Sunday, May 30, 2010

Batman and Firearm Philosophy

One of the more famous elements of Batman's mystique has always been his refusal to use guns. Of course, those of us familiar with the early stories know that this was not always the case, and over the years the writers, artists and editors have frequently forgotten this key aspect of the character.

First up is Detective #32. This story is basically a take-off of the movie "Dracula". Bruce Wayne's girlfriend, Julie Madison, is under the spell of a vampire. Batman trails the vampire and its female assistant to their castle and shoots them each with a silver bullet:

The first time Batman was shown with a gun on the cover of a magazine is supposedly this image from Detective #33:

At least, it's usually considered a gun; to my eye it looks more like a knife on his belt. Detective #33 was also the first comic to present the now-familiar origin of the Batman:

So the phobia against weapons is certainly understandable. But in the story, Batman uses a gun (apparently the one on his belt) to shoot at some "ray" machines:

And the ending of the story has a startling panel:

Batman did appear with guns on two World War II covers:

Clearly special cases, although the first one does show him firing a gun.

From Detective #35 comes the most extreme panel of Batman with a gun in the first 40+ years:

You can sense that's just a little bit too far, but this was the second superhero of all time, and the code of conduct that superheroes didn't kill hadn't been developed. Oddly, the splash shown above does not appear in the story and Batman does nothing else with a gun in this issue.

Batman used a gun in Detective #36, but it was to summon the police to pick up some thugs he had kayoed.

However, it is not explained where the gun came from.

The next major incident involving Batman and guns came in Batman #1. Hugo Strange had made monsters out of men by giving them a growth hormone. Batman tracks down the truck the monsters are riding in and:

Reportedly it was this sequence that resulted in an editorial edict against Batman killing. Both Batman and Robin had been fairly casual about tossing crooks off large buildings to their apparent deaths, and in a notorious sequence Batman had toppled an idol on some Chinese thugs in Detective #39. The sequence in Batman #1 was to be the last time that Batman intentionally killed someone, although it was far from the last time he used a gun.

The next time he used a gun, it was to wing a machine-gunner:

Get the editor's note: "The Batman never carries nor kills with a gun!" But he's happy to pick one up and cap a few rounds. ;)

In Batman #7, our hero was finally accepted by Commissioner Gordon, who gives an impassioned speech including mention of the gun ban:

Maybe the oddest bit with Batman and guns comes in Batman #21. A cattle rustler has kayoed Batman and fed him loco weed. When Robin and the local sheriff revive him, he steals a gun from the latter and:

For most of the next several decades, the only times Batman used a gun was for shooting something other than a person:

In Detective #65, Batman shows that whatever his opinion of firearms, he's still a crack shot:

However, in Detective #260's The Mystery of the Space Olympics, Batman is surprised when he shoots well to win a competition:

Here's an odd panel from World's Finest #39, where a mystery writer thinks he's deduced Batman's secret identity and confronts Bruce at his home. Why would a man whose aversion to guns is nearly phobic, have a brace of pistols mounted on the wall?

In Batman #55, Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon are captured by mobsters, but they manage to turn the tables here:

Continue reading here:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Origin Stories

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Iron Man 2 Review

Iron Man 2 had much of the same feel as the first movie in tone, pacing and its action/comedy/drama characteristics. Robert Downey Jr. nailed the Tony Stark character perfectly again. Don Cheadle picked up on and expanded Terrence Howard's Jim Rhodes making it his own. Gwyneth Paltrow's role was upped in confidence a level although there was one "damsel in distress scene". Mickey Rourke was brilliant as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash. To me, he was the most interesting character on the screen which does not mean the rest of the characters were not interesting, they all were.

I loved the film! I loved it a lot! The action sequences were amazing and fun to watch. The story line was solid and appears to suggest that Iron Man 3 will be the "Demon in a Bottle" story. The one bone of contention I do have is the early character development of Whiplash was slightly formulaic. I don't want to give anything away but if you've seen the first Iron Man you'll know what I mean. That said, it takes very little away from the experience, like I said, I found Whiplash to be the most interesting character on the screen. Gary Shandling was also a good source of fun and entertainment to the film.

Scarlett Johansson was fantastic as the Black Widow. She had one action sequence in the film that she pulled off perfectly. When she wasn't the Black Widow her character was played with subtle brilliance. I can't wait to see her role expanded in future films.

The scope of the film was big which had footage from California and Monaco, big sweeping shots that looked great up on the big screen. John Favreau tells the Iron Man story with great execution and fun, and with Marvel over seeing everything, you get the sense that the fans are always kept at the forefront.

There are several nods to the upcoming Avengers film which, and for a comic book fan, will be the ultimate movie experience. Make sure to stay after the credits to catch an Avengers alluding scene.

This movie had it all and did it brilliantly! In my opinion, better than the first film, obviously different than the Dark Knight but equally as good in terms of quality.

I loved this film!!


Saw it again last night. Just as good as the first time!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Marvel's Current Epic Story Line: Siege

"Siege" is an American comic book storyline that is running from January 2010 to May 2010. Published by Marvel Comics, it deals with the aftermath of the "Dark Reign" company-wide storyline, which led to a shift of power in the Marvel Universe toward Norman Osborn, a former super villain who, through deception and media manipulation, has become the United States' security czar, and how the Asgardian trickster deity Loki, intending to send Asgard back to its native realm, manipulates Osborn to lead an all-out assault to overthrow Asgard. Marvel announced in early 2010 that the events in Siege will lead to the subsequent company-wide storyline, "Heroic Age".

