Marvel Comics That Make it Easy For New Readers
The comic book movie bubble hasn’t burst yet. Despite the global pandemic, shows like ‘WandaVision’ and ‘The Falcon and the Winter Solider’ continue to bring in new fans. Sadly, as unapproachable as the movies may seem to outsiders, the comic book universe is much, much worse. With that said though, there are tons of great jumping off points for every major Marvel property. Here is a quick list of some of the more popular and relevant ones.
House of M, Scarlet Witch
While ‘WandaVision’ may not have drawn heavily from this comics book event in terms of story, House of M certainly helped set the overall tone of the Disney+ series. Written by Brian Michael Bendis House of M is an epic, reality-altering saga surrounding Scarlet Witch. The story features tons of popular Marvel heroes including Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Man. The story is set in a self contained world that does not require you to know every piece of lore from the past fifty years. In fact, the less you know about the reality House of M is set in, the better you can relate to the character you follow throughout the story. If you have never read a comic book in your life, House of M is a great place to start.
All New X-Men, X-Men
The X-Men comics are a lot like soap operas. People die and come back. Romances blossom and fade away. Storylines are recycled time and time again. Its often a bit schlocky and repetitive but for some, author included, X-Men comics are beloved. Another Bendis story, All New X-Men takes everything that is good about modern day X-Men comics and marries them with the characters from the past. Full disclosure however, this series does rely on the reader having knowledge of recent events in the comics. For example the X-Men Vs Avengers event comes up often. With that said though, there is nothing in these comics that cannot be understood through context. Just don’t be discouraged after the first few pages. If you want to take your first step into the mutant side of things, start with All New X-Men.
Old Man Logan, Wolverine
If you have a base level of knowledge about the Marvel universe or have seen a few comic book movies, Old Man Logan will grab you instantly. The story takes place in another alternate reality where things have gone very south for the Marvel Heroes. 2017’s ‘Logan’ borrowed heavily from Old Man Logan but without access to the full Marvel roaster, there was a lot lost in translation. (Not to say that the film wasn’t spectacular on its own.) All you need to know going into this story is who the major players are, IE Wolverine, Hulk, Hawkeye and a small handful of others. Otherwise pick up a copy of Old Man Logan and enjoy the ride.
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Hawkeye Vol. 1, Hawkeye
For movie fans, Hawkeye may have been a little underwhelming. You may have found yourself wondering “how does an archer fall into the same category as a literal god?”. For fans of Hawkeye in the comics however, they already knew the answer. Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye is the gold standard when it comes to the arrow slinging Avenger. The story is ground level and answers all the questions you may have about the character. Fraction’s writing brings certain a dry wit and charm to the character that Jeremy Renner did his best to emulate but often came up short. This is the perfect story to start reading leading up to the Disney+ ‘Hawkeye’ series, which will likely borrow many elements.
Civil War, Captain America and Iron Man
Since its release in 2006, Civil War has been a lot of current fans first comic book. Most of the universe building is done on the pages. Prior knowledge of certain characters relationships and history is encouraged but not required. There is nothing in here that cannot be understood through context clues. Civil War changes the playing field for Marvel superheroes and features familiar characters such as Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. If you happen across Civil War at a bookstore or wherever you plan to read comics, be sure to pick up a copy.