- 1 Event Synopsis
- 1.1 Brief Summary
- 1.2 Background and Casus Belli
- 1.2.1 Mutant Registration Act, Secret War, Hulk
- 1.2.2 M-Day and Decimation
- 1.2.3 Stamford
- 1.2.4 Growing tension
- 1.2.5 Anti-Registration
- 1.2.6 Pro-Registration
- 1.2.7 Mutant matters
- 1.2.8 Wolverine tracking Nitro
- 1.2.9 Operation: Justice Like Lightning
- 1.2.10 Criminals' reactions
- 1.2.11 Civilian victims
- 1.2.12 Runaways
- 1.2.13 Project: Lightning
- 1.2.14 Spidey switches sides
- 1.2.15 Cable
- 1.2.16 Atlantis
- 1.2.17 Attilan
- 1.2.18 Wakanda
- 1.2.19 Speedball's fate
- 1.2.20 Journalists
- 1.2.21 Final battle
- 1.3 Aftermaths
- 2 Alternate Reality Versions
- 3 Notable Participants
- 4 Notes
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Comic Books with a Civil War Tie-in
- 7 See Also
- 8 Links and References
- 9 Recommended Readings
- 10 See also
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 nearby). This led the United States government to introduce a "Living Weapon of Mass Destruction" registry for all super-powered individuals. Most heroes were divided on the issue, and a Civil War ensued.
Background and Casus Belli
Mutant Registration Act, Secret War, Hulk
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, the Illuminati subsequently deceived the Hulk and jettisoned him into space following this incident).
M-Day and Decimation
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. Many of the remaining mutants - estimated at first at 198 individuals - 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, Speedfreek, 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 that 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 school 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, S.H.I.E.L.D. 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 politicians could control the heroes, they could decide who the villains were. When Cap refused to support the Superhuman Registration Act aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Hill attempted to arrest him. Yet, she had no right to do so, for the Act had not been passed yet, so Captain America was not yet a superhuman illegal combatant. So, Cap's actions in that case were in self-defense. After his escape, Cap 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. "cape-killer" 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 and Tony Stark, began work on designing a prison (nicknamed 42 because it was the forty-second idea on Tony's list of ways to improve the world) 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."
The 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.
Wolverine tracking Nitro
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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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.
Operation: Justice Like Lightning
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 S.H.I.E.L.D. into believing they were raiding Captain America's secret headquarters, while his double agent under Hammerhead, Underworld, made sure the usurper did not survive.
The criminal named The Hood also took advantage of the split in the superhero community by creating his own criminal syndicate and attempted to gain influence in the criminal underworld.
Conflict 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.. 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 took 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 S.H.I.E.L.D., 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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.
The Secret Avengers were lured by a false emergency call into an ambush by the pro-registration forces, in an attempt by Iron Man to talk the conflict out. However, Captain America attacked Stark, leading to a direct confrontation between the two sides. 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.
Spidey switches sides
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 did not 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 United States' east coast, as if preparing to attack.
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.
It 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 beyond 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 were 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.'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 found herself more conflicted than ever. Ben Urich, on the other hand, had been mostly quiet on the act itself, but had slowly been cataloging inconsistencies as he researches fires, murders, and attacks on himself. He wondered if Norman Osborn was really being monitored, who attacked him dressed as the Green Goblin, why would the Goblin attack a group of Atlanteans, and 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 gathered, the more the missing pieces spoke of a conspiracy.
As the Punisher worked his way through the Baxter Building to retrieve plans for File 42, Sue Storm went to Atlantis to persuade Namor to join the Secret Avengers, but to no avail. The super-villains Goldbug and Plunderer arrived at the Secret Avengers' base to join Captain America's team, but the Punisher immediately killed them, calling them killers and thieves after their deaths, leading Captain America to attack him and kick him out of the group once he did not 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 began in the Negative Zone, Cloak moved 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 was officially launched and the Mighty Avengers assemble as a team. Tony Stark was appointed Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., while Maria Hill is demoted to deputy status. Some heroes chose 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 donned his black costume.
Alternate Reality Versions
The story begins with the superheroes waging an unsanctioned attack on Castle Doom, Latveria due to the fact that the prime minister, Lucia Von Bardas, markets technology to the Tinkerer, who, in turn, markets them to supervillains in order to upgrade their suits. The President refuses to attack Latveria due to the fact that Bardas has established friendly relations with the American government. The attack on Latveria is successful, ending with Fury's squadron destroying Castle Doom, and Bardas being presumed to be dead.
One year later, Ms. Marvel is reported to be missing after being sent to recover intel on criminal activity. A team is sent to rescue her, and find her interrogated by the Shocker. They then discover that a cyborg Von Bardas has been leading Latveria in an assault on America for the attack on Latveria. Her plan is thwarted by the heroes, however, in the process, a portion of the city has been destroyed, causing the government to consider enacting the Superhuman Registration Act. Nick Fury disappears in light of the incident, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill is appointed to be the new director. In a television broadcast of The New Warriors, the supervillain Nitro creates a massive explosion, killing over 600 lives and causing the Superhuman Registration Act to be enacted. Captain America, in disagreement of the Act, rebels and forms a team of his own in order to battle those who support the Act. Another team is formed, led by Iron Man, in order to restore peace and thwart Captain America's rebellion. The story then is split into two separate branches depending on player choice: Pro-Registration and Anti-Registration.
The Pro-Registration then creates nanite technology which is used to control the minds of supervillains, aiding them in their quest to defeat Captain America. The two plotlines converge when the Pro-Registration team leads the Anti-Registration team to a chemical plant. Iron Man attempts to negotiate with Captain America, promising amnesty for the Anti-Registration team, but the Captain refuses, resulting in a battle between the two factions. The nanite-controlled villains, however, go haywire and plant bombs all over the chemical plant. Nick Fury returns to the plotline as he tries to defuse the explosives. As the final bomb is about to be defused, however, Venom thwarts Fury's intentions, causing an explosion which incapacitates the heroes. They are brought to a safe house by Nick, who unites the teams in order to defeat the out-of-control villains.
The heroes travel to the Negative Zone in order to bring samples of the nanite formula. The mission is a success and the team escapes, however, Fury's fate is unknown, as he was left behind right after he activated a self-destruct system. The Registration Act, as a result, is suspended, after it is revealed that the nanites have survived and have spread throughout the world. The reunited teams are then split into various groups, with the main group heading to the Black Panther's home, Wakanda. They defeat nanite-controlled agents, and it is revealed that the nanites are now under the control of the group known as The Fold. The team then also discover that Nick Fury has been taken over by the Fold. The groups then establish a base in Wakanda, as the country is safe from the nanite invasion. The team then travel to Iceland, a destination which contains a base under the Fold's control. They then transmit a signal which paralyzes the nanite-controlled villains and heroes, allowing them to be cured. The team then battle the Tinkerer, who is the ringleader of the Fold, and defeat him. However, the battle has not yet been won; a nanite-controlled Nick Fury then battles the heroes, ending with the heroes victorious.
The end of the game is then determined on which faction the player chose; if the Pro-Registration team has been chosen, the Superhuman Registration Act is amended, whereas if the Anti-Registration team has been chosen, the Superhuman Registration Act is repealed.
|Confirmed proponents of registration|
|Registered heroes and villains:||S.H.I.E.L.D. Forces||Enforcers|
|Detained and recruited heroes and villains||Major government supporters:||Major civilian supporters:|