New Avengers #22

Issue Date: 
September 2006
Story Title: 
New Avengers: Disassembled – part two
Staff: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Leinil Yu (artist), Dave McCraig (colorist), RS & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), Rich Ginter (production), Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson (assistant editors), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Iron Man and Ms. Marvel try to convince Luke Cage and Jessica Jones to sign the registration act and fail. Iron Man warns them that at midnight, when the Registration act becomes compulsory, they will be criminals. After they leave, Luke decides that, while Jessica and the baby ought to go to Canada, he has to stay. He has to set an example. At midnight exactly, the SHIELD agents arrive in force to arrest him. Luke puts up a fight, somewhat helped by his neighbors. Eventually, the anti-Registration heroes led by Captain America arrive and save him.

Full Summary: 

Harlem, today:
New Avenger Luke Cage carefully strokes the face of his sleeping baby daughter, apparently trying to ignore his guests. Is he listening? his teammate, Iron Man, finally asks him. Cage curtly replies that he heard him. And? And what does “Mr. Stark” want him to say?

Iron Man reminds Luke that at midnight the Superhuman Registration Act becomes law. All heroes, including the Avengers, will be required to sign it. They’ll all work for the United States government. And the Avengers will be a fully sanctioned legal team with pay. Benefits… Will Luke sign on?

Neither Luke nor his wife, Jessica Jones, reply. Iron Man again stresses that he needs to know, because at midnight, if they don’t, both Luke and Jessica are effectively criminals. Again. And again Luke remains silent. Iron Man continues his spiel, assuring Luke that his sordid past is all being swept under the rug. All that trouble in his youth… none of it will affect Luke’s standing as a sanctioned Avenger.

What about her? Jessica asks, as she takes up her daughter. Yes, she has powers and does he know what? She doesn’t want to use them, and she has no plans to use them. And she doesn’t want to work for the United States of Corporate Sellouts. What about her?

Iron Man tries to reply, calling her Mrs. Cage. “Jones,” she corrects him. Iron Man continues that she will sign in and they will deal with it when the time comes. She has a newborn baby. No one’s going to ask her to fight Doctor Doom. Bet your ass. Jessica mutters grimly.

Carol Danvers, who has come with Iron Man and is one of Jessica’s closest friends, speaks up for the first time, but Jessica doesn’t want to hear it. She reminds Carol, that she is military and therefore likes being told what to do. She and Luke don’t. In fact, they hate it. Warbird points out that the country has shifted and they’re doing everything they can to keep everything nice and… Jessica interrupts her, arguing that Carol is compromising herself beyond any level of…

Luke interrupts them both, announcing that the world ain’t a nice place. If it were… they wouldn’t be who they are. Iron Man’s side is trying to make the world into something it ain’t. And worse, they are selling themselves to do it. And who are they selling to? What they’re trying to do, it can’t be done. It ain’t human nature. Iron Man insists that he needs to know. Will Luke and Jessica sign on? Guess they’ll find out at midnight, Luke replies stony-faced.

Iron Man warns them that they will come to Luke’s home and they will take them out of there. And if that doesn’t work they will call the Avengers next. Does he want that? Is that what his goal is? Oh, is it Mississippi in the 50ies now? Luke retorts. Oh, come one! Iron Man cries in exasperation. Will he just stop it?!

Getting pulled out of your home in the middle of the night for being different is the same now as it was then, Luke insists. Does have a timeless quality to it, Jessica agrees. The other two Avengers look away, before only Stark once again speaks up, insisting this is about breaking the law. Slavery used to be a law, Luke reminds him. Iron Man retorts that Luke is twisting this and he doesn’t want to hear it.

He should hear it, Luke insists. He should turn those robo ears on real loud, because it is what it is, baby. Iron Man’s side is perverting it all. They are distorting the ideals he said they stand for to the point that when he is done with all of this… those ideals won’t mean anything. They’ll stand for nothing expect for what “they” tell them.

Iron Man smoothly points out that if Luke joins, he can make sure this won’t happen.

Silence.

So he isn’t signing, Iron Man concludes.

He’s going to raise his kid right, Luke replies. What does that mean? Iron Man asks. It’s too bad he doesn’t know, Luke remarks. Fine, Stark replies almost sullenly.

Carols once more tries to reach out to Jessica. Can’t Jessica just trust her on this? Funny, she was about to say the same thing, Jessica replies. The two Avengers leave.

After a moment of silence, Jessica announces that she will have to leave with their daughter. Luke agrees. Jessica stresses that she isn’t leaving him. She just has to keep her safe. She asks him to come with them. Screw all of this. They have enough money to leave. Canada needs superheroes, too. Luke refuses to leave his home. Does he want to end up like Matt Murdock? she asks. In jail, fighting for his life. Luke reiterates that he refuses to leave. He worked damn hard to clean up this neighborhood. This is his world. And he isn’t going to have his kid grow up to find out that her Daddy buckled to the man.