Norman Osborn calls a meeting of the Cabal (Doctor Doom, The Hood, and Loki) to discuss Asgard, the last hold out in Osborn's consolidation of power. Namor and Emma Frost are absent due to their betrayal during the events of Utopia, and are replaced with Taskmaster. During the meeting Doom expresses his displeasure with Norman's actions against his ally Namor. Doom accuses Osborn of attempting to kill off members of the group that are not obedient to him, and orders Osborn to bring forth Namor. Upon refusal to do so Osborn has Doom attacked by an unknown assailant. After the attack Osborn examines the body to see that it is not Doom, but a small swarm of robotic insects inside a Doombot. The insects attack the Cabal and under the suggestion of Loki, The Hood flees. Avengers Tower is ordered to be evacuated, with only Osborn staying to attempt to fight off the swarm. When his shields (as the Iron Patriot) are about to fail, Sentry comes in to destroy them. Osborn is later seen talking with the President of the United States to try to secure permissions to invade Asgard under the claim it poses a national security threat. The President does not feel the threat is serious enough to warrant an invasion and orders Osborn to stand down. Loki, listening to the conversation, reminds Osborn of the superhuman Civil War, explaining that it all started with a tragedy in Stamford, Connecticut and that a similar tragedy could be used to gain approval for an assault.

Siege Part 1 + Tie-ins
The story begins with Volstagg leaving Asgard in order to have adventures on Earth, while Osborn and Loki talk about using him to cause an incident similar to Stamford. Volstagg reaches Chicago where he intervenes in a robbery, he manages to stop the robbers but causes much collateral damage. He is then assaulted by the U-Foes (Ironclad, Vapor, Vector, and X-Ray). Their fight leads them to the packed Soldier Field football stadium. Vector and X-Ray bombard Volstagg with energy blasts, but while he manages to deflect their attacks with his sword, the blast's shockwave destroys and kills everyone in the stadium, causing the deaths of thousands of people, leaving Volstagg essentially unharmed, but horrified at the carnage he has inadvertently wrought. Osborn and Loki watch this in astral forms, now declaring that Asgard will now be held responsible for the disaster. Norman Osborn returns to his office, where the attack has reached the news networks. Victoria Hand comes in to the room, where Osborn tells her to tell the President that they have everything in Chicago under control. He also tells her to assemble the Dark Avengers and the members of the Initiative loyal to him, declaring that they are invading Asgard.

Later, Osborn is seen trying to convince Ares to come up with a plan to invade Asgard, even though Osborn promises Ares that nothing is wrong, Ares tells him that if he is lying, he will kill him. Then Osborn discusses with the rest of the Avengers about the plan. While they are worried about the plan, Osborn offers them the deal that if the invasion is successful, they don't have to work for him anymore. Norman Osborn reveals that the Void side of Sentry is his secret weapon. Void tries to get the Sentry to give in to him. Victoria Hand suggests to Norman to see a psychiatrist when she gets concerned about his Green Goblin side resurfacing. Soon the sky suddenly turns an unearthly color, heralding the return of Sentry; surrounded by the mysterious black Void tendrils seen in the previous issue. The tendrils start to damage New York City, wrecking buildings and causing havok. While the Dark Avengers work on crowd control Norman talks down Void/Sentry, telling him that this kind of destructive behavior will gain the attention of powerful members of the 616, enough perhaps that it may make them realize they have to deal with Sentry once and for all. Sentry powers down, but Norman realizes that Sentry's wife Lindy Reynolds may have caused his recent meltdown. Realizing he has to deal with this problem, the episode ends with Osborne sending Bullseye to kill Lindy. Bullseye takes her for a helicopter ride, and strangles her and dumps her body in the ocean. When the Sentry questions him about Lindy's whereabouts, Bullseye claims she committed suicide over the countryside by jumping out of the helicopter, and the Sentry flies off to find her. Hood reveals the Norn Stones to his crime syndicate and states that it can empower them with the ability to find the New Avengers and those responsible for helping Luke Cage escape. Living Laser assists some H.A.M.M.E.R. Agents into attack Bucky and Steve Rogers and is joined by Corruptor who corrupts Bucky. Captain America manages to knock Corruptor out. Mandrill and Griffin attack Spider-Man and Spider-Woman where Mandrill takes control of Spider-Woman. Spider-Man manages to free Spider-Woman from Mandrill's control and they managed to defeat Mandrill and Griffin. Meanwhile, Luke Cage assists Steve Rogers and Captain America in fighting off Living Laser. Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors arrive and fend off the H.A.M.M.E.R. Agents. After that, Ares speaks in front of the Initiative, Avengers, and the entire H.A.M.M.E.R. to rally them up for the coming battle. Meanwhile in the White House, the President tells Ms. Hand that he wants to speak with Osborn directly that he is doing this without authority, he then realizes that Osborn has gone out of control.

In Asgard, Hogun and Fandral report to Balder on the situation with Volstagg, that he has turned himself into the local police in Broxton. As they are preparing to eat, Knut comes in warning them all that Asgard will fall on the morrow, and that he will not live to see the sunset. The other Asgardians don't believe him, Tyr tells him to sit down and shut up basically, and Heimdall tells them all that he can see no danger. Loki escorts Knut to his room, and tells him that he believes him, but that it is midnight, "tomorrow", and his prophecies are coming true, as Loki pulls a knife out and kills Knut. Later, Heimdall awakens to find his entire bedchamber moved and encircled with sorcery to the lowest part of Asgard. Loki tells him that no one could march against Asgard without his knowing, but the trick is in the telling what he knows. Heimdall looks out and sees an army without number swarming towards Asgard, and he is helpless to warn anyone. Elsewhere, Kelda travels into Broxton to find Bill's father, and tell him how his son, her love, died. In the upper part of Asgard, Tyr kicks in Knut's door to rub his face in his prophecy being wrong, only to find Knut's corpse. Realizing Knut was right, Tyr races off to warn the others.

