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(Dark, Mighty, New) Avengers Assemble! Long Live the Dark Reign
It seems anything discussed about the Infinity Gems was a ruse, except maybe not.
Skrull survivors on Earth, both in captivity and on the loose.
The Dark Reign Begins
Tony Stark is a global pariah, but is also a target along with Maria Hill because of who they are/what they know -- specifically Tony still has the true identities of all registered superhumans, and Osborne wants it. He won't give it to Norman, and this begins the World's Most Wanted arc in Invincible Iron Man. They are on the run with Pepper backing them and trying to hold Stark Industries together with spit and duct tape.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is being disbanded. However, the Secret Warriors preview indicates the presence of the Howling Commandos PMC, which is most likely the parts of SHIELD Dugan trusts and who remain loyal to them. Fury will most likely use them with or without Dugan's knowledge of Fury as his client.
Norman Osborne controls damn near everything, including SHIELD , the Avengers, the Initiative, and it seems every government super-related entity from CSA to O*N*E. It becomes a global task force with the acronym, HAMMER.
Osborne forms a cabal of persons of interest composed of himself, Loki, Dr. Doom, Namor, The Hood and Emma Frost. The intent is to give them what they all want in a controlled and publicly/politically-palatable form.
The United Nations is beginning a tribunal of its own into the invasion. It's also had to reorganize its security apparatus around the disbanding of SHIELD and that has affected Captain America.
The Mighty Avengers are no longer the premiere team of the 50 State Initiative. They are global in reach and scope, and operate out of a base outside the United States. Hank Pym is the leader.
The new Captain Marvel is incredibly powerful. I forgot how powerful Mar-Vell was when he was around. He becomes a member of the Avengers--featured in the Dark Avengers book--which is the official Avengers team controlled by Osborne and replacing Tony's Mighty Avengers.
Ben Urich coins the term "Dark Reign" to refer to Osborne's new position of power.
War of Kings arises directly out of the Inhumans' war with the Skrulls and their union with the Kree Empire. The Kree Armada, or a large part of it, helped destroy the Skrull Armada in Earth orbit, and then went home to be crippled by the Inhumans flying the city of Attilan to the Kree Empire and using Black Bolt as a weapon to destroy their ships. The Inhumans then go on to take control of the Kree Empire with Black Bolt as the king. The Inhumans also destroyed all of the Skrull survivors before they attacked the Kree. The last Skrull ships they destroyed slipped into Shi'ar space, and Shi'ar ships were destroyed by the Inhumans as well. Now, it's war.
Teddy (of the Young Avengers) now has to directly confront his role as the heir apparent to the Skrull Empire given the revelation to him that there isn't much of an empire left. But his possible subject still on/around Earth are probably going to be locked up in 42 with the Sakaarians from WWH.
The Nova Corps has been reinstated and is using Project Pegasus and its staff as its new base of operations.
War Machine now has a giant mecha-satellite in orbit and no one to swear allegiance to but himself.
Norman Osborne neutralizes Ms. Marvel's powers after she refuses to join his (Dark) Avengers team. She and the Punisher are both gunning for him for their own reasons. Hers involves a conspiracy in which he and the CIA have created an enemy to oppose, and because Carol is in the way she is now marked for death.
SWORD will remain in existence, but it's been mostly destroyed and Agent Brand would be far from likely to remain the director.
The Thunderbolts remain as Osborne's personal black ops/hit squad. Regular members are Black Widow II (Yelena Belova), Ghost, Paladin, Headsman, and the Irredeemable Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady). Other members join as necessary.
Dark Avengers: Iron Patriot (Norman Osborne), The Sentry, Ares, Captain Marvel (Noh-Varr), Hawkeye (Bullseye), Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), Spider-man (Venom), Wolverine (Daken).
Mighty Avengers: Wasp (Hank Pym), Jocasta, Scarlet Witch, U.S. Agent, Hercules and Amadeus Cho, Iron Man, Hulk (Banner), Vision, and Stature.
New Avengers: Captain America (Barnes), Ronin, Mockingbird, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers), Spider-Woman, Spider-Man
Black Panther is now a woman, who succeeds T'Challa afer he is ambushed during a meeting with Namor in Latveria and barely makes it home to Wakanda (which is not a target of Osborne and his Cabal) alive.
The Black Panther #1 cover by Ken Lashley shows Echo as the new Black Panther. An ad in the back of Punisher #1 asks if the new BP is Monica Rambeau and shows her face unveiled in the BP costume. Questions abound!
Ongoing and Future Dark Reign Reading List for 2009
Agents of Atlas
Avengers: The Initiative
Invincible Iron Man
Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD
More as it becomes clear (e.g., ASM, Cap, possibly Moon Knight.)