With comic book movies being churned out left and right, it’s probably a good idea to start reading some comics. The best stories will likely make you reevaluate the movies, and possibly hate them, but reading is good for you so just do it, alright?
With that said, these are 5 arcs (storylines) that we suggest you read.
Wolverine: Weapon X
Wolverine is one of the greatest comic book characters of all time, and there’s no debating that one. Comic book readers, and anyone who saw the recent X-Men movies, know a little bit about his background, but you won’t grasp the true depth of his character unless you’ve read the Weapon X saga. It’s in these volumes that you see the full extent to which Logan was downright tortured and striped of his humanity as
The extremely dark series is unnerving, raw and a painful reminder that Wolverine is probably the most tortured soul out there. Remember, he does feel pain. His healing factor means he’ll fully recovery physically from just about everything, but the mental trauma is still very much there. And he’s been around since the late 1800s, although he doesn’t remember it all, so he’s had multiple lifetimes worth of pain and suffering. Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X immediately destroys the myth of one-dimensional superheroes in tights in the most haunting way possible.
Bane isn’t the incomprehensible, Sean Connery-sounding guardian of Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, Thalia, like he was in The Dark Knight Rises. In fact, he’s way more sinister than the character Tom Hardy played. He’s an evil mastermind forged from the pit of Peña Dura in Santa Prisca. It’s in the some 1800 pages of Knightfall that we learn how Bane came to be, and how he came to break the Bat.
This series shows Batman as fatigued as you’ll ever see him, which ultimately leads to his back and his mind being broken. It’s the only time you’ll see Batman so utterly defeated and seemingly weak. During his recovery, Jean Paul Valley (Azrael) takes up the mantle of the Bat and crushes Bane, but loses his sanity along the way. When Bruce returns to fitness, he has to reclaim the mantle from the usurper and clear the Batman’s name. Unfortunately, the filler (the entire second volume) with Jean Paul is really not the best, but everything leading up to his reign, and what comes after, is utterly phenomenal.
What happens when the mightiest heroes in the universe are defeated? You call upon Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer, that’s what. The Marvel films Infinity War Pt I and Pt II will be coming out in 2018 and 2019 respectively, so that gives you plenty of time to read up on the infinity gems and Thanos, who was influenced by DC’s Darkseid. It’s in this story that the evil Thanos acquires all of the infinity gems, therefore holding mastery over the six aspects of the multiverse: Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power.
Now all powerful, he tries to win the heart of Death herself, but finds her to be cold. Shocker. So he goes and wipes out half of the universe with a snap of his fingers and eventually winds up fighting the cosmic entities of the universe. It’s a thrilling tale of power, corruption, blind love and cunning. It also showcases the immense threat that even the mightiest superheroes can’t defeat on their own. And, if you didn’t know before reading this, you also learn an interesting tidbit about Thanos and a peculiar weakness of his.
Fantastic Four: Galactus Trilogy
Film hasn’t done the Fantastic Four justice, but the comics sure have. The Galactus Trilogy was one of Marvel’s first blockbuster arcs, and introduced a character you might have heard of; the Silver Surfer. It’s also one of the only times that The Watcher intervenes in the affairs of the universe, as he attempts to shield Earth from the view of the Surfer so that Galactus won’t come and devour the planet.
It’s in this series that the Surfer breaks his bond with Galactus and fights to spare Earth, which subsequently sees him stripped of his ability to roam the cosmos. It’s the first time that the Fantastic Four encounter the devourer of worlds and the first time that they face a foe so mighty. Read this one mainly for the introduction of the Surfer, who’s a brilliant character with abilities and a background unlike any other being.
Black Panther: The Client
Those of you who became familiar with Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War are, hopefully, pining for more of the Panther. He’s an extremely underrated character and when you’re created by Stan Lee and, originally, illustrated by Jack Kirby, there’s a solid chance that you’ll be quality. It’s also worth noting that his name predates the Black Panther party, just in case you were curious.
The Client includes Black Panther #1-5 from 1998, and is widely considered to be one of the character’s most important arcs. Major credit to Christopher Priest for expounding upon Lee and Kirby’s original ideas and the art my Mark Texeira is just phenomenal. It’s in this arc that you learn a great deal about the contemporary iteration of T’Challa, the religion of the Wakandans and the mythos of the Panther. Be warned, though. You must pay close attention to this series, as it can get a bit convoluted.
And there you have it. Those are just five of our favorite arcs, and there are, undoubtedly, plenty that we know you’d have rather seen on the list. Knightfall might have been a surprise inclusion to some, especially considering the vast amount of Batman arcs that are more iconic, but it’s one that gets passed up quite a lot.
With that said, which are some of your favorite arcs? Join in on the discussion via our social media platforms!