Comics
Published December 30, 2020

Marvel Unlimited's Highlights of the Year

20 moments that stood out in 2020. Here are the comic stories and events that had you buzzing.

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STATS OF THE YEAR!

2020: a great year to escape into the world of comics! Reading over 18.7 million issues for a total of 200-plus-million minutes, Marvel Unlimited members enjoyed over 80 years of stories across 28,000+ issues, covering the fabled halls of Asgard to the island nation of Krakoa.

Here are our 20 moments that defined 2020. What are your comic picks for the year? Chime in on Twitter with #MarvelUnlimited, and follow us at @MarvelUnlimited today.

1. THE KREE. THE SKRULL. THE ALLIANCE.

EMPYRE was the cosmic event of 2020, pulling in everyone from the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, to the X-Men. While it looked like a united Kree/Skrull invasion was going to be the major threat to quell, the plant-like Cotati, led by Mantis’ Celestial Messiah son, proved to be Earth’s most pressing calamity.

Before diving into EMPYRE, set the stage with these prelude issues that cover millennia years of history between the Kree and the Skrull. It’s also helpful to learn the origin of Young Avenger Hulkling, the inheritor of the Kree/Skrull throne.

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2. NEW YEAR, NEW RULES, NEW X-MEN

A seminal X-Men moment!

HOUSE OF X/POWERS OF X changed the Marvel landscape by establishing a new world order where humans are in mutantkind’s debt. Flocking to a new sovereign nation-state on the “Living Island” Krakoa, the history of mutants past, present, and future was shaped by master architects like Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, and R.B. Silva.

A global network. A private government. Their own language. Krakoa is open to all mutants, and you can read its origin here.

Interior from House of X #1
HOUSE OF X #1

3. ALL-FATHER THOR

This year, the Odinson got promoted! Following Dark Elf Malekith’s botched conquest in WAR OF THE REALMS, Odin finally decided to catch up on much-needed Odinsleep by appointing his son the new King of Asgard. King Thor was doing a decent job too—until Galactus crashed on his doorstep.

Make that two promotions: Thor also become a Herald to the Devourer of Worlds in the first arc of 2020’s THOR.

[RELATEDWhat You Need to Know Before Reading ‘Thor’]

Thor, Herald of Thunder
THOR (2020) #1

4. THE DAWN OF X

Following interconnected series HOUSE OF X/POWERS OF X, the Dawn of X began across all X-titles, from the flagship X-MEN, to the sea-faring MARAUDERS, down to Krakoa’s security division in X-FORCE.

What happens after mutant independence? Find out in the “Dawn of X,” collected here. For added kicks, you can use your Krakoan decoder so you don’t miss a thing.

Krakoan Alphabet
HOUSE OF X #3

[RELATEDWelcome to the Dawn of X]

5. TONY STARK VS. 2020

It wasn’t just a rough year for you.

In September, Marvel Unlimited dropped the entire IRON MAN 2020 event, a sci-fi saga that pitted an A.I. Tony against his Machiavellian brother Arno Stark. The Machine Age versus human intelligence. What could possibly go wrong?

Guest-stars like Ironheart, Rescue, and a cyborg Wolverine joined “Mark One” Iron Man in his battle against Baintronics.

[RELATEDWho Is Arno Stark?]

Iron Man 2020 conference
IRON MAN 2020 #1

6. THE RETURN OF CARNAGE

And the Carnage was Absolute. Thanks to the undying devotion of a cult that honors symbiote god Knull, Cletus Kasady was reanimated in this bloody good gorefest, a Venom event that could only be hatched from the creatively twisted minds of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman.

Spine-tinglingly good. Spine-rippingly, actually.

Dylan Brock verse Carnage symbiote
ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #5

Try the complete event, prelude reading for the ongoing KING IN BLACK.

[RELATEDWho Is Knull?]

7. CAPTAIN MARVEL THE ACCUSER

Make that Supreme Accuser.

Hulkling may have been fulfilling his birthright as the Emperor of Space, but he was still lucky to have solid council from the Avengers. Carol Danvers stepped up during EMPYRE to swing the necessary hammer of justice on behalf of the Alliance. As the Accuser, Danvers gained the Kree’s Universal Weapon… and a new family member.

Read through issue #21 for the complete fallout.

Captain Marvel becomes the new Kree Accuser
EMPYRE #2

8. HULKLING AND WICCAN: SPACE HUSBANDS

In a year marked by ups and downs, who doesn’t love a wedding? Hulkling, AKA Emperor Dorrek VIII, and Wiccan, AKA Billy Kaplan, took the plunge of matrimony surrounded by friends, Young Avengers, and some fresh alien faces.

In the midst of EMPYRE, the wedding issue was a standout. Don’t get too excited for the honeymoon though—KING IN BLACK will pull this couple into its abyss-like fold.

[RELATEDHulkling and Wiccan’s Relationship Firsts]

The wedding of Hulkling and Wiccan
EMPYRE #4. See the entire ceremony in EMPYRE: AFTERMATH AVENGERS #1!

9. VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER

Jane Foster had a mighty run as Thor, but this Midgardian with a heart from Asgard gets a Valhalla-worthy run in VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER. Jane Foster: doctor by day, ferrywoman to departed souls by calling.

This series by Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, and CAFU makes the cut alone for featuring a healthcare hero! You can also read the courageous stories of real-life medical heroes in the comic THE VITALS: TRUE NURSE STORIES.

10. DEADPOOL REX

The Monarch with a Mouth!

2020 was a big year for Marvel coronations, and even Deadpool was blessed/burdened with heavy responsibilities as the King of Monsters! On Staten Island!

