Want to start reading the adventures of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? We’ve got you covered!
Our format on DFSG is simple:
One essential version of the character or team’s origin, one that will give new readers the information they need to move forward.
Three tales that not only entertain, but give the new reader a comprehensive view of character or team.
One alternate reality tale that exemplifies the character or team’s versatility.
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes #1-8 (2005)
Written by Joe Casey
Art by Scott Kolins, Morry Hollowell and Wil Quintana
Picking up shortly after the events of The Avengers #4 and ending around #16, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes condenses and modernizes the early days of The Avengers, while retaining Jack Kirby’s incredible designs. Sure, there are a few missions missing, but it is a smooth and enjoyable read that will give any new reader the low-down on the first few line-ups of the team. Though great in many respects, the highlight of this series is Scott Kolins’ pencils and inks. Kolins, as he has many times since, has a knack for taking older designs and rendering them in such a way that they seem totally fresh. This is especially true with Hank Pym’s modified helmet, something that is right out of the sixties.
“The Korvac Saga“- The Avengers #167, 168, 170-177 (1978)
Written by Jim Shooter, George Perez, Dave Michilinie, Bill Mantlo and Roger Stern
Art by George Perez, Sal Buscema, David Wenzel, Klaus Janson, Pablo Marcos, Jim Shooter, Nel Yomtov, Bob Sharen and Phil Rachelson
Probably the biggest pure Avengers tale, The Korvac Saga features not only some of the most recognizable members of the team, but some of the most fun additions as time went on. Don’t be shocked if some of this works its way into future films, it contains one of the grandest tales in the title’s history, with quite a few legends working on the creative side. Fans of the MCU will be happy to see the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and The Vision as members of the team, and may want to pay special attention to the presence of Captain Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers.
“Red Zone” – The Avengers (Vol. 3) #65-70 (2003)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Oliver Coipel, Andy Lanning and Chris Sotomayor
Though Geoff Johns is best known for his work with DC Comics, his run on The Avengers is exceptional and Red Zone is one of the most unique tales therein. Oliver Coipel’s pencils bring gravity to a tale distanced from the rollicking adventures often had by The Avengers. Make no mistake, Red Zone is straight up horrifying. Fifteen years later, the arc can hardly be called “contemporary”, but it exhibits a grit rarely seen even today. If you want to see Marvel’s finest take on a threat unlike any other, this is a tale for you.
“No Surrender” – The Avengers #675-690 (2018)
Written by Mark Waid, Jim Zub and Al Ewing
Art by Pepe Larraz, David Curiel, Kim Jacinto, Sean Izaakse, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov, Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Morry Hollowell, Stefano Casselli and Mike Perkins
The end of a long-running era where The Avengers were broken up into many teams, No Surrender is also one of the finest stories of that particular period and being a relatively recent arc, a great jumping on point for those ready to read the monthly Avengers title. No Surrender exploits the huge roster by weaving an action packed epic that any fan can enjoy, and will likely encourage new or lapsed readers to explore some of the characters they don’t know much about.
An Alternate Universe
The Ultimates #1-13 (2002-2004)
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Paul Neary and Paul Mounts
Though Marvel’s Ultimate line was conceived as a familiar version of continuity that would encourage readers to just jump in, its biggest successes rejected this notion in favor of creating something a little more risky. Millar and Hitch’s The Ultimates does not present The Avengers you are used to, but may have had as much impact on the brand as any other book. Millar made an inspired decision to move the team away from super hero, and closer to military. In this world, Steve Rogers isn’t the ultimate hero, but he sure is the ultimate soldier. Violent and unstoppable, these Avengers live up to the name. The Ultimates set the framework for much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and though the heroes who appear on screen are a bit more traditional, don’t be surprised to see a lot of familiar elements here.
Within the last decade, The Avengers have gone from a team primarily known by die-hard comic fans to the premier brand in superhero entertainment. Though the films have done an admirable job in adapting these characters for film, their comic book history is even more impressive. For many years, The Avengers were spared the pop-culture scrutiny that Spider-Man and The X-Men faced, allowing for some spectacularly pure comic book storytelling. Look at an older Avengers title and can serve as a window into Marvel Comics at that moment in time. With or without their current popularity, The Avengers have a unique and engaging legacy for readers to explore.