The scene changes to Loki coming before Balder, warning him that Midgard is moving against Asgard. The Siege of Asgard starts with the Sentry attacking Asgard, followed by a massive aerial assault led by Osborn himself. While this happens, Donald Blake says that Tony Stark's brain waves are still weak but are getting stronger everyday. He, along with Maria Hill, see the attack commence. Blake tells Hill to take Tony away from there as fast as possible. Blake then goes outside and transforms into Thor and heads directly towards Osborn, but gets attacked by the Sentry into the ground. Thor then strikes the Sentry, sending him flying away, but the combined blast from Osborn and several Initiative agents manage to hurt Thor, with Osborn managing to knock him out with one final blow. The Siege is being covered on the news, declaring that Thor has been brought down. All of this being watched by a furious Steve Rogers. Upon seeing Norman Osborn's attack on Asgard, Steve Rogers has the Avengers assemble to fight the Dark Avengers and those that are on Norman Osborn's side. Meanwhile, Diamondback sees the Dark Avengers attacking Thor. She wants to help, but can't if they find her aiding Thor and states to herself that they need the REAL Avengers to help stop this.

Todd Keller, a conservative talk show host, is approached by a H.A.M.M.E.R. agent on behalf of Norman Osborn to exclusively cover the invasion of Asgard. Meanwhile Ben Urich is arrested in Chicago for attempting to enter Soldier Field. Will Stern, a cameraman spots Urich and convinces the arresting officer to release Urich into his custody. Urich and Stern then leave for a local dinner where they have a chance encounter with Volstagg who is headed back to Asgard to turn himself into the Asgardian authorities. Urich and Stern realize that Osborn is attempting to shift public opinion by stacking the media in his favor. They then convince Volstagg to allow them to accompany him on his way back to Asgard to get his interview and to cover the invasion from another perspective.

Siege Part 2 + Tie-ins
As the battle in Asgard intensifies, Ares finds himself battling Balder and learns from Heimdall about Osborn's deceptions. Meanwhile outside, Norman Osborn tells a battered and injured Thor that he is under arrest and that Asgard is now under his jurisdiction. Before he can take Thor into custody, Norman Osborn is attacked with a rocket launcher by Maria Hill and a young man named Jason. After fending off Moonstone and X-Ray, they help get Thor to safety. In Brooklyn, Steve Rogers delivers a speech to the assembled members of the New Avengers and Young Avengers as well as the Secret Warriors and tells them that they're going to take back their country. Back in Asgard as Osborn dispatches Daken to find Maria Hill, he is struck down by Ares, who vows to kill Osborn for his lies. But Ares is suddenly attacked by the Sentry and a brutal, but short, battle ensues, in which the Sentry barely seems to be hurt, while Ares is beaten badly, breaking his nose. It then comes to a violent conclusion when the Sentry literally tears Ares in half before the horrified eyes of the combatants on both sides. Back in Brooklyn as the Avengers and Secret Warriors prepare to depart for Broxton, Bucky gives Steve back his shield. At first Steve refuses, but Bucky tells him that if he wants to take the country back from Osborn, he needs to put on his uniform and stand up. Edwin Jarvis then gives Steve a briefcase and asks him to give it to an unknown person (presumably Tony Stark) and asks him to help him. Nick Fury tell Phobos to stay behind to keep him out of danger. Phobos tries to use his powers against Fury, but he tells Phobos he's seen all there is to see in the world and that there's nothing he could do to scare him. Back in Broxton as Osborn declares martial law in order to flush out Thor and Maria Hill, Daken is blasted by a bolt of lighting and severely burned. Thor then declares that he will not hide from Osborn or his minions and will defend both Broxton and Asgard with his last breath. Osborn orders the Sentry to find and kill Thor, but then receives a message from Taskmaster telling him to turn around. As Osborn does, a reflection of Captain America's shield in his faceplate can be seen coming closer.

Ben Urich, Will Stern and Volstagg reach a roadblock as they approach Broxton, Oklahoma and are spotted in their news van by H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. Volstagg exits the van and engages the agents directly while Ben and Will speed off but are caught only moments later. While in custody at Tinker Air Force Base, Will fakes a seizure and knocks the unsuspecting guard unconscience when he comes to investigate. The two then take the guard's keys, free themselves and escape.

In the Broxton jail, Volstagg is speaking to the sheriff and his deputy as the news reports on the attack on Asgard, showing footage of Thor being beaten down. Realizing that what's going on is wrong, the sheriff releases Volstagg so that he can go help defend his home. Volstagg stops though, when he realizes all the lies that are being spread about him and the other Asgardians. The sheriff sets him up in front of a webcam, and Volstagg sends out a video to the world about what really happened in Chicago. Word quickly spreads, and people everywhere are beginning to question Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R.'s attack on Asgard. As Volstagg is leaving the police station, Thor lands in front of him and smacks him to the ground. Volstagg realizes that this is not the true Thor, but the savage mechanical clone Ragnarok.

Ultron is shown to infiltrate Jocasta and the Infinite Avengers Mansion. He names himself Ultron Pym and seeks to kill and replace his father Henry Pym before using his Infinite Avengers Mansion to conquer the universe.

Norman Osborn sends his Thunderbolts to infiltrate Asgard and steal a weapon from the Asgardian armory that will turn the tide in his favor, Odin's spear, a weapon equal to that of Thor's hammer but bearing no worthiness enchantment. They managed to obtain the weapon, but Mister X kills an Asgardian guard on the way out. However, they have a run-in with The Mighty Avengers members that Amadeus Cho called in. They ran afoul of The Mighty Avengers where Scourge ends up using Odin's spear to sever U.S. Agent's left limbs.

When visiting his brother's grave, Donyell Taylor is conflicted if he should go with the deal Norman Osborn and the Hood gave him. Counter Force takes the fight to Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. and ends up fighting the Hood's gang. They are knocked down by Hood's new Asgardian weaponry. When Donyell arrives, Hood gives him an opportunity to prove himself by killing Tigra. Hood demands that Donyell kill Tigra if he wants his brother revived. Instead, Donyell attacks the Hood and is joined by Tigra as Hood uses the Norn Stones to empower some of the cadets on his side. Robbie Baldwin evades the guards and manages to get Batwing, Bengal, and Butterball to help the Avengers Resistance as he also reveals his identity. Hood receives a call from Norman Osborn requesting his assistance in Asgard. So Hood leaves in a portal while the other villains continue fighting. As Hood arrives in Asgard, Taskmaster deals with Captain America and is taken down.

