The Ultimate Avengers Guide

By Gwen Glazer, Librarian
April 24, 2018

Who's ready for Avengers: Infinity War? The movie hits theaters Friday, so we have some timeless recommendations for comic books that scratch that superhero itch. 


Image via giphy.

We asked five of our NYPL book experts—Crystal Chen, Antonio Cuneo, Joe Pascullo, Ben Sapadin, and Susen Shi, who also happen to be our resident Avengers experts—to weigh in on the franchise. They came up with suggestions for every level of fan: where to start, the classics, the best of the newest stories, character-specific recommendations, and much more.

For more superhero magic, check out our posts on Black Panther, Wonder Woman, and more about comics in general.

If you’ve never read the comics 

all new avengers

All-New, All-Different Avengers, vol. 1: The Magnificent Seven by Mark Waid

A powerhouse team complete with original and new Avengers coming together to (once again) save the world. —Susen

avengers world

Avengers Vol. 1: Avengers World by Jonathan Hickman, art by Jerome Opeña and Adam Kubert
Read one of the most inventive, smart, and universe-expanding Avengers, run by one of the best writers working in comics today. This installment starts off going in many different directions, but the way it comes together at the end is just incredible and satisfying for a reader. —Antonio



Avengers: The Origin by Joe Casey, art by Phil Noto

Start with this re-imagined origin, introducing the original five Avengers and Loki, their greatest enemy. —Ben


The Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction

Four words: Lucky the Pizza Dog. —Crystal 


ms marvel

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Back in 2014, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel became a hot new heroine for Marvel comics, and she hasn’t slowed down since. Read the Hugo Award-winning first story arc right here. —Joe





If you’re a fan of the classic Avengers

avengers four

The Avengers: Four by Mark Waid, art by Barry Kitson

Find out how the original Avengers of the 1960s became the classic team of the 1970s.

Plus: All-New, All-Different Avengers, vol 1: The Magnificent Seven by Mark Waid, art by Mahmud Asra and Adam Kubert — a 2015 series in which Iron Man recruits the new Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Nova, Thor, and Captain America to rebuild the Avengers team.

Avengers: Ultron Unbound by Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas & Bob Harras, art by Dave Ross & Manny Clark — an early Ultron story, starring the West Coast Avengers.


If you want the newest stories


The Avengers, vol. 1: Kang War One by Mark Waid, art by Mike del Mundo

In 2017, the Avengers reunite again, but this time Spider-Man, Hercules, and the Wasp join the team.

Plus: Avengers: Time Runs Out, vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman, art by Stefano Caselli, Kev Walker, Valerio Schiti, Mike Deodato Jr. — the finale to Hickman’s epic Avengers story,  and the last to feature the original Avengers team members.   



If you’re a fan of spinoffs


Champions: Change the World by Mark Waid, art by Humberto Ramos

In this 2016 series, the teenage members of the Avengers create their own super group.

Plus: Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen, art by Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton — an early group of teen heroes led by America Chavez (a.k.a. Miss America) and Kate Bishop (a.k.a. Hawkeye), who both went on to star in their own comic series.  




If you want a huge superhero team-up


The Infinity series by Jonathan Hickman, art by Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena, and Dustin Weaver

Part of Hickman’s legacy! This series began Thanos’ Black Order — characters that will be featured as main characters in Infinity War.


  • Avengers vs. X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction, art by John Romita Jr., Oliver Copiel, and Adam Kubert
  • Civil War by Mark Millar, art by Steve McNiven
  • House of M by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Oliver Copiel 
  • Original Sin by Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, and Mark Waid, art by Mike Deodato, Javier Pulido, and Jim Cheung
  • Secret Invasion by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Lenil Francis Yu 
  • Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman, art by Esad Ribic
  • World War Hulk by Greg Pak, art by John Romita Jr.

If you want to read the book before the movie


The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin, art by George Perez and Ron Lim

Check out the book that started it all. This classic crossover series features all your favorite Marvel characters battling Thanos, the villain of the upcoming Infinity War movie. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance.  

Plus: The Infinity War by Jim Starlin, art by Ron Lim  



If you want to read more about your favorite character


Hawkeye: Kate Bishop by Kelly Thompson, art by Leonardo Romero and Michael Walsh

Kate Bishop teams up with Jessica Jones in this smart and funny Hawkeye relaunch. Straight-talking, sharpshooting Kate is tired of saving Clint Barton from himself. Now in Los Angeles, she's tackling mysterious new cases as a private eye, and she’s determined to make her way in the world armed with nothing but her bow and her fearless, go-getter attitude.


If you’re interested in a discussion of race, politics, and the superhero big picture


The Vision, vols. 1-2 by Tom King, art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Dive deep into what it means to be human.

Plus: Avengers Assemble!: Critical Perspectives on the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Terence McSweeney

Sam Wilson, Captain America by Nick Spencer, art by Daniel Acuna



If you want some manga readalikes


One-Punch Man by ONE, art by Yusuke Murata

Ever wanted to see what happened when an ordinary man decides to become a superhero? Welcome to the world of One Punch Man! It’s a world where awful monsters are lurking behind every corner, and a seemingly ordinary man named Saitama is really the strongest superhero of all time! Will any villain ever get on his level?

Plus: My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi

Meet Izuku Midoriya, a boy who lives in a world where superheroes are everywhere! Unfortunately, Izuku has no powers of his own, despite yearning to become a hero himself. When he impresses a superhero named All Might by saving one of his classmates from a supervillain, All Might decides to share some of his superpowers with Izuku, and agrees to take him on as his pupil.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi

Arguably anime/manga’s most recognizable superhero! Read all about the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, a procrastinating, whiny teenager in Tokyo, Japan. When she first discovers the mysterious talking cat, Luna, she is soon after given a magical brooch, and the ability to turn into the superhero Sailor Moon! Follow her on her magical adventure to keep the solar system safe!

Tokyo Mew Mew Omnibus, vol. 1 by Reiko Yoshida

In Tokyo Mew Mew, five girls have their DNA infused with the DNA of animals that are nearing extinction. They’ve been selected to be part of a top secret project, the “Mew Project”. Their task? To protect the world from aliens who are intending to destroy humanity by using these extinction-nearing animals!  

If you want some anime watchalikes


Sailor Moon Season 1, Part 1

The classic, hit anime that got many an anime fan into the fandom! Start from the very start with the first 23 episodes of Sailor Moon’s debut season!


Gatchaman Crowds Insight: Complete Collection

Sequel to Gatchaman Crowds! The city of Tachikawa, Japan is protected by warriors called Gatchaman, who wear special reinforced suits, operational thanks to the spiritual powers manifested from living beings.

Tiger & Bunny: Set 1

Check out the first half of Tiger & Bunny’s first season right here! In this unique universe, heroes are glad to fight crime for you, but they also do it in order to wear sponsor logos, and rake in what’s called “hero points”. When the veteran Wild Tiger is forced by his employer to work side-by-side with the young rookie hero Bunny, the two have to learn how to work together for the sake of the universe!


Thanks again to our Avengers experts for contributing their ideas! Which are your favorite comics? Let us know in the comments.

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you'd recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!