It’s hard to believe, but for nearly 60 years The Avengers have been saving the Marvel Universe from all kinds of evil threats from across the galaxy. Along the way, Marvel Comics has published some awesome stories with some of the industry’s best creators leaving their mark on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers have found a new legion of fans over the course of several films. Now With “Avengers: Endgame” about to explode into pretty much every theater in the world this weekend, this is the perfect time to take a look at some underrated comics starring Marvel’s super-team.
One last thing you should know: the comics listed below are by no means necessary to enjoy “Avengers: Endgame” on the big screen. Nor are the comics listed in any particular order. These are just good comic stories you might enjoy before or after seeing the gates of hell take over London this weekend. Got it? good, and away we go:
5.New Avengers #1-5 (2005)
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Finch.
After destroying the Avengers apart in Avengers: Disassembled, Brian Michael Bendis relaunched the series with David Finch on art duties. To be honest, when New Avengers first came out I wasn’t too thrilled with the book. But as time went by, I began to like this team more and more.
But if I had to choose, I’d say the first few issues are the best. In the series first story arc, the New Avengers have to deal with a mass breakout of super-villains from a super-maximum-security prison. The team comes together just in time to track down and return more than 40 super-villains that have escaped and are roaming free.
New Avengers not only rebuilt the team from the ground up, but it also introduced many new members to the roster including, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman and Luke Cage. These additions were surprising in 2004, but now, of course, it seems odd not to have a different character on the Avengers.
4.Wonder Man #9 (1992)
Written by Gerard Jones
Art by Jeff Johnson, Stephen B. Jones, and Bud LaRosa
Operation: Galactic Storm was the follow-up to the classic The Kree/Skrull War. This time around, it’s the Kree vs. the Shi’ar, both of whom have been using our solar system as an interstellar waypoint which has led to solar destabilization. It’s complicated, to say the least, but makes for fun reading anyway.
But since Galactic Storm took place in the ’90s, it meant Marvel forced you to buy a bunch of comics you didn’t read. In this case, Galactic Storm took 19 issues to tell the complete story, with various degrees of success. My favorite issue in the bunch is Wonder Woman #9 Written by Gerard Jones with art by Jeff Johnson, Stephen B. Jones, and Bud LaRosa.
In Wonder Man #9, if Simon and the Vision fail, the Earth is doomed. That’s because Wondy and the Vision are trapped aboard the Nega-Bomb which has been stolen by the Skrulls; As the Avengers move in the help, the bomb is detonated in the heart of Kree space. Despite the tension, this issue has some really funny moments, like the new Thor falling over Scarlet Witch and his reaction is priceless.
3.Avengers #350 (1992)
Written by Bob Harras and others
Art by Steve Epting, Tom Palmer, and others
This era of The Avengers has always been the butt of jokes, many of which are aimed at writer Bob Harras. As the chief X-Men editor at the time, Harras attempted to turn the Avengers into the X-Men, even donning the team with matching bomber jackets. He tried other things to drive up the Avengers cool factor, with little to no success. But among the excess of the ’90s, this era had a few highlights, like Avengers #350.
For this giant-sized issue we got a double foldout cover and a flip-book that reprints a classic Avengers issue. Avengers #350 also guest-stars Professor Xavier, Cyclops, and the Starjammers. This issue also deals with the aftermath of Operation: Galactic Storm when surviving Kree admiral makes a deal with Hepzibah and Raza Longknife to assassinate the Black Knight for the death of the Supreme Intelligence.
To that end, the two starjammers convince their teammates to journey to Earth under the false pretense of visiting Binary (Carol Danvers) in Avengers Mansion. But while the Starjammers and Avengers get acquainted, Raza slips away to slay Dane Whitman. In the blink of an eye, the Black Knight comes face-to-face with his judge, jury, and executioner!
2.The Last Avengers story (1995)
Written by Peter David
Art by Ariel Olivetti
This two-issue prestige format series was released with almost zero promotion. The only ad that I remember seeing came in an issue of Wizard magazine. Because I didn’t know what the heck this book was about, I skipped it in 1995. Somehow I doubt I was the only one who didn’t try this series, and that’s a shame because The Last Avengers is arguably one of the best Avengers stories ever.
Last Avengers Story is set in the not so distant future and it follows the remaining original Avengers as they come together for a final conflict with their greatest foes, led by Ultron. The first issue is primarily setup, updating readers on what’s become of Marvel heroes and introducing a few new characters. The second issue, however, details the brutal, destructive war between the two sides. It’s a tale of tragedy, hope, and heroes. A story that unlike many 90s comics, had brutal consequences.
1.Avengers Unplugged #3 (1996)
Written by Mike Lackey
Art by M.C. Wyman Sandu Florea
As the price of comic books began to sore during the 1990s, Marvel Comics launched a line of books which only cost 99 cents per issue. Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and other got an Unplugged title around this time. I was looking to save money wherever I could and was delighted when I discovered I liked most of the Unplugged books. But when fans bring up the Unplugged line these days, Avengers Unplugged is always forgotten.
Avengers Unplugged #3 probably has one of the most outlandish Avengers stories of the 90s. In it, Crystal and Natasha enjoy a night out on the town until they bump into the Super-Android (model F-4). This crazy construct has recently battled the Thing and is itching for a rematch! But right now the enraged android must settle for the Inhuman elemental and the Black Widow…in their club wear and high heels no less.
The battle itself is wild and fun, but I think my favorite moments in Avengers Unplugged #3 come when Crystal and Natasha take in a male stripper show complete with Avengers lookalikes. Crystal’s reaction to the Quicksilver dancer is great, as is Natasha’s laugh at the expense of her teammate and friend. It was nice to see two Avengers just having fun and enjoying each others company.