Since I’ve gotten deep into Marvel Comics, my reading has been driven in large part by the availability of comics on Marvel Unlimited. For the most part, this has meant that many classic 80’s Original Graphic Novels have escaped my focus (although they are now being added to the library more frequently). More prominently, due to their “mature” rating, it’s taken me longer to catch up on the vast majority of Marvel MAX comics, perhaps the last vestige of the Marvel library that has no signs of inclusion in Marvel Unlimited.
This is a glaring omission in many respects, with several classic, essential Marvel reads growing out of the line intended to serve readers all the cussing, sex, and violence the all-ages driven comics code policies of yesteryear couldn’t deliver. From the origins of Jessica Jones to some of the the most iconic Punisher stories of the millennium, Marvel MAX is an intriguing look at the Marvel Universe without the censors turned on.
Below you’ll find a guide to all the comics that were released under the Marvel MAX imprint, including references to graphic novels, collected trades, or digital releases of the books that make them more accessible to readers. Truth be told, many of the MAX titles have remained low priorities on Marvel’s trade release or rerelease schedules throughout the 2010’s, with obvious exceptions like Alias.
Related Reading Orders:
The Launch of Marvel MAX
Collects: Alias 1-9
Marvel MAX got its official start with a new character creation by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. Their down-on-her-luck P.I. Jessica Jones was such an invigorating character, she quickly made it into the continuity of ongoing Marvel Comics.
Collects: Alias 11-15
Collects: Alias 10, 16-21
Collects: Alias 22-28
Marvel’s first attempt to take their Wild West heritage to the MAX, with John Ostrander writing a story involving the Apache Kid and Rawhide Kid.
Collects: Black Widow: Pale Little Spider #1 To #3
Written by Greg Rucka with art by… sigh… Greg Horn.
Collects: Blade (2002) #1 To #6
Fresh off the hype of his Wesley Snipes on-screen takeover, Blade gets his own six issue MAX story.
Early To Mid-2000’s Starring The Punisher, Luke Cage and The Hood
Collects: Born #1 To #4
Without question one of the most lasting Marvel MAX works from the early 2000’s, with Punisher scribe Garth Ennis teaming with Darick Robertson for a ‘Nam era Punisher origin story.
Collects: Born 1-4, Punisher (2004) 1-12
Following the 12 issue “Welcome Back, Frank” Punisher story as part of the Marvel Knights era, Preacher co-creator Garth Ennis took over the Marvel MAX era Punisher, for the longest ongoing MAX title in the line’s history.
Collects: Punisher (2004) 13-30
Collects: Punisher (2004) 31-49
Collects: Punisher Presents: Barracuda 1-5, Punisher (2004) 50-60, Punisher: The Tyger, Punisher: The Cell, Punisher: The End
Collects: Punisher Max Annual 2007, Punisher: Force Of Nature, Punisher: Little Black Book, Punisher (2004) 61-65, Punisher: Frank Castle Max 66-75
Collects: Punisher Max X-Mas Special, Punisher: Naked Kill, Punisher: Get Castle, Punisher: Butterfly, Punisher: Happy Ending, Punisher: Hot Rods Of Death, Punisher: Tiny Ugly World, Untold Tales Of Punisher Max 1-5
Collects: Punishermax (2010) #1-22
Collects: Punisher: The Platoon #1-6
Collects: Cage #1 To #5
Brian Azzarello teams with Richard Corben in this near instantly forgotten take on Luke Cage.
Collects: Fury Max #1-6
Collects: Fury Max #7-13
Collects: The Hood #1-6
Turns out when one of the best comic book writers of the decade creates a MAX character, they tend to stick around the Marvel Universe. In this case Brian K. Vaughn and artist Kyle Hotz brought Parker Robbins to life, a reverse Peter Parker who would go on to become a recurring New Avengers villain.
Collects: Howard The Duck (2002) #1 To #6
Collects: The Eternal
Collects: U.S. War Machine 2.0 #1 To #3
Collects: Thor Vikings
Collects: The Rawhide Kid #1-4
Collects: Shang-Chi: The Hellfire Apocalypse
Marvel MAX Horror and Squadron Supreme
Collects: Dead Of Night Featuring Man-Thing #1-4
Collects: Dead Of Night Featuring Devil-Slayer #1-4
Collects: Dead Of Night Featuring Werewolf By Night #1-4
Collects: Supreme Power #1 To #6
Collects: Doctor Spectrum #1 To #6
Collects: Zombie #1-4
Collects: The Zombie: Simon Garth #1-4
Collects: Terror, Inc. #1-5
Late 2000’s Marvel MAX
Collects: Foolkiller #1-5
Collects: Foolkiller: White Angels #1-5
Collects: Hellstorm: Son Of Satan #1 To #5
Collects: Strange Tales #1 To #3
Collects: Starr The Slayer #1 To #4
Collects: The Destroyer #1-5
Written by superstar Robert Kirkman, with art by Invincible compatriot, Cory Walker.
Collects: War Is Hell: The First Flight Of The Phantom Eagle
By Garth Ennis and Howard Chaykin
Collects: Wisdom #1 To #6
Collects: Dominic Fortune #1 To #4
Deadpool, Wolverine, and Fantomax: The Last Days of Marvel MAX
Collects: Deadpool Max (2010) #1-6
Collects: Deadpool Max 7-12
Collects: Deadpool Max 2 1-6, Deadpool Max X-Mas Special
Collects: Wolverine Max 1-5
Collects: Wolverine Max 6-10
Collects: Wolverine Max 11-15
Collects: Fantomex Max 1-4