With the holiday season coming up, you might have a nerd in your life that you want to shop for, but don’t know what to get, because who knows which comics are “good” or not? We do! Take a look at the comics below, and if you recognize any characters you know they like, it will be a great comic book gift.
Check in soon for similar lists from DC Comics, or even Indie comics!
Civil War – Mark Millar
The landscape of the Marvel Universe is changing, and it’s time to choose: Whose side are you on? A conflict has been brewing from more than a year, threatening to pit friend against friend, brother against brother – and all it will take is a single misstep to cost thousands their lives and ignite the fuse.
Loosely influencing the film Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man and Captain America fight over superhero registration.
Planet Hulk – Greg Pak
A whole new world of hurt! Betrayed by Earth’s heroes and exiled into outer space, the man-monster Hulk has landed on the distant planet Sakaar, ruled by the tyrannical Red King. Sold into slavery, Hulk becomes the Green Scar, the planet’s mightiest gladiator – but his new masters get more than they bargained for when he forges a bond of brotherhood with his fellow fighters: crafty insectoid Miek, the horrific Brood, wise rock-man Korg, shadow warrior Hiroim, noble-born rebel Elloe and her loyal guardsman Skee. Together, these gladiators start a revolution that could change their entire world – or destroy it!
In Thor: Ragnarok the gladiator planet was based on this comic. Even Korg and Miek make an appearance.
Uncanny X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga – Chris Claremont
An epic tale of triumph and tragedy! When the Dark Phoenix rises, suns grow cold and universes die! Gathered by Charles Xavier, the X-Men have dedicated their wondrous abilities to protect mankind – even those who hate and fear them. one of their own, Jean Grey, has unwittingly attained power beyond conception – and been corrupted, absolutely. The X-Men must decide: Is the life of the woman they cherish worth the existence of an entire universe? This touching tale of ultimate power and the triumph of the human spirit has been a cornerstone of the X-Men mythos for over three decades.
Inspiration for the movies X-Men 3: The Last Stand and Dark Phoenix
Spider-Verse – Dan Slott
When the evil Inheritors begin exterminating spider-characters throughout the Multiverse, every single Spider-Man ever is needed to save the day! An interdimensional Spider-Army gathers to fight Morlun and his deadly family, but none of them is safe as the Prophecy comes to fruition! What will this brutal war for survival mean for Peter Parker and the rest of the spiders? Starring the Superior Spider-Man, the Ultimate Universe’s Miles Morales and Jessica Drew, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Woman, Silk, Kaine, Scarlet Spider, MC2’s Spider-Girl, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 1602, Spider-Ham, Spider-Monkey, Lady Spider, Spider-Punk, Spider-UK, a spider-powered Gwen Stacy…and hundreds more, from the beloved to the obscure!
The concepts presented here form the inspiration for the movie Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Siege – Brian Michael Bendis
Beginning with the ravaging effects of Avengers Disassembled and following the aftermath of House of M, Civil War and Secret Invasion, culminating with the evil Reign of Norman Osborn, the Marvel Universe has been left with its greatest villains holding more power and control than ever before. On the brink of madness, Osborn, in his final bid to take total control, targets the final obstacle in his mission…Asgard. Events are set in motion forcing our heroes to put aside the deep rifts that have grown over the past seven years. Opposing them stand a horde of evil that has begun to take down the gods of the Golden Realm! SIEGE will rock the foundations of every super hero, villain and team in the Marvel Universe. As an era ends, one word will ring above all others…”SIEGE.”
Wolverine: Old Man Logan – Mark Millar
A future world savaged and sundered by super villains, the United States ain’t what it used to be. In California, now a wasteland controlled by the evil Hulk Gang, the former Wolverine seeks to live in peace. He’s retired, finally free from the violence of his former existence as an X-Man, and he wants to keep it that way. If only they’d let him. Now, Logan and an aged, blind Hawkeye are forced into a cross-country jaunt through villain-ruled lands, on a collision course with the worst of them all! Can Old Man Logan maintain his pacifist vow, and make his last stand without doing what he does best? Mark Millar and Steve McNiven unite for a riotous romp through a future world of death, despair and dynamic action!