Siege Part 3 + Tie-ins
Meanwhile in Washington, the President is watching the invasion of Asgard with his security council and orders the Secretary of State to mobilize all available military forces to be dispatched to Broxton and to have Osborn and the Dark Avengers arrested for treason. He also says that they should all pray for a miracle, to which one of the counsel members remarks that he thinks they just got one because Captain America has just arrived and brought his friends with him. At the very same moment in Asgard, Osborn is struck down by Captain America's shield as he and his allies descend onto the battlefield. As the Avengers, Young Avengers and Secret Warriors come to the aid of the Asgardians, Balder notices their arrival and welcomes their help. At the same time, Thor and Maria Hill are confronted by the Sentry. Thor unleashes a massive lightning blast against him, but it has little effect. As the Avengers advance through Asgard, they are met by the Hood, Madame Masque and all the members of his gang who attempt to bar their way. Constrictor saves Diamondback from an Asgardian soldier damaging his bionic arm. Diamondback then aids Captain America. Elsewhere, Hill returns to Tony Stark's hiding place to move him to a safer location when Speed arrives with the briefcase that Edwin Jarvis gave Captain America earlier. Maria Hill orders Speed to surrender when Stark stops her and asks Speed to give him the case.

Tyr informs Balder that Osborn's forces are advancing. Believing that the forces of Midgard could not strike with such power, he asks Heimdall what he sees. The All-Seer of Bifrost answers that he sees the Hood, bearing the Norn stones, given to him by Loki. Balder takes Heimdall with him to find Loki, leaving Tyr to maintain the defenses. Seeing the Hood's gang push forward, Tyr decides to go the House of Healing to gather any who can still stand up. Meanwhile in Broxton, Oklahoma, Volstagg is attacked by Ragnarok, the insane Thor clone who had come to pronounce judgement upon him. Volstagg readies himself for battle, but then remembers the last time he deflected an energy blast with his sword. Unwilling to let the same tragedy destroy his adopted home, Volstagg runs out in the field. Ragnarok follows him considering him a coward. Elsewhere, Kelda explains to Bill's parents that their son was killed in Latveria. Unfortunately, a H.A.M.M.E.R. squad is outside planning on destroying the house if she doesn't surrender. Back in Asgard, Tyr arrives in the House of Healing to find many dead and those surviving. He then comes upon the the remains of Ares before cursing himself for a fool. He goes out to help his fellow Asgardians before confronting the Hood. He attempts to snatch away the Norn stones only to be blasted away. Elsewhere in Asgard, Heimdall hasn't found Loki, but then sees Thor battling the Sentry. Heimdall reminds Balder that since Thor is exiled, he must be executed for returning....if they survive this war. Balder remarks that the law would not stop Thor from doing what is right and wishes that all of Odin's sons were like him. Right beneath Asgard, Volstagg has stopped deciding that this field is the perfect spot where no bystanders can be hurt. He attacks Ragnarok in a vicious fight, before the latter bests him. Ragnarok declares that he is weak, just like his false Asgard. They then both notice the U.S. Air Force attacking the H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarrier. Unfortunately, the Sentry has leveled Asgard, bringing it down upon them.

Back in Washington, the President receives word that ground and air military units have arrived in Broxton and are awaiting his orders. The President decides to let Captain America and his allies deal with Osborn and his forces and to have the military units take down H.A.M.M.E.R. itself instead and they begin by opening fire on the H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarrier, which sustains massive damage. Victoria Hand then gives the order for all hands to abandon ship. As Thor and the Sentry continue their battle, Captain America and Osborn face off against each other. As he strikes Ms. Marvel down with an energy blast, Norman Osborn's Iron Patriot armor is completely shut down by the arrival of Tony Stark (who is dressed in a variant of his MK III armor). Enraged, Osborn orders the Sentry to annihilate Asgard rather than allow the Avengers to have it, which the Sentry does, practically leveling the city before the horrified eyes of Thor. As the New Avengers are fighting Hood's gang, the Void-possessed Sentry starts to demolish Asgard with Mockingbird pinned down by the debris. Captain America finds Osborn amid the wreckage, pulls him out and places him under arrest. Before anyone can react further, Osborn's armor literally explodes off his body, revealing his face, which is painted in the image of the Green Goblin. This is witnessed across the country on live television by the entire nation with the X-Men and the Fantastic Four among those watching. Osborn begins raving that the heroes don't know what they've done, only to be punched out by Spider-Man. Thor demands to know the whereabouts of Loki, but Osborn tells him none of that matters and that he was the only one who could save them from what is about to happen. Osborn points overhead and hovering above them all is the Sentry, now fully possessed by the Void. Meanwhile, Hela calls upon Danielle Moonstar to gather the spirits of the Asgardians that fell in battle with Norman Osborn's forces. She ends up confronting the Disir, valkyries of Bor who are now under the service of Loki.

Urich and Stern split up and Ben ends up on a plane full of embedded journalists heading for Asgard. Venom crashes through the hull of the plane killing the pilots and kills the H.A.M.M.E.R. Agent Abrams. Before he can kill more innocents, the plane crashes. Todd convinces all of the survivors to somehow get him back on the air, but in the middle of it Asgard's destruction by Sentry cuts him off. Stern sees the destruction from a distance.

