It’s the perfect jumping on point! Welcome to the newest issue of Crisis on Infinite Polygons! Polygon’s unofficial Comic and Animation discussion thread. Here’s the rundown for those that are new to the show. We discuss anything animated or sequential up in here. Me, BreadKnight or even a guest writer like Zombie will get us started with a topic (Usually featured animation and comics) and then we leave it to the community to discuss whatever they want. For the next few weeks (Every other week if the schedule permits) I’ll be making a bunch of recommendations for those that want to get into superhero comics.
Superhero cartoons and movies are pretty big right now, especially the latter. I mean, look out how much money Avengers made. I’m sure there are at least a few of you that saw the movie and wondered where you could some more Marvel adventures to hold you until the next film, well, that’s why I’m here. See, over the last year or so I’ve really gotten more into comics and read a good deal of them from a sort of beginner’s point of view. I’m going to bring that view to these recommendations. I’ll be doing these for the next few weeks (I wanted to write them all for this week, but I’ve been pretty busy). Today we’ll be getting into Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I’ll list off some things that people might have liked about the Avengers movie and where you can find more of that.
If you liked your favorite superheroes coming together on one team: New Avengers
You'll come to love the characters you don't recognize. Except for The Sentry...
Specifically, we're talking about Brian Michael Bendis' title and not the new one coming soon from Jonathon Hickman (Which is a sort of Secret Society version of the team which also sounds cool). New Avengers is sort of my starting point, but not quite Bendis (That would be the pretty terrible Avengers: Disassembled which isn’t required reading and a poor place to start, but you might want to read it later on regardless). So, what’s going on here is that The Avengers are in shambles and now a maximum security prison breakout has brought them back together. Well, kinda, in the first six issues of the 2004 run (Which is where you should be starting), it’s not just the likes of Captain America and Iron Man that are forming the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman as well. The latter two you might be less familiar with, but you’ll grow to love them.
If you liked the butting heads of the characters: Civil War
I know this LOOKS like any other "superheroes all fight each other" even, but this one's different, trust me.
Civil War is a bit harder to recommend for beginners as it assumes you know a bit more about the Marvel Universe, however if you started up New Avengers or have seen the animated series, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (A great way to get you up to speed on decades of Marvel history) then you should be good. This one asks the question "What if superheroes were forced to register with the government?" This leaves The Avengers and many other Marvel heroes divided. The event stands alone on its own, but if you’re interested in what The Avengers themselves are really going through during it, check out the Iron Man, Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man, and New Avengers tie-ins.
If you liked the blockbuster feel: Ultimates/Ultimates 2
They LOOK heroic, but they REALLY aren't...
I’m not the biggest fan of these two series, but they’re two of the most popular series. Not only that, but they’re very entertaining reads despite not being the characters at their best. These books are set in the alternate "Ultimate" universe where The Avengers are The Ultimates and they’re kind of huge jerks. But, there are some interesting ideas here and definitely lots of blockbuster-esque action so they’re well worth a read. Also, I'll be mentioning even more titles from the Ultimate Universe as time goes on, so here might be a place to start.
If you want a currently running series: Ultimate Comics: Ultimates or Uncanny Avengers
I got this variant cover of Uncanny Avengers. It's adorbs right? RIGHT!?!?!?!?
Now, maybe you want to check out a book month from month as it comes out. Well, my two recommendations here would be Ultimate Comics: Ultimates and the just started recently, Uncanny Avengers. Ultimate is set in that same Ultimate Universe as The Ultimates, but now the characters are more heroic, even though the world itself is in worse shape than ever. This is the most recent run of the title and it’s only 16 issues in so there isn’t as much to pick up to catch up. Uncanny is essentially the X-Men meets The Avengers by one of the best writers Marvel has right now, Rick Remender. It’s the first issue of Marvel’s big Marvel NOW! event that’s supposed to make things more accessible for new readers. If you’re interested in this one, well, wait until you get to the end of this post.
What not to read: Ultimates 3, Ultimatum, the old stuff
I know not to judge a book by its cover, but this REALLY doesn't look like it holds up.
If you want more Ultimates after you read the first two series, you’d think that Ultimates 3 would be a good idea. It is not. It’s REALLY bad. Mark Miller (The writer of the first two series and Civil War) went on to write Ultimate Comics: New Avengers which I’ve never read, but that might be a better place to get your fix if you really need it. That or the new series I’ve already mentioned. Ultimates 3 is incoherent and boring. Worse, it leads into another book called Ultimatum which was a sort of tragedy that befell the Ultimate Universe in more ways than one. That book made me sick to my stomach, so you really should avoid that. All you really need is a list of characters that died. The context of their deaths is irrelevant.
As for the old stuff, it’s old. It doesn’t really hold up too well. I’ve heard good things about Kurt Buseik’s run on Avengers from ’98, but anything earlier than that is probably too early and filled with lots of shouting and bad writing. There are some books that go into the earlier days of The Avengers like Avengers: The Origin (Which I’ve heard good things about) and Avengers: Season One (Which isn’t very good). If you come across some story that harkens back to a previous event, you might want to just check the internet or something.
See? It's just way less adorbs. Pfft, whatever guys, I'm pretty sure the sexy Scarlet Witch one was super expensive anyway.
Alright, now here’s the fun part. I’m giving away a digital comic code for Uncanny Avengers #1 redeemable on Marvel.com (Which can be linked to your Comixology account). All you need to do is tell me who your favorite Avenger is and why. I’ll need some means to contact you as well. Your name will be entered in a drawing and I’ll give you the code next Tuesday. As for where to get the rest of these comics, the Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited service (A $60 a year, Netflix-esque comics reading service) has a TON of these comics and they never go away so you can read them whenever you want assuming you're on the web. Sadly, it doesn't really support tablets. If you want to read your comics on your tablet (Or your phone), check out Comixology and Marvel's app. The two are connected so you can link the accounts and they have different free comics at times so that's worth checking out. Also, be on the lookout for weekly $.99 sales.
However, you might want physical books. If you want to check out a current series, I recommend a subscription as that will cut the cost down severely (I play on subbing to All-New X-Men and Uncanny Avengers next month for Christmas). However, older stuff you can find in trade paperbacks and hardcover collections. These are much cheaper online so I'd recommend grabbing them there. Marvel's hardcovers often include digital copies as well and come out not too long after the single issues are published. Some comic shops have dollar bins as well, but those mostly cover older stuff.
Okay, that's it for me, if you've actually read some great Avengers comics, then chime in about what I've missed (I've missed A LOT). Or just talk about whatever you want! Stay tuned in the coming weeks for guides to Spider-Man, X-Men, The Marvel Universe, Batman, and The DC Universe.