The Superhuman Registration Act has been passed. All superhumans must register or become a criminal.
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, Jessica Drew must decide what side she's on.
Issue 23 begins with Jessica in her apartment watching the news which is covering some of the events of last issue. There is a knock at the door, it's Nick Fury who has been underground since the end of the Secret War. Jessica lets him they talk about her being a double agent, and how the civil war has changed her situation. Fury asks her to choose a side and find out where Captain America is. Jess attacks Fury with a venom blast. It turns out that "Fury" is an LMD, a Life Model Decoy under the remote control of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill. Jess tells "Fury" that its the smell they didn't get right, the real Fury smells like "Havana at low tide". Hill/Fury tells her that she was just hoping to get some easy intel and some reasonable doubt that Jess is a traitor. Jess destroys the LMD and is attacked and captured by a team of Capekillers.
Jess wakes up in a cell, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Hill congratulates Jess on being the first traitor in the first superhero war. Iron Man walks in and Hill tells Jess that she knows about her triple agent status, and that although she is the boss of S.H.I.E.L.D. Jess still takes orders from Fury. Iron Man tells Jess that he only put up with her games due to Captain America's belief in her. Suddenly all the lights go out. The S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier has lost power and is under attack from Hydra. Several Hydra agents rescue Jess and leave. Onboard the falling helicarrier S.H.I.E.L.D. agents reactivate the antigrav boosters just in time. Hill asks Iron Man what attacked them. Iron Man tells her it was some sort of E.M.P.
Jess wakes up again only to find she is on what looks like a tropical island. She is greeted Hydra agent Connelly. He remarks how great it would have been if the S.H.I.E.L.D. base had crashed into Rhode Island, and that Hydra had been saving their EMP device for a special occasion. After revealing that Hydra knows that Jess was still working for Fury, Connelly asks Jess if she would become the leader of Hydra. Their current leader Viper is mentally unstable and Jess was born Hydra and that means allot to them. Jess admits that Hydra is part of her, but what keeps her going is that she has had the privilege of being in a Hydra bases and blowing them straight to hell. Jess attacks Connelly then some Hydra agents, she one of them directions to the island power generators.
Next we see Jess on a boat crying while the island explodes behind her. Later at Captain America's secret base, Jess walks in and tells them she's been looking for Fury. She asks if they are the resistance and if they'll take her as she has nowhere else to go.
Ill start with the history of Spider-Woman in NA. To be honest I wasn't into the whole "double agent" thing, but this issue puts an end to that so this plot should be done, at least until Bendis and Maleevs' Spider-Woman book comes out!
Story wise this issue doesn't really tie into civil war as much as the others, which does hurt the overall quality of the civil war crossover, (although not as much as others - X-Men civil war owns that accolade). Still this does resolve one of the original plots that started with New Avengers. Bendis has a real grip of Jessica Drew's character and you bet I'm looking forward to the Spider-Woman book from the award wining team behind Daredevil.
On the art side everything is great, Coipel's pencils are sharp, some of the layouts are messy but that's a minor gripe. Now this is not a knock against Mr. Coipel but I cant help thinking that the Jess in underwear scenes would be nicer by Frank Cho. Maybe that's just me - I'm not going to deduct marks for that.
Solid plot wrap up issue. Hopefully Spider-Woman will move on to another plot and not just been the teams token female. The art is great and the writing is up to Bendis' usual standards.
I've taken off half a web as this doesn't tie into civil war as much as the last two issues.
This issue really does make Iron Man out to be a bad guy in the civil war. He's in it for seven pannels but it only takes two of them to get this across.