In Broxton, Kelda goes to leave, but H.A.M.M.E.R. Agents open fire on her, taking her down. Meanwhile, at Asgard, Volstagg digs himself out of the rubble, shocked at the destruction. Elsewhere, Thunderball is about to kill an Asgardian, but is defeated by Tyr, who is very much alive. Balder helps dig Heimdall out of the rubble, when Loki arrives trying to manipulate the situation. Loki tells Balder that he knows Balder wanted the throne, otherwise he would have pardoned Thor instead of banishing him. Back in Broxton, Bill's mother holds Kelda while she laments her love of Bill. She feels that if she had never loved him, if he had never loved her, he would still be alive. His mother tells her that she knows he loved her very much, and he'd want her to live. She convinces Kelda to fight back, and she does so. Lashing out with her power, she takes down all the H.A.M.M.E.R. Agents, except for a couple, who Volstagg convinces to surrender when they back into him. Elsewhere, Tyr reports to Balder that the men are scattered and must be rallied or all will be lost. Balder climbs to the top of a pile of debris, and begins radiating so much light that it's almost blinding. The Hood (thinking him an easy target) opens fire on him. But Balder redirects the bullet with his sword, sending it right back at him. When he climbs back down, he exiles Loki from Asgard and then rallies the Asgardians to begin fighting back. To show their enemies why they are known as a warrior race.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Marvel's Epic Seven Part Series: Civil War

In a battle between Nitro and the New Warriors, Nitro exploded, seemingly killing the entire team and a huge number of civilians (including 60 school children). This led the US government to introduce a "Living Weapon of Mass Destruction" registry for all super-powered beings. Marvel heroes were divided on the issue, and a Civil War ensued.

The Superhuman Registration Act had been a long time in the making. The logical extension of the often-proposed, never-passed Mutant Registration Act, the Superhuman Registration Act arose following the devastating attack on Manhattan in reprisal for Nick Fury's "Secret War" and the Hulk's destructive rampage in Las Vegas, which killed 26 adults, 2 children, and a dog (unbeknownst to the general public, S.H.I.E.L.D. subsequently deceived the Hulk and jetisoned him into space following this incident—see Planet Hulk).

Following M-Day, 90% of the Earth's mutant population found itself spontaneously depowered. With the mutant population suddenly far less visible and extremist groups claiming the event marked a turn in the tide of growing mutantdom (if not divine punishment against all mutants), sympathy for the group was near an all-time low. The majority of the remaining mutants—estimated at 198—were gathered up and forced to relocate to the Xavier Institute for their own protection. These events put public support for the registration bill at around 50%.

Tony Stark (Iron Man) was among those working to prevent passage of the act. He even hired a new Titanium Man to attack him immediately after his testimony before the Commission on Superhuman Activities, hoping it would hammer home that the act would make the nation less capable of dealing with rogue or foreign superhuman threats. The anti-registration camp seemed to be making headway, and may have even defeated the bill by the narrowest of margins, if not for the events that took place in Stamford, Connecticut.

Villains Nitro, Cobalt Man, Speedfreak, and Coldheart had been holed up in a house in Stamford when the New Warriors located them. The Warriors were at the time the focus of a reality TV show, and although a number of them felt the villains were out of their league, the network and others in the group thought it would be great for ratings. When Namorita attempted to capture Nitro, he used his explosive powers and destroyed several city blocks, including the elementary school at the epicenter. All of the New Warriors, the three villains accompanying Nitro, and over 600 civilians, among them 60 children, were killed. Numerous members of the superhero community arrived on the scene to search for survivors.

Public sentiment towards superheroes plummeted. The inactive New Warriors were widely regarded as "baby killers" by association. Hindsight, desperate to distance himself from them, began releasing their secret identities, and almost as many were killed by lynching as by the explosion in Stamford. The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) was beaten into a coma outside a Manhattan nightclub. Public opinion had been lukewarm for the Superhuman Registration Act before; now it passed the tipping point. Although nominally a UN agency, SHIELD seemed to have assumed the brunt of enforcing the act under acting director Maria Hill.

Captain America (Steve Rogers) balked at leading a force to apprehend rogue heroes. He felt that heroes needed to be above direct government control, because when politicans could control the heroes, they could decide who the villains were. He escaped the SHIELD Heli-Carrier and began organizing other anti-registration heroes into a group the press dubbed the "Secret Avengers." Most of his core group—Captain America, Hercules, Bill Foster, Luke Cage, Daredevil (Daniel Rand), Falcon, and Cable—had to take on a series of identities to avoid capture, literally becoming outlaws. The Secret Avengers apprehended a number of criminals while evading the opposing heroes and the new SHIELD "capekiller" units. Other heroes joined them or were liberated after their arrests. The Young Avengers, Cloak, and Dagger were some of these later heroes to join the group.

Iron Man, on the other hand, felt that it was reasonable that heroes have proper training and oversight, that the casual self-policing the superhero community had enjoyed until now was insufficient, and (most importantly) that it was now impossible to resist this change in the political landscape. He gathered his own pro-registration heroes to bring in Captain America's group and other non-registered combatants. Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), with the help of Yellowjacket (Henry Pym) and Tony Stark, began work on designing a prison (nicknamed 42) to detain superpowered violators.

Most of the pro-registration heroes, such as Mister Fantastic, Doc Samson, She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers), and Wonder Man, already had highly public identities. Even Stark unmasked himself as Iron Man (for the second time in his career), and admitted to previous attempts to hide his identity. One supporter, however, was not yet public: Spider-Man was reluctant to reveal his identity. He prepared to liquidate his assets and flee the country with his wife and aunt to avoid revealing his identity and putting them in jeopardy. They, on the other hand, were supportive and felt it was time for Peter to finally get some recognition for his good work. During a live, nationally televised broadcast, he pulled off his mask and announced, "My name is Peter Parker, and I've been Spider-Man since I was fifteen years old."

Civil War combatantsThe X-Men, on behalf of the mutant community, declared neutrality in the growing conflict. Acting leader Cyclops felt that the mutants had already been through too much during the Decimation to take a stand either way and survive. Individuals within the X-Men had their own opinions on the matter, however. Wolverine felt that the act was every bit as racist and oppressive as the Mutant Registration Act, while Bishop felt it was necessary to embrace the act and make sure that mutants could continue to self-police, lest the truly oppressive regime of his home timeline should come to pass. As the last known mutants, all members of the 198 and X-Men were already in government databases and were registered by default when the act passed.

