The Noughties was a defining time in Marvel history, as mutants were decimated, the heroes split in two and marriages left in tatters. It was also the time when comics became almost cinematic in their scale and direction, focussing on the grand and the intimate. In an age where heroes and villains get transformed on the big screen, it’s the perfect time to explore their roots.
Comics don’t get better than this.
The Ultimates #01-13.
A modern reimagining of Marvel’s Avengers, The Ultimates pairs Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man, the Wasp, Hawkeye and the Black Widow together as they face a rampaging Hulk, and an alien invasion. Writer, Mark Millar, gives each character an intriguing back story – Captain America is an old soldier, trying to deal with the modern world, while the Wasp must face up to an abusive husband – and Bryan Hitch’s art gives the tale an epic, widescreen quality. The Ultimates show us that, when all hope is lost, heroic individuals will always save the day.
READ THIS BECAUSE: The Avengers get the ‘Ultimate’ treatment in a globe-spanning smackdown.
House of M
House of M #01-08, plus various tie-ins.
In the crossover that set the trend for the next five years, Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel introduced a world of startling contrasts to the Marvel universe. The reality-shaping Scarlet Witch suffers a breakdown, and the world shifts to a Utopian nightmare. What appears to be a simple ‘what if?’ story changes the Marvel universe forever, with just three simple words: “No More Mutants.”
READ THIS BECAUSE: Coipel’s art has such amazing style and direction in this movie-like epic.
Wolverine: Enemy of the State/ Agent of SHIELD
The Marvel Universe is in grave danger as Wolverine is killed, resurrected, and converted by the evil Hand. A tactical genius with the ability to heal from almost any wound, Wolverine will stop at nothing to murder the super power community. Mark Millar presents a rollercoaster ride of heightened emotions, suspense and shocking deaths, with stunning visuals by John Romita Jr.
READ THIS BECAUSE: It’s Wolverine versus Elektra, and an X-Man gets killed.
The Immortal Iron Fist: The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven
The Immortal Iron Fist #08-14.
Daniel Rand – Iron Fist – is sent back to the mythical city of Kun’ Lun, forced into battle by the city that trained him, far away from his own private hell on Earth. Ed Brubaker introduces an array of immortal warriors, as the Iron Fist falls, and is left helpless, watching his life fall apart. David Aja, and colourist, Matt Hollingsworth, work in perfect harmony to create a moody, noir-esque tale of adversity.
READ THIS BECAUSE: Iron Fist is defeated.
Captain America: The Death of Captain America
Captain America #25-42.
In the story that hit news headlines across the world, Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting assassinate Steve Rogers, the one and only Captain America, and show the legacy of his heroic acts. All who knew him – especially his lover, Sharon Carter, and his old sidekick, Bucky Barnes – must face terrible trials to save the world when the one man who could is dead.
READ THIS BECAUSE: The dream is dead.
Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable
Astonishing X-men #19-24 and Giant-Size #01.
In the grand finale of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s epic tale, the X-Men must save Earth from the Breakworld, with a possible traitor in their midst. The X-Universe changes forever, as the X-Men lose one of their own. Whedon and Cassaday put the team through an emotional wringer, as they round off their astonishing run… with a single bullet.
READ THIS BECAUSE: Someone makes the most heart-breaking sacrifice.
Secret Invasion #01-08, plus various tie-ins.
The shape-shifting Skrulls have infiltrated the superhero community for years, and Brian Michael Bendis and Francis Leinil Yu pose the question, ‘who do you trust?’ Stark technology is infected with a virus, and the heroes are too late to stop a full-scale invasion. Suspicion is rife, as the battle rages across the world, from the Savage Land to Times Square in the unforgettable culmination of five years worth of storylines.
READ THIS BECAUSE: The Skrulls have a devastating Plan B.
The Amazing Spider-man: Coming Home
The Amazing Spider-man Vol. 2 #30-35.
J. Michael Straczynski takes over the title, as Spider-man faces death at the hands of the unbeatable Morlun. The only way to stop Morlun from burning New York to the ground is surrendering, but will Spidey make the ultimate sacrifice? John Romita Jr. showcases some of the best art in his entire career, while the story concludes with the most shocking cliffhanger in Spidey history!
READ THIS BECAUSE: Spidey faces an incredible, undefeatable foe.
Civil War #01-07, plus various tie-ins.
When a Superhuman Registration Act is passed, the superhuman community is split in two warring factions; those who register, led by Iron Man, and those who do not, led by Captain America. The crossover of the decade sees a major change in creative direction for the Marvel Universe, spearheaded by writer Mark Millar, and artist, Steve McNiven. Politics and powers collide in this definitive series, which starts with four young heroes looking for stardom, and ends in the most tragic event in Marvel history.
READ THIS BECAUSE: It’s the biggest crossover ever and the Marvel landscape is completely changed.
Daredevil vol.2 #32-37.
When Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev began their run on the title, they promised a massive shake- up in the Daredevil universe. This came in the form of a newspaper headline reading ‘MATT MURDOCK IS DAREDEVIL!’ From that point on, this revelation became the central theme throughout the title, and Matt Murdock was plunged into his worst nightmare. Award- winning and character-defining, Bendis’ and Maleev’s run has become one of the best in comic history, with sharp dialogue, tense cliffhangers – issue thirty- five’s is genius – superb characterisation, and beautiful, gritty art.
READ THIS BECAUSE: A hero’s world is torn apart.