New Avengers #21

Background

After the disaster in Stamford, the public call for a reform on the way superhumans handle their affairs. On Capitol Hill the Superhuman Registration Act is being debated. This would require all superhumans to register with the government and be trained and deputised, as well as giving up their secret identities.

Some heroes, such as Iron Man, have registered and are actively working with the government. Others such as Captain America are opposed to the Act, when Captain America is asked to hunt down the the heroes opposed to the act he chose his side...

Story Details

  New Avengers #21
Summary: Spider-Man & Spider-Woman Appear
Arc: Part 1 of 'New Avengers: Disassembled' (1-2-3-4-5)
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Howard Chaykin
Cover Art: Howard Chaykin

This story starts with Steve trying to distract himself what recent events. He mentions he cannot trust anyone, the world has turned against him and its ironic that he should have died 60 years ago a patriot. He notes that the people want registration to make them feel secure and protected, but the heroes are all that's left to keep them free and safe. He says the people don't want to fight for their own freedom they want someone else to do it. Steve tells himself to start focusing as he wouldn't be in this situation if he just focused. Steve looks up to see he is surrounded by Capekillers, these are highly trained S.H.E.I.L.D agents wearing armour designed by Tony Stark, Steves' pal and partner. Steve gives them to option to stand down, they open fire, Steve fights back but takes a hit in the shoulder. After fighting the last Capekiller, Steve tells them they don't know why they are fighting. He realises he has just knocked down Dum Dum Dugan, an old friend. Of all the agents they could have used they sent a friend. Steve uses Dugans' radio to say that Captain America is dead, and to wait for further instructions. He makes his escape still wishing they left him on ice as he would still be a hero.

Steve is woken up by Falcon, he doesn't know where he is. Steve asks how Falcon knows about the hideout, Falcon tells he him brought him here once. Steve asks him to take his mask off, Falcon takes it off, Steve still doesn't believe its him, he asks him about a girls name from "that time". Falcon tells him it's Francine. Steve is now convinced its the real Falcon. Steve asks if he signed the Act? Falcon tells him he didn't and tells him he has always seen Stark for what he is - a sellout. Falcon asks Steve if they are safe, the place was one of Nick Furys' safe houses. Falcon asks if he's going to leave the country? Steve tells him hell no and asks if he's with him on this? Falcon tells him he never ask that. Falcon tells him that, "I ain't buying what their sellin' and I ain't movin'". Steve puts his costume on and tell Falcon that this is going to get bloody. Falcon tells Cap that he's not bothered about today, he's worried about tomorrow, what comes next after the heroes have taken each other out who will stop the villains. Cap tells him they will deal with that another day right now they need to put a team together.

Next we see Spider-Man in his Iron-Spider suit near Star Tower. Cap tells Falcon he's disappointed in Spidey, Falcon calls him a sellout. Cap stars to defend Spidey when they hear gunshots. Cap says they should go and help, Falcon tells him they'll come after them but Cap says they have to help.

Later in Hank Pyms' lab the news shows Cap and The Falcon stopping the trouble earlier. Cap and The Falcon show up asking for his help. Pym asks what for? Cap tells him they must fight the Act, Falcon tells Pym to grab his stuff as they better get moving. Pym tells them he's signed the Act. Falcon tells him to stay in his lab when this starts to go down. Pym asks why Cap is being so difficult about this, people are going to get hurt because Cap refuses to "play ball". Cap asks who are they playing ball with and who for? Why can't anyone answer that question? Cap tells Pym he was a member of the world greatest team, a team that worked for no one but the people that needed them and he's throwing that away. Pym is shocked by this, he didn't think that Cap would go to see him, he thought that he didn't think that much of him. Cap tells him he was wrong, again as he and Falcon leave. Pym grows and tries to stop them, he tells Cap and Falcon that he told them he has refused to fight but he will hold them there. Falcon asks them? Cap and Falcon realise they are surrounded by several flying Capekillers. Cap asks Falcon if he remembers an old move? Falcon replys "Yeah, it hurt". Cap tell him he cant help about that and throws his shield at Pyms' nose. Cap and Falcon dive out of the window, Falcon catches Cap and they fly away. S.H.I.E.L.D Commander Hill is on the scene she tells her agents to pursue Cap and Falcon, she also tells Pym not to kick himself too much. Pym tells her to shut up.

On a nearby rooftop Cap and Falcon are watching the Capekillers flyby, Falcon asks who's next?

Next issue: Cage.

General Comments

This issue really get under the skin of Captain America, it explains why he's so opposed to registration - kudos to Bendis for pulling this off. This issue also shows that Cap really thinks a lot of Spidey even though it's one page, you can tell this will be a factor down the line in the war. The art by Chaykin is decent but it looks a little rushed. I don't know if this is his style but it serves the story well.

Usually during a big company event there are comics that you don't need to read to get the main story. This issue is an exception - It explains why Captain America is anti-registration, not only that but it's convinced me that registration is wrong, (more on that below in the foot note).

Overall Rating

One of the main players in Civil war - Check One great story - Check Great dialogue - Check Decent art - Check Looking forward to next issue - Check Spidey appearance - Check

Yes I know I have put six points but the last two equal one half mark each! 5 solid webs.

Footnote

When I first heard of the Civil War I was intrigued. Now four issues in I'm hooked, the whole concept is great. Heroes fighting for what they believe in whether it's legal or not. Choosing Captain America as the leader of the anti-registration movement was a bold move, and it's great stories like this that make the gamble pay off.

As for my own opinion on registration it falls into two things. If I was living in the Marvel universe, with mutants, demons and guys with webs coming out of their arms running around, I would be all for it. These people should be held accountable for their actions.

That being said as a reader I am now anti-registration. As the story has progressed, both this issue and in the main Civil war book, the Pro-registration side appears to be government puppets, blindly doing what they are told. Real heroes will die trying to help people, just because it's right, not because they were told to. Before the Avengers, Spider-Man would help due to his moral responsibility now he's fighting heroes because he's being told to. A Hero like Captain America is a moral compass. He's one of the benchmarks by all heroes are measured. Even being a huge Spidey fan doesn't make me Pro-registration, but I can see the views of both sides and this is why this story is fantastic.

Civil war is a huge shake up for Marvel and I applaud them for it. I just wonder what the Marvel universe will be like post Civil War?