The 198 have since chafed at the constant O*N*E surveillance, as well as their inability to leave the school grounds without being tracked by monitoring chips. When it was discovered the chips could also deliver a powerful electric discharge to assure the 198 could be subdued, they rioted. Mister M used his powers to remove the chips and they left the mansion. Bishop, Sabra, and Micromax were given permission to apprehend them, threatening to shatter Cyclops' neutrality. During the incident, General Lazer's thinly veiled anti-mutant sentiments and his covert attempts to destroy them were uncovered. His neck was snapped by Johnny Dee (via his duplicate of the general) and the mutants and heroes rallied together to prevent disaster. The more sympathetic director of O*N*E, Val Cooper, now seems to have a free hand with regards to the mutant refugees.

The X-Men and the 198 were not the only voices of the mutant community, however. The now mostly-depowered Morlocks and the residents of New York's once entirely mutant ghetto Mutant Town remained easy targets for hate groups now that they had reverted to more-or-less normal humans. X-Factor Investigations, an independent group of private investigators made up in part by members of the old superteam X-Factor, have recently set up shop in Mutant Town, and at times have been the only ones protecting the former mutants and putting down hate-induced riots. When the Registration Act passed, the group seemed uncertain how to react, and ultimately decided to go along with whatever their leader, Jamie Madrox, decided. Jamie, being one of the least decisive on the issue, was not happy to hear this. Initially conflicted, he happened to meet a fleeing Aegis (Trey Rollins), who was being pursued by capekillers after stopping a purse-snatcher. After helping Aegis escape, Madrox made up his mind and called a press conference to inform everyone that Mutant Town was now officially off-limits. From now on, they would protect its residents, and the capekillers' presence would not be tolerated.

Into this chaotic scene comes Pietro Maximoff. The man once known as Quicksilver had lost his speed powers during the Decimation event, but had gained new powers by inhaling the Inhumans' Terrigen Mists. He now has the ability to restore lost powers to former mutants, though doing so usually ended badly for the recipient of his "gift". He has also set up shop in Mutant Town, though the full extent of his activities has not yet been revealed.

Meanwhile, Wolverine had begun tracking down Nitro the moment rescue efforts ceased. He was able to track Nitro's scent and determine he had skipped town hidden on a pick-up. Interrogating the driver, Wolverine then found Nitro hiding in a cabin in the woods. By this time SHIELD had also intervened, and a team including Wolverine was sent to capture him. Predictably, he incinerated everything within a wide radius of the cabin. The agents died, and Wolverine was reduced to (seemingly) nothing more than an adamantium-plated skeleton. It was while he was regenerating that he heard Nitro talking to a contact over the phone, informing him of the latest kill. The conversation went sour: Nitro's use of Mutant Growth Hormone to enhance his power was mentioned, as was the fact that he was now officially too hot to be useful. Finally regenerated, Wolverine went toe-to-toe with Nitro, taking advantage of the small radius of safety around his body that prevents Nitro from incinerating himself or anything on his person.

The fight was interrupted by a trio of Atlanteans before Wolverine could kill Nitro. The Atlanteans sought to bring Nitro back to Atlantis, where he was wanted by Prince Namor for the murder of his cousin, Namorita. Wolverine fought with them, then joined them to go to Atlantis to confront Namor personally. During the course of debate over what to do with Nitro, the villain freed himself and tried to take an Atlantean woman hostage. Wolverine subdued him, cutting off his hand in the process. He then decided to leave Nitro to Atlantean justice, and focus instead on the ones who supplied him with MGH. He eventually determined the distributor was the corrupt head of Damage Control, a firm that took clean-up and rebuilding contracts following superhuman fights. It didn't take much detective work to determine that more powerful villains meant bigger fights, and bigger contracts.

Meanwhile the government recognized that a war between superheroes left the country defenseless against the remaining super-villains. Their fears are well-placed: villains such as Doctor Doom, Red Skull, Arnim Zola, the Mad Thinker, and the Puppet Master have all been shown to have insidious plans in the works. The Thunderbolts were asked to spearhead Operation: Justice Like Lightning, in which they would confront, capture, and if possible reform super-villains. Little did anyone outside the Thunderbolts suspect that Helmut Zemo had already been collecting super-villains for an army to confront the mounting threat of the Grandmaster and his new Squadron Sinister! The captured villains willing to play along quickly swelled the team into three large squads. Still more are being trained every day in a secret mountain camp. Numerous other villains have been released since then under more direct (or less legitimate) government supervision, including the Green Goblin, the Vulture, the Jester, and Jack O'Lantern. The villains are supposedly kept in check by nanites in their blood stream which can monitor and disable them at any time. Norman Osborn, however, has learned the secret to deactivating them from a mysterious benefactor.

