Avengers: Infinity War is the biggest comic book event ever, bringing together all of the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to fight for the survival of reality itself. If the film has you excited for more Avengers action, or wanting so see more of Thanos, here’s 10 comics that are definitely worth checking out.
A crossover event bringing together the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Thor, Avengers Disassembled saw the start of Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Avengers, with the destruction of the team.
Running at a fast pace, the heroes have to deal with the destruction of Avengers Mansion, Ultron robots, a rampaging She-Hulk, a Kree invasion, and the deaths of several members of the team.
Whilst too much about why this is happening can’t be said without spoiling the story, the reasons why everything is happening, and the loss of lives, lead this to be both an incredibly action packed but also hugely emotional story; one that would shape not just the Avengers, but the landscape of the Marvel universe for years to come.
The Infinity Gauntlet
A major part of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, the Inifnity Gauntlet is seen for the first time in this story, and contains many elements that are sure to either appear in, or inspire, the movie.
When Thanos, the alien warlord, manages to locate the six Infinity Stones, he attaches them to his gauntlet, creating the Infinity Gauntlet. With their combined power he becomes a god level threat, and sets out to win the love of Mistress Death, the living embodiment of death in the Marvel Universe.
Thanos uses this power to kill half of the living beings in the universe, prompting the heroes of Earth in a desperate fight to stop him and save what’s left of existence.
Following the universe wide events of Secret Invasion (a book also worth checking out), the Avengers are disbanded by the government, with the defence of Earth being handed over to the man who saved the planet from the Skrull invasion, Norman Osborn.
With the former Green Goblin in charge of H.A.M.M.E.R. (a new version of S.H.I.E.L.D.) he forms his own version of the Avengers. There’s the Iron Patriot, a suit of Iron-Man armour painted to resemble Captain America which he himself pilots; Spider-Man, who is really the villain Matt Gargan wearing the Venom symbiote; Hawkeye, who is the Daredevil villain Bullseye; Miss Marvel, who is the villain Moonstone; Ares, the god of war; The Sentry, an all powerful god being manipulated by Osborn; and Wolverine, who is actually Wolverine’s murderous son Daken.
This team of villains posing as heroes take the spotlight in the public as the Avengers, whilst behind the scenes Osborn has his own dastardly plans. Another huge shift in the Marvel Universe, Dark Avengers gives a very different but unique version of the team that we’ll probably never have on screen.
The Infinity War
A book which shares the name of the new film was definitely going to end up on this list. Infinity War acts as a direct sequel to The Infinity Gauntlet. When the powerful hero Adam Warlock has his evil side separated from him, becoming the villain Magus, the Earth’s heroes must unite against him with Thanos in order to stop him from conquering the whole universe.
Infinity War expands upon the mythology of not just Thanos, but the Infinity Stones themselves, exploring their origins and their powers, as well as other cosmic entities that act as gods of the Marvel Universe. A definite must read for those wanting to learn more about the Infinity Stones.
The New Avengers
Following the events of Avengers Disassembled, and the destruction of the Avengers, a new team is brought together following the mass break out of villains from prison. Comprising of classic Avengers such as Iron-Man, Captain America, and Spider-Woman, the book also introduces new members of the team such as Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and Wolverine.
Over the course of the series run the team roster would also include the Bucky Barnes version of Captain America following the Civil War story and the death of Steve Rogers, the godlike Sentry, and the ninja Ronin. Whilst subsequent versions of the title would see other iconic heroes join the team The New Avengers was at its best when written by Bendis.
A multi-volume epic, Annihilation focuses on the the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, bringing together characters such as Thanos, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Silver Surfer, Nova, Galactus, Ronan the Accuser, and more as they fight against the Annihilation Wave, a deadly fleet of ships that will destroy anything in its path.
Annihilation ignores the heroes on Earth but gives the readers more of characters that they’ll be familiar with from Guardians of the Galaxy, such as Star-Lord and Drax the Destroyer, as well as some that movie audiences will be less familiar with, like the Super Skrull. A must read for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, and people wanting to see more of Thanos.
Whilst we may never get to see legacy heroes on the big screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (though never say never) the comics are a great place to see the next generation of heroes, and the inspiration that the Avengers have on them. Young Avengers is a prime example of this.
Set between the events of Avengers Disassembled and The New Avengers, Young Avengers sees a group of teenagers come together to form a new team in the vacuum that was left behind by the loss of the Avengers in order to defeat the time travel villain Kang the Conqueror.
Consisting of Patriot, the grandson of a world war two super-soldier; Hawkeye, an incredible young archer who wants to prove herself; Stature, the size changing daughter of Ant-Man Scott Lang; Wiccan, the magic wielding son of Scarlet Witch; his brother Speed, a speedster; and Hulkling, a shape-shifting alien, the team prove to be worthy of the title Avengers through their adventures.
Despite a relatively short run, the Young Avengers prove to be so popular that they have appeared across multiple Marvel titles.
Whilst Captain America is leading most of the Avengers into space to fight beside an alliance made up of friends and former enemies, such as the Skrulls and the Brood, Thanos sees an opportunity to carry out a personal vendetta on Earth, and he unleashes a full scale planetary invasion that Tony Stark and the other members of the Illuminati try to lead the defence against.
Collecting together two stories, one of intergalactic destruction, the other of Thanos tearing up Earth, Infinity is a vast sci-fi epic, one that has some surprise reveals about Thanos himself, and the reasons for his coming to Earth beyond something as simple as revenge.
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade
Bringing together the Avengers and Young Avengers, as well as Magneto, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade acts as a sequel to Avengers Disassembled, finally addressing the issues around the Scarlet Witch, and revealing the real reasons for the events behind the destruction of the Avengers.
Whilst I can’t say much without revealing the revelations in this story, or spoiling Avengers Disassembled, the coming together of the adult and teen teams is a great story, one that felt like years in the making that delivers an incredibly satisfying conclusion.
Whilst many of the comics featuring Thanos would deal with his conquests, his quest for the Infinity Stones, and his occasional alliances with heroes to defeat bigger villains, it wasn’t until 2013 that his origin story was finally told.
Going right back to the very birth of Thanos, Thanos Rising charts the young life of the man who would go on to become The Mad Titan. It shows him as a child, with a much different demeanour and passive nature, before becoming corrupted by Lady Death, showing the beginnings of his obsession and love for her.
A fascinating insight into the origins of one of the biggest villains in the Marvel Universe, Thanos Rising helps to fill in some of the blanks that other books had yet to explore.