So you may have heard of a certain high-profile superhero movie, out earlier this year. It was called The Avengers. I intended to do a list of book suggestions shortly after I saw it, but what with one thing and another, I never did.
Better late than never, I give you our ideas...
Many people thought Black Widow and Agent Coulson were the stars of the film. Coulson was invented for the film, but has since appeared in a few monthly comics. I don’t yet have any trades to recommend for him I’m afraid.
I am reliably informed that Black Widow has a few stand-out trades. Recommendations from friends are for these books:
Black Widow: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider. While not being an Avengers books per se, this shows how relentless she is and extends her relationship with Fury, as well as looking into her past.
I have also been recommended Richard Morgan’s Black Widow books Homecoming and The Things They Say About Her. To give you due warning, the covers for these are hideous. Truly bad. On the plus side the art inside is done by Bill Sienkiewicz, so if you can get past the occasional terrible layout (like on the The Things They Say About Her cover), you shouldn't be too offended.
While looking up these books on Amazon, I found a Paul Cornell written Black Widow trade, called Deadly Origin. Cornell is always good (check out other books of his we've reviewed here) so I feel comfortable recommending that too. Although it is disheartening to see another terrible cover. Not all American comics are this sexist, I promise. The art inside should be better.
Lastly, the always excellent DC Women Kicking Ass tumblr recommends these Black Widow books.
Black Widow and the Marvel Girls (for all ages)
Black Widow: The Name of the Rose (for age 13 and up)
For Iron Man, try Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man run. It looks like there are 8 trades out so far, Amazon lists them all here.
For Hawkeye, try Hawkeye and Mockingbird – Ghost. This book also features Black Widow.
For Captain America, try Winter Soldier. Twitter friend @ragnell had this to say about the book:
"It was my intro to Cap (I always read X-men before) and I was just hooked. I swear, if I had seen this plot summarized and not read it as it unfolded I'd have passed, but it worked!"
Another twitter friend, @dranj70 said this:
"A very solid story with super-heroics, politics, and pathos."
For Thor, check out this review we did of Michael J Straczynski’s Thor. You can also buy the sequels, volume 2 and volume 3.
Also try Avengers Disassembled: Thor, the prequel to the book we reviewed. This tells of how Ragnarok comes to the Norse Gods, and how Thor has to save his skin. Handily enough for fans of the recent Marvel films, Iron Man and Captain America are also in it.
For Hulk books, many people recommend the Planet Hulk storyline, which also serves as a good introduction to Marvels' cosmic setting. If you like that one, follow it up with World War Hulk, then the Red Hulk books.
If you like the Avengers' movie Hulk, do not try the Ultimates story line. Hulk gets turned into a rapist monster. It is not good (although other aspects of the books are better, like Samuel L Jackson inspired Nick Fury).
As for where else to find Nick Fury, apart from in the above mentioned Ultimates line, you can find a white Nick Fury in Marvel's main universe books, such as Secret War, followed by Secret Warriors. These two also tie into Secret Invasion, which I believe is the central storyline. To be fair, Fury is such a central character in the Marvel mythos, he crops up everywhere.
Thanks to the following twitter friends for their help and advice :)