Most villains sought to bypass the act. Crime mistress Ricadonna allowed some supervillains to escape the act by grafting Skrull tissue into their bodies in exchange for freeing her from prison. The survivors of the experiment -- Ferocia, Kingsize, Flame, and a new Blue Streak -- gained shape-shifting abilities, making registration easy to avoid. She later underwent the same process herself. Former Maggia-member Hammerhead, on the other hand, saw the act as an opportunity to usurp Wilson Fisk as the Kingpin of Crime by rallying criminals (consisting of the Ani-Men V, Answer, Aura, Bloodshed, Clown, Cyclone III, Discus, Electro, Great Gambonnos, Kangaroo II, Man Mountain Marko, Mauler, Mindblast, Override, Ringmaster, Stiletto, Spot, Squid, Trapster, and Will O' The Wisp) in opposition of the act. His reasoning was that it was only a matter of time before every super-being was treated as a walking WMD, and then the criminals among them were as good as dead. A number of super-criminals did in fact rally under him, but the Kingpin managed to orchestrate the capture and death of his rival from his jail cell. He deceived Tony Stark and SHIELD into believing they were raiding Captain America's secret headquarters, while his double agent under Hammerhead, Underworld, made sure the usurper did not survive.
Dr. Strange during Civil WarConflict among the heroes was constant, with the government-backed heroes tracking down unregistered super-humans (and subsequently arresting or registering them) and trying to find Captain America's Secret Avengers. The Secret Avengers operated out of a series of secret safe houses set up by Nick Fury, kept secret from everyone within SHIELD. Cap's team continued to apprehend super-villains (usually leaving them bound for the authorities), and launched a series of well-coordinated attacks on prison transports carrying unregistered super humans. During one such raid, the convoy was diverted when Iron Man became aware of Cap's plan, and ended up going directly down Yancy Street, a hotbed of civilian opposition to the Act. The Thing, who was only visiting his old neighborhood, got roped into crowd control. When a young member of the Yancy Street Gang named Cee died in the riot, Grimm became so disgusted with both sides that he left the country for France (As a patriotic American he could not act against the law, but as he felt the law was wrong, he could not support it either). Incidentally, the US government made it very difficult for Grimm to get out of the country. His assets were frozen (too much money to risk going untaxed), his baggage was held up (even shampoo could be a potential bomb), and he was lucky to board before he was added to the national "no-fly" list. He has currently taken up with the Heroes of Paris.
In Los Angeles, the Runaways, unaware of the situation, stopped the Flag-Smasher in public, and was chased out by SHIELD, with their agents severely damaging cyborg member Victor. In New York, the Young Avengers see the fight on TV and the Vision suffers a seizure. Despite Captain America's veto of the plan, the Young Avengers steal a Quinjet and track down the Runaways. After a brief fight, the two teams are attacked by Noh-Varr, who was sent by SHIELD to take them down. Noh-Varr breaks Xavin's neck and steals Hulkling, Wiccan, and Karolina, taking them back to his prison in the Cube. During the fight, the Vision phase-shifted his hand into Noh-Varr's chest, who broke it off to escape. The remaining members of both teams broke into the Cube and saved their teammates, freeing Noh-Varr from the mind control of the Cube's warden. The Runawawys refuse to pick a side in the war and maintain a neutral stance.
Recently, the Secret Avengers were lured by a false emergency call into an ambush by the pro-registration forces. They first attempted to disable Cap and his team with sonics, but as the battle began to turn decided to unleash the secretive Project: Lightning: Thor. After the fight, it was soon revealed that this was not the true Thor, but a clone created from a few strands of Thor's hair and empowered by a technological copy of the recently-returned Mjolnir. The return of the long-missing god among them gave everyone pause, but the battle soon raged on. When confronted by Bill Foster, Thor sent a bolt of lightning through the hero's chest, killing him. With both sides in shock, Cap ordered a retreat. Bill Foster's tragic death dramatically changed the way both sides looked at the conflict, and turned it into a true Civil War. The event shook up both sides in the war, with Stature and Nighthawk finally surrendering and registering, while the Human Torch and Invisible Woman decided to oppose the act's enforcement with Captain America.
The pro-registration side suffered another blow when Spider-Man became curious about many of the details of enforcement. He came to realize that Stark was using the "Iron Spidey" suit to monitor his actions and reactions, including his spider-sense. He found and added override codes for a number of Stark commands designed to subdue the wall-crawler if necessary. At one point, he accompanied Stark on a visit to 42 after Sue and Johnny left to join the Avengers. He learned that many of the most powerful captured super-humans were being held without trial and without access to counsel in an enormous super-prison within the life-draining Negative Zone. Spider-Man rebelled against the act, and was attacked by Iron Man when he tried to sneak away with Aunt May and Mary Jane. During the fight the three escaped, and several "ex" villains were sent to capture him. Already weak, he was found, drugged, and blasted half to death by Jack O'Lantern and the Jester. He was saved at the last minute by the Punisher, who brought him to Captain America. Castle revealed he hadn't cared much about the superhero's little war until the government started using killers like Bullseye and Venom. Now he was determined to take down the scum, anyone supporting them, and anyone in his way. The Avengers knew the Punisher's skills were exactly what they needed to wage their guerrilla war, but also that accepting the convicted killer into their ranks destroyed almost all of their legitimacy and moral high-ground. Later, Spider-Man would interrupt a news cast to make a public statement about the horrors of the act's enforcement, and pledged to fight it.

Following the incident, the US government tried to discredit Cable, who was seen as a risk even before he allied himself with the anti-registration camp. Cable opposes the registration act because he sees it as the first step towards government-sponsored superteams, then towards a super-powered police force that will ultimately lead to a global police state. Like Bishop, his concern for the future is driven by a knowledge of his timeline's past. For the past few years, Cable had been promoting his island-nation of Providence as an intellectual Utopia of peace, cooperation, and advance technology. When Cable recently over-threw the Flag-Smasher as president of the troubled nation of Rumekistan (with the help of the popular resistance), many in the greater world became convinced the would-be mutant messiah was a threat to international stability. The mercenary group Six Pack (which paradoxically included the very anti-registration Solo and Cable's pro-registration, sometimes-friend Deadpool) was sent to disrupt the Rumekistan power grid as part of a larger plan to discredit Cable. The plot was thwarted, and exposed before the international community.

An ambassador from the kingdom of Atlantis, on a mission of peace backed by the European Community (represented at the event by the Super Heroes of Europe), was the target of an unsuccessful assassination attempt. Norman Osborn, bearing an obviously fake press pass and handgun (and none of his Green Goblin paraphernalia), fired once at the statesman, hitting him the shoulder. The ambassador was escorted back to the ocean by his people, and Osborn immediately collapsed to the ground claiming he was framed. Police later recognized that an accomplished menace like Osborn could have easily killed the ambassador, and that the events leading up to the shooting just didn't make sense. Osborn attempted to tell police that his actions were being controlled by a third party through the nanites, but was unable. He was turned over to the federal government before NYPD could learn much. Following the attack, Atlantis has massed their troops and vessels along the US' east coast, as if preparing to attack (though they have not yet done so).

