Event comics are an important part of the Big Two’s publishing schedule, but Marvel has taken them to the next level in many ways. The first ever event comic was a Marvel comic – 1982’s Marvel Super Hero Contest Of Champions -. Since then, the publisher has found sometimes interesting, sometimes frustrating ways to use event comics. The ’80s and ’90s had their share of event comics, but they didn’t become massively important to the publishing output of the company until the 21st century. Marvel created its event cycle in the ’00s, with stories in flagship books leading up to big event comics that would change the status quo of the entire Marvel Universe.

There are a lot of Marvel events to choose from, but not all of them are a must-read. However, there are some that a new reader needs to check out. These events have had wide-ranging effects on the Marvel Universe, changing characters and teams. They’re also just great stories, showing readers how far the heroes will go to save the day from the most terrible threats of them all.

Secret Wars (1984) Is The First Modern Event


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arvel Super Hero Contest Of Champions is widely considered the first event comic, but today’s readers wouldn’t see it as such. While it did star most of Marvel’s most popular characters and introduced new superheroes from around the world, its effect was negligible at best. However, a few years later, Marvel would take the next step in event storytelling. Marvel had entered into a partnership with toy company Mattel to produce action figures based on Marvel heroes, and the company decided to create a twelve-issue crossover comic that would basically be advertising for the action figure line.

Secret Wars (1984), by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, John Beatty, Christie Scheele, and Joe Rosen, revolved around a group of Marvel’s greatest heroes – the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, and Spider-Man – and its most dangerous villains – Doctor Doom, Galactus, Doctor Octopus, Absorbing Man, Magneto (who would fight alongside the X-Men), Kang, Doctor Octopus, Enchantress, Lizard, Molecule Man, Ultron, Wrecker, Thunderball, Piledriver, and Bulldozer – brought together on a construct in space known as Battleworld. Their host was the mysterious One From Beyond, who would tell both sides that they were to fight for the ultimate prize.

Important Developments:

Secret Wars (1984) had effects on the Marvel Universe outside the event, starting a trend that would inform event books in the decades since The future Venom symbiote was introduced in the eighth issue The Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman debuted during Secret Wars (1984) The One From Beyond, later known as the Beyonder, would become an important of the cosmology of the Marvel Universe

This series had a little bit of everything. It introduced new characters, set up new relationships, and gave readers amazing battle scenes. A fight between Spider-Man and the entire X-Men team is worth the price of admission alone. It also shows just how dangerous Doom can be – as he can take the power of the Beyonder – and Hulk’s greatest feat of strength ever, as he lifted a mountain that weighed billions of tons. Secret Wars (1984) is a classic, and while most of what it set up isn’t extremely important to the current Marvel Universe besides the origin of the Venom symbiote, it’s still worth a read.

This is the first event that a new reader would recognize as such, showing the path Marvel would take with its events. The story had a lot of consequences for many Marvel books of the mid-’80s, which would inform how events would play out in the years to come. Plus, it has an amazing creative team. Shooter was Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief then and started writing comics at the ripe old age of thirteen. Zeck is widely considered the best Marvel penciler of the 1980s, while Beatty, Scheele, and Rosen are all legends in their respective fields. Secret Wars (1984)‘s effect on the Marvel Universe as a story for modern readers isn’t great, but it’s definitely worth checking out because of its status as the ur-event comic.

Infinity Gauntlet Is The Greatest Event Comic Of The 1990s


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The ’80s would produce a sequel to Secret Wars, Secret Wars II, but that book isn’t nearly as well regarded as its predecessor. It also didn’t sell, so Marvel shelved the concept of an event book for a time, instead focusing on summer crossovers, where readers would have to buy multiple books to get the full story, like Mutant Massacre and Inferno. It wouldn’t be until the ’90s that event books would come back and Marvel put out a book that would go down as the best event comic, from Marvel or DC, of the 1990s – Infinity Gauntlet. The book, by Jim Starlin, George Pérez, Ron Lim, Josef Rubenstein, Tom Christopher, Bruce N. Solotoff, Max Scheele, Ian Laughlin, and Jack Morelli, was Starlin’s big return to Marvel and he brought his greatest creation with him – Thanos.

