Few characters in Marvel Comics history have changed to the degree of Drax the Destroyer. The most comparable parallel is the Incredible Hulk, with ever-shifting degrees of intellect (or lack thereof) and capability for dialogue.
Drax’s creation by Marvel cosmic architect Jim Starlin is irrevocably tied to Thanos, and for most of his early appearances, you’d be just as well suited reading through the complete Thanos Reading Order.
The below reading order will highlight all of Drax’s initial appearances, as well as his 2000’s modern reinvention, and eventual Guardians of the Galaxy membership.
Drax the Destroyer Reading Order
The new Drax origins collection covers the majority of Drax the Destroyer early appearances by Jim Starlin, including the Captain Marvel vs. Thanos saga, and even the Death of Captain Marvel.
Again, you’ll find all of this and more in Comic Book Herald’s Thanos reading order, but if you truly want to trim the fat and just read about Drax, this is a great approach.
Collects: Iron Man (1968) 55; Captain Marvel (1968) 27-33, 43-44, 58-62; Warlock (1972) 15; Marvel Spotlight (1979) 1-2; Avengers (1963) 219-220; Material From Logan’S Run 6, Thor (1966) 314, Marvel Graphic Novel 1: The Death of Captain Marvel
Jim Starlin returns to both Thanos and Drax in the biggest Marvel event of the early 90’s, with Infinity Gauntlet and the follow-up Infinity Watch.
Infinity Watch in particular is a 90’s predecessor to the Guardians of the Galaxy, with Drax teaming with the likes of Adam Warlock, Gamora, and Pip the Troll to protect the galaxy from the power of the Infinity gems!
Reinvented Modern Drax (2000’s)
Keith Giffen doesn’t get nearly enough credit for reshaping the Marvel Cosmic universe, even though his spins on Drax the Destroyer and the entire Annihilation event shape the cosmic comics for the 2000’s.
This miniseries is absolutely essential reading for any fan of Drax, as the character is reborn to play more of a true warrior instead of occasional cosmic doofus.
Collects: Drax The Destroyer #1 to #4
Drax in Annihilation and Joins Guardians of the Galaxy
Whereas with many other members of the Guardians (Rocket and Groot come to mind) you can conceivably skip Annihilation (not that you’d want to), Drax actually has some of his absolute most important moments in Marvel’s memorable space event.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 to #25
Marvel NOW! Drax
Drax gets his own ongoing Marvel NOW! solo series, with co-writing from wrestling superstar C.M. Punk!
Collects: Drax #1 to #11