The US is also still in the midst of a cold war with the Inhumans of Attilan over their refusal to return stolen Terrigen Crystals. Since the now-deceased General Lazer has the first and last word on the matter, it's still not clear if the US government even knew Lazer had taken possession of the crystals originally stolen by Pietro Maximoff. Unaware of the war footing, the Sentry recently traveled to Atillan, where he was at first attacked, then brought before the royal family. Informing the Inhuman royal court of his hidden past, the Secret War, House of M, Decimation, and Civil War, many of the Inhumans were moved to tears at the tragedy of it all. When Iron Man came to retrieve Reynolds, he was informed that this war would not be allowed to come to their land again, or else the cold war between their peoples would heat up very quickly.

"Thor" vs. HerculesIt should also be noted that the visit by the Super Heroes of Europe underscored the fact that no one has really decided how the act applies to foreign superheroes, though several super-villains of foreign origin are already being held based on previous convictions. Though not involved in the Civil War directly, relations with Wakanda and its super-powered monarchs, the Black Panther (T'Challa) and Storm, have also been strained lately. It now seems inevitable that the Civil War will spill out of the US' borders.

Public interest peaked when Speedball was found alive, hurled a state away by the force of the Stamford blast. Robbie seemed to have lost his powers in the blast (the explanation being that his powers protected him from the sudden force, but burned out their biological mechanisms in the process). He was held without trial in a foreign country for a time, but was eventually relocated and given counsel in the form of Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk), who attempted to argue he was unconscious when the act was passed, and thus never had the chance to register. Instead of following her advice, he refused to register. Having no more powers, he was put in the prison's general populace, where he was regarded by the rest of the prisoners as a "baby killer" and beaten regularly. Hoping to set an example for those who would attack him, he challenged the meanest detractor to a boxing match. He was in the middle of getting pummeled in the ring when his powers kicked in, destroying the ring and knocking out everyone in the near vicinity. He was again put in solitary, where he learned his parents never wanted to see him again. He jumped at the chance to testify before Congress on the Stamford incident, but was shot as he was being escorted to chambers. As he was bleeding to death in the ambulance, his powers again activated with enough force to hurt even She-Hulk. He was mended through Reed Richards quick action, but returned to prison once better. This time imprisoned at the Raft super-prison, he was used as the focus of an escape opportunity by a group of supervillains (Razorfist, Crimson Cowl, and Diamondhead in particular). They distracted the guards long enough to take Baldwin hostage, then killed the guards while Justine Hammer opened the gates. With Baldwin being used as a human shield, he was again able to activate his powers, this time intentionally, burning many of the escapees beyond recognition. Having seemingly undergone a major and spontaneous and violent personality change, he is now anxious to register and get back out into the world.

Trying to navigate this entire sordid affair are reporters Sally Floyd and Ben Urich. Sally started out as one of the most vocal opponents of the act in the press, immediately decrying it as violation of civil liberties. Her opinion was not altered much by SHIELD's constant surveillance, nor her recent arrest after she attended a meeting of unregistered heroes. However, after she was bailed out by Senator Sykes, one of the authors of the registration act and a frequent target of her opinion pieces, she began to realize that he too was concerned with American civil liberties, and that she hadn't given the issue the full consideration expected of a good reporter. After a disappointing interview with Captain America, Sally now finds her self more conflicted than ever. Ben Urich, on the other hand, has been mostly quiet on the act itself, but has slowly been cataloging inconsistencies as he researches fires, murders, and attacks on himself. If Norman Osborn is really being monitored, who attacked him dressed as the Green Goblin? Why would the Goblin attack a group of Atlanteans? What were the Atlanteans doing hiding in a New York warehouse? From the shooting of Robbie Baldwin to the shooting of the Atlantean ambassador, the more evidence he gathers, the more the missing pieces speak of a conspiracy.

Anti-Reg forces sneak attackAs the Punisher works his way through the Baxter Building to retrieve plans for File 42, Sue Storm goes to Atlantis to persuade Namor to join the Secret Avengers, but to no avail. The super-villains Goldbug and Plunderer arrive at the Secret Avengers' base to join Captain America's team, but the Punisher immediately kills them (calling them killers and thieves after that), leading Captain America to attack him and kick him off the group (he didn't raise a finger against him). The Secret Avengers, joined by Storm and the Black Panther, reach the Ryker's Island penitentiary and head through the portal to the 42 complex, but the team is confronted by the pro-registration supporters, revealing each team had placed a spy on the other. Hulkling is able to release the incarcerated heroes from the cells of the 42 complex through the guise of Henry Pym, making the odds more even. As the battle is about to commence, Captain America warns the pro-registration heroes: "Now close your eyes, gentlemen. This might hurt."

As the battle begins in the Negative Zone, Cloak moves the battle to the center of New York City. Namor and an army of Atlanteans join the battle alongside the Secret Avengers, followed by the Thor clone and Captain Marvel on the pro-registration side. Vision disrupts Iron Man's armor and Captain America is able to subdue him. On the battlefield, Mr. Fantastic is shot while trying to save the Invisible Woman from the Taskmaster and Hercules crushes the skull of the Thor clone. As the battle rages on, the city is badly damaged. Thing returns to protect the citizens from harm of the battle. Captain America's side seems victorious as Iron Man lays on the ground waiting for Cap's finishing blow. Just before Cap can hit Iron Man, several standard cops, EMTs, and firefighters hold him back, and Cap realizes how much damage the fighting has caused to the general population that they all want to protect. Wishing to avert anymore unnecessary bloodshed, Cap surrenders and the team follows suit, with many of the Secret Avengers given amnesty by the government while Captain America is placed in jail.

Two weeks later, the 50-State Initiative is launched and the Mighty Avengers assemble as a team. Tony Stark is appointed Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., while Maria Hill is demoted to deputy status. Some heroes choose to move to Canada, while some stay underground, such as the New Avengers. In front of his New Avengers teammates Luke Cage and Doctor Strange, Spider-Man sorrowfully dons his black costume. At the end of the series, Tony Stark tells Miriam Sharpe "the best is yet to come sweetheart... That's a promise".