The comic spun out of Thanos Quest, a book that saw the Mad Titan return from Death’s realm to defeat the Elders Of The Universe and take their Infinity Gems – what they were known as before the MCU changed their name to Infinity Stones and the comics followed suit. Infinity Gauntlet would open with the newly omnipotent Thanos preparing to do what he always promised Death he would do – destroy half the life in the universe. However, unlike the MCU’s adaptations of the story, that was only the beginning.

Important Developments:

Introduced the Infinity Gauntlet to the Marvel Universe, a weapon that would appear multiple times in the years to come Brought back Thanos, Adam Warlock, Gamora, Drax, and Pip The Troll to prominence Launched Adam Warlock And The Infinity Watch, an underrated piece of cosmic Marvel ephemera It was the first part of the Infinity Trilogy

Thanos’s return coincided with that of his greatest enemy and Starlin’s next best creation – Adam Warlock, along with Warlock’s allies Pip the Troll and Gamora – who mustered the remaining heroes of the Earth with the help of Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer in a battle against Thanos. They fail completely, which leads the cosmic beings of the Marvel Universe into battle, which leads to a massive reversal of fortunes and an epic ending.

Infinity Gauntlet shook the Marvel Universe, and while it also didn’t have a lot of effect on most of Marvel’s line beyond setting up the cosmic side of things to become more important, it’s still a monumental book. New readers will probably want to try it because of the MCU connection, but it’s an entirely different beast. Infinity Gauntlet led to the stellar Infinity War, which some would say is better than its predecessor albeit less important to Marvel history. they were followed by the disappointing Infinity Crusade, which created a story that would anchor the most successful Marvel venture ever. Not too shabby for a six-issue miniseries from 1991.

Avengers Disassembled Changed The Tenor Of The Marvel Universe


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Infinity Crusade‘s disappointing sales compared to its predecessors would see Marvel go back to the summer crossover well instead of event books in the 1990s, leading to stories like Onslaught, which crossed throughout the line. Marvel would try again with events with Maximum Security in the late ’90s, but that book barely moved the needle. In 2004, writer Brian Michael Bendis was tapped to write Secret War, a book that was the precursor for much of what he would do later. Still, its effects on the Marvel Universe weren’t wide-reaching beyond Nick Fury going into hiding and Maria Hill taking over S.H.I.E.L.D.. However, Bendis’s next big Marvel book would be much more important, and it’s perfect for new readers to check out.

Avengers Disassembled: Chaos ran through Avengers (Vol. 1) #500-503, by Bendis, David Finch, Danny Miki, Frank D’Armata, Richard Starkings, and Albert Deschesne, and would give readers the Avengers’ worst day. The slain Jack Of Hearts returned to Avengers Mansion and exploded, kicking off the first of many team-shattering casualties. The Avengers would start getting attacked from all sides, with a mysterious enemy pulling the strings from the shadows.

Important Developments:

Ended the Avengers and led to the formation of the New Avengers The changes the story made would have wide-ranging repercussions for Marvel’s publishing line throughout the ’00s Killed off several long-time members of the Avengers It was writer Brian Michael Bendis’s first major Avengers story that made him Marvel’s “head writer” of the ’00s

Avengers Disassembled isn’t technically an event comic – it’s a story told within the pages of Avengers – but it’s still extremely important to the development of the Marvel Universe in the 2000s. The event would send shockwaves through the Marvel Universe that would reach as far as the X-Men titles, and the end of the original lineage of the Avengers would lead to the most important Marvel ongoing series of the ’00s – New Avengers (Vol. 1), a book that would become integral to forthcoming event books.

Avengers Disassembled is perfect for new readers – it doesn’t demand much context for its events or a comprehensive knowledge of the Marvel Universe to work. However, the amount it does to change the tenor of the Marvel Universe makes it extremely important for new readers to check out.

