Marvel Universe

A Marvel Insider's Reading List

Marvel Insider Stelian Cincu from California breaks down his Marvel favorites! Become a Marvel Insider today, and earn points to redeem for exclusive rewards just for being a Marvel fan—including the chance to curate your own Reading List for thousands of fellow fans!

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Jim Starlin’s Warlock

in Warlock (1972) #9

I could include pretty much everything that Jim Starlin has written. He’s one of my favorite writers. I remember reading reprints as a kid and I loved all of the cosmic weirdness, the elevated language, and the philosophy. Adam Warlock and Thanos were two of my favorite characters growing up. I think that this issue is the best starting point for all of the Infinity stories that came out over the succeeding decades.

Original Secret Wars

in Secret Wars (1984) #1

Heroes and villains from every corner of the Marvel Universe in the same story, switching sides, facing an all-powerful antagonist. The covers will always stand out to me. Hulk holding up the mountain, Spider-Man getting his alien suit, and, my favorite, Doom battered but still defiant. Following the Beyonder’s evolution through the years into Jonathan Hickman’s epic AVENGERS (2012) run was satisfying.

Avengers: Deathtrap

in Avengers: Deathtrap - The Vault (1991) #1

I remember holding this one-shot, basically a prestige format graphic novel. It was much thicker than a normal monthly comic with better cover stock. It felt very important. I’ve read this book dozens of times. Ron Lim is one of my favorite artists and Danny Fingeroth’s character dialogue told you that these people all had histories with each other. This one will always be in my collection.

Maximum Carnage

in Spider-Man Unlimited (1993) #1

The first part of the MAXIMUM CARNAGE crossover. The event holds up! It’s a lot of fun. It continues to escalate all the way through with more villains and more heroes. You get classic, unbreakable Spider-Man. He fights on no matter the odds. If you enjoyed ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, check this out.

Marvel 1602

in 1602 (2003) #1

An imagining of the Marvel Universe starting off 400 years too early. I was in the Navy and deployed when the series was released. I picked up issues here and there in different countries we stopped in. It was cleverly written—Neil Gaiman is of course a clever writer. I felt kind of dumb for not figuring out who Rojhaz was sooner.

The Immortal Iron Fist

in The Immortal Iron Fist (2006) #1

I was late to this series, but once I found out about it I collected all of the trades. It’s a fun Kung Fu/pulp action story that builds out a mythology for Iron Fist that wasn’t really there before. There are also several one-shots that are must-reads. Fat Cobra is one of the strongest fighters on the planet. If you like this, check out Matt Fraction and David Aja’s HAWKEYE (2012).

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

in Nextwave: Agents of H.a.T.E. (2006) #1

What can be said about Nextwave that hasn’t already been said about Dirk Anger? They are the worst. Individually, they are powerful heroes. Together, they are less than the sum of their parts. It’s a perfect mix of Stuart Immonen’s art and Warren Ellis’s writing. A fun, funny, action-packed book. Punch. Kick. ‘Splode.

The Horrifying Hulk

in Immortal Hulk (2018) #1

There have been a few great Hulk stories and runs over the years. The latest is definitely my favorite. It pulls from the Hulk’s entire publishing history. The Alex Ross covers are beautiful. The Joe Bennett interiors are great, with some really gross body horror. And, I love the writing. The exploration of different religions and philosophies in the context of the Hulk, and what he means to us, is really engaging.