The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked

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The Avengers are the hottest property in comics due to the success of their movies. With the release of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron coming up, it's a good time to devour the best Avengers stories that comic books have to offer. 

For the Avengers to be brought together, it takes a threat too big for any one hero to handle, which is why so many of their story arcs achieve an epic scale. 
Nevertheless, some of the best Avengers story lines are those that focus on the individuals and their relationships. The infighting among Avengers is often more dramatic than their battles with malevolent gods, cosmic space lords, or robots gone awry.

Unlike other superhero teams, most of the founding Avengers existed as separate characters before joining. For example, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor have their own titles, stories from which are not included in this list. Only team-based story arcs were considered. 

Whether you're looking for a place to get started in Avengers comic lore, are making sure you haven't missed out on anything, or are an Avengers aficionado who just wants to reminisce, please enjoy this list of the best Avengers comic book story lines of all time!
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  1. 1
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    Civil War is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Found In: Civil War #1-7

    Even though they have a vast and colorful lineup of enemies, Avengers story lines are at their best when the Avengers fight each other. Civil War offers one of the best excuses for heroes to turn on heroes when the US government enacts a law requiring anyone with super-powers to register and reveal their real names. 

    It is an echoing of the "mutant registration act" storyline from X-Men blown up to universal proportions. With Iron Man enforcing the law and Captain America uncharacteristically defying it, Spider-Man gets caught in the middle and coerced into giving up his secret identity. By the time the hostilities cease, the hero community is split, trust is broken, villains have partially filled the hero void, and Captain America is assassinated. Even though we're talking comic books, he actually stayed dead for nearly two and a half years, and the emotional wounds between Avengers still exist today.
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    • Created By: Mark Millar, Steve McNiven
    • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  2. 2
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    The Kree/Skrull War

    The Kree/Skrull War is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Found In: Avengers Vol 1. #89-97

    The Kree hate the Skrull, and the Skrull hate the Kree, and for some reason, they can't fight it out without eventually endangering Earth. That's where the Avengers get involved, and once they do, "The Kree/Skrull War" has a lot to chew on.

    It has the genesis of the long-running romantic subplot between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch. It has a race of shape-shifting aliens and a race of militaristic superman who follow orders from a floating head. It features practically every Avengers character who was popular in 1973 drawn by Neal Adams at his best. It also cemented space operas and blockbuster events as having earned their places in the Avengers cannon.
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    • Created By: Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, Neal Adams, John Buscema
    • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  3. 3
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    Captain America Joins... The Avengers!

    Captain America Joins... The A... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Found In: Avengers Vol. 1 #4

    "The First Avenger" was out of circulation for nearly 10 years before Stan Lee saw fit to bring him back and explain his absence with a resurrection retcon. The tale of Bucky's demise and Captain America falling into the Arctic ocean (and a state of cryogenic hibernation) is told for the first time in this issue.

    Namor serves as the bad guy in this 4-color romp, and when his famous temper gets the best of him, he throws Captain America's ice block tomb into the ocean where it finally melts. The Avengers scoop Cap out of the drink, and he aids them in defeating Namor and ridding the world of a seemingly confused alien threat. 

    The story of Cap's disappearance has been done more smoothly and more dramatically in later comics and even film, but without this issue, he could've faded into history like so many of his wartime counterparts.
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    • Created By: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
    • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  4. 4
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    Avengers #1

    Avengers #1 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Appears In: Avengers Vol. 1 #1

    The first issue of Avengers came about because Daredevil #1 was running late and, to fill a spot on the schedule, Stan Lee suggested combining existing heroes into a team. If only every scheduling snafu could turn out to be so profitable...

    The story isn't the sharpest; Loki uses illusions to draw Iron Man, Wasp and Ant-Man into a battle with the Hulk as a means to distract and attack Thor. Thor clarifies the situation and defeats Loki, but that's not what is important about Avengers #1.

