The Marvel comic book universe is one of the most popular and most extensive fictional universes. After its founding in 1939, Marvel has amassed hundreds if not thousands of comic books, all with different storylines involving your favorite Marvel heroes. If you’re a beginner comic reader, the extensive catalog may be a bit intimidating. Don’t fret! Listed is a catalog of personal favorite Marvel comics that will allow for a smooth introduction into the Marvel Universe. Check out this reading guide for a Marvel Comics novice.
1. Marvel Fresh Start
The Marvel Fresh Start series is exactly as the name suggests, a fresh start for the Marcel comics universe. Kicking off in the summer of 2018, Marvel creatives decided to commit to a rebranding of sorts. This makes the perfect time to jump aboard the comics universe. This comic series contains the rebranded origin stories and continuations of several of your favorite Marvel heroes such as Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Panther, and The Avengers. If this is your first introduction to Marvel, this would be a great place to start. Then, you can work your way back to other renditions of these heroes written by other comic authors and artists.
2. Scarlet Witch 2015-2017
The 2015 to 2017 run of Marvel character Wanda Maximoff, also known as The Scarlet Witch, is essential reading for that character. On the heels of the Marvel Cinematic Universe announcement of Phase 4 and the premiere of the live-action show ‘WandaVision,’ many are looking to know more about the mysterious origins of The Scarlet Witch. In this comic run, Maximoff learns more about her familial origins and the origins of her magic. The depiction of Wanda Maximoff in the comics differs greatly from the Marvel Cinematic Universe depiction. However, the movie version is still heavily based on the comics. So, if you’d like to learn more about The Scarlet Witch or just don’t particularly care for her movie depiction, this comic run is an excellent place to start.
3. Uncanny X-men
Dating back to 1963, The Uncanny X-men comic series is one of the longest-running X-Men series. It is an extensive list of comics, and you do not need to read every issue. The most recent run of the Uncanny X-men is the 5th series, published in 2018. You can begin here and work your way back down the extensive history of the X-men.
4. Avengers vs. X-men
As a huge fan of both The Avengers and The X-men superheroes teams in the Marvel comic universe, it’s always interesting to see crossover events where the two most popular superhero teams in Marvel history interact. The Avengers vs. X-men is a complete Marvel event containing plenty of reading material to keep you occupied. The event is split into three sections: the main of event, versus, and tie-in readings. Each section contains a number of comics detailing the journeys, interactions, and sometimes clashes between The Avengers and The X-men.
5. In Pursuit of Flight
Marvel comics certainly don’t make it easy if you like to follow certain characters throughout their Marvel histories. With winding storylines, retconned storylines, and a long extensive history behind each Marvel character, you can easily get lost. One prominent superhero mantle in Marvel history is that of Captain Marvel. It must be an important character to bear the name of the company itself, right? The Captain Marvel name has been passed down over the years to several different heroes. Most recently, it has fallen in the hands of Carol Danvers. After Carol Danvers made her MCU debut in March of 2019, her role in the movie universe will only worsen. Many people are looking to know more about Carol Danvers. Danvers’ origins have been changed and manipulated many times over the years. However, “The Life of Captain Marvel” provides a streamlined version of Danvers’ origins: short, easy to understand, and direct links to the MCU counterpart. This series is followed by “Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight” and “Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster.” Both are essential readings in Carol Danvers’ comic history.
6. X-men Red
X-men Red, another essential X-men comic reading, was a short series of about eleven issues released in 2018. The sister series to previously published series’ X-Men Gold and X-Men Blue, X-Men Red follows the X-men heroes after the latest of several unprecedented resurrections of hero Jean Grey. This series is great if you’re looking to take a dive into the dynamic of modern X-men, but not so much for origins.
7. Dark Phoenix Saga
There is perhaps no more impactful and recognizable comic series storyline than that of the Dark Phoenix Saga. The Dark Phoenix storyline continues to be replicated both in comics and in film. The saga follows Jean Grey and the fellow X-men as Jean is corrupted by the all-powerful Phoenix force, and the others must decide how to stop her unprecedented power. The original Dark Phoenix Saga begins with the original X-men Phoenix saga of 1963 and continues into the Uncanny X-men Dark Phoenix saga.
In the wake of the MCU announcement of an Eternals movie in Phase 4, many are looking to learn more about this obscure Marvel superhero team poised to be the MCU’s next superhero team. The Eternals 2006 comic run written by author Neil Gaiman relaunched the Eternals team into Marvel comics’ modern era. This comic run explored the Eternals’ origins and their legacy as invisible, eternal beings through human history. This run has been defined as the most definitive tale of the Eternals in modern comics.
9. X of Swords
X of Swords ushers in an exciting new era of the X-Men. This ongoing comic run will include many of our favorite X-men and X-men titles in this impressive 22-part event. If you need some background reading before starting X of Swords, you can touch upon House of X and Path to X of Swords. However, X of Swords is a good place to dive into the modern X-men heroes’ reinvention.
10. War of the Realms
War of the Realms is one of Marvel’s longest-running comic runs in the 2010s and only gets better with time. Right amidst the Marvel Fresh Start reinvention, War of the Realms features many of our favorite Marvel heroes in modern times, such as Thor, Jane Foster, The Avengers, Iron Man, and many more. You can begin with the War of the Realms Prelude collection of dive right in.