The Avengers franchise is what made Marvel Studios the completely dominant force in comic based entertainment. The way they streamlined Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and other characters into an expansive universe that also includes television shows like Daredevil and Agents Of SHIELD is something that has never been achieved before in motion picture entertainment.
The Avengers continuity, even without including the individual characters is supremely daunting. So, I’ve put together a chronology of some of the best Avengers related books that are currently or were recently available in collected editions (the recently available are still around for pretty cheap on various online outlets and in bookstores) into ten TV seasons.
Now that all the superheroes are forced to register with the government, there’s a whole new status quo. Tony Stark is the head of SHIELD, and each state has their own team of superheroes. Truly, then, NOW is a great time to be a superhero, right? As long as you’re registered?
Also, I’m avoiding The Death Of Captain America storyline because, while I thought his death was handled well, his return was so ridiculous, that it’s much more fun to think he’s in hiding for a bit than “traveling through memories” or whatever he was doing while the Marvel Universe thought he was dead.
Get behind me, suckas.
art by Jim Cheung
Season 4: The Initiative
(showrunners: Brian Michael Bendis and Dan Slott)
Episode 1: Civil War Front Line Book 2
(written by Paul Jenkins, art by Ramon Bachs and Steve Lieber)
Sally Floyd and Ben Ulrich at The Daily Bugle have ethical problems with the way Civil War is/was being reported and struggle with journalistic integrity. But, more interestingly, Speedball, whose actions caused The Civil War tries to cope with his survivor’s guilt and creates a whole new persona: Penance.
Front Line. 1 episode
Episode 2: Iron Man Director Of SHIELD
(written by Daniel and Charles Knauf, art by Roberto De La Torre)
Tony Stark is the new Nick Fury. How is he going to handle it.?
The New Fury. 1 episode
Serial 1: She-Hulk Planet Without A Hulk
(written by Dan Slott, art by Rick Burchett)
She-Hulk is now a registered agent of SHIELD and she might be having a fling with the new director. After the Hellicarrier is attacked by a bunch of Nick Fury Life Model Decoys, she discovers a clue as to why her giant green cousin is missing. That’s probably going to cause some friction with Director Stark
She-Hulk Agent Of SHIELD. 2 episodes
Episode 5: The Irredeemable Ant-Man
(written by Robert Kirkman, art by Phil Hester and Cory Walker)
One of Tony Stark’s SHIELD agents just got his hands on Hank Pym’s new Ant-Man suit, and he has no ambition to save the world with it.
The Irredeemable Ant-Man. 1 episode
Episode 6: Elektra The Hand
(written by Akira Yashida, art by Christian Gossett)
Daredevil’s ex has an extensive history with The Hand. This story just innocently checks in with her and he life among the Ninja clan. That’s all. There’s nothing foreshadowed in this episode at all.
The Hand. 1 episode
Episode 7: The Mighty Avengers Ultron Initiative
(written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Frank Cho)
Carol Danvers is the new leader of The Avengers. And the official Avengers team has big problems because there’s a new Ultron in town. Stupid Hank Pym.
The Mighty Avengers. 1 episode
Episode 8: The New Avengers Revolution
(written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Leinel Francis Yu and Alex Maleev)
Captain America’s team has to go underground to avoid the superhuman registration act but The Mighty Avengers do end up finding them and it’s Avengers vs. Avengers.
Underground. 1 issue
Episode 9: Avengers The Initiative Basic Training
(written by Dan Slott, art by Stefano Caselli)
Tony Stark’s Initiative means fifty teams of Avengers in fifty different states. Yellowjacket, She-Hulk, and War Machine teach some new recruits how to be Avengers.
Basic Training. 1 episode
Episode 10: Young Avengers Presents
(written by many authors, art by many)
Check out where The Young Avengers are in the post Civil War Marvel Universe.
Coping Mechanisms. 1 episode
Serial 2: Thunderbolts Faith In Monsters, Penance Relentless, Thunderbolts Caged Angels
(written by Warren Ellis and Paul Jenkins, art by Mike Deodato JR and Paul Gullacy)
A team full of supposedly reformed villains, along with Penance (formerly Speedball) work under the direction of Norman Osborne (formerly The Green Goblin) to solve problems in The Marvel Universe. The Thunderbolts team has actually been around for quite a while, but they really shine under Ellis’s direction.
Penance. 4 episodes
Episode 15: Mighty Avengers Venom Bomb
(written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Mark Bagley)
A virus that turns normal people into symbiotes like Venom hits New York City, and it’s up to The Avengers to figure out a way to stop it. Plus, Tony gets a little green present in a bag.
Venom Bomb. 1 episode
Episode 16: Avengers The Initiative Killed In Action
(written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage, art by Stefano Caselli, Clayton Henry, Steve Uy, Salvador Larroca, Tom Feister, and Patrick Sherberger)
More training for the new cadets. But being a good guy ends up being fatal for some team member. Also, there’s been a thread running through almost all of this season. What is going on with Skrulls?
Taskmaster. 1 episode
Episode 17: New Avengers The Trust
(written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Leinil Francis Yu)
Skrull. Problems. Plus, The Hood has designs on being the next Biggest Bad in The Marvel Universe. How will The Underground Avengers team keep him from rising to the top?
The Trust. 1 episode
Episode 18: New Warriors Defiant, New Warriors Thrashed
(written by Kevin Grievoux, art by Paco Medina, Reilly Brown, and Joe Malin)
There’s a new New Warriors team. Why? Since Civil War, that’s a super loaded team name. But this group of youngish familiar heroes in new costumes is out to help fight crime, even though they don’t appear to be registered.
New New Warriors. 1 episode
Serial 3: World War Hulk, World War Hulk Gamma Corps
(written by Greg Pak and Frank Tieri, art by John Romita JR and Carlos Ferreira)
This is not the green invaders from space we’ve been building up to all season long? Why is The Hulk back? And who are The Gamma Corps?
Invasion. 2 episodes
Season 4 is 20 misdirect episodes long. Don’t worry, we get back to the other green space problem next season.