After a mercenary gig lands him a new kingdom, Deadpool finds himself neck deep in political intrigue, monster law, and a ruthless Bloodstone out for blood in this ongoing by Kelly ThompsonChris BachaloDavid CurielRachelle Rosenberg, and more. It’s like The Crown but with even more backstabbing!

Deadpool welcomes you to Monster Staten Island.

Deadpool becomes the King of Monsters
DEADPOOL (2019) #1

11. HAWKEYE IN FREEFALL

Clint Barton: life in crisis! Fans of the Avenging Archer will want to read this pulpy, New York-set series that sees Hawkeye take on the city’s most violent vigilante—the Hood. Plus, a new Ronin stalks the streets and Clint gets a girlfriend. You may even recognize her!

Come for the smackdown, stay for the guest-stars. (Spider-Man, Black Widow, and Daredevil, oh my.)

12. THE ALL-NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS

Jimmy Woo. Silk. Brawn. Shang-Chi. Luna Snow. Crescent. Sword Master. Aero. Wave. White Fox. After their death-defying stint in WAR OF THE REALMS: AGENTS OF ATLAS, Woo united his team of international super-humans to defend the cross-continent portal city of Pan against a science-meets-magic foe. (2019’s AGENTS OF ATLAS)

And, this fan-favorite super-team enters entirely new waters in ATLANTIS ATTACKS, a titanic tale of gods and the underdogs who worship them. This series is still unfolding on Marvel Unlimited, so catch up today. King Namor: friend or frenemy?

13. SPIDER-MAN: SINS RISING

Continue with THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2018) #44-47.

For months, perhaps years, he has crawled in the shadows, manipulating key events in Spider-Man’s life. In the “Sins Rising” arc, the demon known as Kindred was finally ready to take his revenge—not on the Wall-Crawler, but on Peter Parker. And their weapon of choice? A resurrected Sin-Eater.

Spider-Man: Last Remains” will kick off on MU next month, so don’t miss the build-up to the story that will shake Spidey’s foundation before turning it on its head.

Return of the Sin-Eater
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: SINS RISING PRELUDE #1

14. WELCOME TO STRANGE ACADEMY

A group of young people from around the world with aptitude in magic are brought together in New Orleans to study the Mystic Arts under Doctor StrangeDoctor Voodoo, the Ancient OneScarlet WitchMagikHellstorm, and even more Marvel mages. But before everyone gets their first day syllabus, a mystical threat converges that gives these kids a crash course…

We love this series for new readers especially—the first class of Strange Academy are recent additions to the Marvel Universe. Who are they, where are these students from, and what are their weird and wonderful powers? Find out in issue #1.

Entrance to Strange Academy
STRANGE ACADEMY #1

15. CAPTAIN KATE AND THE MARAUDERS

One of MU’s top titles of the year, MARAUDERS follows the high sea adventures of Captain Kate Pryde and her crew of pirate X-Men, all operating under the Hellfire Trading Company. Vividly told by creators like Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Russell Dauterman, and Federico Blee, Captain Kate and company smuggle life-saving flowers into countries in need of Krakoa’s medical miracles. Persecuted mutants are smuggled out.

Captain Kate of the Marauders
MARAUDERS #1

16. BOUNTY OF BOUNTY HUNTERS

Boba Fett. Beilert Valance. Bossk. The best of the galaxy’s worst take their wheeling and dealing to the Outer Rim and beyond in this fan-favorite Star Wars story.

Alliances are broken as quickly as they’re sworn as a host of bounty hunters enter a collision course over the same target: Valance’s former mentor Nakano Lash.

[RELATEDStar Wars’ Best Bounty Hunters]

Boba Fett on the attack
STAR WARS: BOUNTY HUNTERS #1

17. X OF SWORDS

This event is just beginning on MU, but the path to X OF SWORDS is paved. Ten mutant champions. Ten destined blades. The tournament ahead will be strange, brutal, and unexpected. A contest between the mutant Krakoans and their fallen “sisters,” the Arakkii, will determine the fate of all realities. Who will wield the swords?!

Follow along weekly with our event reading guide to complete this omniversal epic.

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Outside the world of comics, here were some of the other milestones Marvel Unlimited hit this year!

18. YOUR FAVORITE STORIES SOONER

2020 came with a big announcement! MU readers will now enjoy new and classic comics sooner, as early as three months after they’re in stores! Binge the latest chapters of top-read series like IMMORTAL HULK, AVENGERS, and VENOM.

19. 57,000+ TWITTER FOLLOWERS

We love when you tell us what you’re reading, and what stories you’d like to see added! Use #MarvelUnlimited to give your own comic recs, and follow @MarvelUnlimited for the latest news, additions, and “mutants trying to sit in chairs” content.

20. 18.7 MILLION COMICS. 230 MILLION MINUTES OF READING.

To recap: Marvel Unlimited members were busy this year. 2020’s most-read character? Spider-Man: Peter Parker. Your favorite team? The X-Men. As for comic events, followers couldn’t get enough of cross-realms crossover WAR OF THE REALMS. Midgard’s heroes proved worthy.

Midgard heroes take on WAR OF THE REALMS
WAR OF THE REALMS #1

Follow Marvel Unlimited on Twitter and Facebook to stay tuned in to weekly announcements, articles, and more, all at @MarvelUnlimited. Follow us today to join the conversation with thousands of fellow fans, and let us know what you’re reading!

*(plus tax where applicable) All prices in US dollars. Offer valid 12/14/2020 12:00 AM ET to 12/31/2020 11:59 PM ET on annual memberships only. First year billed upfront at a one-time payment of $55.00; subsequent years billed annually to the payment card on file at the then-current annual subscription fee (currently $69 per year) unless and until cancelled. Offer is open to new and former (now-cancelled) Marvel Unlimited members. Valid payment card required to redeem offer. Auto-renewal and others terms and conditions apply. See here for additional terms.

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