Arthur Everest is a mild-mannered accountant investigating organized crime in The City.
Fifteen years ago, Arthur and his father were enjoying an ice cream while waiting for his mother and sister. Arthur's father went to put more money in the parking meter when the Flag 5's aircraft dropped on to him and the car. The Terror had used a weaponized version of syphilis to destroy the Flag 5's eyes, causing them to crash. Arthur watched as The Terror's henchmen killed the Flag 5 and the Terror stole his ice cream. A picture taken of the incident made Arthur famous when it was featured on the cover of a magazine.
The incident caused Arthur to spend a lot of time in therapy, and he would have delusions and hear voices which he treated with medication. Although The Terror was killed by Superian a year after the death of Arthur's father, Arthur believed that the villain survived and went underground running all the crime in The City. Collecting newspaper clippings and information, he hoped to prove his theory. His sister, Dot, looked out for Arthur and tried to keep him grounded but did not believe him about The Terror.
While investigating a criminal operation at a warehouse run by Miss Lint, Arthur encounters a new superhero, The Tick. The Tick believes that Arthur is a hero like him, ready to take out the bad guys. However, they never get the chance as Arthur is arrested for trespassing and The Tick disappears. At the police station, the officers are initially suspicious of Arthur as he says he was birdwatching. Once they find out that he is the boy from The Terror photo, they agree to release him into his sister's care. While waiting for Dot to pick him up, The Tick appears and offers to get him out but Arthur explains that he is free to go. Dot convinces him that he is still suffering from his mental problems, and Arthur comes to think that The Tick might just be a figment of his imagination. Taking his medication, he goes to sleep.
Waking up, Arthur finds The Tick in his bed with him. Believing he is going crazy, The Tick disagrees, telling him that he is going sane in a crazy world. The Tick explains that he believes Arthur to be a hero, and wants him to join him in fighting crime. With Arthur's brain and The Tick's brawn, they could be an effective duo. The Tick gives Arthur a winged supersuit that he procured from Miss Lint's warehouse when he shut down the operation the previous night. The Tick leaves, and Arthur tries on the suit against his better judgement. As he does, Miss Lint's henchmen break into his apartment and start shooting at him.
Mild and somewhat cowardly, Arthur is obsessed with the idea that The Terror is still alive. He investigates all of the crime in The City, hoping to find proof.