The Avengers are the hottest property in comics due to the success of their movies. 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!
You might also like this list of Black Widow storylines.
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.
Created By: Mark Millar, Steve McNiven
Publisher: Marvel Comics
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.
Created By: Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, Neal Adams, John Buscema
Publisher: Marvel Comics
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.
Created By: Kurt Busiek, George Perez
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.
Created By: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Publisher: Marvel Comics