The comic that inspired the movie Logan.
The Unworthy Thor – Jason Aaron
Unfit to lift his hammer, with another now wielding the power of Thor, the Odinson’s desperate quest to regain his worthiness takes him out into the cosmos – where he’s learned of the existence of a mysterious other Mjolnir! This weapon of ultimate power, a relic from a dead universe, is the key to the Odinson’s redemption – but some of the greatest villains of the Marvel Universe are anxious to get their hands on it as well. And when the Realm of Old Asgard vanishes, the Odinson’s hopes might go with it – unless good tidings from Beta Ray Bill offer fresh hope! Can the Odinson reclaim his honor, or will the power of thunder be wielded for evil? Let the battle for the hammer commence!
In Avengers: Infinity War Thor gets the weapon Stormbreaker to replace Mjolnir, which was made in this comic.
Vision – Tom King
One of the most celebrated comic books of the century. . .Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? So he heads back to the beginning – to the laboratory where Ultron created him as a weapon. The place where he first rebelled against his given destiny and imagined that he could be more – that he could be a man. There, he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition – or is that obsession? – the unrelenting need to be ordinary. Behold the Visions! Theirs is a story of togetherness and tragedy – one that will send the Android Avenger into a devastating confrontation with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The upcoming Disney+ show WandaVision will take inspiration from this comic.
Civil War II – Brian Michael Bendis
When a new Inhuman emerges with the ability to profile the future, the Marvel Universe will be rocked to its core! While Captain Marvel harnesses Ulysses’ powers to prevent crime, Iron Man is violently opposed to the implications. As Tony Stark takes matters (and the law) into his own hands and declares war on the Inhumans, others are willing to fight — and even die — to stop him. And when one of the biggest heroes of all falls, the resulting trial of the century stokes the fire. Friendships crumble, teams are torn apart and the conflict goes galactic — but when the truth about Ulysses’ visions is revealed, all bets are off in one of the biggest battles in Marvel history!
The Infinity Gauntlet – Jim Starlin
The Mad Titan Thanos has seized control of the Infinity Gauntlet and with it near-omnipotent power! Who can stop this deadly new overlord? All of Marvel’s top heroes star in this epic of cosmic proportions!
Large inspiration for the Avengers: Infinity War
World War Hulk – Greg Pak
Hulk found peace on the planet Sakaar. But when the warp core of the ship that brought him there exploded, killing his family, Hulk vowed to destroy his betrayers – the heroes of Earth!
The sequel to Planet Hulk above.
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse – Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid
Charles Xavier is dead – killed in the past during a time-travel accident – and without his dream, the world has become a nightmare! Apocalypse rules with an iron fist, ruthlessly enforcing his “survival of the fittest” creed…but hidden among a downtrodden humankind are Magneto’s ragtag freedom fighters: the X-Men!
Inspiration for the movie X-Men: Apocalypse
Secret Invasion – Brian Michael Bendis
The shape-shifting alien race known as the Skrulls has secretly infiltrated every super-powered organization on Earth with one goal – full-scale invasion! Filled with shocking revelations and powerful action, this adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat as Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains ask – Who do you trust?
Remember in Captain Marvel all those green shape-shifters? They are the villains in this book!
Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe – Cullen Bunn
What if everything you thought was funny about Deadpool was actually just disturbing? What if he decided to kill everyone and everything that makes up the Marvel Universe? What if he actually pulled it off? Would that be FUN for you? The Merc with a Mouth takes a turn for the twisted in a horror comic like no other!
Did you love Deadpool? Here he is killing everyone!
Daredevil Born Again – Frank Miller
Matt Murdock’s personal life and career spiral out of control after the Kingpin learns his secret identity as Daredevil from a drug-addicted ex-lover and uses the information to destroy him.
If you were a fan of the Netflix Marvel Daredevil series, this is for season 3.
