Captain America Reading Order (Modern Marvel Era)

by Dave on 01/23/14 at 9:42 pm

I’ve been taking my time with individual character reading orders, but this comment from one “Anthony” really kicked my butt into gear.

Ok, I understand that you are annoyed by the Cap falling and comming back up. But can you at least put together the proper order for the Fallen Son?

I was really into the entire series, especially when Bucky took on the red, white and blue. I just want to know the exact order, so I am not missing anything before reading HOW cap was brought back.

You suck. Your wife never loved you.

Ok, I added that last part, but Anthony reminded me of a few things.

1) A TON has happened in Captain America in the modern Marvel era (for me that’s pretty much all comics post 2000). And it’s happened with some of the absolute best creative talents in comic books over that time.

2) Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier comes out this spring (April 4, 2014). There’s probably never been a better time to get caught up on Captain America comics because if you don’t do it now the movie’s going to bust a Cap in your… oh no… this is who I am.

3) It’s VERY difficult to avoid spoilers in the Captain America story. This is a difficult task, but some large, stunning man needs to do it (I’ll find one, don’t worry).

Ok, ready? Let’s do this. First some words of inspiration:

 

Captain America Trade & Issue Reading Order

Captain America: The New Deal (#1 – #6)

Captain America

Captain America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Marvel Knights response to 9/11. Like so much of American culture and society, the world needed a new Captain America after the events of 9/11. The first half of issue #1 gives us Steve Rogers, Captain America, in the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center bombings. As you’d expect, it’s still beyond horrific, but there’s an optimism in Captain America’s call for strength that resonates even today. John Cassaday’s art is rightfully hailed as incredible.

The story may jump a little too quickly to another terrorist attack on the Smallville-esque rural setting of Centerville, but maybe the intent was to see Cap save the day this time. The politics of the story, and the WWII propoganda nature of the book covers, has led to a lot of discussion, no more thought-provoking than this article.

Most secretly important for continuity, at the end of issue #3 Cap reveals his identity is Steve Rogers to the world on t.v. This doesn’t feel like a huge reveal, but apparently the world didn’t know his identity prior to this revelation. It’s easy to forget this wasn’t common knowledge.

Truth: Red, White, and Black (#1 – #7)

This 2003 mini-series from writer Robert Morales and artist Kyle Baker falls outside the typical Captain America continuity, but it provides some essential back-story for the Super Soldier program and the Captain America mythos.

As you might guess from the title, the series reconstructs the origins of the Super Soldier serum to create an allegorical account of African-American exploitation. Or, in less pretentious terms, it creates a black Captain America.

For all its flaws, and despite many fans’ problems with Baker’s egregiously cartoonish art (personally, I’m ok with how different it feels), Truth takes a hard look at American civil rights and the sad, flawed history many would like to forget. It also creates the character of Isiah Bradley, who will become an integral part of Marvel continuity in future titles.

Captain America (#7 – #28) – Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4, Vol 5

Following the New Deal, we have 17 issues of Marvel Knights era Captain America. For the Marvel Unlimited subscribers, this is the Captain America (2002 – 2004) portion of your textbooks.

Captain America: Disassembled (#29 – #32)

Captain America and the Falcon (#5 – #7)

The Captain America: Disassembled tie-ins can both be read before the main event of Avengers Disassembled, and are included in a stellar Omnibus collection.

Avengers Disassembled (#1 – #4)

The first of the modern Marvel events. Best read in full after the “Disassembled” tie-in issues above.

I haven’t mentioned Cap’s involvement in the Avengers yet (and from the title of the film “Captain America: The First Avenger,” it’s obviously a central part of his history). From this point forward Avengers titles and Marvel events will intersect more frequently with ongoing Captain America continuity.

Secret War (#1 – #5)

See the link above for my full breakdown of Secret War’s place in the modern Marvel universe. This event has some far reaching implications for the Marvel Universe as a whole, and especially for the relationship between Cap and Nick Fury.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (#1 – #8)

Bucky as Winter Soldier. Promotional art for C...

Promotional art for Captain America vol. 5, #11 (Nov. 2005), by Steve Epting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This is where Captain America really takes off, when Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting take the creative reigns and bring us the best possible version of Captain America for nearly 8 years.

For those of you excited about Captain America: The Winter Solider the movie, this is the blueprint for the entire narrative.

In short, it’s great. Brubaker is one of the best writers in comics in the last decade, Epting is the perfect artist for this book, and thus begins one of the greatest Captain America arcs of all time.

New Avengers: Breakout (#1 – #6)

Cap plays a huge role in putting the Avengers back together (as you might expect).

Young Avengers (#1 – #6)

This isn’t really about Cap, but he plays a big role and we see how some of that Isiah Bradley history will continue to influence the modern Marvel universe.

Also worth noting that even though Young Avengers clearly begins in the immediate aftermath of Avengers Disassembled, we learn from Jessica Jones that the New Avengers are likely already meeting in secret.

