Captain America: Civil War has already proven to be a hit, and looks set to be one of Marvel’s best-performing movies. But what about if you want to go back to the originals, and follow the comics? Here are the current books each character is starring in, along with their current comic book status quo…Ant-Man
Ant-Man is back in prison!
Over in the comics, Scott Lang’s been a superhero for quite a while now. He even got his own superhero death, which naturally meant he wound up resurrected by Scarlet Witch over in the excellent Children’s Crusade miniseries. Since then, Marvel Comics have been working on establishing the character and his own little corner of the world, including his (also resurrected) superhero daughter Cassie.
Yes, you read that right. Cassie has powers of her own – she used to operate under the code-name Stature, and was a member of the Young Avengers. She seems to be getting into bad company, and for superhumans that could be a problem. We don’t know where things are going to head yet, but the above image suggests they’re not going to work out for Scott Lang…Black Panther
The cover to Black Panther #1!
The last few years have been rough for the Black Panther, but T’Challa is once again ruler of Wakanda. Unfortunately, Wakanda’s in a state of serious unrest, with the neighbouring Niganda making a subtle power-play. The Black Panther ongoing – currently only two issues in – is written by novelist Ta-Nehisi Coates, and is proving to be something of a hit.
Even as T’Challa struggles with his own nation’s fate, he’s also team-leader of the Ultimates. This group of powerful superheroes have resolved to take on the galactic-scale threats that the Marvel Universe is fairly dripping with, and kicked things off by curing the world-eating Galactus. The ongoing, written by Al Ewing, is currently one of Marvel’s strongest books.Black Widow
Don’t mess with Black Widow!
Mark Waid is the writer behind the latest Black Widow series, currently only three issues in. He’s penning a fascinating tale in which Natasha’s past has come back to haunt her; some of her darkest secrets have been uncovered by a villain called the “Weeping Lion”. He’s successfully using that information to blackmail Natasha into working for him, and her first act was to steal information from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarrier. She’s now a wanted fugitive, with S.H.I.E.L.D. – particularly one Agent Elder, a new character Waid is developing – on her trail. It’s a fun conceit, one that separates Natasha from the rest of the broader Marvel Universe.
Our first glimpse of Cap’s new duds!
The last Marvel event, “Avengers: Standoff!”, has just transformed Steve Rogers’ status quo. In the last few years, Steve had been transformed – aged to the actual biological age his body should be in. As a result, while he remained a field-leader for the Uncanny Avengers, he’d handed over the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson (more on that later).
But “Avengers: Standoff!” was the inevitable story to undo all that; Steve Rogers is back, and back at his current age too. In a tradition pointedly similar to that of Spider-Man, Steve and Sam will share the role of Captain America. Which means we’re going to see a new series entitled Steve Rogers: Captain America.Meanwhile, the rechristened Captain America continues to work as a member of the Uncanny Avengers – a unique team of Avengers who include characters traditionally associated with the X-Men, led by Rogue.Falcon
Yes, now there are TWO of them!
Inheriting the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers was aged, Sam has been a polarising figure in the All-New All-Different Marvel Universe. Writer Nick Spencer has dared to make the character overtly political, with the first arc dealing with villains who executed refugees and dreamed of the day when “the wall” would come up. Yes, Sam Wilson’s first villains were gross exaggerations inspired by the policies of Donald Trump (Fox News weren’t impressed). Sales haven’t been great, but the series is fun, and intriguing in the way it reflects modern political issues. You can check it out in Sam Wilson: Captain America.
As part of his role, Sam has founded his own team of Avengers – the All-New All-Different Avengers, a group of young superheroes led by Sam and Iron Man. As part of this, he’s become a close friend of the latest incarnation of Thor (over in the comics, Jane Foster has become ‘worthy’ and the Odinson is missing), and there are hints at a romance.Hawkeye
The Hawkeye of the MCU bears more similarity to the character’s Ultimate version – in the comics, Clint isn’t married (although he’s divorced to Bobbi Morse!). What’s more, the comics feature two versions of Hawkeye; Clint, and a former member of the Young Avengers who shares his codename. The two characters play off one another tremendously well, and several versions of the comic have received an enormous amount of praise from critics and fans alike. The latest arc of All-New Hawkeye has just come to a head, so now’s a good time to start reading!
