The Return of Hive and the Fall of Hydra - 2015-2016
Public reaction to the emergence of new Inhumans - often with uncontrollable powers - led the US Government to form the Advanced Threat Containment Unit (ATCU). In reality, the ATCU was under the control of Hydra, and was being used to collect Inhumans for study and control.
After millennia of study, Hydra successfully brought Hive back to Earth. More interested in establishing his own Inhuman empire, Hive paid little attention to the day-to-day running of Hydra. That allowed S.H.I.E.L.D. the opportunity to capture Hydra leader Gideon Malick, who revealed countless Hydra secrets before his assassination. Working with General Talbot, Coulson and his team were able to take Hydra down once and for all.
Hive launched his own insane plan to convert all of humanity into Alpha Primitives, a mutated form of being he could control. S.H.I.E.L.D. were able to stop him, and Hive died in space.
Source: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3
The Defenders - 2015-2016
Perhaps partly inspired by Daredevil's vigilantism, Frank Castle launched a campaign against the criminal gangs responsible for the deaths of his family. He gained the name "the Punisher," and after his arrest went through an extremely high-profile trial. This led to intense public debate on the role of vigilantes.
At the same time, vigilantism in New York became even more pronounced. Daredevil was forced to confront the Hand, entering into an uneasy alliance with his old mentor Stick and his old love Elektra. Ex-con Luke Cage became a public superhero who defended Harlem against street crime. And Danny Rand took control of Rand Industries, battling against the Hand as the latest Iron Fist.
The Hand's plans escalated, with their leaders seeking access to dragon bones buried beneath New York. Success would have continued their immortality, but at the cost of the entire city, which would have been destroyed in a release of energy. Fortunately, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones worked together against the Hand. Daredevil was believed killed after the final victory.
Shortly after, the Punisher once again began brutal vigilante activity against criminals in New York. He was falsely blamed for a major terrorist attack, and is still wanted by the police.
The Superhero Civil War - 2016
In the wake of another high-profile Avengers incident in Nigeria, the United Nations passed the Sokovia Accords. These required all "enhanced" individuals to register, with human members of the Avengers forced to do so as well. The Avengers schismed under the Sokovia Accords, a divide encouraged by terrorist attacks by Helmut Zemo. Zemo used footage of the Winter Soldier's assassination of Howard and Maria Stark to drive a final wedge between Iron Man and Captain America. Steve Rogers was ultimately forced to abandon the identity of Captain America altogether, while several of his allies wound up imprisoned in the Raft.
The passing of the Sokovia Accords, and the resultant "superhero civil war," introduced the Avengers to two new heroes; Black Panther and Spider-Man. T'Challa's father T'Chaka was killed during Zemo's terrorist attack, and he returned to Wakanda to become king. Unfortunately his cousin, Killmonger, used the regime change as an opportunity to attempt a coup. In the aftermath of Killmonger's defeat, T'Challa committed Wakanda to a new direction, abandoning his homeland's isolationist past. Meanwhile, Stark had built a strong relationship with Peter Parker, the Spider-Man. Stark monitored Spider-Man carefully to see if he was ready to become an Avenger, but Parker himself decided he wasn't yet after defeating the Vulture.
For S.H.I.E.L.D., the passing of the Sokovia Accords began a six-month process to legitimize themselves once again. Their Inhuman assets were registered under the Sokovia Accords, and their bases became known to the US military. Coulson stepped aside as Director, and the President proposed Jeffrey Mace for the role. Unfortunately, S.H.I.E.L.D. became involved in a complex scenario involving the Ghost Rider, anti-Inhuman pressure groups, and a rogue android. They were blamed for an assassination attempt on General Talbot, and officially declared outlaws. In the end, only Leopold Fitz was actually arrested; the rest were captured by the Chronicom Enoch, and transported to a dystopian future.
Sources: Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Iron Fist season 2, Jessica Jones Season 2, Luke Cage season 2; Avengers: Infinity War Prelude
Trouble in New York
A successful prison break meant the authorities were no longer concerned about keeping the Raft a secret, and it became a public tool to keep "enhanced" individuals in check. Superhumans could be transported to the Raft without trial, and would be held in isolation for 23 hours a day. When Jessica Jones's mother revealed herself, alive and well but mentally disturbed, Jessica feared she'd be sent to the Raft. In the end, Alisa Jones was shot by Jessica's adopted sister, Trish Walker.
The power vacuum left by the collapse of the Hand increasing caused problems in New York, as rival criminal gangs attempted to extend their control. In Harlem, the police viewed Luke Cage as something of a "necessary evil" in order to keep crime under check; the arrival of Bushmaster forced Cage to step up, and he actually took control of a criminal empire in Harlem in a desperate attempt to protect his area. Chinatown, meanwhile, was initially looked after by Danny Rand, but he struggled to prevent a Triad War. An encounter with Davos led Rand to pass on the Iron Fist to Colleen Wing, who took over peacekeeping in Chinatown.
Wilson Fisk had been biding his time from jail, and had successfully corrupted the FBI. He manipulated events to get himself out of jail, and had disgraced FBI agent Dex Poindexter suit up as a Daredevil impersonator to cut a bloody swathe through New York. Fortunately, Fisk's plans were exposed by the real Daredevil, with the help of Foggy Nelson and Karen Page. Poindexter was left with his back broken, while Fisk returned to jail, warned against trying to take control of New York's criminal undertakings again.
Sources: Iron Fist season 2, Jessica Jones Season 2, Luke Cage season 2, Daredevil season 3; Avengers: Infinity War Prelude
Page 12: A Galaxy on the Brink of Destruction
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019