Guide Part 12 (Dark Reign)

The Green Goblin’s Dark Reign

If your lone exposure to the Green Goblin is Willem Dafoe’s sinister, short-sighted movie version, a Marvel Universe overtaken by good ol’ Gobby might seem like a stretch. Yet in the aftermath of Secret Invasion, the Green Goblin, aka Norman Osborne exacts a systematic political takeover so thorough that superheroes and villains completely reverse roles.


It’s another fantastic concept, one that takes a look at the world of Marvel through the lens of the bad guys on top. With great power comes great responsibility; but what happens when great power is augmented by the power of the people and there’s no responsibility to be found?

Technically speaking, Dark Reign is not another Marvel event. That said it’s a thematically connected segue between Secret Invasion and Siege, and there is without a doubt an order to the reading of these events.

Unlike the issue-by-issue reading lists for Secret Invasion or Civil War, Dark Reign operates in a slightly less connected state. As a result, you can read entire clumps of story arcs at once and not feel like you’re missing much of anything chronologically. This makes trade reading of Dark Reign substantially easier, although there are a LOT of arcs to try and get a handle on.

See below for a complete list by issue & trade reading order. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this list, I can be reached here.

Previous: Secret Invasion & Tie-Ins

Dark Reign Trade Collections

You can use the list below, or check out the Comic Book Herald picks for best Dark Reign comics!

 

The Complete Issue by Issue Reading Order List

  • Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1 (One Shot)
  • New Avengers #48
  • Thunderbolts #126-127
  • Invincible Iron Man #8
  • Avengers: The Initiative #20
  • Avengers: The Initiative #21-23
  • Secret Invasion: Requiem #1 (One Shot)
  • New Avengers #049
  • Dark Reign Files #1 (One Shot)
  • Dark Avengers #1
  • Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1-2
  • Wolverine Origins #33-36
  • Thunderbolts #128-129
  • Deadpool #6-7
  • Avengers: The Initiative #24
  • Deadpool #8
  • Thunderbolts #130
  • Deadpool #9
  • Thunderbolts #131
  • Dark Avengers #2-4
  • Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3-5
  • Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1-5
  • Dark Wolverine #75-#77
  • Ms. Marvel #35-46
  • Dark Reign: Elektra #1-5
  • Spider-Woman #1-7
  • Captain America #49-50
  • Dark Reign: New Nation #1 (One Shot)
  • The Skrull Kill Krew #1-5
  • New Avengers: The Reunion #1-4
  • Secret Warriors #1-6
  • Agents of Atlas #1-8
  • Black Panther #1-6
  • Dark Reign: The Hood #1-5
  • Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #1-3
  • The Punisher #1-10
  • Dark Reign: Zodiac #1-3
  • Savage She-Hulk #1-4
  • SWORD #1-5
  • Vengeance of The Moon Knight #1-5
  • War Machine #1-5
  • The Mighty Avengers #21-23
  • Incredible Hercules #127-128
  • MODOK Reign Delay #1 (One Shot)
  • Dark Reign: The Goblin Legacy #1 (One Shot)
  • Dark Reign: Made Men #1 (One Shot)
  • Dark Reign: The Cabal #1 (One Shot)
  • Thor #600-603
  • Mighty Avengers #24-26
  • New Avengers #50-54
  • Mighty Avengers #27-#31
  • Dark Avengers #5-6
  • Captain America #600
  • Amazing Spider-Man #595-599
  • Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #1-4
  • Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1-5
  • Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1-3
  • Dark Wolverine #78-80
  • Invincible Iron Man #9-11
  • War Machine #6-10
  • Avengers: The Initiative #25
  • War Machine #11-12
  • Invincible Iron Man #12-13
  • Avengers: The Initiative #26
  • Avengers: The Initiative #27
  • Deadpool #10-12
  • New Avengers #55-58
  • Mighty Avengers #32-33
  • Uncanny X-Men Annual #2
  • Dark X-men: The Beginning #1-3
  • X-Men Legacy #226-227
  • Dark Avengers X-Men Utopia #1
  • Uncanny X-Men #513
  • Dark Avengers #7
  • Uncanny X-Men #514
  • Dark Avengers #8
  • Dark Avengers X-Men Exodus #1
  • Dark X-Men: The Confession #1
  • Dark Reign The List: X-Men #1
  • Dark X-Men #1-5
  • Planet Skaar Prologue #1
  • Skaar Son of Hulk #11-12 (Skaar vs. Hulk.)
  • Hulk #13
  • Incredible Hulks #601-603
  • Dark Reign The List: Hulk #1
  • Incredible Hulk #604-605
  • Avengers: The Initiative #28-30
  • New Avengers #59-60
  • Dark Reign The List: Avengers #1
  • New Avengers Annual #3
  • Mighty Avengers #34
  • Dark Reign The List: Daredevil #1
  • Dark Wolverine #81
  • Dark Reign The List Wolverine #1
  • Dark Avengers Annual #1
  • Thunderbolts #132-134
  • Secret Warriors #7
  • Thunderbolts #135
  • Secret Warriors #8
  • Thunderbolts #136
  • Secret Warriors #9
  • Dark Avengers: Ares #1-3
  • Dark Reign The List: Secret Warriors #1
  • Secret Warriors #10
  • Invincible Iron Man #14-17
  • Thunderbolts #137
  • Dark Reign The List: Punisher #1
  • Dark Reign The List: Amazing Spider-Man One-Shot #1
  • Invincible Iron Man #18-19
  • Dark Avengers 9-12
  • Avengers: The Initiative #31
  • Thunderbolts #138-140
  • Captain America Reborn #1-6
  • Invincible Iron Man #20-24
  • Thor Giant-Size Finale #1 (One Shot)
  • Thor #604-606
  • Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield?

