Marvel has become a pop culture juggernaut because of the movies, but comic book fans have always known how awesome Marvel can really be. Marvel has published many stories that can be considered the greatest of all time; incredible stories that changed the Marvel Universe forever, expanding characters and broadening horizons for those who read them. However, there are also a lot of wonderful stories that many readers have missed.
These stories are no less influential than the bigger ones, but whether it’s because they’re older or just plain less known to the average fan, many readers never gave them a chance, which is a tragedy.
ten Secret War changed the face of SHIELD for years
Secret war, from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Gabriele Dell’Otto, was a 2004-2005 miniseries that changed one of the biggest facets of the Marvel Universe: SHIELD Nick Fury recruited hero to invade Latveria and eliminate his new Prime Minister, Lucia von Bardas, in secret, who would explode in his face.
Told partly in a flashback and partly in the present tense, this book was one of the first rounds of Bendis’ long-term plans for the Marvel Universe, removing Nick Fury from the table and introducing Maria Hill as the newcomer. director of SHIELD. SHIELD has evolved a lot over the years, but this book was the start of a lot of change and it has been criminally put to sleep.
9 Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley’s Thunderbolts is a classic few young fans have read
It’s really hard to describe how great writer Kurt Busiek and artist Mark Bagley Love at first sight # 1 to reveal was to someone who was not there. The squad looked like just another generic superhero squad, but that final page revealing their true identities changed everything, making them one of the greatest villain squads of all time.
The rest of their journey through the book is more or less the same, as the Thunderbolts struggled with their new role, gained and lost limbs, and told some of the best superhero stories of the late 1990s. Busiek is one of Marvel’s unsung heroes of the 90s and Bagley is one of the greatest superhero artists of all time. Together they did something special.
8 Avengers: Ultron Unlimited is Ultron’s greatest story of all time
Speaking of Kurt Busiek, his late 90s Avengers running with George Pérez is an unsung gem, and one of his best stories is Ultron unlimited. Starring Ultron committing one of his most heinous acts – destroying the land of Slorenia in minutes – this is easily the greatest Ultron story of all time. Add to that one of the best Avengers roster of all time, plus Pérez’s amazing pencils, and it’s a remarkable story.
What makes him so influential is that he helped influence Avengers: Age of Ultron and this is probably the last Ultron story that anyone can agree is good. Sadly, it has been exhausted for over a decade and is as forgotten as the incredible race it came from.
7 Captain America: Operation Rebirth has been overshadowed by Heroes Reborn
The 90s weren’t a good time for Captain America. He didn’t fit the extreme aesthetic of the decade, and Marvel didn’t know what to do with him. With his book on his last legs, they ended up throwing him at writer Mark Waid and artist Ron Garney, who would come out. Captain America: Operation Rebirth– a homecoming story that pitted Cap against Red Skull with the Cosmic Cube in play.
Response to the book has been generally positive and readers have started to return, but Marvel then announced Heroes are reborn and Waid and Garney’s run ended prematurely. This story was an example of Captain America at his best and more people need to check it out.
6 Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee’s inhumans should have served as a model for the concept
Marvel historically botched the Inhumans, both in the comics and elsewhere, but the irony is that they had the perfect plan for them back in the 1998s. The Inhumans by writer Paul Jenkins and artist Jae Lee. Their story would focus on the characters and what motivated them, instead of trying to make them an X-Men imitation.
The book would give Jenkins and Lee a lot of exposure and get them more jobs at Marvel, but beyond that, it’s just a really good story of Inhumans, one that makes it easy to miss the concept. The fact that Marvel messed up everything about them when they had the answer right there proves that most of the people at Marvel never even read the story themselves.
5 Fantastic Four # 258 is the essential story of Doctor Doom
John Byrne’s writer / artist The Fantastic Four is possibly one of the greatest comics of all time, full of amazing stories that have been forgotten by time. However, one of the best occurs in Fantastic Four # 258, a one-issue story focusing on Doctor Doom. Calling this the best Doctor Doom story ever isn’t that much of a stretch, and it’s one of the first times Doom has had such a big spotlight.
The issue really got into his head and did a fantastic job of showing why Doom is one of Marvel’s greatest villains. Byrne’s run is a treasure overall, but this number is one of his brightest moments.
4 Doctor Strange: Triumph And Torment Is Well Known But Not Well Read
For someone who is a part of the Marvel Universe, Doctor Strange doesn’t have a lot of landmark stories. However, there is one that everyone is familiar with but is not as well read as it should be: writer Roger Stern and artist Mike Mignola. Doctor Strange: Triumph and Torment, who teamed up with Doctors Strange and Doom against Mephisto.
This story showcased both Doom’s magical power and his mother’s life story, two things that would become part of the character. Honestly, it’s more of a story for Doctor Doom than it is for Doctor Strange and it built a lot of stories for the Monarch of Latveria.
3 Wolverine # 48-50 added more wrinkles to Wolverine’s time with Weapon X
Weapon X has always been a big part of Wolverine’s life. The sinister agency gave him his adamantium skeleton and turned it into a weapon, some of Wolverine’s best stories being about it. Writer Larry Hama and artist Marc Silvestri Wolverine # 48-50 focused on Wolverine searching for more clues to his past and learning even more about the group.
This three-issue story would add even more wrinkles to Wolverine’s origin, deepening his memory implants and how far Weapon X has gone to control and manipulate him. It’s also just a great Wolverine story from two of the best creators to ever work on the character.
2 The Sentry introduced one of the most important Marvel characters of the 21st century
The success of the years 1998 The Inhumans led writer Jenkins and artist Lee to shine again with the 2000s The Sentinel. Heralded as the return of a long-forgotten Stan Lee creation, The Sentinel featured a character who was ostensibly a Marvel version of Superman but would eventually become very different, ultimately becoming a big part of the Marvel Universe.
This inaugural tale did all of the heavy lifting, introducing the character’s lore and most of her life story, and was a turn-of-the-century Marvel classic.
1 Avengers Forever has cleaned up piles of complicated Avengers continuity and is one of the best Avengers stories of all time
Avengers forever, by writers Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern and artist Carlos Pacheco, is not an easy read, but a must see for any fan of the team. Starring a team of Avengers from the past, present and future and pitting them against the machinations of Immortus and Timekeepers, the name of the game with this story untangles the continuity of the Avengers while telling a great story – and it does. both perfectly.
Avengers forever may be a handful, but it’s so rewarding, drawing readers straight in and never letting them down. It might seem intimidating at first, but it does a great job of explaining and setting up and is filled with amazing characterizations as well as murderous art.
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