Jim Rhodes, better known to some as War Machine, thinks over his life and the recent happenings in the world around him. Thanks to his friendship to Tony Stark, he is the only other person to ever wear the Iron Man armor. He thinks of when General Lazer asked him to lead the new Sentinel Program, Jim didn’t want to do it, but he owed it to Tony.
He thinks of the Sentinels’ job, making sure that mutants don’t get out of line. Though, he believes that theory is flawed since not all mutants should be accountable for what a few did. He then believes he sees the beauty of the Registration Act. It asks anyone, mutant, superhuman, or regular people who want to do more, to register before doing so. This way there’s accountability. Throughout American history the government has tried to keep an eye on the population, protecting minorities from vigilantes. Though, sometimes the minorities themselves must be monitored. Jim asks if the Black Panthers of the 1960s were terrorists or citizens practicing self-defense. It all depends on which side you ask. He then wonders about who you should trust to tell the difference.
In London England, the Black Panther and Storm meet with Brian Braddock, better known as Captain Britain. Brian quickly asks T’Challa why he would involve himself in something like the fight against the Registration Act. Storm answers for him telling Brian that T’Challa has a conscience and this is what superheroes do, stand up for the right thing. Brian asks if the two are sure that that fighting this is in fact the right thing to do. Black Panther answers that what America is doing is wrong, regardless of vigilantes and the deaths at Stamford. Brian interjects that this isn’t simple, it’s going against some of the smartest people on the planet. Storm asks how with Captain Britain’s history fighting with mutants he can’t see that this is an excuse to lock up superhumans. Brian agrees that humans do fear them, but instead he asks how to reduce the fear. He explains that Professor Xavier started the X-Men to prove there was nothing to fear from mutants.
There is a long silence as the three look at each other. T’Challa extends his hand and thanks him for his time, seeing that Captain Britain is not going to change his mind. Brian shakes T’Challa’s hand and tells him that he is certain T’Challa’s presence will be a calming influence in the matter. He asks if Ororo is angry at him. She tells him that she is just disappointed and that his trust in the governmental system reflects his privileged life. As T’Challa and Ororo leave, Captain Britain asks if he could get the Ebony Blade, part of England’s national heritage, back. The Black Panther snaps back about having taken it from an assassin hired to kill him and tells Brian that he’ll return it when he’s finished with it.
In Washington D. C. the Secretary of State and Everett Ross watch recordings of T’Challa’s and Ororo’s good deeds. They see the two donating artificial limbs to injured children in Rwanda. Ororo says that with so much conflict, love seems to be the natural combat. The Secretary asks if Ross believes people will buy into the political pandering, and Ross can only suggest that Iron Man tries to do the same. The Secretary scolds Ross and says that if Tony Stark did that, it would just look like a copycat. The television then states that the couple are coming to America to meet with the president. The Secretary gets an idea of using the couple’s own good press against them.
On board of Black Panther’s jet, he and Storm talk about politics as well. Storm tells him that if politics means helping children, then she loves it. T’Challa agrees, but tries to prepare her for the enemy ahead. Ororo asks what the plan is and T’Challa begins to explain. His lobbyists in Washington have their congressmen arguing that the Superhuman Registration act represents more big government intrusion into American lives. Then in London, T’Challa’s agents are making stock transactions in an attempt to gain a controlling share of Stark Enterprises. Though, T’Challs suspects that Tony Stark will be prepared for that. Black Panther then asks Storm how her conversation with the X-Men went.
Storm recounts her conversation with Emma Frost, telling T’Challa that it didn’t go well at all.
Emma tells her plainly that the X-Men will be sitting out of this conflict. When Storm questions what that means, Emma tries to explain. She says that mutants don’t need any more bad press, especially after the Scarlet Witch altered reality.
Emma explains that the Stamford incident and the whole “Civil War” are actually taking attention off mutants. It’s telling people every superhuman can make mistakes, not just mutants. As Kitty Pryde pokes her head up through the floor to eavesdrop, Storm asks that Emma would rather have her fellow heroes locked up to teach a lesson rather than help fight? Emma says that’s it, and that mutants don’t have secret identities anymore. This fight isn’t their problem.
Storm complains to the Black Panther that this never would have happened when she led the X-Men.
At the White House a crowd has gathered awaiting the arrival of the Black Panther and Storm. Two reporters tell two very different stories, one discussing the anger in the crowd, the other reporting on how they’re welcoming the King and Queen. The police explain that they’re trying to get people to stay at home for their own safety. Meanwhile a father in the crowd, holding his daughter says the King and Queen are bigger than Charles and Diana. The first reporter warns the crowd that the arrival of T’Challa and Ororo might incite the crowd, while the second reporter asks the crowd where the after party’s at.
Within at the Sentinel Command Center, Jim Rhodes talks with another member of Sentinel Squad O.N.E. Rhodes explains that Tony Stark needs help, he can’t be everywhere, so at least Rhodes can help where he can. The O.N.E. member asks what Rhodes’s take on the Black Panther is considering there’s so many civilians outside. Rhodes returns the question with a glare asking if that’s the new question whites ask blacks to see if they’re too “pro-black.” The agent tells him to relax, saying that if he was told to take down Captain America, he isn’t sure if he could do it. Leaving, Rhodes says that that is why he’s helping.