Next: Siege & Tie-Ins

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38 Replies to “Guide Part 12 (Dark Reign)”

  1. Hi!
    Reading this by issues seems like a lot of effort but I feel like I’d miss a lot by going through entire series. What do you recommend?

      1. The Dark Reign books and the New Avengers material will definitely give you a strong feel for the “event.”

        I’d also encourage Punisher (it’s a great run rooted in Dark Reign, and I’m not a big Punisher guy), and Captain America Reborn towards the end. Otherwise, it’s more up to you which titles most interest you in general. Amazing Spider-Man is another strong title for relevance to consider here as well.

        Hope that helps some!

  2. Just wanted to leave a quick note for anyone who is trying to read through this “event”. I know it says that the “Dark Reign – Zodiac” collection is out of print, which is true, but the mini-series is included in the “Dark Reign – The Underside” trade along with the “Lethal Legion”, “Mister Negative” and “Made Men” minis and one-shots.

    Happy reading!

  3. Hey can you give me a definite spot to put the Marvel Spotlight Dark Reign issue? I don’t want anything spoiled by my reading it too soon in the timeline.

  4. You have three trades worth of Mighty Avengers listed in the trade order, however the middle trade, I believe issues 27-31, aren’t in the individual issue reading order, where should those be read?

    1. Really just depends if you want to tackle Marvel Cosmic or Earth first. They’re published over the same time period (2009). To my recollection, not much overlap.

  5. First off. Excellent job with the reading orders. This is by far the most comprehensive list I have ever seen and thank you greatly for putting the time and effort into this. It is greatly appreciated! I am enjoying comics even more so now that I can keep them in order.

    I am catching up on all things X-Men starting from House of M. I just finished Secret Invasion and am getting into the Dark Reign era. I’m mainly focusing on X-Men and purchased Utopia and Nation X. My question is, is it necessary to ready Dark Avengers TPB Vol 1 prior to Utopia? Will I be missing a lot without the Dark Avengers backstory? I also haven’t purchased any other Dark Reign trades yet. Ordered Dark Avengers on Amazon but it’s out of stock and I’m holding off on reading Utopia. Is Dark Avengers a requirement before getting into Utopia?

    Thanks greatly,
    Phillip

    1. Personally, I think Utopia will make more sense if you know the Dark Avengers first. I’d imagine you’ll be able to get most of Utopia without it (Bad guy Avengers, ok, got it), but if you’re newer to the Marvel U it will help with a lot of “Wait, who’s that?” moments. Plus, Dark Avengers is pretty good on its own.