Spider-Man: Blue – Jeph Loeb
“It’s about remembering someone so important to me I was going to spend the rest of my life with her.” What Peter Parker didn’t know was that meant Gwen Stacy would only get to spend the rest of her life with him. This is the story of how they fell in love. Or more appropriately, how they almost didn’t fall in love. Welcome to Spider-Man’s life. Bad before good. It’s kind of amazing. So to get the girl of his dreams, he’ll have to run the gauntlet of the Green Goblin, the Rhino, two Vultures and a mysterious man in the shadows controlling it all. Join the Eisner Award-winning team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale in the story about Peter Parker’s first love, Gwen Stacy. Highlighted by the introduction of Mary Jane Watson, it is a critical moment in Spider-Man’s life when everything was just coming together – only to fall apart.
These Color-Named issues are retellings of origin stories.
Secret Wars – Jim Shooter
Drawn from Earth across the stars, the Marvel Universe’s greatest villains and heroes are set against one another by the mysterious and unbelievably powerful Beyonder, with the winner promised the ultimate prize. But as battle lines are drawn, new alliances forged and old enemies clash, one among them is not willing to settle for anything less than godhood. Can even the combined might of the Avengers, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men prevent Dr. Doom from becoming the most powerful being in the universe?
Death Of Captain America – Ed Brubaker
Steve Rogers is dead! Long live Captain America! He was a hero to millions, an inspiration to America’s armed services and the representative of his nation’s greatest ideals. He lived for his country – and now, he has given his last final measure for the nation he loved. In the aftermath of the superhuman Civil War, Captain America was shot down in cold blood. In the aftermath of his death, Cap’s longtime partner the Falcon makes revenge his first order of business. Sharon Carter finds herself spiraling out of control, a captive of the Red Skull’s minions. And Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier, must reconcile his own sordid past with the calling to become…the new Captain America!
Sequel to the Civil War book above.
Annihilation – Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, & Javier Grillo-Marxuach
The explosive outer-space epic that revitalized Marvel’s cosmos! Drax the Destroyer gets a new look, a fresh purpose – and a surprising friend. But when Annihilus, lord of the Negative Zone, unleashes his monstrous Annihilation Wave on our universe, the galaxy’s greatest heroes – and some you might call villains – must brace for war! Annihilus’ opening salvo devastates the Nova Corps, and Richard Rider’s life is changed forever! Can he carry the Corps’ powerful Worldmind alone without going mad? Silver Surfer unites with his fellow heralds to protect Galactus, but what dark bargain must he strike? And a personal mission takes Super-Skrull to the Negative Zone – where he faces betrayal! Plus: Quasar takes on Annihilus, and only one will survive!
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Chris Claremont
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Relive the legendary first journey into the dystopian future of 2013 – where Sentinels stalk the Earth, and the X-Men are humanity’s only hope…until they die! Also featuring the first appearance of Alpha Flight, the return of the Wendigo, the history of the X-Men from Cyclops himself…and a demon for Christmas!?
The inspiration for the movie X-Men: Days of Future Past
Age of Ultron – Brian Michael Bendis
Humanity’s time is over. Submit or perish, because the Age of Ultron has arrived! The artificial intelligence known as Ultron has fought for years to eradicate mankind…and now, it has all but succeeded. The few remaining heroes are battered, broken, almost beaten and left considering desperate measures – some more desperate than others. But when Wolverine breaks ranks and pursues his own plan to defeat Ultron, will his drastic action cause more problems than it solves? Brian Michael Bendis presents the ultimate triumph of the Avengers’ greatest villain in an epic that will shake worlds!
Inspiration for the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron
Daredevil: Yellow – Jeph Loeb
In this retelling of the early career of The Man Without Fear, the Eisner Award-winning team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have taken an inspiring action adventure story and blended it with a romantic comedy. The result is the heartwarming and heartbreaking story of two young people in love–Matthew Murdock and Karen Page.
Re-telling of the Daredevil origin story.
