Which Marvel Comics Should You Read Before Phase Three?
If you’re anything like me, Marvel’s announcement of their Phase Three plans made you want to read a crap-load of comic books. (I’d rather see the movies now, but reading seems like the next best thing.)
And while Marvel isn’t in the game of adapting its stories directly for the screen, there’s plenty of reading material out there to get a jumpstart on the new characters and themes for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While the showdown between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark won’t be a straight adaptation of Mark Millar’s crossover event, there will no doubt be elements pulled from the struggle over superhero identities. The entire event encompassed dozens of issues across a host Marvel titles, but sticking to the core seven issues of the main event will give you the idea.
The Sorcerer Supreme has one of the longest and most complex histories of any hero in Marvel Comics, but if all you need is a primer to learn what the good doctor is all about, look no further than Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s “Doctor Strange: The Oath.” Over the course of the five-issue limited run, Stephen Strange has to solve the mystery of his own attempted murder.
If you didn’t read the entirety of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 25-issue run on “Guardians of the Galaxy” before the first movie came out, do so know. Their take on the cosmic Dirty Dozen served as the basis for James Gunn’s and captures the spirit of that team much better than the current series. Plus, it ends with an incredible mini-event, “The Thanos Imperative.”
Since we don’t know much about where the God of Thunder is going story-wise, our best bet is looking at the character’s comic book history and figuring out where the movies haven’t gone. One of the most iconic Thor stories is, no doubt, Walt Simonson’s “The Surtur Saga,” which pits the hero, Odin and Loki against a massive fire demon. The arc begins in the first volume of Marvel’s Simonson collection, but it finishes in the second.
During Marvel’s presentation, studio president Kevin Feige said that he was currently looking for the best director for the “Black Panther” movie and that he’d likely meet with Reginald Hudlin soon. Hudlin is a filmmaker, who also wrote the start of “Blank Panther Vol. 4,” a very good place for new readers to start.
Here’s an easy one, since Carol Danvers, formerly Miss Marvel, only took over the title of “Captain” in 2012. That’s when the excellent Kelly Sue DeConnick ushered in a new era for the moniker and kicked off a rabid fan base, the Carol Corps. DeConnick’s first issue is a particularly poignant issue and the perfect place to start for Carol’s future super fans. Warning: You won’t be able to stop reading.
Feige told the crowd during the Phase Three announcement that Marvel’s Royal Family of Atillan could launch multiple franchises, and he’s absolutely right. That just gives you an idea of how big the culture around Black Bolt, Medusa and the rest of the gang can get. The best place to start is with Paul Jenkins’ run from 1998. You’ll see rather quickly that the “Game of Thrones” comparisons aren’t coming out of nowhere.
Yes, I know that there is a crossover event with a title that matches the two-part movie event scheduled for 2018 and 2019, but that’s not what you should read. Marvel has never outright adapted any of its comics. They tend to take whatever elements suit them and then do their own thing. Here, I’d guess that Marvel prefers the title “Infinity War” to the one of the story that will probably bear the closest resemblance to the movies, “Infinity Gauntlet.” Read that. It’s fantastic.