1:00 pm EDT, May 1, 2015

Five must-read comics for ‘Avengers’ fans

Have you just dragged yourself out of bed after seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron at midnight, and need an Avengers fix? Or are you looking for something to tide you over until you can get to the theater? These comics have got you covered!

The world of comic books can be more than a little daunting at times, and it can often be hard to know where to start. But for those who want to know more about the characters that have piqued their interest on the big and small screen, we’re here to give you a jump start.

With The Avengers: Age of Ultron finally arriving in the U.S. on May 1, we thought we’d put together some of the best-of-the-best that the Avengers have to offer — which wasn’t an easy task! Whether you nabbed a ticket to see the movie at midnight, or you’re checking it out later, these comics will expand on the characters introduced (and returning) in the newest Avengers adventure.

Quiz: How well do you remember The Avengers?

So, if you’re a comic book aficionado looking to revisit the Avengers, or are completely new to the world of comics, here are five Avengers runs you shouldn’t miss out on! But beware, there may be some mild spoilers ahead.

1. ‘Avengers: The Korvac Saga’

avengers-recommendations-korvac-sagaTitle: Avengers: The Korvac Saga
By: Jim Shooter (Author), George Perez (Illustrator)
Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel Comics

Jim Shooter’s run on the Avengers is often under-appreciated. He approached the series from a different angle by introducing a wild card into the established pecking order of the wider Avengers universe — the cyborg villain, Korvac. Pursued across space by the Guardians of the Galaxy, he arrives on Earth to realize his utopia, imbued with the power of Galactus.

It poses some interesting philosophical and thought-provoking questions about just who is in the right, whilst putting the spotlight on some crucial characters (particularly Hawkeye.)

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2. ‘Avengers Assemble, Vol. 2’

avengers-recommendations-assembleTitle: Avengers Assemble, Vol. 2
By: Kurt Busiek (Author), George Perez (Illustrator)
Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel Comics

Though we highly recommend Kurt Busiek’s entire Avengers, Vol. 3 run — collected in Avengers Assemble, yeah, confusing. We know! — we’ve highlighted this trade in particular as it contains the “Ultron Unlimited” story. Busiek really upped Ultron’s genocidal nature, as he terrorizes and rampages through Slorernia. It even includes the strangest ‘family reunion’ ever. No, seriously.

If you’re looking for more of Age of Ultron’s titular villain, this is definitely the comic to check out. Though it follows a pretty standard formulaic storyline, it sets itself apart in its focus on dysfunctional families, the media, and the ethics of artificial intelligence. What more could you ask for?


3. ‘Avengers: Kree/Skrull War’

avengers-recommendations-kree-skrullTitle: Avengers: Kree/Skrull War
By: Roy Thomas (Author), Sal Buscema, Neal Adams (Illustrator)
Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel Comics

You may recognize the Kree from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and this trade really highlights what they’re capable of. Roy Thomas brings the intergalactic war between the two alien races onto Earth’s doorstep, and the Avengers get caught in the crossfire. The introduction of the Skrull’s as shapeshifters upped the stakes, as it became increasingly difficult to figure out just who was a friend and who was foe.

With everyone from Captain Mar-Vell to the Inhumans making an appearance, this really is one of the definitive collections for any Avengers fan. The Kree/Skrull war was one of the first major events Marvel had in its comics, and really set the tone for all future events going forward.


4. ‘Avengers: Under Siege’

avengers-recommendations-under-siegeTitle: Avengers: Under Siege
By: Roger Stern (Author), John Buscema, Tom Palmer (Illustrator)
Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel Comics

Taking a step away from the more cosmic battles that the Avengers find themselves tangled up in, Under Siege grounds its story back on Earth. It revolves around Baron Zemo and his Masters of Evil launching an assault against Captain America and the Avengers — but the Avengers’ biggest villain here are themselves. Zemo finds a team that are self-destructing and destroying themselves from the inside.

Under Siege breaks down the Avengers to their lowest point, mirrored devastatingly in the decimation of a particular building. But despite that, it highlights the Avengers’ spirt in the face of overwhelmingly terrible odds and some brutally violent fights. Also, that as a team, working together, they can achieve anything.


5. ‘Avengers Forever’

avengers-recommendations-foreverTitle: Avengers Forever
By: Kurt Busiek (Author), Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino (Illustrator)
Where to buy: Amazon, Marvel Comics

Another title from Busiek, but he really did have a stellar run during his time on the Avengers. This time-travel extravaganza plucks its team members from all over the Avengers continuity as they come up against Immortus and the Time Keepers, who have been manipulating the Avengers for years. From Captain America just before he quit the team, to Yellowjacket at his most unstable, each character has an important role to play in saving the Earth.

It’s worth reading a few of the titles on the list before diving into Avengers Forever, as it helps to have a little more background on where some of the characters came from. A title that helps clean up the Marvel continuity, it also pays tribute to countless years of great stories. It’s difficult feat to pull off, but one that Busiek manages in style.


Want more comic book recommendations? Check out our bi-weekly podcast dedicated to all things superhero, Hero Hype. Our regular Comic Corner segment is dedicated to scoping out the best of the best of comic books for your favorite characters. There’s no character too big, or too small.

Hit us up on twitter with your suggestions, and tune in to get your must-have reading list!

Will you be checking out these ‘Avengers’ comics?

We definitely had a hard time narrowing this list down to five comics — and a few just barely missed the cut! If you’re a Marvel aficionado, and have any other favorites, let us know below.

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