Read it before you see it: 'Captain America: Civil War'
The number of comic book-based movies and TV shows hitting screens in the past couple years is overwhelming. Just thinking about the dozens yet to come can make anyone's head spin. Fear not, fellow nerds, head geeks over at the Times have you covered.
More than 20 movies based on comic book characters and storylines are planned to hit theaters between 2016 and 2020. Many of these characters have hundreds of different comics that explain their origins, their enemies and sometimes their downfalls.
It's not necessary to read the hundreds of Captain America comics before seeing Captain America: Civil War in May, or try to research the various origin stories for every villain in Suicide Squad.
We created guides to essential comics and graphic novels you should read before or after seeing the movies Marvel and DC will bless us with in the next four years.
Note: These lists are by no means comprehensive nor are they set in any particular order. They are simply staff favorites and recommendations from fellow comic book lovers. And for even more comic book recommendations: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Captain America: Civil War
Compiling a must-read list of comics for Marvel's Civil War is not as easy as it seems. Sure, most of the tie-in comics have a giant CIVIL WAR logo on the front to differentiate them from others, but there are hundreds of superheros and villains in the Marvel universe, each with their own personal reasons for picking a side. Many of the characters in the upcoming film aren't featured as prominently in the comics, and some important characters from the comics may not be seen in the film.
Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For a review of Captain America: Civil War, check out our movie critic's thoughts.
The complete event of the Civil War is collected in seven issues. This 208-page book details what started the rift between the superheroes, who the key players are and who's on what side.
The conflict has been brewing for more than a year, the Avengers have disassembled and chose #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan and longtime friends have been pitted against one another. The Marvel universe won't be the same after this war is over.
If you ask any comic book store employee or Marvel aficionado, they'll say this is the only collection you'll need to understand the war.
If you're really diggin' Civil War, you might also like ...
The Road to Civil War
Before the split, the road to Civil War was paved with secret meetings, agreements, plans for organization and people taking sides.
IronMan forms a secret group of superheros and proposes a pseudo-government to better manage the supers, mutants and Avengers. Naturally, this doesn't sit well with everyone. Spiderman gets a new suit from IronMan Tony Stark with a proposal to be IronMan's right hand man in the coming conflict. Stark also enlists the scientific minds of the Fantastic Four to join his team.
If you're #TeamCap
Captain America: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection
Captain's longtime enemy, the Red Skull, is finally dead but this villain leaves behind terror in his wake including details of what happened to Steve Rogers' best friend, Bucky Barnes. Get to know the Winter Soldier and his ties to Captain America before seeing them both on the big screen again.
Captain America: Sam Wilson
Steve Rogers is restored to his natural age (but is still buff as ever) so he chooses one of his closest friends, Falcon, to carry the shield and continue the legacy of Captain America.
If you're #TeamIronMan
Black Panther vol. 3 and Civil War: Black Panther
King T'Challa is one of the newest heroes in the Marvel universe, but he's arguably the coolest. Get to know Black Panther as he juggles being African monarch and also the sleek superhero with deadly claws while watching his interactions with key players in the coming civil war, including an important meeting with Tony Stark.
The new ongoing Black Panther series by Ta'Nehisi Coates that started last month is also a highly-recommended grab.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War
War is imminent in the superhero community, and so is Tony Stark's proposed superhero registration plan. With his new spidey suit gift from Stark, Peter Parker must make a personal decision that will bring big changes to both his own life and to the lives of other supers. The biggest challenge will prove to be sticking to that decision.
Have better suggestions for Civil War or suggestions for future next Marvel and DC movies?
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.