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.
Last season ended with The Scarlet Witch’s nervous breakdown nearly taking down the entire Avengers roster. We start this season with them tracking her down, not to hurt her but to figure out if they can help her.
We’re kidding. Without macguffins, Bendis stories would never resolve.
art by Olivier Coipel
Season 3: The New Avengers
(showrunner: Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar)
Serial 1: New Avengers Breakout, Spider-Man Breakout
(written by Brian Michael Bendis and Tony Bedard, art by David Finch and Manuel Garcia)
The Avengers are all broken up but when dozens of prisoners break out of a prison called The Raft, someone has to keep the streets safe. Spider-Man tries on his own but doesn’t have much success so he joins The New Avengers, a virtual Who’s Who of Marvel heroes.
Breakout. 2 episodes
Episode 3: New Avengers Sentry
(written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Steve Mcniven)
One of the New Avengers is totally new. A Superman like hero with some serious mental problems could fit perfectly on to this team, or, you know, could cause a lot of problems.
New Avengers. 1 episode
Serial 2: Young Avengers Sidekicks, Young Avengers Family Matters
(written by Allan Heinberg, art by Jim Cheung)
A group of teenagers who seem to resemble classic Avengers shows up in New York City and start fighting crime. What are their ties to the original team? Are there ties? Jessica Jones, Iron Man, Captain America and…J Jonah Jameson? are on the case.
Young Avengers. 2 episodes
Episode 6: The Pulse Fear
(written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Michael Gaydos and Oliver Copiel)
Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have a baby. Then they get married, and The New Avengers are at the wedding. Enjoy the somewhat fun sidetrack while you have the chance.
The Baby. 1 episode
Serial 4: New Avengers Secrets & Lies, The Amazing Spider-Man New Avengers
(written by Brian Michael Bendis and J Michael Straczynski, art by David Finch and Mike Deodato JR)
Spider-Woman gets caught up in some New Avengers drama, and Spider-Man is upgrading to life in the big leagues with a swanky new apartment and new friends. Isn’t it just a great time to be a superhero? Oh, who the hell is Ronin?
Secrets & Lies. 2 episodes
Serial 5: House Of M
(written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Oliver Coipel)
Still suffering from her nervous breakdown, Wanda uses her powers to distort reality so that every hero gets everything they’ve ever wanted. But in this fantasy world, one little girl keeps activating the memories of certain heroes who know that what they need to do is convince The Scarlet Witch to return reality to the way it was. That is not, precisely, what she does.
House Of M. 2 episodes
Serial 6: Captain America Winter Soldier, Captain America Red Menace
(written by Ed Brubaker, art by Steve Epting, Michael Lark, Jon Paul Leon, Mike Perkins, Javier Pulido, and Marcos Martin)
The Red Skull gets killed over possession of The Cosmic Cube, and it’s up to Captain America to find out who killed him. Also, there’s an assassin running around who seems to be Captain’s long dead partner, Bucky. Someone should make a movie about this.
Red Menace. 2 episodes
Episode 13: The Road To Civil War
(written by Brian Michael Bendis and J Michael Straczynski, art by Alex Maleev, Ron Garney, Mike McKone, and Tyler Kirkham)
A group of top tier Marvel heroes have been meeting every few years to solve major crises like The Infinity Gauntlet. Their current problem is what to do about The Hulk. Thor’s hammer appears to have fallen and Dr. Doom and The Fantastic Four are all trying to prove worthy of it. Plus, Peter Parker works for Tony Stark now, and his new Spider-Man costume is definitely more useful, but it feels as though something is about to go horribly wrong for everyone.
Illuminati. 1 episode
Episode 14: Iron Man Extremis, Iron Man Execute Program
(written by Warren Ellis, Daniel and Charles Knauf, art by Adi Granov and Patrick Zircher)
It’s the Extremis storyline, so uhhh, Iron Man 3. But then Nick Fury, Captain America, and The New Avengers step in to stop Tony and a rogue assassin.
Extremis. 1 episode
Episode 16: Ms Marvel Best Of The Best
(written by Brian Reed, art by Roberto De La Torre)
Carol Danvers woke up from House Of M remembering how her life could have been. So the former Avenger who’s gone by Ms Marvel, Captain Marvel, Binary, and Warbird, returns to her Ms. roots to fight crime. Doctor Strange and The Fantastic Four are on hand for a few of her exploits before Captain America shows up with an offer.
Ms. Marvel. 1 episode
Serial 7: Civil War, Amazing Spider-Man Civil War, Peter Parker Spider-Man Civil War, Young Avengers Civil War, New Avengers Civil War
(written by Mark Millar, J Michael Straczynski, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and Zeb Wells, art by Steve McNiven, Ron Garney, Angel Medina, Clayton Crain, Sean Chen, and Stefano Casselli)
After a group of reality TV superheroes called The New Warriors are involved in a massacre that wipes out an elementary school, The Government finally decides to push for a Superhuman Registration Act. Tony Stark leads the movement to get all superheroes to unmask for the government, including Spider-Man (and, oh that does not go well for him). Meanwhile, Captain America runs an underground group of superheroes who don’t want to register. A few deaths, and some personal conflicts surface that aren’t going to disappear for a while.
Civil War. 5 episodes
Season 3 is 20 episodes
Interseason Special: Planet Hulk
(written by Greg Pak, art by Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti)
Remember how, in episode 13, The Illuminati thought it would be a good idea to fling The Hulk into space and let God or Science or whatever sort him out? Wellllll, he went a little off course and is now a gladiator on an unfamiliar planet. He has one thing on his mind, though, escaping, and getting back to Earth.