"Avengers: Endgame" has arrived, bringing to a close 11 years' worth of MCU movies. It's probably going to be a while before Earth's Mightiest Heroes return to the big screen, and when they do the team will be in a very different form. So if you need your Avengers fix, why not check out these comics instead? Each of these graphic novels is a perfect starting point for fans looking to dip their toes into Marvel's vast library.
"The Ultimates Vol. 1: Super-Human"
While it debuted way back in 2002, "The Ultimates" by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch remains perhaps the easiest gateway into Marvel's Avengers comics. That's due in no small part to the fact that The Ultimates is set in an alternate universe specifically designed to be new reader-friendly. Reading this series makes it apparent how much "The Ultimates" inspired the look and tone of the MCU.
"New Avengers Vol. 1: Breakout"
Back in late 2004, the Avengers were in much the same state they are now in the MCU -- battered, defeated and needing to regroup to defend the world from terrible new threats. The result was "New Avengers," a series that paired classic favorites like Captain America and Iron Man with Avenger newcomers like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage and Spider-Woman. We fully expect the next Avengers movie to draw some inspiration from this series, so that alone makes it a must-read.
"Young Avengers Vol. 1: Sidekicks"
We also wouldn't be surprised to see Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung's "Young Avengers" series exert a heavy influence on the Phase 4 MCU. Debuting around the same time as "New Avengers," this series saw a younger generation of heroes step up to fill the void left by the Avengers. Half the fun is learning the strange and unexpected ways these new heroes are tied to the classic Avengers.
If you want a comic featuring the Avengers going up against Thanos, there's no shortage of options at this point. But "Infinity" stands out because Thanos is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. This massive Marvel crossover forces the Avengers to stop being just "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" and protect the entire universe from an existential threat. And if you like this story, it helps pave the way for an even bigger Marvel epic -- 2015's "Secret Wars."
"Avengers vs. X-Men"
Now that Disney's purchase of 21st Century Fox is complete, it's only a matter of time until the X-Men finally join the MCU. Exactly how Marvel will integrate these characters remains to be seen, but we'd be surprised if we don't get a movie pitting the Avengers and X-Men against one another in a massive battle royale. For a taste of how (and why) that conflict might play out, you'll want to read this 2012 crossover.
Thanos has emerged as perhaps the most nuanced and fully realized villain in the MCU so far. If you crave more of his adventures after the closing credits of "Endgame" roll, "Thanos Wins" is your best bet. This standalone story pits Thanos against his older self, in the process revealing a future version of the Marvel Universe where Thanos has slaughtered nearly everyone. This book is also notable for introducing Cosmic Ghost Rider, one of the most memorable new Marvel characters in a long time.
"Avengers by Jason Aaron Vol. 1: The Final Host"
If you're just looking to dive into the modern Marvel Universe rather than catching up on the classics, this book is your best bet. This volume kicks off Marvel's current Avengers series, pitting a ragtag team of heroes against a group of Celestials bent on destroying Earth. It's epic fun, but also a story that lays the seeds for even bigger and more dramatic conflicts to come.