With Avengers: Age of Ultron in cinemas, now is a perfect time to get up to speed on the best Marvel graphic novels. The following list contains five of the most important stories that Marvel has told, and that will surely form a part of their future plans on both the big and small screens.
Perhaps the most obvious on the list, but also one of the most important. Civil War is due to be adapted for the big screen and will officially kick off Marvel’s Phase Three. The story revolves around the US government installing the Superhero Registration Act, whereby anyone who has superpowers must be under their regulation.
This sets up two camps, one opposed to the act, led by Captain America and one who supports it, led by Iron Man. Friendships and loyalties are tested, while Spider-Man gets caught in the middle and is used as a pawn to gain public support. Oh, and Captain America is assassinated.
Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster
As an introduction to Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, it doesn’t get much better than this story written by Kelly Sue Deconnick. The former pilot turned superhero is a pop culture lovers paradise and has no problem doing her two favourite things; punching people and quoting Star Wars.
Here, Captain Marvel must take an alien girl back to her home planet and must contest her relationship with Rhodey (War Machine) and also bumps into the Guardians of the Galaxy for good measure. It’s a blockbuster story and would adapt perfectly to the big screen.
Considering the many theories surrounding the future of the current, cinematic, line-up of the Avengers, this story is surely begging to be told. Here, our heroes are attacked by a former member who blows up the majority of the Avengers mansion.
Chaos ensues as the Avengers fall apart at the seams. Facing attacks from old enemies and people they thought were friends, one of the team makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect his friends. This resulted in one of the biggest line-up changes ever, with Spider-Man and Wolverine filling out an all-star cast.
Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon
Released shortly after Avengers: Assemble, My Life as a Weapon is a globetrotting adventure with Hawkeye as the star. Successfully playing on the fact that Hawkeye has no actual superpowers, the book does great work in persuading us that he is a worthwhile Avenger.
Accompanied by his sidekick Kate Bishop, Hawkeye is self-deprecating and hilarious, while giving us a hero to really root for. It’s also nice to read a story that doesn’t involve some major crossover, and makes a stark change from the usual superhero tales.
Daredevil Volume 1
With the success of Netflix and their Daredevil TV show, Mark Waid’s run on the Man Without Fear is a great place to start reading. The story is back to basics for Matt Murdock as he simultaneously fights crime both in the court rooms, and in the dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
The story focuses on more intimate cases, while it doesn’t forget that he is a part of a much bigger picture. With cameos from Captain America and a side story including HYDRA, this is a great introduction to the character and the part he plays in Marvel’s universe.