As the Comic Book Herald audience has grown from my cats (and only then under duress; I’m not proud of the threats I made) to a multi-pronged legion of fanatical comic fans, I’ve been getting more and more questions.
What’s up with this specific aspect of your Infinity reading order? I’m new to comics, where should I start with the Avengers? You seem like an omega-level intellect – how would you handle the crisis in the Ukraine?
All valid questions, and I’m happy to answer them, but I’ve found that I’m frequently answering them behind closed doors. In super-sexy private time. (Many people just call this e-mail.)
So starting henceforth, I’ll be answering one question a week for all to see. I call it “the question of the week.” I’m open to suggestions, but I think I nailed it. As always, if your question is super-sexy private, I won’t share information you don’t want shared. And you can send all your questions to @comicbookherald on Twitter, or email@example.com.
Question of the Week
I recently fell in love with Marvel comic books. I began reading The New Avengers vol. 1 and i just finish Vol. 5. I also seek one that can help me with some sort of timeline – You know , how to read them in the correct timeline. ~Mathias
Paraphrasing the question here, it’s basically: what order do I read modern Avengers trades?
This is a fairly loaded question given the Avengers’ intersection with major Marvel events and then the post-Civil War split of New Avengers and Mighty Avengers titles.
It’s also a great question, and one I’ve heard from a lot of new comic readers. So let’s do this – here’s to making Avengers trades comprehensible for a new reader.
Bonus Update – 10 Best Avengers Stories Before 1998
Below you’ll find a guide to navigating Avengers comics from 1998 to present. I’m adding this additional section to cover the essential Avengers stories you should check out if you’re more interested in the history of the team.
I’d also recommend you check out My Marvelous Year, the Comic Book Herald reading club where we read every single year of Marvel Comics, in manageable weekly installments. We cover plenty of Avengers over there as well!
Avengers Epic Collection: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Issues #1 to #20
Avengers Epic Collection: Behold the Vision – Issues #57 to #76
Avengers: Kree / Skrull War – Issues #88 to #97
Avengers: The Bride of Ultron – #157 to #166
Avengers: The Korvac Saga – Issues #167 to #177
Avengers: Nights of Wundagore – Issues #181 to #187
Avengers: Heart of Stone – Issues #188 to #205
Avengers: The Legacy of Thanos – Issues #255 to #261
Avengers: Under Siege – Issues #270 to #277
Avengers: Assault on Olympus – Issues #278 to #285
The Avengers: Where Do I Start?
If we’re talking the modern Marvel era (kicks off about 1998 with Joe Quesada as editor-in-chief and the launch of the Marvel Knights imprint), many fans would have you start with Avengers Disassembled. For the purposes of getting caught up on major storylines and the state of the Marvel Universe as a whole, this makes a lot of sense.
But if you just like Avengers stories, then it would be a mistake to entirely bypass Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s near 60 issue run on the title. These are two all-time comic book greats, and Busiek in particular has proven himself as a master of Marvel lore with the essential Marvels and Avengers Forever.
If you’re reading on Marvel Unlimited, this is the series known as Avengers 1998 – 2004, and ends with Avengers Disassembled. The trades can be collected as follows:
From here, Avengers is taken over by Geoff Johns, known now as DC’s Chief Creative Officer, and the man who brought us Infinite Crisis, Green Lantern: Rebirth, and the coolest version of Sinestro in years. Knowing his later success with the Green Lantern franchise, it’s interesting to see Johns cut his teeth on the Avengers.
Avengers falls into a weird state of trade collection disarray here, with Chuck Austen’s run on issues #77 – #84 collected over the course of two terribly reviewed trade paperbacks. I include links to these issues here and here, only so you can see how angry they make Marvel fans.
Otherwise, our next stop is Avengers Disassembled, where Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch kick off the modern Marvel era of events. Note here that Avengers re-adopted the original numbering so it could sell a number #500.
Avengers Disassembled: So No More Avengers, Right?
Of course not! But to Avengers Disassembled’s credit, the team is greatly impacted and is never quite the same. It can only exist moving forward as a new entity: the New Avengers.
I’d note here that there’s a pretty awesome New Avengers omnibus that also collects the Avengers Disassembled issues. I’ll list out the remaining trades and their intersection with Marvel events in chronological order below, but you may prefer the omnibus. Marvel Unlimited readers, get your New Avengers on here. And your Young Avengers here.
This is a non- Avengers title, but it’s going to be important with Dark Avengers later. Including for that purpose. Also, Warren Ellis is awesome, and it’s a blast.
Civil War Splits up the Avengers
Following the events of Civil War, Avengers titles start to get really fractured. You have your official, government-sanctioned Avengers (Mighty), your rebel Avengers (New), and your Avengers: Initiative training program.
As you’d expect, you don’t necessarily have to keep up with every title to know what’s going on in the Marvel Universe. New Avengers remains a good barometer for macro-level storylines. Nonetheless, there are plenty of options.
Dark Reign of the Dark Avengers
Secret Invasion provides another long in the works shake up to the state of the Avengers, introducing Norman Osborne’s Dark Avengers as a new title in the game. The following Avengers trades coincide with Dark Reign and ultimately Siege.
A note here that the Dark Avengers omnibus may well be the best option for collecting all these issues. It really just depends on your interest level in Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men: Utopia, which is not included in the omnibus.
For the Marvel Unlimited crowd, here’s Dark Avengers.
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (#1 – #9)
Children’s Crusade is post-Siege and reconnects us with the Young Avengers and the Scarlet Witch.
Heroic Age Avengers
Just like that the Dark Reign is over and Marvel’s Heroic Age essentially reboots the Avengers. The Heroic age covers 2010 to 2012 and includes all of the Avengers issues before Marvel Now! begins.
Marvel Now! Avengers
The newest Avengers titles with Jonathan Hickman at the writer’s helm. I’d note here that the full list of Avengers titles from 2012 through 2015 can be found in my Marvel Now reading order. Alternatively, the below will get you started.
There’s your guide to Avengers trades and titles from 1998 through Secret Wars!
All-New All-Different Avengers
The post Secret Wars landscape marks a serious shake-up for the Avengers lineups, with new rosters across the board.
Rage of Ultron (Original Graphic Novel)
This graphic novel from Rick Remender with gorgeous art by Jerome Opena was published around the time of Secret Wars, but can be read in line with the All-New Avengers roster, and is purportedly very much in canon. Great read for fans of Ultron and Hank Pym, founding Avenger!
All-New All-Different Avengers Vol. 1: The Magnificent Seven (All-New All-Different Avengers #1 to #6)
Uncanny Avengers: Unity Vol. 1: Lost Future (Uncanny Avengers #1 to #6)
New Avengers: A.I.M. Vol. 1: Everything is New (New Avengers #1 to #6)
A-Force Vol. 1: Hypertime (A-Force #1 to #5)
AllNew, AllDifferent Avengers Vol. 2: Family Business (All-New All-Different Avengers #9 to #12)
Uncanny Avengers: Unity Vol. 2: The Man Who Fell to Earth (Uncanny Avengers #7 to #12)
Avengers: Unleashed Vol. 1: Kang War One (Avengers #1 to #6)
Uncanny Avengers: Unity Vol. 4: Red Skull (Uncanny Avengers #18 to #22)
Have a question of your own? Let’s hear it in the comments, @comicbookherald, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.