“To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means… would bring terrible retribution” - Justice Louis D. Brandeis
Wolverine is in battle with armored guards working for Walter Declun, the CEO of Damage Control. They are wearing armor that contains weaponry salvaged from super-hero battle sites, and one of Whirlwind’s blades is now stuck in Wolverine’s throat. When one of the guard’s asks what the problem is, his colleague replies that the damn thing’s stuck. This must be why Whirlwind always got his ass handed to him. The blade is supposed to cut through the Thing’s hide. The other guard comments that he read how Wolverine’s bones have some kind of metal on them, but it doesn’t matter. His head’s hanging off by a thread. He’s done! They high-five each other, congratulating themselves for taking out the Wolverine.
They leave Wolverine in order to see how Eddie is doing. He’s lying on the floor with severe wounds to his chest. They ask if he’s okay but he can’t speak. He tries once again to communicate with them, but just cannot speak. “What’d you say, Eddie?” asks one, leaning over him. A voice from behind replies, “He said… watch out behind you.” It’s Janus, and he smashes one of them in the face with his fist. Amir helps Wolverine to his feet, whilst Janus keeps the guards occupied.
Logan asks Amir how long they’ve been following him. She says it’s since he left Westchester, as he requested. Logan appreciates the back up. Amir adds that he’s now considered an ally of the kingdom. Wolverine’s healing factor is kicking in nicely, and he opts to join Janus in beating the tar out of the two guards. He’s not usually the type of guy who needs backup, at least not for this kind of loser, but he likes to be prepared for the unexpected.
As he strikes, the skylight above them shatters and some cape killers descend using ropes, joined by Wolverine’s fellow Avenger, the Sentry, who orders Logan to stand down. Logan retracts his claws and tells the Sentry that he knows they haven’t known each other long, but he should know that he’s the kinda guy who stands up, not down. One of the cape killers speaks up. “You’re in violation of 6 USC § 558, a.k.a. ‘The Superhuman Registration Act,’ as well as Chapter 40, Article 120, Section 120 of the New York Penal cooooof!”
His sentence is cut short, as Wolverine delivers a solid punch to his rib cage. Logan apologizes for not hearing that last part. Could he repeat it? The Sentry grabs Logan by the neck and translates. He hurls Logan across the room, informing him that Tony Stark has made his entire file available to him. He knows that his healing factor may prevent him from killing him, but he still feels pain. No kidding, thinks Logan, as he comes to a stop on the floor. They call the guy the Sentry, but he hits like Galactus.
Logan snikts his claws and replies that he’s right, but he and pain are old friends. “Lemme introduce the two of ya.” He charges at the Sentry as Janus takes on the cape killers. The Sentry admits that he doesn’t want to do this, but he doesn’t see that he has any kind of choice. He has to stop all this ugly business, even if that means becoming part of it for a little while. As they struggle, he grabs hold of Wolverine’s adamantium blades in his fingers and begins to squeeze. Logan reels in pain, and the Sentry knows he’s really hurting him. He squeezes the blades together, and tells him he can’t be having a good time here. He’s pushing his claw-bones against his hands, and it sounds like he just tore one of his tendons. He then hurls Logan across the room again and Logan passes out from the pain.
Logan begins to come around. He is wearing a collar, but he’s otherwise okay. He asks his jailor if he gets his one phone call, or has that been suspended too? A door slides open and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Herrick Goldman stands there. He picks up Logan and walks him through the complex, past someone being taken in the opposite direction. Logan thinks they’ve been keeping busy. No shortage of capes to pick up, right? Goldman places his gloved hand on a panel and the computer allows him access to the room. He delivers Wolverine to S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill.
Logan calls her Maria, but she insists on being called Director Hill. When he then asks where his two Atlantean friends are being kept, she informs him that they have diplomatic immunity and therefore they were released. Logan figures that must be a disappointment to her; not being able to stick them in the gulag that Stark and Richards are building. Hill isn’t surprised to see that Logan has come down against registration. Logan replies that the only thing he was coming down against was a scumbag war profiteer. Hill informs him that Walter Declun is CEO of Damage Control, Inc., a board member of the New York Stock Exchange and a friend to the sitting president. He’s pressing federal charges. She’s not sure the Registration Act is Logan’s biggest concern.