House Of M Nuked The Mutant Corner Of The Marvel Universe


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Marvel’s event cycle would become the most important part of its publishing schedule in the ’00s and ’10s. An event book would come along that would spring massive changes in the Marvel Universe, which would lead to the next big event book. The first book of this cycle was House Of M, by Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, Tim Townsend, Frank D’Armata, and Chris Eliopolous. House Of M changed the Marvel Universe for nearly a decade, leading to multiple stories and events. The book’s premise is simple – the New Avengers and the Astonishing X-Men come together to discuss Scarlet Witch. This leads to events that bring the two teams to the wrecked nation of Genosha, where reality is completely changed in a flash of white light.

Wolverine wakes up in a new world where he’s an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. under Sebastian Shaw’s command- mutants are more powerful than humans, with Magneto ruling the Earth from Genosha but still remembering the old world. Wolverine springs into action to figure out what’s happening, meeting the young mutant Layla Miller, who also remembers the old world. The two quest to return the heroes’ memories and fix the world.

Important Developments:

Continued the story of Scarlet Witch began in Avengers Disassembled and began Marvel’s event cycle in earnest Resurrected Hawkeye and led to him becoming Ronin Depowered the vast majority of the mutant race, including multiple heroes and villains This led to Wolverine getting his memories back

The final battle ultimately reveals who was responsible for this new world. Scarlet Witch changes everything by uttering three simple words: “No more mutants.” The world goes back to normal, but the once-million-strong mutant race is reduced to under two hundred. House Of M was a massive shock to the Marvel Universe’s system.

This was the first event to have such massive changes and set a cycle in place that would define Marvel for the next decade. House Of M has its problems—Bendis’s style isn’t always conducive to what is meant to be a big, exciting event—but it does a great job of feeling important throughout its eight-issue run. The changes it wrought to the mutant side of Marvel informed years of stories, and it changed the balance of power in the Marvel Universe in a way that would last until 2019.

Civil War Changed The Way Being A Marvel Superhero Worked For Years To Come


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House Of M began the event cycle with a bang, but its repercussions were mostly limited to the X-Men and their books. The next event would have much wider-ranging consequences. Civil War, by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell, and Chris Eliopolous, was originally meant to be an event in the Ultimate Universe comics but it was changed to the 616 universe at some point. The story is simple – the New Warriors attack a group of villains, leading to a mass casualty event in Stamford, Connecticut. Protests force the US government to institute the Superhero Registration Act.

Two sides form – one side, led by Iron Man, Reed Richards, and Hank Pym, fights on the pre-registration side. The other side, led by Captain America, fights against the pro-registration forces. The book is full of amazing battles and developments that have changed how the heroes look at each other for years. When the dust settled, Cap and Iron Man were in very different places, and a portion of Marvel’s greatest heroes went underground, fighting the government-sponsored superheroes and villains alike.

Important Developments:

Introduced the Superhero Registration Act, which would become integral to Marvel superheroes for several years Made Iron Man the Director of SHIELD and a villain to a portion of the Marvel Universe This led to the assassination of Captain America, as well as the dissolution of the marriage between Spider-Man and Mary Jane Luke Cage took over the New Avengers and took the team underground, with Doctor Strange joining the group out of guilt for not being involved in the superhero civil war

Civil War was a huge game changer for the Avengers. It led tothe launch of Mighty Avengers, a book that would star the pro-Registration Avengers, begin Carol Danvers’ return to prominence in the Marvel Universe, and lead to Captain America’s death and the next phase of Ed Brubaker’s monumental Captain America run. It’s the key to the Marvel Universe from 2006 to 2010, informing events like World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and Siege.

It made Iron Man truly important to the Marvel Universe for the first time in decades. New readers don’t need much foreknowledge to get the story, and if they branch out to the tie-in books and miniseries, they’ll find some excellent stories. Civil War is easily the most important Marvel event of the ’00s, setting the story of the Marvel Universe in various entertaining directions.