Inside the White House, Storm and the Black Panther are greeted by the security staff and employees of the White House. One of the staff members asks Ororo to step aside and requests she sign registration forms before she can be allowed in to see the president. T’Challa quickly argues that Ororo is a head of state and has diplomatic immunity. One of the agents states that while Storm is queen of Wakanda, she is also an American citizen born in this country. He tells them that the president cannot meet with any unregistered heroes because it sends the wrong message. Ororo informs him that not meeting with a head of state on friendly terms sends a message as well.
T’Challa looks over his shoulder at a camera mounted in the wall and talks directly to Tony Stark. T’Challa states that he knows he’s watching and that he can’t believe he’s doing this. As Storm and the Black Panther move to leave, the White House official tells him that Tony Stark is not on the grounds. T’Challa lashes out, saying that that would have ruined the propaganda film they were making. As the officials beg for the Black Panther to stay and talk things through, T’Challa snaps that no one there wants to talk, they just want everyone to listen. Once outside, T’Challa snaps that he won’t ride in a gasoline-burning car and refuses to tolerate anymore cultural inadequacies. His Dora Milaje arrive and tell him that a Wakanda -sanctioned car will arrive shortly.
The crowd looks on confused, unsure of what’s going on. As the crowd starts to get unruly the father from the previous news reports is shoved and loses hold of his daughter. T’Challa tries to calm the crowd, but he can’t. As he sees the girl fall, he springs into action to make sure nothing happens to her. The police are quick to act as well, blocking off the crowd and separating the little girl from her father. Storm watches as the Black Panther is forced under the crowd. Storm cries out to her husband, summoning a blast of lightning to disperse the riot.
The crowd looks around at the sudden rainstorm in confusion. On his way Jim Rhodes gets his orders saying that the rain was a mutant manifestation. Rhodes asks if his intervention won’t just make things worse since T’Challa is only rescuing a child.
Back on the ground, T’Challa grabs the child and hands her back to her father. T’Challa and Ororo find each other as Rhodes in his Sentinel towers over them stating that Storm is under arrest.
Storm takes to the air as the Sentinel dives for her. T’Challa’s Dora Milaje quickly look at the angles of the Sentinel as Storm flies out of the way. On their two hovering transports, they smash through the Sentinel cutting him in half and making sure the top would not fall into the crowd. The gathered people start to run as the police begin firing at the Dora Milaje. Rioters climb on top of the Sentinel looking inside at the trapped form of Jim Rhodes. The crowd sees a black man inside and calls him a traitor and sell out. Outside Storm and the Black Panther begin fighting as another Sentinel approaches to join the fray.
The rioters on the Sentinel advance, but are quickly thrown aside as T’Challa leaps inside. He quickly makes sure that Rhodes is alright and swears that he’ll make sure no one will harm him. Rhodes looks at the Black Panther and realizes that he’s been a fool. He sees that he’s been saved from the people he was trying to help by the man he’s attempting to arrest. There is a huge boom and T’Challa looks up to see what’s happening.
Iron Man appears out of the sky and quickly asks how Rhodes is. As Rhodes tries to get up, T’Challa explains that he’s going into shock. Ripping open the Sentinel further, Iron Man says he’s getting a readout on his condition, then explains that he’s holding T’Challa responsible for this. The Black Panther tries to tell him that he and Ororo came in peace. Tony quickly snaps back that he warned T’Challa not to get involved. As the Dora Milaje arrive to take T’Challa out, he snaps at Iron Man telling him never to tell him what to do. As T’Challa flies away on the hovering transport, Iron Man says that it isn’t over.
Flying toward a jet waiting in the sky, the Dora Milaje realizes that the hover bike just went dead. T’Challa springs from the bike and grabs hold of the jet saying that Iron Man shut it off remotely. The single Dora Milaje begins to fall, but Storm is ready to catch her. Unfortunately for her Iron Man is hot on her tail and tells her not to bother with lightning, as it’ll only make him angrier.
The Black Panther re-emerges from the jet, wearing his battle armor and wielding the Ebony Blade. He yells to Tony not to think about hurting Ororo. As Iron Man flies toward him, he sighs and mocks the sword. T’Challa brings the sword down slicing through the Iron Man armor and explaining that it cuts through anything. Iron Man crashes to the crowd as Storm creates an updraft to bring her, T’Challa, and the Dora Milaje safely to the ground.
A second Iron Man approaches and asks if he really thought it would be that simple. As Storm and the Black Panther realize they’ve been completely surrounded by Iron Men, one asks if they can end it before anyone is hurt. Jim Rhodes then breaks away from the medical team caring from him and yells for them to stop it. He begs from Tony, his best friend, for him to stop. T’Challa just saved his life. He asks for his, and everyone’s, sake the two just stop it.
Iron Man looks at the king of Wakanda and explains that he will stand down since T’Challa has his own country to deal with. The Black Panther takes this time to explain that he came to America to express the feelings of many appalled nations. He then states that his worst fears have been realized and that whether Iron Man realizes it or not, he needs help. Iron Man snaps back calling him arrogant. The Black Panther then admits that he doesn’t know all the facts and that he won’t do anything until he does, but one thing is certain. As he walks away with Storm and his Dora Milaje he tells them that he is not leaving.