Logan reminds her of the ‘war profiteer’ thing, but she tells him that Declun is protected. There’s nothing they can do about him, and she has enough on her plate as it is. “Yeah,” replies Logan. “Fascism’s time-consuming from what I’ve heard.” Hill thinks it’s almost funny how quick some people are to label sensible legislation as fascism. Logan responds by remarking that trading liberty for safety’s what’s passing for ‘sensible’ these days, because he seemed to think the motto of America used to be ‘Give me liberty or give me death.”
Hill offers Logan two options. One, he can play ball and get immunity for his past actions, or two, he can spend the rest of his natural life, which could be a while, in shackles. Logan fixes Maria Hill with a determined glare. He says he could slice through the shackles he sports, grab her sidearm and shoot his way outta there. Hill replies that the shackles aren’t a fashion statement - they are level 10 power nullifiers. Wolverine replies that it’s a mistake that most people make; to think that just because he has claws, they are the result of a genetic mutation, that they’re a super-power!
He then snikts his claws, destroying the shackles with ease. He then grabs Hill around the neck and grabs her sidearm. A couple of shots take out the window, and Logan then crashes through it, despite the fact that he’s on board a helicarrier and several thousand feet up in the air. As he falls, he knows that this might hurt, especially considering that the collar he wears nullifies his healing factor. He uses his claws to cut through it, as he has a feeling it might soon be needed.
Meanwhile, the Damage Control board is meeting with Walter Declun, with Maria Hoag leading the inquisition. She wants him voted off the board, but Declun argues that, since he came on board, the company has shown a record profit in the last three quarters. It’s also shown record gains on the stock exchange and is franchising into three major markets as they speak. Why the hell would the board ever vote to remove him? Maria replies that, even if he wasn’t the lowest form of human life she’s ever encountered, and she’s met the Red Skull, that lack of evolution is starting to impact on the company’s bottom line. Hasn’t he noticed that they’re hemorrhaging so much money and infrastructure, they’re once more flirting with bankruptcy? Declun replies that the problem was a short-term one that has since been ameliorated.
Maria is concerned that the company has shown its dirty laundry to the New York Times, S.H.I.E.L.D. and about five state and federal agencies. Declun says that’s what they have lawyers for. He isn’t exactly trying to win her over. He reminds Maria that her conscience was conspicuously absent over the past three years as he was turning Damage Control’s red ink into black. Where was her righteous indignation and grab for power then? Maria replies that she was waiting for the moment when he and his scumbag supporters started to adversely affect their bottom line, so she could gain the backing of their stockholders. Declun assures her that the only way she’ll remove him as CEO is over his cold dead body.
“Wolverine makes his appearance, having recovered from his fall. The board members rush for the exit, and Declun tells Logan that they’re probably running for a policeman. So, if his plan is to murder him in cold blood, he suggests he do it quick. Logan tells him that it wouldn’t be murder; it would be retribution. And, it wouldn’t be in cold blood, that’s for damn sure. The very last thing he’d dream of doing is doin’ it quick. Declun holds out a pill bottle containing some Mutant Growth Hormone. He assumes that Wolverine won’t mind if he evens things up a little. He swallows some pills and begins to groan as his system adapts to the changes. Logan snikts his claws, and the two men begin to fight.
Their struggle sends them crashing through a window and they fall several floors to the ground. He’d like to compare Declun to a rabid dog, but he’s more than that. He’s evil. He thought through his diabolical plan and carried it out. At the end of the day, he didn’t care about the lives that were lost. He strikes Declun over and over, using his elbows, his feet and his fists to pummel Declun into a stupor. As a shocked crowd watches, Wolverine stands over him with his claws at the ready. He doesn’t hesitate, and shoves his claws straight through Declun’s head, killing him instantly.
Wolverine returns to Stamford; the scene of Declun’s evil act. Standing with him is Miriam Sharpe, the mother of one of the children killed by Nitro. She asks Logan if he regrets any of the things he’s done since the disaster. Logan replies that maybe he should – but no… no he doesn’t.