    This issue laid the groundwork for every Marvel team-up and crossover event that would follow, was developed into a billion dollar movie franchise, and reinvigorated the career of the Hulk, whose solo title, believe it or not, was cancelled at the time. Three issues later, Avengers would do the same for Captain America.
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    • Created By: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
    • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  5. 5
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    Under Seige

    Under Seige is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Found In: Avengers Vol 1. #273-277

    Despite not featuring the most traditional squad of Avengers, "Under Seige" has a lot going for it. The interpersonal drama (particularly Hercules and Black Knight's sexism towards Wasp's leadership) is in high gear, the villain, Baron Zemo, has a credible and sadistic plan to occupy Avengers Mansion, and by the time the battle is over, the Avengers have lost more than they won. There's also a ton of punching.

    From the heartbreaking manipulation of the feeble-minded Blackout to the battered body of their beloved butler to Jarvis, to the God, Hercules, being bludgeoned into a coma, to Captain America shedding tears over the torn shreds of his only picture of his mother, the final issue is a gut-wrenching tale that reminds you that all the glorious violence of the comic book world should leave real scars on its characters.
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    • Created By: Roger Stern, John Buscema
    • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  6. 6
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    Ultron Unlimited

    Ultron Unlimited is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Found In: Avengers Vol 3. #19-22

    Even though it's a series of action pieces culminating in a deus ex machina to take down a villain bent on his preferred brand of world domination, Ultron Unlimited offers a pair of unforgettable moments.

    The first comes early on after Ultron has defeated and slaughtered the fictional nation of Slorenia in under three hours. To announce his intention to erase organic life and replace it with robots made in his image, he screams directly up at the reader while standing on a pile of Slorenian corpses stacked up as far as the eye can see. It's actually kind of scary.

    We later learn that he really wants is to build a robotic master race that will still have unique personalities and treat him as a familial monarch. It's actually kind of sad.

    The second iconic moment happens when a captured Giant Man, (aka Hank Pym) admits that Ultron's original brain waves were based off his own. That means that Ultron's rages, insanity, and longings have really been Hank's all along. That actually makes it kind of double sad.
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    • Created By: Kurt Busiek, George Perez
    • Publisher: Marvel
  7. 7
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    Breakout

    Breakout is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Found In: New Avengers #1-6

    Along with The Ultimates, the launch of New Avengers was largely responsible for the Avengers current rise to popularity. After disbanding the Avengers, writer Brian Michael Bendis put Captain America in charge of a new team and integrated popular characters like Spider-Man and Wolverine who hadn't previous been a part of the Avengers. He also brought in street-level characters like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage to give the New Avengers a diverse range of powers and personalities.

    Their first story line saw the team trying to contend with a breakout at Ryker's Island Prison that introduces The Sentry, a schizophrenic superman with the power of a thousand exploding suns and an alter ego, called The Void, that wants to consume the world in darkness. He would eventually become a new member and serve aside Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Iron Fist, and a whole host of new additions.
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    • Created By: Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch
    • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  8. 8
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    The Korvac Saga

    The Korvac Saga is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avengers Comic Storylines, Ranked
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    Story Found In: Avengers Vol. 1 #167-168, 170-177

    "The Korvac Saga" is the thinking man's Avengers tale and a weighty philosophical tragedy. Michael Korvac is a computer programmer from the distant future who becomes a cybernetic villain obsessed with assimilating data and power.

    When he accidentally siphons some of the Power Cosmic from Galactus, the expanded awareness that comes with cosmic omnipotence softens his attitude. He becomes a bit of a pacifist, falls in love with an immortal cosmic energy being named Carina, and they hide out as a regular middle-class suburbanites in 1970's New York.

    Despite his settling down, the Guardians of the Galaxy continue to search for Korvac, and they enlist the Avengers to help. When they discover him, a fight breaks out in which Korvac injures and kills most of the Avengers. As Carina's faith in him falters, he commits suicide which resurrects the fallen Avengers, and she lets herself be killed by Thor's hammer to join him.

    It's made all the more tragic when Moondragon reveals that she had read their minds and found that the cosmic couple meant no harm and only wanted to continue their peaceful domestic existence.
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    • Created By: Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, George PĂ©rez, David Wenzel
    • Publisher: Marvel Comics
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