With so many Marvel Studios projects in development, it might be time for a refresher course. Between sequels, new properties, and a handful of new television series on the way, Marvel fans have plenty on their plate. However, if you have a few blind spots in your Marvel knowledge or simply don't read comics, this list should help fill some blanks. For this list, we've compiled some landmark Marvel comics that correspond to the next few Marvel projects.
Never read a Moon Knight book? Who are the Eternals, anyway? Don't worry, here's some recommended reading to prepare you for the onslaught of content that Marvel Studios has up its sleeve. Here are 10 Marvel Comics You Need To Read Before MCU Phase 4.
10 Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread
Based on photos, casting, and rumors, there isn't any one Black Widow book that the film is based on. Seeing as the movie is setting up to be an amalgam of trademark Black Widow elements, this modern-day classic might be a great spot for new readers to jump on board.
The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto is the gritty spy thriller that fans of the movies have always wanted. Between Edmondson's compelling mystery and Noto's painterly art, this is a must-have for Black Widow fans and new readers alike.
This story probably won't reflect the plot of the movie, but it shows just how compelling a Black widow solo adventure could be (and has been in comics for decades now).
9 The Mighty Thor: Thunder In Her Veins
With Natalie Portman's Jane Foster gearing up to wield the hammer, fans should probably pick up Jason Aaron's work on Thor. She has her first adventures as Thor in Aaron's Thor: The Goddess of Thunder, but for a while, her identity was a secret. However, the reveal of Jane Foster as Thor has created a new fan-favorite for many and one of the most compelling character arcs in Marvel's recent history.
The Goddess of Thunder is a great starting point, but fans that want to skip the mystery should pick up The Mighty Thor: Thunder in Her Veins. This story arc begins a true epic that fans will want to read in full. Not only will it have you in tears by the end, but it also helps set up one of the better recent crossover events, War of the Realms.
8 Moon Knight: From The Dead
Moon Knight, arguably the most underrated Marvel character in existence, is finally getting his own series on Disney Plus. If you've never heard of him, let Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey's From the Dead be your introduction.
Who is Moon Knight? He's an ex-mercenary with multiple personalities possessed by a moon god. He fights anything from mobsters and robots to vampires and ninjas. The Marvel universe is a crazy place, and From the Dead shows how Moon Knight can tackle any corner of it with style and brutality.
This run is an anthology of different Moon Knight stories, and between Ellis' trademark wit and Shalvey's kinetic artwork, it'll hook newcomers with ease. If you feel compelled to read further — and you will — check out the runs by Charlie Huston and Jeff Lemire.
7 Neil Gaiman's Eternals
For most movie fans, the Eternals are a bit of a mystery. The Eternals are essentially evolved humans — ancient prototypes of humans created by Celestials, which fans will remember from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Marvel legend Jack Kirby created the characters, but for a modern introduction, check out Neil Gaiman's Eternals.
His series contains the cast of the upcoming film as well as the official (retconned) backstory of the Eternals. It's quite likely that this book is the basis for the movie as well, so definitely pick it up.
6 Hawkeye: My Life As A Weapon
My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction and David Aja is the basis for Marvel's upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney Plus, right down to the show's title card. It deals with Hawkeye's life outside of his career as an Avenger, as well as the training of his apprentice, Kate Bishop.
Hawkeye's somewhat-but-not-so ordinary life is a lot more compelling than you might think, and once you read this series, he'll likely become your favorite Avenger. It's got great action, witty humor, and some pretty innovative issues — entire books are told through sign language, and one issue even stars his dog.
5 All-New Captain America
Now that Cap has passed the shield to Sam Wilson in Avengers: Endgame, fans won't being seeing him again until The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus. Can Sam Wilson fill Steve Rogers' shoes? Well, he already has. All-Captain America by Rick Remender is Sam Wilson's first adventure as the winged Captain America.
In the first arc, Sam Wilson must thwart an emerging Hydra threat while living up to his new mantle. This series is proof that Sam is the man for the job, even if fans aren't ready to let go of Steve Rogers.
4 Ms. Marvel: No Normal
As a nerdy superhero fan from Jersey City, Kamala is so familiar with the Avengers' antics in New York that she even writes fan fiction about her favorite heroes. When she acquires Inhuman powers, she names herself after her idol, Captain Marvel.
Kamala is already a well-established character with plenty of different appearances and team-ups throughout the comics, so where better to start than from the beginning? Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona contains her origin story and is a must-read for any Marvel fan.
3 She-Hulk: Single Green Female
She-Hulk is more than just female Hulk. Jennifer Walters is a character that not many people are familiar with, but unlike her cousin Bruce Banner, she actually enjoys being the Hulk. A great entry point before her Disney Plus series is Dan Slott's She-Hulk: Single Green Female, where Jen must balance her life as the Hulk with her very demanding career as a lawyer.
She's not a scientist like Bruce, but a lawyer in the emerging field of superhero law. Naturally, superhero lawsuits come with plenty of cameos and crossovers, but this is very much a She-Hulk story that manages to stay breezy and fun while distinguishing Jen Walters as her own unique character.
2 House of M and Vision
The Disney Plus series WandaVision is a head-scratcher for most fans, so this entry cheats a little to give readers the best primer.
The concept of the show seems to be based on a combination of two different books: House of M by Brian Michael Bendis and Vision by Tom King. In House of M, Scarlet Witch loses control of her powers and alters reality for the worse. In Vision, the titular hero tries to settle down and have a family, until everything goes horribly wrong.
Concept art for the series depicts Wanda and Vision in an idyllic, sitcom-esque lifestyle, but everything is not what it seems. This suggests influences from both of these excellent stories, so definitely check them out.
1 Doctor Strange: The Way of the Weird
The last two Avengers films prove that Stephen Strange has come a long way since his solo film in 2016. Since his next film is said to be the MCU's first horror movie, it might benefit fans to pick up a comic where Strange is experienced and more than familiar with the scariest aspects of magic.
The Way of the Weird by Jason Aaron is Strange is his absolute strangest. For him, protecting reality is just another average day, despite some of the creepiest and most grotesque threats always knocking at his door. Chris Bachalo's art makes this an especially unique read — if you want to see what a Doctor Strange horror movie might look like, then look no further.