The biggest movie of the year opens on May 1. The Avengers are back! And they brought Ultron with them. In preparation for the movie, here are some of the best Avengers stories available!

Secret Avengers: Run the Mission, Don’t Get Seen, Save the World by Warren Ellis

Imagine the Avengers run by James Bond. All of the stealth members of the Avengers — Black Widow, Captain America, Shang Chi, Moon Knight, etc. — going on top secret missions the world can’t know about. A rotating group of artists give this book a unique artistic feel, and leads to amazingly well-paced stories of action, adventure, and espionage. My all time favorite Avengers collection.

Age of Ultron by Brian Bendis

The movie is loosely (very loosely) based on this collection. The art on this book is stunning. It has an epic, world spanning feel. It feels like a movie, even though it is made of still images. The Avengers must face Ultron – the problem being, Ultron has already won. Humanity has been destroyed. What can the last few remaining Avengers hope to accomplish when Ultron has already destroyed humanity? Well, they fire up their trusty Delorean and attempt to kill the scientist that creates Ultron before Ultron is “born”. But, as you can guess, it does not go well…

The Ultimates by Mark Millar

The Ultimate line was an experiment by Marvel Comics to tell their most famous stories (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers) as if they started in the early 2000s. It is very simple – without this book, we don’t get the Avengers movies. The injection of modern sensibilities into these classic stories breathed new life into the Avengers comic book franchise, and it is no surprise that the first Avengers film is based on Mark Millar’s first collection.

Ultron Forever by Al Ewing

This series just started and it already has me hooked. Ultron is at it again. He bides his time, and waits for the Avengers to pass away from old age, and takes over the world in 2420. He enslaves all humans in order for them to build more Ultrons bent on world domination. The only man who can stop Ultron is one of Earth’s most evil villains – Dr Doom. With the help of his time platform, Dr Doom calls forth the greatest Avengers from the past, present, and future! Time travel! Bombastic action! You couldn’t possibly ask for more!

Civil War by Mark Millar

If you want a sneak peak at the next big Marvel film, look no further! Captain America: Civil War will spin out of the events in Avengers 2, and is hitting theaters on May 6, 2016. Reeling from the recent super-hero attacks – the United States government passes a law requiring meta-humans to register themselves and reveal their secret identities. Iron Man supports the law and becomes the governmental spokesman. Captain America, on the other hand, is reminded of everything he fought to stop in World War II, and is let’s say “less-than-happy”. All this, and the introduction of Spider-Man into the Marvel cinematic universe!? This year can’t go by fast enough!

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