Captain America (#9) + House of M

In the middle of Brubaker’s Winter Soldier story arc, the action-packed thriller succumbs to the ongoing House of M event. The Cap one-shot is actually one of the better House of M tie-ins.

Captain America (#10 – #14)

The Ultimate collection linked in issues #1 – #8 also collects the issues listed here, and finishes the Winter Soldier volumes.

New Avengers: Sentry (#7 – #10) & New Avengers: Secrets & Lies (#11 – #15)

Captain America: Red Menace (#15 – #21)

The Red Skull’s diabolically elaborate plans heat up until the Marvel Universe is turned on its head during Civil War.

New Avengers: The Collective (#17 – #20)

Civil War + Captain America: Civil War (#22 – #24) + Winter Soldier: Winter Kills + New Avengers: Civil War (#21 – #25)

While Civil War is many things (the most successful Marvel event of the decade, the biggest development in Spider-Man’s life since Gwen Stacy, a nice chance for Dr. Strange and the Watcher to grab a beer), it’s largely about a major disagreement between Captain America and Iron Man.

When most people disagree the result is a fight, but when it’s Cap and ol’ shellhead, that fight involves the world’s superheroic population, world governments, and mass devastation.

This is one of the most important moments in the modern era of Captain America, and continues to reflect the “New Deal” patriotic spirit of Steve Rogers.

Captain America #25

One of the biggest Captain America issues of Brubaker’s arc. Follows up the collateral of Civil War with a major disruption in the life of Steve Rogers.

Civil War: The Confession + Fallen Son

Fallen Son is one of my favorite moments in Captain America stories from this time period. Following the events of Captain America #25, friends and associates from around the Marvel Universe respond.

Captain America (#26 – 42)

Bucky as Captain America. Art by Alex Ross

Art by Alex Ross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A new chapter in Captain America begins, as Brubaker and Epting take the seeds laid in the Winter Soldier story arc to create something perfectly new and appropriate.

Captain America: The Man With No Face (#43 – #48)

Secret Invasion

New Avengers (#48 – #50)

Picking up again with the New Avengers as Cap rejoins the team after the events of Secret Invasion.

Captain America: Road to Reborn (#48 – #49, #600 – #601)

You can likely see where this is heading from the story title, but an important wrinkle here: Marvel restored Cap’s original numbering for issue #50, jumping all the way to #600. Because, ya know, numbers?

Captain America: Reborn (#1 – #6)

New Avengers (#51 – #60)Siege

Avengers Prime (#1 – #5)

Carves out a new role in the Marvel Universe for Steve Rogers.

Captain America: Two Americas (#602 – #605) + Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield?

Captain America (#606 – #619)

Avengers (#1 – #12)

A new start for the Avengers in the Heroic Age.

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier (#1 – #4)

Secret Avengers: Mission to Mars (#1- #5)

Fear Itself

Captain America: Shattered Heroes (#1 – #10)

Winter Soldier: The Longest Winter + Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America

Winter Soldier: Broken Arros (#6 – #9) + Winter Soldier: Black Widow Hunt (#10 – #14)

Avengers: X-Sanction (#1 – #4)

Avengers vs. X-Men (#1 – #12)

5 Responses to “Captain America Reading Order (Modern Marvel Era)”

  1. KaioShin

    Jan 24th, 2014

    Q_Q, I wrote a more elaborate comment but then I got an error when I submitted it and it’s now gone .

    Anyway, the short version then: Thanks a lot Dave! Due to (last but not least) the upcoming movie I also wanted to catch up on the Captain and this helps a ton.

    It is very daunting though with the intersecting events. As a newbie to comics, they are more off-putting than anything.

    • Dave

      Jan 24th, 2014

      Hmm, I’ll have to look into comment errors…

      Glad you’re finding this useful, and interesting point about events. It is particularly difficult when you just want to read one particular character and these mega events continuously disrupt the story. Cap’s a little better than most, largely thanks to Brubaker and Epting committing to a sustained creative arc.

  2. Turner

    Feb 19th, 2014

    Dave,
    I loved the WWII aspect of the Cap movie. Is there a series or TPB that has modern writers (80s-today) taking on Cap in WWII? I’ve tried with the early Cap issues and it’s really hard to read that style of storytelling, the “tell and show” style, if that makes sense. I don’t need Cap to explain how his shield works every time he throws it.

    • Dave

      Feb 20th, 2014

      Hey Turner,

      Brubaker’s run does a good job flashing back to WWII, and reinventing Cap and Bucky’s war relationship (in a great way). These scenes are integrated into the “present day” story, but well worth it, particularly when they include the original Invaders.

      I’d also suggest checking out the “Theater of War” Captain America comics available on Marvel Unlimited: http://marvel.com/comics/series/7230/captain_america_theater_of_war_a_brother_in_arms_2009

      Paul Jenkins rarely disappoints and these are all newer stories (2009 on) from Cap’s World War Two days.

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