Long before the Sacred Timeline, the Spider-Verse, or even The Multiverse of Madness, Marvel’s Avengers have been billed as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and they have squared off against a variety of interplanetary and interdimensional threats since the day their ink first hit the paper of a comic book. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Incredible Hulk have amazed and delighted readers for decades, and their popularity has only soared with the invention of the MCU.
With their movies being such a successful franchise, many fans want to dive into their comic book origins. Fortunately, Marvel has more than a few starting points for fans just dipping their toes in the medium.
10 Hawkeye By Matt Fraction And David Aja
With the impressive hawk eye series streaming on Disney+, fans will definitely want to check out Matt Fraction and David Aja’s interpretation of the character. From the design and art direction, it’s easy to see where Disney pulled their influence. Hawkeye’s adventures with Kate Bishop will unquestionably be eerily familiar.
What transpires is a solo Avenger’s story that takes Clint and Kate from fighting crime on the streets of NYC to a globetrotting thriller involving SHIELD and stolen incriminating evidence. The self-contained story is what makes it so easy to pick up, read, and move further into the comic world of the Avengers.
9 Captain America By Mark Waid
When fans think of Captain America, they’re more than likely picturing the Star-Spangled Man with the brightly colored costume and mighty shield fighting the forces of HYDRA and bashing his way through bad guys in true superhero fashion. In Mark Waid’s run featuring the first Avenger, that’s exactly what readers are treated to.
It’s the mix of classic and modern that gives the series such a large appeal. Set after his infamous “Hail Hydra” storyline, Cap is back in action and looking to restore his glory to him as he sets out on a cross-country journey across America. It’s a traditional, light-hearted comic affair that puts the character back in the spotlight and reminds fans why they love him in the first place.
8 Hulk: Gray By Loeb And Sale
If the names Loeb and Sale sound familiar, they’re the dynamic duo that brought Batman: The Long Halloween to life. While their contributions to the DC universe will always be lauded, their work with Marvel is equally impressive. Hulk: Gray is a very artistic reimagining of the character’s origin, and fans looking for a classic storyline featuring Dr. Banner’s alter ego won’t be disappointed.
Fans familiar with the TV series from the late ’70s will definitely notice some similarities, but it’s told in a unique, almost crime-noir style. The early days of Hulk are given a different coat of paint as sort of a callback to the classic era of one of Marvel’s most powerful heroes.
7 Thor: God Of Thunder By Jason Aaron And Esad Ribic
With the upcoming love and thunder on the horizon, there’s no better time to pick up Thor: God of Thunder. A storyline that takes place in both the present and the past sends Thor on the trail of the infamous Gorr the God Butcher, and a mythic saga ensues.
Thor has always presented the Avengers series with a much-needed fantasy element, but Aaron and Ribic’s contributions to the character further sell that concept. Additionally, with Gorr presenting such a threat in the upcoming movie, fans might want to take a look at just how much damage the villain can do.
6 The Invincible Iron Man: Extremis By Warren Ellis
Warren Ellis’s adaptation of Iron Man is what Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal would be like in comic book form. Essentially laying out the groundwork for Iron Man 3, this rendition of the character is cinematic in every sense of the word. If fans have very little experience with the character, this run is an ideal springboard to jump head first into the comic rendition of the Avengers.
In the bluntest of terms, a large percentage of Tony Stark’s MCU adaptation comes from Ellis’s series and it’s so easy to see various bits and bobs that made their way into the cinematic version. In a story that’s as much a technological thriller as it is a superhero saga, the run offers some of the best of the character.
5 The New Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis
The New Avengers is one of the best places for readers to jump into a more current iteration of earth’s mightiest heroes, especially if they’re fans of Joss Wheadon’s adaptation in the MCU. From Captain America to Iron Man, all of the classic characters step into the spotlight, along with some other favorites including Spider-Woman and Luke Cage.
Brian Michael Bendis launches the dawn of a new chapter for the Avengers, breathing in new life with classic characters and familiar formulas. With Electro unleashing some of the most dangerous villains on the city, it’ll take more than the standard team to knock characters like Shockwave, Purple Man, and a whole host of other foes set free from the Raft.
4 The Ultimates By Al Ewing
The Ultimate universe can best be described as Marvel Comics/The Avengers at their finest. Pure, action-packed, colorful, comic book greatness worthy of the MCU itself. It certainly has more than a few similarities with the movies in terms of design. By little exaggeration, The Ultimates should be what just about every comic fan pictures when they think of the Avengers.
Consisting of Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ms. America, Blue Marvel, and Spectrum, the Ultimates come out of their first chapters swinging by uniting to take on the planet-eating Galactus. What transpires in Ewing’s magnificent run is anything and everything fans can expect from a team-up of Marvel superheroes and all the bells and whistles that come with it.
3 Civil War By Mark Millar
Of course, no discussion of the Avengers could be complete without addressing Marvel’s Civil War. The conflict that defined and divided practically an entire universe, Mark Millar’s groundbreaking saga is one of the most important events in Marvel, and no fan should miss out on the drama.
When the government passes the Superhero Registration Act, putting all superheroes and metahumans under regulated enforcement. With half siding with Captain America, half siding with Iron-Man, and characters like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange caught in the crossfire, it’s a magnificent blend of political allegory and action-packed superhero saga.
two The Infinity Gauntlet By Jim Starlin
The Infinity Gauntlet is probably the most ambitious and universe-spanning storyline in all of Marvel’s classic comics, and nearly every Avenger is involved. Those only familiar with infinity war and end game they are only getting a fraction of what their inspiration has to offer. As Thanos tries to woo the heart of Lady Death, the entire Marvel Universe hangs in the balance.
While the movies did involve all the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more, the comics took the conflict and spread it across the galaxy and called on the forces of the Nova Corps, the Silver Surfer, and Adam Warlock to defeat the Mad Titan . To say that it’s an epic adventure would be a gross understatement.
1 Marvels By Alex Ross And Kurt Busiek
marvels by Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek is a very comprehensive way to experience the Marvel universe. Not only does it feature the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and Spider-Man, doing their superhero duties across several decades, but they are all seen through the eyes of a photojournalist whose devotion and fixation on the superheroes, metahumans , and mutants gives a very human and more realistic perspective on superheroes in New York City.
Characters like Spider-Man, Tony Stark, and even Galactus are all seen alongside famous historical events like World War II, the hippie counter-culture, and the Civil Rights movement. It’s a self-contained storyline that has just about every Avenger and other Marvel mainstay playing some role in the course of American history.
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