Beer: Dead Pony Club – A rather fantastic light session Ale clocking in at a decent 3.8% from the legendary Scottish brewer Brewdog (holy God I just copped this now, the brew in Brewdog is for brewer). A lighter version of their flagship Punk IPA and now readily available in most Irish off licenses. This is a perfect introduction to the world of craft beer without sacrificing any of the flavour and taste of a seasoned craft beer and that’s where Avengers Endgame comes into it!
If you’ve seen the smash hit and let’s be honest you probably have, along with most of the world, and you are looking for an entry into comics then this list, and this beer, is for you! So crack open that can, blast some synthwave music and let’s see what we can find you to read friend!
5: The Uncanny Avengers volume 1: The Red Shadow
Written by Rick Remender, Art by John Cassaday and Olivier Coipel
It’s the Avengers AND the X-men trying to work together! Erm….. kind of anyway. Trying is the operative word here. The aim of this list is to be as continuity light as possible so that everyone can take the excitement and run straight in without a Marvel handbook reading necessary. What Rick Remender does so well is use characters popularised by media, be it film avengers/X-men (Wolverine, Thor, Cap, Rogue) along with some more comic oriented figures (Havok, Wonder Man) and mashed them together to weave a wonderful narrative that becomes epic in scale rather quickly without sacrificing personal character moments and motivations. This comic, much like the Dead pony club, is an immediate, refreshing, accessible take on
something that you have some sort of unconscious awareness of yet a desire for more. As the run continues it quickly becomes blockbuster scale and every Avenger and X-men appears in some form. There’s plenty of time travel hijinks as well as Thanos-esque threats that sync it nicely with the scale of action seen in Endgame. Also Remender writes a mean Cap as you will see…… Volume 1 of Uncanny Avengers is akin to buying a 4 pack of dead pony club, your drinking it as much for the promise of what comes next as well as the moment to moment enjoyability.
4: New Avengers Vol 1: Breakout
Written by Brian Michael Bendis Art by David Finch
Now this is when the dead pony club starts making sense. It’s all the best qualities of beer brought together along with some things that you didn’t expect it to be paired with (lower percent is a good thing?!). So too is New Avengers by mass Marvel architect Brian Michael Bendis. This is where the Avengers movies began, in the pages of this little comic as Bendis brought the Avengers back to the very concept that defined them – big flagship characters existing in the same comic. But Bendis brought a few fan favourites along the way including Luke Cage and Spider-Woman. The beginning of what would be a year’s long story, that builds within its own narrative without the need for huge knowledge of continuity, this began a branching path for marvel comics for years with many titles emerging from developments within this series. This roster eventually grows to include Ronin (you may not know it but you know Ronin – it’s who Hawkeye was in Endgame with the sword and the killing and the Ninja-ing) Iron Fist (personal favourite of mine) Captain Marvel (still Ms Marvel at this point) and most characters from the MCU at one point or another. The story is more grounded than Endgame at first but really highlights how and why these characters are so beloved on the page as they deal with a prison breakout from the raft (remember that in Civil war?!). It all makes for a wonderfully brisk read with some of the biggest characters in comics.
Written by Jonathan Hickman, Jason Latour, Nick Spencer Art by Agustin Alessio, Stefano Caselli, Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato Jr., Jerome Opeña, Dustin Weaver, Leinil Francis Yu
The closest in theme and content to Endgame and Infinity war, as the plot of the movie is echoed and many pivotal scenes are “inspired” by what transpires within this comic. This, for example, is where Thanos’s goons, the black order, made their first appearances and iconic fights such as the battle of Wakanda also occur here. I was a little hesitant to put this here as there is some heavy continuity ties and Hickman’s writing can be a little heavy at times but it definitely boasts the most visual resemblance to the movies. It also has some AMAZING moments that will have you cheering your dead pony club high in the air. Thor and Captain America are shining beacons within these pages and Caps military mind really shines through as he helms a resistance against some Alien invaders called builders.
The casualty rate is stupidly high, Thanos himself sometimes doesn’t get a huge amount to do and the resolution to the epic space war that forms the central conflict to the story is handled poorly but all in all it is an entertaining read and the Avengers look like the movie Avengers which is enough to keep people hooked. This is like someone handing you the third can of dead pony club from a four pack, it also hasn’t been refrigerated and you were drinking Birra Moretti beforehand so you’re a tad confused – but it works well enough that you can go along with it.
2: Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z
Written by Rick Remender Art by John Romita Jr.
Not strictly Avengers but this had to go for how Cap was handled in Endgame. It also has enough bizarre silly bombastic action, mixed with utter gut wrenching emotion that it gives people a taste of how varied comics can be. From the master of pulpy sci-fi fiction Rick Remender this is a great introduction to people on why solo books are great, especially considering how it is visually similar to some of Endgames later “scorched earth” aesthetic and Caps never lie down, always stand up, attitude. This is the point in the night where you’ve had a few of these session beers, you’re feeling good, but everyone else is starting to feel the effects of their stronger beers and you walk into a room into a scene of utter madness and insanity and realise “oh cripes I have to leave” but instead are drawn into a night in town where situations continue to rise and escalate unto a point where almost forget where your started and this is now your new norm. I mean we all have those nights right? Plus, with brief glimpses into Cap’s formative years as a child growing up in an America that wasn’t particularly kind to him, this comic covers a whole lot of bases!
1: Avengers Vol 1: The Avengers
Written by Brian Michael Bendis Art by John Romita Jr.
So after Bendis’ Avengers went on and defined what the Avengers could be on screen, the Avengers on screen went on to define Bendis’ comics run. With the main cast now comprising of ALL the big hitters (Hawkeye, Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Spiderman, Wolverine, Spiderwoman and more joining later) these stories went on to tell a fairly prior-continuity light tale and began with the return of Ultron! Very easy to new readers and veterans alike, you’ve now made it to the next morning and realise that you are astonishingly hangover free! How can this beer after all those cans and all those volumes before this that I’m clear headed and feel unburdened by the past? That’s just how good Bendis and Dead pony club are. Effortless!