A C-List group of heroes by the name of The New Warriors decided to film a reality TV show showing them saving people in places that aren't New York. This particular time they were attempting to apprehend a group of super villains in Stamford Connecticut. Among them was a super villain by the name of Nitro who had the power to explode. Some of them knew that Nitro was out of their league, but the others assumed they could take them. They were wrong. What they didn't know is that Nitro's powers had been enhanced. Nitro used his powers and killed hundreds of people including a school full of kids.
In the days to follow, regular people were in an uproar that people with powers weren't held accountable for the destruction of the a town in the United States. So the government decided to take action. A law was passed that every person in the United States with a power must register their real name, alias, and their superpower with the government and sign up and work with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the American Government. Tony Stark led the charge agreeing that super people should register and be accountable for their actions. While Captain America (Steve Rogers) said that the masks are a tradition and that this is a slippery slope that he did not want to be a part of. While Iron Man, Hank Pym (Yellow Jacket, Ant Man, and Giant Man) and Reed Richards were firmly for this, Captain America decided he was going to put a team together to fight back and fight crime the way they always have.
That said, who's side are you on?
In this corner you have billionaire, charismatic, and smooth talking Tony "Iron Man" Stark telling you that you have to register with the United States Government. Tony Stark will sweet talk you and say that he understands how you feel. He says things like "Hey, I wish things were the way they used to be, but they're not. We have to obey the law so they don't round up everyone with superpowers and throw them in jail". If that doesn't work, he tells you that he's rich and can pay you or give you something you have always wanted whatever that may be. Then maybe he brings out Reed Richards or Hank Pym or some other superhero who tells you it's the right thing to do. Now Tony Stark has brought in the heroes that you look up to in hopes to sway you to help him. If that doesn't work he is going to tell you how much he respects you and how great a hero you are and how you'll get your own Avengers team. While he is running this game on you, he is using his armor to call S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers to get ready in case you say no again and he has to take you out. If you say yes, then you get everything Tony Stark said he'd give you. You'll get your own team, but you could possibly get sent to Kentucky or Wisconsin where nothing is going on and you're left stuck twiddling your thumbs and bored. Or maybe you get sent somewhere that has tons of action because he wants you somewhere you'll be used. It all depends on his mood.
The perks of working for the pro registration act are obvious. You don't have to worry about being arrested for anything for anything from destroying a Doombot to stopping a woman from getting her purse stolen by some random criminal. You get to do all the stuff you were doing before the Superhuman Registration Act. You still get to save people and at the end of the day that is what this is all about. Saving people.
The problems that come with signing are more of an emotional issue. Since you are now a deputized member of The United States Government, they can pretty much order you fight whoever they want. You are officially a solider. So when you get called to go respond to a disturbance and it's your friend who stopped The Purple Man from sexually assaulting a woman, you are going to have to bring in Purple Man as well as your friend. There are no options. He or she are breaking the law and you are to treat him exactly like you are treating the guy who's trying to rape and kill. Maybe you let this slide. Carol Danvers did this a few times with Luke Cage and his team so it might work. But unfortunately, you aren't that close to Iron Man and if he finds out you let someone slide, it's your butt on the line now. Does he give you a slap on the wrist or does he treat you like a criminal? Again, it depends on Stark's mood.
Then, and this is a big issue, you find out that S.H.I.E.L.D. is working with villains in order to take down heroes. And I don't mean Paste Pot Pete or Shocker. I am talking about the worst of the worst. Bullseye, Lady Deathstrike, and other known murderers. Then you think to yourself that this isn't what you signed up for. You just wanted to be a hero and now you're working with a guy who kills people for fun. Do you stay and suck it up and hop for the best or do you rebel and join Captain America? If you leave, then you put your family in danger because S.H.I.E.L.D. will be knocking at their door asking where you are and how to get to you. If they don't know, they might not believe them and detain them just to be sure. So once you're in, you're in for good or you get thrown in jail.
Let's say when all of this goes on, you immediately refuse to sign up. One of two things are going to happen. Go out solo or go join up with other like minded people. You can go out on your own and try to continue doing things all by yourself and fight the good fight. If you're lucky and have kept your secret identity close to the vest, then you can still live your normal life without being hounded outside of your uniform. But you will become being paranoid that the government will find out who you are one day and arrest you for not signing up and then your life is over. You get sent to a superhuman prison in the negative zone and you're never heard from again. There is no trial for you because you're not in the United States and the prison is in the Negative Zone. There are no rights for American Citizens if you aren't somewhere that doesn't recognize American Laws.
If you're good enough, Steve Rogers will seek you out and I'm guessing it must be hard saying no to Steve Rogers. He's Captain America, for crying out loud. Let's say you sign up with Captain America and his resistance, you're in it for the long haul, but you gain a group of teammates will do whatever they can to protect you from harm and will eventually try and break you out of jail.
The problem with working with Captain America in this situation is now he is thinking like a man in charge fighting a war. Cap is "okay" with casualties when he sees a bigger picture. So you may become one of those casualties who end up being injured beyond help, dead, or trapped in Stark's prison. The good news is regardless of what happens, you won't go down in vain. You will be avenged or there will be a rescue attempt if you are captured. But you have to ask yourself if this is a cause that is worth fighting for if it results in possibly being killed or imprisoned.
Stop Using Your Powers:
You could also retire. Give up your life of a hero and live a normal life. Leave the life of powers behind you and just be a normal person. But if Tony Stark or any of the pro registration people know your identity you will be forced to register or be jailed. When Luke Cage refused to sign and decided to just sit at home and do nothing, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were knocking at his door at midnight the moment the Superhuman Registration Act became law. Cage was just sitting at home and they tried to take him out of his house and put him away. He was just sitting in his home. Cage fought them off, but what they did was wrong. I highly recommend reading New Avengers 22. It might have been one of the best comic books ever written. This was the moment Luke Cage became a real player in comics. This was his coming out party.
Is there a right or wrong here? It depends on who you ask. Some people say that the law is the law and they're put in place to protect us. Others will say that this is the government asking for too much and that if we give them this just the beginning and eventually the world turns into George Orwell's "1984". Regardless of what you would choose, there will be consequences of either of the three paths you choose to take.
If you have any comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I'd like to know what you would do if you had powers. Who's side would you be on.