Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine that has seen many of the comic films that are out in theaters, or have been. He really enjoys the stories that go along with the characters. He wanted more after watching the films, but didn’t know where to start.
So, for this recommended reading, I’m going to describe what to expect from key Marvel comics series. It’s a bit of a guide for those that want to start reading comics, but don’t know where to start.
(Amazing Spider-Man recommended most)
Spider-Man comics are all about Peter Parker, and his struggles. They are tales of an underdog hero that faces everyday challenges we face. But, he also has a great responsibility because of his great power. The powers, like a job, get in the way of his social and family life. There is great humor that comes from Pete’s wisecracks as he faces baddies in New York city. This is the super hero I started and stuck with as a kid.
What to expect and like: Likeable underdog hero with not overpowered abilities. He also has creative ways to get out of binds. His secret identity also faces common challenges, but with the hero twist.
What to be aware of: Sometimes the stories can get into bizarre, sci-fi confusion. Like, a clone saga where the writers played with who the real Peter Parker was. It wasn’t too fun for the readers. But, they are few and far between in the comics.
(Avengers Assembled recommended for first time readers)
It’s the hard hitting team of popular super heroes. The roster is ever changing, making for exciting battles and team dynamics. It’s also a great place to be introduced to characters from several “branches” of Marvel’s lineup.
What to expect and like: It’s all about team dynamics, and big villains that one hero cannot face alone. This is where a lot of the big crossover sagas start in the Marvel universe. It’s big brawls and big characters, but they still have issues in personal lives that affect the rest of the team.
What to be aware of: Sometimes it can get really soap opera-ish within the personal hero stories. Also, the team changes a lot, so it’s hard to keep track of who is currently on the team and who is not. Plus, this has the most amount of titles, like Avengers Academy, Mighty Avengers, Secret Avengers, etc.
(Uncanny X-Men recommended)
I think this is one of the most dynamic and engaging bits of comics on the market. Mutants are the focus, and they struggle to fit in, but long to help all of mankind. They’re underdogs, but are seen as overpowering. Even other super heroes have issues with them from time to time. Plus, within their own ranks there are team dynamics, romantic relationships, teen angst, and many other common problems that humans face. It’s hard to not have an interesting story come from each title and issue.
What to expect and like: Again, it’s team dynamics, underdogs, and personal problems all wrapped up in one. There are big battles, and great drama. Characters are flashy, because it’s all about people with genetic abilities. Sometimes the teams go off world, inter dimensional, and even through time. There are several characters that each have distinct personalities and histories.
What to be aware of: I like the stories where there is alternate dimensions, timelines, or going off into space. But, I could see where a reader would tire of these. Sometimes it’s hard to follow. Also, the cast of characters is huge, which can be confusing.
These are places I would start at, and there are many other great titles among the Marvel comics.
And, until next time, have a Marvel-ous day!