Ethel Keller was "the sidekick".
That's all she was. It was the 50's and chivalry still existed. It was the 50's and everyone smoked and drank. It was the 50's and technology didn't matter. The heroes were super strong, super fast, or fliers. Everyone else was a sidekick.
She was Richard Stronghold's sidekick.
"The General" and "the sidekick".
Richard was old-fashioned, even for that time. The men of his family had been superheroes since the whole superhero business started.
Ethel honestly hated how he treated her.
Her inventions didn't matter. He took credit for her accomplishments. She saved his life four times, and still wasn't any better than his maid. She wasn't given a key to his sanctum; she only got in when he was there.
So, Ethel finished her two year internship as his sidekick and sunk under the radar.
Richard didn't mind at how quickly she left. He had an up-and-coming super heroine as his new sidekick. That was how it used to be done.
It was the 60s, and she was pregnant by a citizen. He was sweet and rich and as powered as a street sign, and didn't give a damn if she wore white to their wedding or not. Not old-fashioned in the least.
She already has a name picked out for her baby, while changing her own all the same.
Ethel Gwendolyn Tenny. Sounds nice on her own ears.
Richard appeared, uninvited, to her wedding, with a Macy's gift.
He congratulates her, asks for a dance.
Ethel shakes her head with a soft "No, Richard."
Ethel realizes, years and years later when her own daughter, Susan Anne Tenny, has a hatred for the newest Stronghold, that it was what she should have said when they asked her to be "The General's Sidekick".
What she should have said when he needed her help with the lunar station in the 80s. It was a really dangerous mission, Richard said, there's a villain torturing the astronauts with the gravity and oxygen systems. He practically begged for her to help him.
Ethel should have dredged up all that hatred and dislike to tell him 'no'. She should have told him to leave it to his son, that their prime was long past. But he looked so tired and even she couldn't pretend like he didn't look weaker, too.
So she said, "Yes" and never came back home.