House of M – Brian Michael Bendis
The Scarlet Witch is out of control, and the fate of the entire world is in her hands. Will Magneto help his daughter or use her powers to his own benefit? Starring the Astonishing X-Men and the New Avengers!
Spider-Man: Death of the Stacys – Stan Lee
The deaths that still shape the Spider-verse! During the early 1970s, a pair of plotlines changed comic-book mortality forever. Shock followed shock when Spider-Man lost a friend, a lover and an enemy in a dynamic drama that stunned readers as no comic deaths had before and few have since!
If you liked The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Andrew Garfield, this is when Gwen Stacy dies.
Marvels – Kurt Busiek
Within the Marvel Universe, heroes soar high in the skies, ready to battle the villains who threaten their world. Yet living in the shadow of these extraordinary icons are ordinary men and women who view the “MARVELS” with a mixture of fear, disbelief, envy and admiration. Among them is Phil Sheldon, a New York City photojournalist who has dedicated his career to covering the exploits of the Marvels and their effect on humankind. Written by Kurt Busiek and masterfully illustrated by Alex Ross, Marvels presents a richly painted historical overview of the entire Marvel Universe, spanning from the 1939 debut of the Human Torch to the fearsome coming of the world-devouring Galactus — and culminating in the shocking death of Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man’s first love.
Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt – JM Dematteis
One of Spider-Man’s greatest stories, in one truly deluxe package, as J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck craft the ultimate tale of revenge! Kraven the Hunter has stalked and killed every animal known to man. But there is one beast that has eluded him. One quarry that has mocked him at every turn: the wall-crawling web-slinger known as Spider-Man. In his last hunt, Kraven will prove he is the Spider’s master – by defeating him, burying him…and becoming him! Plus: DeMatteis and Zeck’s soul-searching sequel! Kraven’s dazzling debut! And much more!
Common fan theory for the next Tom Holland Spider-Man movie might feature Kraven as the villain, as Peter Parker is all alone in Spider-Man: Home Alone.
Captain America: White – Jeph Loeb
Journey back to the Big One as Captain America recalls one of his most incredible missions. It’s 1941, and the Howling Commandos are enjoying a respite from the ordeal of World War II – until Cap and his faithful partner, Bucky, lead them into the hands of the enemy! As the Nazis unleash their latest deadly soldiers, an old ally lends a hand – but an even older enemy will threaten America’s greatest hero like never before. Will the Sentinel of Liberty gain his freedom in time to rescue Paris from the clutches of a monster? The Eisner Award-winning creative team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. . .reunites to deliver another colorful exploration of the early days of a Marvel icon!
Retelling of Captain America’s origin story.
Secret War – Brian Michael Bendis
When Nick Fury finds a disturbing connection between many of Marvel’s deadliest villains, he puts together a ragtag team of the MU’s most misunderstood heroes for a secret mission to do what the US government could never allow, eventually leading to a super-powered blowout between a who’s who of NYC heroes and mutants.
Hulk: Gray – Jeph Loeb
Examine in new detail the earliest days of the Incredible Hulk. As Dr. Bruce Banner makes his first transformations into his brutish alter ego, relationships that will influence his life and the life of the Hulk are forged — and destroyed!
Retelling of Hulk’s origin story.
Infinity – Jonathan Hickman
To save the world from ever-greater dangers, the Avengers got bigger. Yet when the oldest race in the universe marks Earth for destruction, it’s time for Captain America to think grander still. As the most powerful Avengers team ever assembled heads into space to join an intergalactic alliance against the ancient Builders, an old enemy deems their home unprotected. Thanos, the Mad Titan, unleashes his forces on Earth in the latest chapter of his endless quest for death. But even a world without Avengers has its defenders. Among them, the secret cabal of history-shapers known as the Illuminati – a group riven with internal conflict already confronting another planet-ending crisis. As Earth’s Mightiest Heroes wage war on multiple fronts, their battle for Infinity threatens to descend into Inhumanity.