Secret Wars (2015) Is Widely Considered The Best Marvel Event Of The 21st Century


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After Civil War, there were some important events, but they aren’t must read for a new reader. The early 2010s would be when the event cycle started to become a series of diminishing returns. Event books like Fear Itself and Age Of Ultron barely had any reason to exist and their repercussions were nil. Avengers Vs. X-Men was important, but the wild shifts in quality and the need to know much about what was happening in the Marvel Universe at the time made it less palatable for a new reader. Infinity depended on its tie-ins to Avengers (Vol. 5)and New Avengers (Vol. 3) to fully tell its story, and Original Sin had a great premise that it never realized.

However, 2015’s Secret Wars, by Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic, Ive Scorcina, and Chris Eliopolous would change that. The book spun out of Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers but does an amazing job of giving new readers everything they need to know. The first issue opens with the Final Incursion, as the 616 Earth and the 1610 Earth from the Ultimate Universe collide. As the heroes of both Earths battle it out, plans are set to salvage the situation. However, the destruction of both worlds and the birth of something new – Battleworld, created by the all-powerful God Emperor Doom.

Important Developments:

Miles Morales was brought over to the 616 Marvel Universe Reed, Sue, Franklin, and Valeria Richards left Earth to rebuild the Multiverse Doctor Doom decided to become a hero, leading to him becoming Iron Man Was the culmination of the Incursions plot from Avengers (Vol. 5) and New Avengers (Vol. 3)

From there, the book sees the reader learn the truth about the end of the Multiverse, as a group of heroes and a group of villains from the old Earth find this new composite universe, try to get to the bottom of it and wrest power away from Doom. Secret Wars (2015) is a peak Marvel event. It’s a massive cosmic story of epic proportions that rewards readers who know the history of the Marvel Universe and its web of characters and relations but doesn’t demand knowledge of those things to enjoy.

It’s also come to be thought of as the best Doctor Doom story of the last thirty years, as the villain is the main character. It’s such an excellent event book because it does everything right. It’s accessible to fans who weren’t reading the build-up stories, has deft writing and gorgeous art, and contains events that redefined what the Marvel Universe can be.

House Of X/Powers Of X Fixed The Years Of Damage Marvel Did To The X-Men


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The last few years of the ’10s contain the worst Marvel events in recent years. Fans have ridiculed Civil War II and Secret Empire since they dropped, Marvel: Legacy #1 was a complete failure, and Infinity Wars managed to fail with an Infinity Stones event in 2018, the year Avengers: Infinity War dropped. The event cycle had run its course, leading to diminishing returns. However, 2019 would see two books come out that would change the course of the X-Men forever/

House Of X, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles, and Powers Of X, by Hickman, R.B. Silva, Gracia, and Cowles told connected stories. The two books that are one existed to fix every terrible thing that Marvel had done to the X-Men while they didn’t own the film rights to the mutants, seven years of stories from 2012 to 2017 that saw Marvel marginalize the mutants and replace them with the Inhumans.

Important Developments:

Established the new status quo for the X-Men, moving them away from the mansion and onto the mutant island of Krakoa Retconned Moira MacTaggert into the most important mutant in Marvel history Established Krakoan resurrection Launched five years worth of X-Men books and stories

House Of X set up the mutant nation of Krakoa and its birth pangs, while Powers Of X took readers to the past, present, and future to show some of the repercussions of Krakoa. While House Of X/Powers Of X are more X-Men events than Marvel events, they are structured like the old event cycle, setting up a new status quo for an entire corner of the Marvel Universe. A new reader only needs to know the barest basics of the X-Men to get both books and will be rewarded with the best X-Men tales in decades.

It opens up five years of stories and event books like Inferno, X Lives Of Wolverine, X Deaths Of Wolverine, A.X.E: Judgment Day, and more. In many ways, it’s the opposite of House Of M – a book that builds them back up instead of destroying mutants. It’s an extraordinary X-Men book that every new reader should check out.


Marvel is a multimedia powerhouse encompassing comic books, movies, TV shows, and more, captivating audiences with its iconic characters, thrilling narratives, and diverse worlds. From the legendary Avengers to the street-level heroes like Daredevil, Marvel’s universe is vast and ever-expanding.

“}]] New readers looking to enjoy the biggest Marvel storylines must check out events like Secret Wars, Infinity Gauntlet, Civil War, and more.  Read More