In February 2005, Marvel published a further six issues of What If. They were all in the “one-shot” format. The editor, Justin Gabrie, attributed the publication of Volume 3 to a suggestion from C. B. Cebulski. Uatu the Watcher narrates some issues and there is a cameo by Brian Michael Bendis as narrator (see “The narrator” above). In Volume 3, there is a “nod” to a Volume 1 story, What if Uncle Ben had lived? In a conversation between a comic shop customer and an attendant, the customer asks,”What if Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben?” Leading to another alternative plot. Marvel published a single parody edition called Wha… Huh?!? in August 2005.
Secret Avengers, published by Marvel Comics features a fictional black ops superhero team of the same name. The series started with Ed Brubaker on writing duties, depicting a black-ops sect of Marvel’s premiere super hero team, the Avengers, which operates under the guidance and leadership of Captain Steve Rogers (the former Captain America). The series is part of the Avengers-line relaunch as part of the “Heroic Age“.
Amazing Spider-Man reverted completely to its original numbering for #500 (Dec. 2003). Mike Deodato, Jr. penciled the series from mid-2004 until 2006. That year Peter Parker revealed his Spider-Man identity on live television in the company-crossover storyline “Civil War“, in which the superhero community is split over whether to conform to the federal government’s new Superhuman Registration Act. This knowledge was erased from the world with the event of the four-part, crossover story arc, “One More Day“, written partially by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Joe Quesada, running through The Amazing Spider-Man #544-545 (Nov.-Dec. 2007), Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 (Nov. 2007) and The Sensational Spider-Man #41 (Dec. 2007), the final issues of those two titles. Here, the demon Mephisto makes a Faustian bargain with Parker and Mary Jane, offering to save Parker’s dying Aunt May if the couple will allow their marriage to have never existed, rewriting that portion of their pasts. This story arc marked the end of Straczynski’s tenure as writer.
The Punisher ongoing series premiered in 1987. Initially by writer Mike Baron and artist Klaus Janson, it eventually ran 104 issues (July 1987 – July 1995) and spun off two additional ongoing series — The Punisher War Journal (80 issues, November 1988 – July 1995) and The Punisher War Zone (41 issues, March 1992 – July 1995), as well as the black-and-white comics magazine The Punisher Magazine(16 issues, November 1989 – September 1990) and The Punisher Armory (10 issues, no cover dates, starting 1990), a fictional diary detailing “His thoughts! His feelings! His weapons!” (as stated on the cover of issue #1). The Punisher also appeared in numerous one-shots and miniseries, and made frequent guest appearances in other Marvel comics, ranging from superhero series to the Vietnam War-era comic The ‘Nam.
During this era, the Punisher was assisted by his then-partner, Microchip. Serving as a Q type figure, he would supply the Punisher with high-tech vehicles and equipment such as armored combat “battle vans” specially built and customized.
Over the next decade, the Punisher would be shown fighting virtually every known criminal organization including the Italian Mafia, the Russian Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Chinese Triads, Jamaican Yardies, the Irish Mob, biker gangs, street gangs, gunrunning militias, muggers, killers, rapists, psychopaths, violent racists, sadists, pedophiles, and corrupt city officials. He also assaults criminal business enterprises such as drugs, weapons smuggling,money laundering, and human trafficking.
A new team composed of Red Hulk, Deadpool, Elektra, Agent Venom, and Punisher debuted as a part of Marvel NOW! major relaunch. Written by Daniel Way with drawings by Steve Dillon. This incarnation is not a government-sponsored team.
Red Hulk assembles his incarnation of the Thunderbolts to be a strike team that is close to “Code Red.” He has gathered Deadpool, Elektra, Punisher, and Agent Venom because “their conditions cannot be cured.” Red Hulk has his Thunderbolts do things that are similar to X-Force. Red Hulk has obtained Samuel Sterns’ body and hooks it up to a machine that emits Red Gamma Radiation onto Samuel Sterns. Deadpool later finds Samuel Sterns’ as a Red Leader with no apparent powers as he expresses his view that the Punisher won’t be pleased. Punisher finds Red Leader’s body and shoots him between the eyes disrupting whatever plans Red Hulk has for Red Leader.
20In July 2012, Carol Danvers, the longtime super-heroine known as Ms. Marvel, assumed the mantle of Captain Marvel in an ongoing series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Dexter Soy. Danvers dons a jumpsuit and explores her own past. DeConnick said at WonderCon 2012 that her pitch for the series could be described as “Carol Danvers as Chuck Yeager“. She said the series would contemplate what Captain Marvel’s legend means to Danvers, how she will wield it, and how the rest of the Marvel Universe reacts.
As part of Marvel’s Marvel NOW! initiative a new Deadpool ongoing series was launched. He is also a member of the Thunderbolts. In the 27th issue of his new series, as part of “All-New Marvel NOW!”, Deadpool was married for the third time. Initially a secret, his bride was revealed in the web comic Deadpool: The Gauntlet to be Shiklah, Queen of the Undead. Deadpool also discovers that he has a daughter by the name of Eleanor from a former flame of Deadpool named Carmelita.
The Shi’ar resurrect the dormant Phoenix Force prematurely and without a host, in hopes of destroying it. The Phoenix escapes to Earth where it resurrects Jean Grey and forcefully bonds with her again, despite Jean’s pleas that it is “too early.” Written by Greg Pak with art by Greg Land.
Greg Pak said “The biggest new character is actually the Phoenix Force it/herself, whom we’re exploring as a thinking, learning sentient creature with a big and terrifying and moving emotional arc of her own.”
The series sees Norrin Rad severed from Galactus and free to explore the universe with a human friend named Dawn Greenwood. Slott said, “The way I look at the Surfer is that he’s the embodiment of freedom. The character has really been two things since he became the Silver Surfer. He’s been a slave to Galactus, and he’s been a prisoner of Earth, trapped beyond that great barrier. There’s something about him where, the minute you take that barrier away, and the minute you take him away from Galactus, he’s the guy with the board who can go anywhere and do anything. It really is that kind of joy and freedom like you’re 16 and you just got the keys to the car. But imagine not just driving near your home – you can go anywhere in the universe. There’s something very exciting about that.”
Part of the story is told from the perspective of two reporters embedded in the opposite camps of the war.Ben Urich follows the stories on Iron Man‘s side with the pro-registration heroes, while Sally Floyd investigates the anti-registration faction headed by Captain America. Writer Paul Jenkins was given carte blanche to have the stories reflect the current political landscape in the United States.
The other half of the series is told from the perspective of Speedball of the New Warriors. It shows Speedball’s struggles with survivor guilt, imprisonment, and relations to the victims of the Stamford disaster.