The 10 Best Marvel NOW! Graphic Novels

As we close the door on our Marvel NOW! Reading Order with our final update (the original Marvel NOW!, that is), let’s have a look back and take stock on what would be the best trade paperbacks for those uninitiated (what those with less comics background may call “graphic novels”).

The items in the list were selected by no “scientific means”, though it does include a selection of critical darlings, popularity among other ranked lists and overall presence in the comics zeitgeist. We’ve grouped them into 3 categories to better decide for yourself which are better for you.

Critical Craft

These first graphic novels were added to this list because of their critical acclaim, mostly arising from the great craft demonstrated by the creative teams.

1. Moon Knight

by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey

Warren Ellis returns to Marvel for a short six-issue run that resurrected the Moon Knight title and quickly became a master class in comic book storytelling.

2. Hawkeye

by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu

This award-winning series began slightly before Marvel NOW! and is among the few titles that served as a precursor to the type of relaunches that would come.  However, most of the issues were released firmly within the Marvel NOW! banner.

Start here: If you liked volume 1, continue with…

3. Daredevil

by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Like Hawkeye, this relaunch began before the Marvel NOW! era and began immediately with critical acclaim.  A number of great artists joined Mark Waid to reinvent the way to visually tell a Daredevil story.  By the time Marvel NOW! came around, Chris Samnee became the regular series artist and co-storyteller.  The firstWaid/Samnee volumr  became one of the best Daredevil runs of all time.

Daredevil by Mark Waid begins here… Samnee joins Daredevil by Mark Waid here…
Daredevil by Mark Waid with Chris Samnee continues here… New Volume begins here as Daredevil by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

4. Superior Foes of Spider-Man

By Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber

Comedy is hard in any medium, though comics seems to be one of the most difficult.  Spencer and Lieber have impeccable “comic” timing in this short series.  They later brought this dynamic over to their creator-owned series “The Fix”

Start here: If you liked volume 1, continue with…

Bringing the Fun Back

These series show the great depth that Marvel NOW! brought to the publisher with books that appeal to different audiences, while at the same time are true to those early Marvel Books like Spider-Man and Fantastic Four.

5. Ms. Marvel

By G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Though the series is groundbreaking in terms of representation, it is also very reminiscent of those early Spider-Man adventures making Ms. Marvel one of the publishers premiere teen superhero books. Alphona also experiments much more with his art than in previous series.

Start here: If you liked volume 1, continue with…

6. Young Avengers

By Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
McKelvie and Gillen bring their youth sensibilities from their creator-owned Phonogram to Marvel. Even more, this book has music playlists and some very interesting panel layouts that takes the reading experience up a notch.

Start here: If you liked volume 1, continue with…

7. FF

By Matt Fraction and Michael Allred

The companion to Fraction and Bagley’s Fantastic Four, this book took the spotlight with an interesting replacement team (Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa and newcomer Darla Deering). Michael Allred’s pop-art style and callbacks to Lee and Kirby’s original Fantastic Four run added history to this modern run and hit all the right notes.

Start here (splits with FF and Fantastic Four): If you liked volume 1, continue with…

Epic Rides

These next runs are epic in scope; daring premises, longstanding consequences and wide spanning journeys.

8. Superior Spider-Man

By Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, Humberto Ramos, and Giuseppe Camuncoli

Doctor Octopus takes over Spider-Man’s body, life and secret identity in this controversial but (eventually) praised rollercoaster-ride of a run.

Start here: If you liked volume 1, continue with…
Even more Superior fun with Team-Up

If you like this, you’ll like: Spider-Verse:

9. Thor, God of Thunder

By Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic
A story that spans generations, from young thor before he became Worthy to Old Man Thor, the new All-Father, this run’s epicness is only amplified by Esad Ribic’s grandiose illustrations. This story is followed by a newly unworthy Thor Odinson replaced by a mysterious new “Thor”.

Start here… If you liked volume 1, continue with…

If you liked this, continued with Aaron’s follow “Thor”, With Russell Dauterman

10. Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers

By Jonathan Hickman and various artists
Jonathan Hickman’s intricate storytelling spanned two titles and events, culmiminating in the new Secret Wars. You can read just the Avengers, New Avengers or both. Try the first trades of each.

Start here with Avengers Start here with New Avengers Avengers Volume 2 Avengers Volume 3: Prelude to Infinity
Infinity (Contains the next 3 TPBs) New Avengers Vol. 2: Infinity (included in Infinity) Avengers Vol. 4: Infinity (included in Infinity) Avengers Volume 5
New Avengers Volume 3 Avengers Volume 6 New Avengers Volume 4 Time Runs Out (New Avengers and Avengers)
>Time Runs Out Continues Secret Wars

Honorable Mentions

Like what you read? Then continue with these great deep cuts!
Silver Surfer: A Doctor Who Style cosmic adventure by Dan Slott and Michael Allred

She-Hulk: A legal drama adventure by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido

Secret Avengers: A funny, crazy adventure that features a lovestruck M.O.D.O.K. by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh

All-New X-Men: The Original 5 X-Men are brought to the present in this beautiful story by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

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