He hates this and he isn’t going to leave his home. The people here know him. He wants them to see what they do to him for standing up for what he believes is right. He’s got unbreakable skin and he’s been to jail. He can handle anything they throw at him. And he’ll bust out of any place they put him in. And then he’ll teach them what’s right if it takes him the rest of his life.

Later, as Jessica packs her belongings into the car, Luke lifts his daughter and complains that she won’t look at him. Finally, the baby’s eyes focus on him and Luke tells her not to take no $%#@ of nobody. She’s three months old, Jessica sighs. How much $%#@ does he think she’ll be taking?

Luke admits this is hard and Jessica urges him once more to come with them. He can’t. Luke asks her to promise not to turn the TV on. Wherever she is, not to watch TV this week. They kiss. Jessica leaves and Luke looks after them.

Seeing him walk to his home, a neighborhood kid stops him and asks if he’s going to sign that thing. Nope. Because it’s crap? the boy asks. Damn straight, Luke replies. What is he gonna do? the kid asks, as other neighbors gather. Luke replies that he’s going to go inside and sit in his home and bother no one. They’re supposed to be allowed to do that, right? Yes, sir, the boy replies.

Luke walks in and sits. A few minutes after midnight, a knock comes at the door. SHIELD agent Gabriel Jones accompanied by a whole armed troop asks to have a word with him. He’s kind of in the middle of something, Luke replies. Can Jones come back another time?

Jones apologizes. He can’t do that. Ok, hold on, says Cage. Moments later, he bursts outside, attacking the armed SHIELD contingent. They shoot him with tazers and finally he falls. One of them reads him his rights and announces he is arrested for violating the federal superhuman registration act. Cage tells him he remembers this from the last time he was falsely accused of ‘$%& he didn’t do.

The agents call the Helicarrier asking for help. In the neighborhood, kids watch and film the goings-on.

Cage is shot again as he looks for cover, but doesn’t fall. Cage is shot again and again. Finally, he falls to the ground hard.

Luke coughs and tries to get up. An armored SHIELD agent warns him that, if he gets up, they will be forced to fire again. Another agent suggests they just hit him again.

Suddenly, an elderly man from the neighborhood fires his shotgun at the agents, while his daughter forcibly tries to hold him back. The kids who were filming toss bottles at the agents. The SHIELD agents instruct the civilians to get back to their homes. This is a matter of national security.

Suddenly, a thrown billyclub breaks the faceplate of one agent’s armor… to be followed by a very familiar star-spangled shield – the renegade Avengers have arrived. We’re going to be rich, enthuses one of the kids who are filming the proceedings.

Daredevil, the Falcon and Captain America arrive and quickly take care of the agents. One of them alerts the Heli-carrier, shouting that they have a situation here: Captain America! And the Falcon! Sam Wilson snaps. He has sidekick syndrome as it is!

Cage observes that he didn’t expect to see Daredevil there. Isn’t he in jail? Well, he is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, the other hero retorts and asks if Luke is ok. He was just resting, Cage replies as he joins the battle. He hopes they all take this beating as an opportunity for introspection, Falcon suggests to the agents, as the heroes finish them off. Daredevil suggests a plan that would really take SHIELD off. A little later, they flee in the SHIELD transport.

They use the vehicle’s comm-system to contact the Heli-carrier and a hologram of SHIELD Director Maria Hill appears. Director Hill advises them to give up and adds that they can track the vehicle anywhere they are going with it.

They kinda figured that, Cage replies, but they wanted them to know: the revolution is coming. With that, he destroys the hologram communication tech. Revolution? one of the others asks. He didn’t know what else to say, Luke replies. He adds that he sent Jessica and the baby to Toronto. Good Dim Sum there, one of the others agrees.

Niagara Duty free shops, at the border between the USA and Canada:
Do they have soy milk, Jessica Jones asks a not too bright market employee, who in turn wonders how they make milk from soy beans.

Suddenly, Jessica becomes distracted by the news, which relates that there was a firefight including Luke Cage. Jessica holds her daughter tighter, fearing the worst, until she learns that Luke escaped with Captain America and the others.

Characters Involved: 

Iron Man, Ms. Marvel (pro-registration Avengers)
Cage, Captain America, Falcon, Iron Fist (posing as Daredevil) (anti-Registration heroes)

Jessica Jones
Jessica and Luke’s daughter

SHIELD director Maria Hill
Gabriel Jones and other SHIELD agents

Luke’s neighbors,

Story Notes: 

This issue is part of the Civil War crossover.

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