Saturday, October 7, 2017

Marvel Master Reading Order, Part 1

By Kenny Howell
I have embarked on a new adventure. 

I was having trouble figuring out what to read next when it comes to Marvel comics. I wasn't really buying new stuff, mostly because after 11 years of working in newspapers, they decided they were done with me, and I am out of work right now. However, I still have my Marvel Unlimited membership because, you know, priorities. 

So I searched out Marvel comics reading orders. There are plenty of good ones out there like Comic Book Herald, but I landed on the aptly named Comicbookreadingorders.com. They have a master reading list, which, in a way, tells the Marvel story chronologically through thousands of comics, all of which have been on Marvel Unlimited so far. 

Part 1 is obviously the beginning. While you would think it would start with Fantastic Four, Amazing Fantasy, etc., it does not. It has the origins of many characters, some of which have been told very recently. It starts with Thor: Son of Asgard, which came out in 2004. 

I am not sure how long I will stick with this because my attention span rivals that of my 4-year-old, but as long as I do, I would give you my thoughts on five series at a time as I work through it. It will be just quick analysis, longer if it is deserved. 

Thor: Son of Asgard (2004) - Written by Akira Yoshida; Art by Greg Tocchini. 

We go back to Thor as a young man, as he learns to be the hero he would eventually become. It starts really strong, as he comes into his own with friends Sif and Balder. It was originally supposed to be 6 issues, and they would be the strongest. After that, it becomes a bit romance novelish with Thor's love of Sif. Reading list contains #1-12. 

Origin (2001) and Origin II (2014) - Written by Bill Jenkins, Paul Jenkins, Joe Quesada, Kieron Gillen; Art by Andy Kubert, Richard Isanove.

The origin of Wolverine, as we travel back to his time as a boy in late 19th century Canada. The book has an interesting take on the character, and has its moments. Reading list contains #1-6 of Origin and #1-5 of Origin II. 

Marvels (1994) - Written by Kurt Busiek; Art by Alex Ross. 

Another origin story, this time of the whole Marvel universe back around World War II. It was something I had read before and is the best of this first group of comics, mostly because of the work of Ross. This is where he exploded into the fame he has today. His hand-painted, everyman panels are gorgeous, and you could essentially just flip through this as a coffee table book if you wanted. That's not to take away from Kurt Busiek, his is a really clever story told through the eyes of a photographer who witnessed the rise of the superheroes. It is an essential Marvel work. Comic Book Reading Orders just suggests issue #0 and #1, but it is worth reading the whole run. 

Fury: Peacemaker (2006) - Written by Garth Ennis; Art by Darick Robertson. 

The origin of Nick Fury is explored in this look back at his time in World War II. It is solid, if not a little underwhelming since Ennis wrote it, and he had done such great work with the Punisher. This collects issue #1-6. 

Captain America and Bucky (2011) - Written by Ed Brubaker; Art by Chris Samnee, Marc Andreyko. 

After Marvels, this is my favorite of the run. It is because of Brubaker's voice, which is led to tons of great works over the years. Here, he tells the story of the good friends through Bucky as he joins Captain America on missions and eventually becomes the Winter Soldier. It is clever and fun, what you might expect from Brubaker. This run includes #620-624, all of which are very good. 

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