The MCU has gone all in on its multiverse, introducing it in Loki and expanding upon it in What If…? With the upcoming release of Doctor Strange And The Multiverse Of Madness, it looks like theatrical audiences are finally going to get a look at it on the big screen. While no one knows how the story is going to go, the inclusion of Scarlet Witch, known in the comics for alternate universe shenanigans, makes it all rather intriguing.
Marvel’s multiverse isn’t up to snuff with DC’s, but there are still some amazing alternate worlds out there. There are plenty of great stories fans can read before watching the movie, starting with House Of M.
10 House Of M Shows The Power Of Scarlet Witch
House of M, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Olivier Coipel, has its ups and downs but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most important Marvel stories of the last twenty years. It saw Scarlet Witch perform her greatest feat of power, creating an entirely new world for the heroes of the Marvel Universe, one where mutants are the ascendant species.
The MCU often takes its marching orders from the comics, so there’s a huge chance that the movie will include some things from the story. At the very least, there’s a chance of Scarlet Witch doing some reality-altering. While House Of M isn’t the best read, as it can be very slow in the middle, it’s still important.
9 Marvel Zombies Is The Ultimate Marvel Horror Story
MCU fans have already gotten a taste of Marvel Zombies from What If…, what they got was nothing compared to the comics. Written by zombie maven Robert Kirkman with art by Sean Phillips, it opens up on a Marvel Universe where the heroes themselves have been made into zombies. Things go on from there, as the zombified heroes battle zombie villains in a hunt for food.
Kirkman does a marvelous job of capturing the horror of the situation while also throwing in some good gallows humor to lighten the mood. While there have been plenty of sequels, the original is still the best.
8 Age Of Ultron Shows The Perils Of Time Travel
Age Of Ultron, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artists Bryan Hitch, Brandon Peterson, and Carlos Pacheco, isn’t related to the movie but does have a few structural similarities. The comic takes place in an alternate future where Ultron has won, having destroyed most of human civilization. The Avengers have a desperate plan to stop him but Wolverine has a different plan, one that results in an alternate timeline.
Age Of Ultron combines peak dystopian future comic fiction with an alternate universe story that has a massive effect on the Marvel timeline. Much like the movie that stole its name, it’s a bit bloated and long but still a worthwhile read with a cool alternate universe.
7 The Ultimates: Superhuman Is The Origin Of The Ultimate Universe Avengers
The MCU owes a lot to Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, a retelling of the origins of the Marvel Universe in the 21st century. The two original Ultimate Universe books, Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men are pretty good but The Ultimates: Superhuman, by writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch, would probably be the best one to read for an MCU fan.
Showing how the Ultimates came together and their first battle, the comic has an epic feel throughout. While its humor is very much of its time, the blend of comedy and action, as well as the more grounded versions of the classic Avengers, is pretty much the blueprint for the MCU.
6 Secret Wars Ends The Marvel Multiverse In Grand Fashion
Secret Wars, by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic, is one of the best event books of the 2010s. Spinning out of Hickman’s Fantastic Four, Avengers, and New Avengers, the story fees the heroes of the Marvel Universe trying to save the Earth from the Final Incursion and failing. The day is saved by a very unlikely hero: Doctor Doom.
From there, things get crazy, as Doom rebuilds the universe from the scraps of multiple alternate Earths. It’s a smorgasbord for fans of Marvel alternate universes and one doesn’t even need to read Hickman’s prior Marvel stuff to understand it.
5 Age Of X-Man Is Full Of Great Ideas
Age Of X-Man was yet another attempt by Marvel to recapture the fire of the Age Of Apocalypse. Taking place in multiple books in the first half of 2019, it stemmed from X-Man pulling most of the X-Men into an alternate universe created by him. While it doesn’t have the best reputation, it’s full of great ideas that suffer a bit in the executions.
Not all alternate universe stories can be hits and Age Of X-Man shows that. MCU fans need to see that as good as the ideas can be, the stories don’t always work.
4 House Of X #2 Takes An Interesting Look At Alternate Timelines
The X-Men books are a treasure trove of alternate universe ideas and one of the most novel approaches to the idea came in House Of X #2, by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Pepe Larraz. The comic reveals that longtime X-Men ally Moira MacTaggert was always a mutant, one with an interesting power: every time she dies, she returns to life from the moment of her birth.
Moira experiences ten lives, each one different than the last. Readers get a glimpse of them in this issue, seeing just how the X-Men turn out in multiple alternate timelines. Hickman is a master of sci-fi and alternate universe storytelling and this issue is another example of why.
3 Old Man Logan Is Peak Dystopian Alternate Future
Old Man Logan, by writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven, takes place in an alternate universe where the villains won. Wolverine is one of the few survivors, living with his family in the Hulk Family’s territory. Owing them money, he embarks on a cross-country jaunt with an elderly Hawkeye, one that is more than he bargained for.
Old Man Logan is one of the best recent dystopian future stories. A superhero Western, Old Man Logan is full of great action set pieces. It also sets up this future Marvel Universe expertly, creating a world that Marvel has started to return to with its multiple Wastelands series.
2 Squadron Supreme Is A Classic
Squadron Supreme, by writer Mark Gruenwald and artists Bob Hall, John Buscema, and Paul Ryan, is a classic of the comic medium that doesn’t get enough credit. Starring the titular superteam, a pastiche of DC’s Justice League, it sees the team decide the only way to make the world a better place is to take control of its affairs. Not every member feels this way and battlelines are drawn.
Squadron Supreme came out at the same time as other genre-shaking works like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. It gets overshadowed by those two works but it also had its hand in introducing more mature elements into comics and actually came first. It still holds up all these years later, like any classic.
1 The Age Of Apocalypse Is Peak Alternate Universe Storytelling
There are few alternate universe stories as epic as The Age Of Apocalypse. Taking place in a universe where Professor X was killed before ever forming the X-Men, the Marvel Universe become a very different place. Without the X-Men, Apocalypse takes over the US, enslaving and slaughtering the human population. Magneto, having formed the X-Men in Xavier’s place, is the only force battling against the regime when his X-Men make a discovery that changes everything.
The Age Of Apocalypse is a classic and it’s one every Marvel fan should read. Encompassing ten different comics, there are a lot of flavors to it; it has something for everyone.
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