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.
Season 1 isn’t just The First Team of Avengers. I’m not a big fan of silver age books, so I want to get at least into the 80s by the end of the first season, so be prepared for a lot of team shake ups pretty quickly, which is actually in the spirit of the Avengers book, whose entire lineup changed three times in the first five issues.
Did the photographer just say ‘Cap puts the ass in assemble?’
art by George Perez
Season 1: Assemble
(showrunner: David Michelinie and Jim Starlin)
Serial 1: Avengers Epic Collection: Always An Avenger
(written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck)
The team forms to fight off the threat of Loki. Then the team nearly breaks up. They go through an assortment of villains and team rosters, as well as crossing over with nearly every other property Marvel had at the time, including The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and Spider-Man.
Assemble. 2 episodes
Serial 2: Avengers Kree/Skrull War
(written by Roy Thomas, art by Neal Adams, Sal Buscema, and John Buscema)
The Fantastic Four once battled a race of shape-shifting aliens called The Skrulls. When they defeated them, Reed Richards turned three of them into cows. After the Avengers deal with the possible threat of Captain Marvel’s race, The Kree, Vision is attacked by the Skrull cows. Featuring The Fantastic Four, Annihilus, and the subject of a certain android Ant-Man created called Ultron gets breached.
The Kree. 1 episode
Skrullelujah. 1 episode
Episode 5: Avengers Celestial Madonna
(written by Roy Thomas and Steve Engleheart, art by Sal Buscema, Dave Cockrum, and Bob Brown)
There’s a new star in the sky and it’s going to mess up the Avengers, handing them their first of many deaths (not an Avenger most people can name, though). But now time traveling villains, including the rascally Kang have descended on their time to take out The Avengers. Plus, more damned Skrulls, and Vision and The Scarlet Witch get married?
Celestial Madonna. 1 episode
Episode 6: Avengers The Serpent Crown
(written by Steve Engleheart, art by George Perez)
The Avengers battle The Squadron Supreme, some Old West themed Marvel villains and Kang. GO AWAY KANG, YOU’RE TAKING UP A LOT OF SPACE HERE. This is a fun and odd team of Avengers that includes Beast (usually an X-Men) and Patsy Walker, Hellcat.
Crisis On A Different Earth. 1 episode
Episode 7: Iron Man Prelude To Armor Wars, Iron Man Armor Wars
(written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, art by Mark Bright, Bob Layton, and Barry Windsor-Smith)
Tony Stark thought he’d been keeping a tight wrap on his technology, but when AIM starts crime sprees using Stark Tech, Iron Man decides to go at them full throttle. He even lets Jim Rhodes in on the Iron Man action. Nick Fury, Captain America and a variety of Avengers get in on Stark’s quest to take AIM down.
Armor Wars. 1 episode
Episode 8: Iron Man Demon In A Bottle
(written by Dave Michelinie, art by Bob Layton and John Romita JR)
In order to deal with his constant state of stress, Mr. Stark has developed quite the alcohol dependency. Ant-Man, Nick Fury, and a cast of Avengers try and help him with that. But he doesn’t need their help. Well, until he might have accidentally killed a UN Ambassador.
Demon In A Bottle. 1 episode
Episode 9: Avengers Vision & The Scarlet Witch A Year In The Life
(written by Steve Engleheart, art by Richard Howell and Al Milgrom)
The Avengers power couple “retires” to New Jersey to start a family. But their own families, including Magneto, Quicksilver, and Ultron are less than supportive, as Quicksilver’s own marriage to the Inhumans’ Crystal is a huge mess. You know what will solve their problems? Having kids. That certainly isn’t going to cause massive problems down the line. Featuring a slew of Avenger and non-Avenger guest stars, and Dr. Strange actually acts as a doctor for once.
Family Matters. 1 episode
Serial 3: Avengers The Legacy Of Thanos
(written by Roger Stern and John Byrne, art by John Buscema and John Byrne)
The new Captain Marvel investigates Thanos’s abandoned ship, she gets a bit of a surprise. Nebula plots to destroy The Skrulls, and then sets her sites on Earth. All this while Captain America and the rest of The Avengers battle Terminus in The Savage Land (a terrible place to battle when there are Skrulls around). Plus, The Fantastic Four, Firelord, and The Beyonder.
The Legacy Of Thanos. 2 episodes
Serial 4: Avengers West Coast Vision Quest, Avengers West Coast Darker Than Scarlet
(written by John Byrne, Roy and Dann Thomas, art by John Byrne and Paul Ryan)
It’s a little weird that a magical mutant and an android had children together, right? So when a series of nannies mention that occasionally the children just disappear, The West Coast Avengers start to think that something must be up. And what’s up is not Wanda’s sanity.
Darker Than Scarlet. 2 episodes
Serial 4: The Infinity Gauntlet
(written by Jim Starlin, art by George Perez and Ron Lim)
Thanos takes a play at complete control of The Universe, tracking down all the gems that, when assembled, power The Infinity Gauntlet, and it’s up to all of The Avengers and, really, all the Marvel heroes to come together and stop him before he ends all of creation itself.
The Infinity Gauntlet. 2 episodes
Serial 5: Infinity War
(written by Jim Starlin, art by Ron Lim, Tom Raney, Angel Medina, and Shawn McManus)
Adam Warlock may have helped keep Thanos from ascending during Infinity Gauntlet, but what if he’s not entirely a hero, himself? His evil half, Magus, surfaces and takes possession of The Gauntlet. Once again, all the Marvel superheroes in the universe have to band together to save the universe from a mad tyrant. And this time, their salvation might be…Thanos?
Infinity War. 3 episodes
Serial 6: Infinity Crusade
(written by Jim Starlin, art by Ron Lim, Tom Raney, Angel Medina, Tom Grindberg, and Kris Renkewitz)
While Infinity War was going on, the evil side of Adam Warlock (Magus) expelled his own good side, creating The Goddess. Her agenda appears to be saving the universe from evil? So why has she assembled an army of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Thanos, The Silver Surfer, Professor X, and a cabal of heroes left behind must save the universe from…good?
Infinity Crusade. 2 episodes
Season 1 is 20 cosmic episodes