Marvel has consistently made headlines since the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. However, Marvel wasn’t originally known for making movies – they weren’t actually that well known at all until the start of the MCU. Yes, Marvel was still a big company, but it wasn’t until the release of Iron Man (2008) when Marvel became a name known across the entire world and in every single household. Before their explosion of popularity with their films, Marvel was originally known for the comic books that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is based on. Since the first Marvel comic released in 1939, there have been thousands upon thousands of storylines and millions of issues released by many different authors and illustrators. So, what are some of the best and most unique Marvel comics storylines you can read right now?
JLA/Avengers is one of the biggest crossovers between Marvel Comics and DC. This is a comic book limited series published in prestige format from September 2003 to March 2004. It follows Krona, an exiled Oan, who travels through the Multiverse destroying universes in order to seek the truth of creation. The Justice League must gather 12 items of power from their universe and the Avengers must do the same in order to prevent their worlds from being destroyed.
9. Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man
Another DC and Marvel Comics crossover, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man a one-shot crossover that had been published in March 1976. In the one-shot comic, Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus join forces in order to conquer the world and kill both of the heroes that put them behind bars. Lex Luthor, disguised as Superman, interrupts Spider-Man, Mary Jane, and Lois Lane and shoots a teleportation ray at the two women, sending them to an unknown location. Superman blames Spider-Man for the disappearance of the women and the two begin to fight. Hence the title, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man.
8. X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga is a comic storyline that ran from January to October 1980; this is the comic storyline that set the bar for many comics to come. Written by Chris Claremont, The Dark Phoenix Saga focuses on Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force. Eventually, the Marvel Comics storyline was adapted for the X-Men animated series in 1992.
7. X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past is a part of the Marvel Comics comic book The Uncanny X-Men (issues #141-142) that was published in 1981. Days of Future Past is set in a dystopian future in which mutants are forced into internment camps. Kate Pryde ends up transferring her mind into her younger self, present-day Kitty Pryde, bringing the X-Men to a pivotal moment in X-Men history that would begin the anti-mutant hysterics. This was also adapted into a film of the same name in 2014.
6. The Infinity Gauntlet
The Marvel Comics storyline, The Infinity Gauntlet, is one of the biggest arcs in all of Marvel Comics history. This was a 6-issue run from July to December 1991 with the main characters being the Avengers, Adam Warlock, Mephisto, Thanos, Silver Surfer, and Nebula. This was the inspiration for the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War as well as the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame.
5. House of M
With the brand new Disney+ original series, WandaVision, starting to air the first episodes recently, we need to talk about the House of M Marvel Comics run. The first issue of House of M was released in June 2005 and concluded in November 2005. The event revolves around Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff as she is living on an abandoned island of Genosha under watch of Charles “Professor X” Xavier. Xavier reveals to Magneto, Wanda’s father, that her abilities are becoming too strong for him to hold back and that a more permanent solution needs to be found.
4. Civil War
Civil War is also one of the most popular Marvel Comics events in the history of the publisher and ran from 2006-2007 . This event was the inspiration for the 2016 film, Captain America: Civil War, in which Steve “Captain America” Rogers and Tony “Iron Man” Stark are forced to go head-to-head due to differing political ideals and a massive debate over an agreement the Avengers were being forced to sign known as the Sokovia Accords.
3. World War Hulk/Planet Hulk
World War Hulk, also known as Planet Hulk, was a crossover event that began in the one-shot, World War Hulk Prologue: World Breaker in May 2007. The storyline follows Hulk after he was banished from Earth by the Illuminati (Black Bolt, Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, and Reed Richards). The spacecraft they used to send Hulk away ends up exploding, killing Hulk’s pregnant wife. This then forces Hulk to blame the Illuminati for her death and makes his way back to Earth to get revenge for his wife.
Annihilation is another massive Marvel Comics crossover released in 2006. Written by Keith Giffen, Annihilation focuses on Annihilus, Galactus, Ravenous, Silver Surfer, Thanos, and the United Front (Cammi, Drax, Firelord, Gamora, Moondragon, Nova, Phyla-Veil, Praxagora, Quasar, Red Shift, Ronan the Accuser, Stardust, Star-Lord (Peter Quill), Super-Skrull, and Talos.) Annihilation is a huge event that spans across a wide variety of comics, but begins with the Annihilation: Prologue.
1. Secret Wars
Now that the Infinity Gauntlet event has been adapted, Secret Wars is perhaps one of the most anticipated crossover events that fans are waiting to be adapted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It originally ran from May 1984 – April 1985. A cosmic entity known as the “Beyonder” becomes fascinated with the Marvel universe and chooses several heroes and villains and teleports them against their will to a planet known as “Battleworld.” There, they are forced to fight amongst themselves at the will of the Beyonder.