Recently I've been on a bit of a Marvel binge. While I may have some issues with the movies (queue feminist angry rant about Natasha not having her own movie and only being a pick-me-up for Bruce's issues in AoU) but I do still love them, all action packed and gun slinging, and I wanted to learn more about the canon universe.
So first I read Civil War in preparation for the movie, which I thought was really cool. Set quite far through the MU timeline, it tells of the increasingly tense war between Captain America and Iron Man over the announcement of tagging all superhuman and mutant people. After what he went through with Ultron, Tony is all for being controlled and governed but Steve of course thinks it is beyond totalitarian and against basic human rights. The fight pulled in all the superheroes, most of whom I recognised but a few I had to look up and escalated badly until something insane happened. Reading this gave me a better appreciation for the movies as well as more background and forethought before the movie comes out next year.
I also read The Scarlet Witch which is a set of solo stories after she parted ways from the Avengers. I didn't like this one as much, it was too far away in the timeline from anything I recognised but it did give me some insight into the character plus some cool cameos from Doctor Strange.
Next up was Thor, volumes 1 and 2, set after the events of Civil War and Ragnarok (which I haven't read but it's the next Thor movie I believe). So I was a little out of sorts with a few things I didn't understand but the basic knowledge was there, like how Doctor Donald Blake was Thor's mortal disguise and Loki's habit for making mischief. Plus this was not an origin story so there was already knowledge and some interaction with the Avengers and Tony and everyone. As Thor tries to rebuild Asgard, he encounters a couple of issues with getting the souls of his friends back from the unwitting humans housing them. Yeah, it was that kind of story! I do really like Thor and adored hearing more from him and his story and home.
The main thing I realised while reading these: the movies missed out so much! Don't get me wrong, the films do the graphic novels justice but just like with any adaptation, things get skipped over or re-done. And as per usual, the original comics have much more in-depth background and development and I loved that.
And finally: Avengers Disassembled! The world has had enough of superheroes and their habit of destroying everything while trying to save them. The return of a fellow Avenger long assumed dead really throws the team off, only made worse by a weird supernatural force making Tony, She-Hulk and Vision act bizarre. For the most part, it was all action and not really necessary to have read the previous comics. Two things I loved the best: the look back at the teams greatest moments and 'old with the old, in with the new' approach to set up the New Avengers - which I am extremely excited about by the way!