In addition to his latest ongoing, Hawkeye is a member of the New Avengers – a controversial team who are tied to A.I.M. These traditional superhero villains have been taken over by the X-Man named Sunspot, although S.H.I.E.L.D. don’t quite buy it. Hawkeye’s decisions when S.H.I.E.L.D. invaded A.I.M. Island led to him losing membership of S.H.I.E.L.D., and a new status quo is just beginning over in that book.Iron Man
The latest Iron Man armour!
When Marvel launched the All-New All-Different Marvel Universe last year, they planned to make Tony Stark the centre of it. They’ve only partly been successful; narratively, he’s important, but the sales on his two books – Invincible Iron Man and International Iron Man – aren’t quite so good as they should really be. The two series are both headed up by one of Marvel’s top writers, Brian Bendis, and he’s charting two intriguing stories.
Right now, Tony Stark is getting back on his feet after a time when his companies have been struggling. He’s hired one Mary-Jane Watson (of Spider-Man fame) as his secretary, and even had an uneasy alliance with Doctor Doom! Meanwhile, Iron Man’s one of the key members in the All-New All-Different Avengers.Scarlet Witch
The beautiful cover of the first issue!
Like Black Widow, Scarlet Witch has stepped out of the limelight – but for her, this is a chance to shine. Written by James Robinson, Scarlet Witch explores Wanda’s mystical heritage in a way the MCU never can. Robinson has ditched most of Wanda’s complex backstory in order to tell a simple, entertaining arc in which she’s going head-to-head with a rival sorcerer. The book’s been given an entertaining twist by a revolving panel of artists, meaning each issue has to stand on its own two feet in a way rarely seen with modern (episodic) comics.
Spider-Man’s web is now worldwide!
Writer Dan Slott has been writing Amazing Spider-Man for years, and he’s not uncomfortable with change. Slott has carefully moved his story to a place very different to that traditionally associated with Peter Parker; Peter’s now head of the hugely successful international business Parker Industries. This gives him a level of technology normally associated with Iron Man, and an international scope just as troublesome. It’s a fun departure from the norm, made all the more entertaining in the current story, which brings Spidey and Iron Man into head-on collision. Given Peter’s old flame Mary-Jane Watson currently works for Stark, it’s personal as well as professional, and is generating a lot of humour.
In a smart business move, you can also read an all-ages book revisiting Spider-Man’s early years, in the fun Spidey book.Vision
Vision saves his daughter.
Tom King’s critically-acclaimed The Vision series has drawn to a close, largely because King has signed an exclusivity deal with DC. The Vision was an entertaining and unusual book, with the central character creating an android family – and resolving to do anything to protect them. It’s set up an arc that promises to bring Vision into head-on collision with the rest of the Marvel Universe, but only time will tell how that plays out now King has left Marvel
That doesn’t mean you can’t read more of Vision, though – he’s a member of the All-New All-Different Avengers, where he has a difficult relationship with several of the new, younger superheroes who are part of the team.War Machine
Will Civil War II end War Machine’s story?
Unlike most of the Avengers, War Machine isn’t part of any ongoing. He’s been a love interest for Captain Marvel over in her own book, but his future doesn’t look secure; Marvel’s next event, “Civil War II”, will begin with at least one death. The Free Comic Book Day Avengers: Civil War II one-shot went to great pains to show Rhodey badly injured…
So there you have it! Hopefully these will help you pick up a few of the comics – trust me, the films have only just begun to tap into the wealth of potential these characters have!Which comics are you interested in? Let me know in the comments!