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"Those tremors that shook up the place, they're nothing compared to what comes next."
Stick[src]

The New York City Earthquake was an event disguised as a 4.6 magnitude earthquake that caused Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Danny Rand to come into conflict with the Hand.

Background

Rise of the Hand

"They didn't want to heal. They wanted immortality. Power. To never face death. To regenerate themselves again and again. The elders saw this as an aberration. And so, like Lucifer from heaven, the five were banished from K'un-Lun forever."
Stick[src]

During an unrecorded period of time, the Order of the Crane Mother began studying Chi in an attempt to unlock its secrets and harness it for good. Unbeknownst to the rest of the Order, five members – who would eventually become known as Alexandra Reid, Madame Gao, Bakuto, Murakami, and Sowande – sought to harness chi for their own personal gain. They were eventually caught and banished from K'un-Lun for their crimes.[6]

The five members proceeded to return to their respective homelands, each building a criminal empire that grew and flourished.[6] They eventually reunited in East Asia after discovering that a substance found in the bones of dead K'un-Lun dragons contained the secret to immortality.[7] The quintet then combined their resources into a single organization and began calling themselves the Hand.[8]

As the years passed, the five fingers used their newfound power to search the world for dragon bones, finding them buried underneath cities such as Pompeii and Chernobyl. In excavating the bones, the Hand inadvertently caused the destruction of the aforementioned cities and possibly more.[6]

By the 21st century, each of the five fingers had risen in both prominence and notoriety. Reid cemented herself as a respected Manhattan socialite while Gao became known throughout New York City's criminal underworld as a feared drug lord. On the other side of the world, Sowande established himself as a notorious warlord and gunrunner while Murakami worked from Japan in secret, using Nobu Yoshioka as his representative for making deals with Wilson Fisk.

As for Bakuto, he set out to manipulate Danny Rand into becoming a member of the Hand only to lose his life during a battle with his former pupil Colleen Wing. Unbeknownst to the two, Hand agents retrieved Bakuto's body and brought him back to life.[9]

A Death Diagnosis

"I'm dying. My red blood cell count has dropped precipitously and almost every one of my major organs is close to collapse. Is that still the case?"
Alexandra Reid[src]

In 2016, Alexandra Reid suspected her body was gradually shutting down due to the lack of Resurrection Elixir. Her suspicions were confirmed during a conversation with her physician, who told her that it was only a matter of time before she died and that her resources would not be enough to find a cure.[10]

A Change in Plans

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Alexandra Reid waits to give the order

"How soon can we begin?"
"Three months. Then we move to the final phase."
"That won't work. Not anymore. We need to move faster."
Alexandra Reid and Madame Gao[src]

Shortly after speaking with her physician, Alexandra Reid met with Madame Gao in Central Park and learned the process to excavate the dragon bones buried beneath New York would begin in three months' time. She insisted they begin immediately, ignoring Gao's protests that the sudden divergence would bring unnecessary attention, before leaving her to inform the other fingers and make the necessary arrangements.

The following night, while informing Reid that all the arrangements had been made, Gao made one last attempt to make her co-founder change her mind. Reid, however, did not listen and gave the order to proceed.[10]

Earthquake

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Matt Murdock senses the chaos

"It's just a city. You'll get used to watching them fall."
Alexandra Reid to Elektra[src]

Having returned to his Hell's Kitchen apartment after a day of work, Matt Murdock was in the process of opening a beer bottle when he sensed an approaching disturbance. Seconds later, several tremors caused the entire apartment to shake and Murdock's senses to go into overload, making him unable to ignore those in distress.

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Jessica Jones feels the earthquake

In Manhattan, Jessica Jones, who was searching for missing architect John Raymond, felt the tremors while infiltrating an apartment filled with dozens of crates containing explosives.

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Danny Rand and Colleen Wing witness the chaos

Danny Rand and Colleen Wing, having returned to the United States after a mission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, were exiting a Rand Enterprises helicopter when the tremors increased in both size and strength, causing cracks to form in the ground under them.

In Harlem, Dolores Miller was visiting the spot where her eldest son Sean died when the tremors caused a street lamp to fall. At the last minute, Luke Cage, who was investigating Sean's death as well as the deaths of several other Harlem children, ran over to her and caught the street lamp before it could pin her to the ground.

As chaos ensued throughout the five boroughs, Alexandra Reid, who was observing from a rooftop building, noticed that Elektra was standing behind her and told her New York was nothing more than a city that would eventually fall, as would many more in the near future.[10]

Aftermath

"Trish, it's really scary when something like this happens. What do I tell my kids? After everything we've been through, we can't help but think it's the incident or terrorism."
"True, but there's nothing to worry about. The mayor's office confirmed this morning, it was a 4.6 magnitude earthquake. A shallow one, actually, centered in Hell's Kitchen. I'm told seismologists are looking at a fault line on the Hudson to see if it could be the source of the problem."
―Caller and Trish Walker[src]

The next day, the Mayor issued a statement in which he claimed the destruction was caused by an earthquake that registered 4.6 on the Richter scale. Trish Walker mentioned said statement during a segment on Trish Talk, during which she discussed the earthquake with callers.[11]

Meanwhile, Alexandra Reid learned from Madame Gao that the excavation process had uncovered a wall that the other fingers were unable to destroy. Reid, however, remained confident they would find a way to break it down, stating Danny Rand would help them.[11]

References