Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, is attacked outside a night club and beaten into a coma. Advocates call for reform, and a Superhuman Registration Act is debated, which would require all those possessing paranormal abilities to register with the government, divulge their true identities to the authorities and submit to training and sanctioning in the manner of federal agents.
Following a report of an explosion at the Geffen-Meyer Chemical Plant, Captain America and his resistance force arrive on the scene to aid in the rescue of the plant workers only find themselves in the middle of an Iron Man led – S.H.I.E.L.D. ambush.
A Superhuman Registration Act has been passed which requires all people possessing paranormal abilities to register with the government, divulging true identities to the authorities and submitting to training and sanctioning in the manner of federal agents. Those who do not register are considered criminals. Some heroes, such as Iron Man, see this as a natural evolution of the role of superhumans in society and a reasonable request. Others view the act as an assault on their civil liberties. After being called upon to hunt down heroes in defiance of the Registration Act, Captain America goes underground and begins to form a resistance movement.
With the current Avengers team in disarray, Spider-Woman finds herself alone. She is a double agent, working for both the terrorist group Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D., the world’s peacekeeping taskforce. Now, with the superhuman landscape shifting beneath her feet, Jessica Drew must decide on which side she falls.
Heroes have divided into two camps – those allied with Iron Man, who supports the law and those who follow Captain America, who moved underground to fight back at a government that has turned his back on him.
Julia “Arachne” Carpenter changed sides when she was sent to hunt down her lover, Maximilian Coleridge (AKA “Shroud”). The two of them went on the run, hunted by the United States Government.
Ms. Marvel and Simon Williams (AKA “Wonder Man”), who both side with Iron Man, captured Shroud, but Julia escaped.
In the midst of all this, Ms. Marvel has also taken on the task of mentoring Anya Corazon, the young hero known as Arana…
During a televised raid of a house containing select villains that had recently escaped from the super villain facility at Ryker’s Island prison during a massive breakout, the escaped villain Nitro let off a massive explosion that killed the majority of the New Warriors, as well as the children at a nearby elementary school. In the wake of the tragedy, the U.S. Government proposed the Superhuman Registration Act. The act requires any person in the United States with superhuman abilities to register with the federal government as a “human weapon of mass destruction,” reveal their true identity to the authorities, and undergo proper training. Those who sign also have the option of working for S.H.I.E.L.D., earning a salary and benefits such as those earned by other American civil servants. Characters within the superhero community in the Marvel Universe split into two groups: one advocating the registration as a responsible obligation, and the other opposing the law on the grounds that it violates civil liberties and the protection that secret identities provide. A number of villains have also chosen to take sides, some choosing to side with the registration, others against it. Luke Cage (previously the second Power Man), an African American, compared registration to slavery, and did so to Iron Man’s face. Others compared the act to the norms under which the police and soldiers operate.
The incident in Stamford by the super villain Nitro causes the US Government to introduce the Superhero Registration Act. Those not adhering to it are deemed unregistered and rogue superheroes. Tony Stark and Dr Reed Richards lead the side of the pro-registration superhero. Captain America leads the anti-registration side. Spider-Man, initially with Tony Stark, eventually joins the team of Captain America. Goliath is killed by the pro-registration superheroes. Many super-villains join the Government in hunting down superheroes.