen to turn a deliberate blind eye to prostitution. It flourishes in Delta City with the whispered understanding that it remains discreet. The ‘Red Light District’ in the old quarter houses a half dozen different high end ‘dinner companion services’ and a less discreet BDSM club. Street corner prostitutes and their pimps are common in the poor section of town, and present to lesser degrees in other neighborhoods as well.
Nudity and Similar Laws: While the Florida panhandle may be considered the ‘Bible Belt’ of Florida, Delta City has solidly bucked that status. Nudity and toplessness is punishable by a minor fine in most of the city (if enforced at all), but all Delta City’s beaches except those closest to it’s boardwalk are topless. One stretch of beach East of the boardwalk allows and encourages full nudity.
City officials excuse this as necessary for competition with nearby Panama City Beach for tourists and spring break crowds. It’s worked to some degree as well, particularly with the college break crowds.