      Enjoy the comics!

      1. Thanks, Dave! I found Dark Avengers on another site since still not on Amazon. I’ll read that first then Utopia. Thanks again for all the help!

  6. My only issue with this so far is that War Machine #6 is listed twice. I assume the first listing of War Machine, should be #1-#5 and not #1-#6? Can anyone confirm?

    1. My only issue with this so far is that War Machine #6 is listed twice. I assume the first listing of War Machine, should be #1-#5 and not #1-#6? Can anyone confirm?

      Also Avengers: The Initiative #27 is listed twice, like right after eachother?

  7. I’m not sure why you haven’t included Punisher #7-#10 as well.

    It’s all Dark Reign Era stuff. Not to mention #6 is the first of a five-parter.

  8. Unless I’m missing something, int these orders Daredevil jumps straight from #115 ( near but not at the end of Brubakers run), in the run up to Secret Invasion to #508 in Shadowlands. I feel like there should be some here? I guess it might not tie in directly, but not having it anywhere led me to believe it would tie in and reading past 115 would spoil this event or a concurrent one.

    1. Daredevil’s numbering jumps from 119 to 500 at the end of Brubaker’s run before becoming Black Panther: Man Without Fear from issue 513 (post Shadowland) and then restarting with a new Number 1 for Mark Waid’s first run after Daredevil: Reborn.

      As far as tie-ins to major events go, 116-119 and 500-507 establish a lot of the characters and settings for Shadowland as somewhat of a prelude to the event as Brubaker leaves and Diggle takes over the series.

      It used to be very rare for Daredevil books to actively participate in large Universe-spanning cross-overs because of the nature of his stories.

      But yeah, short answer: the issues are useful for buildup to Shadowland but not necessary if you only want to hit the big plot points.

  9. Hi Dave. First of all thanks for the guide. It’s helped me get my shelves of tpbs in order!

    Quick question though.. The Deadpool issues jump from 12 here to 23 in heroic age. When should I read issues 13-22? As 13 is the first issue of the 2nd Daniel way collection, this also determines where the book sits on the shelf. Much obliged.

  10. These lists are ridiculous. You’ve done an incredible job. Seriously indispensable. Can’t say enough good things.

    I think you’ve got S.W.O.R.D. listed too early. I just got to that point, its publishing date is way ahead of the other stuff I’ve read and jumps past a lot of Avengers stuff (early 2010 as opposed to mid-2009), and the second issue opens with an “ex-Avenger and fugitive” who I last saw still on the team. I know you listed it as one of your favorites, so people might get the most out of it if you slotted it 5 or 6 months down the list.

    Thanks again for all your work.

    1. You’re right, Will! Going with what you’ve hinted at in your comment, I believe S.W.O.R.D. should be placed after Dark Avengers #6.

  11. Dave, I’ve said this before in many other comments all over the lists, but I love your site, and can’t thank you enough everytime you get me out of a tough spot continuity wise. In this case, and only for the sake of completion, Ms. Marvel31 through 34 should be mentioned in the issue by issue reading order, as they give some background to Carol, and tie into the Dark Reign event with her last comment on issue 31 (Not gonna spoil it for anyone), and since they have redacted notes from general Morales to Norman Osborn at the start of each issue. I must point out though that they are not mandatory to unserstand the event, but they do make for a fun read.

  12. Hi,

    Really find the list useful, however seem to have found a lot of gaps in the reading due to missing issues such as in the amazing Spider-Man universe a lot of the story is missed where lily is the menace ?

    Also found this with the X-men when magik is suddenly back from limbo ? Where does X-infernus fit into all this ?

    1. Hey Josh,

      Amazing Spider-Man had an explosion of issues around this period. Three a month, if I’m correct. The X-Men had a period called “Manifest Destiny” before “Utopia” and “Nation X”. Dave hasn’t listed this period in the X-Men reading order. I’ve looking into it for myself, and eventually I got this (this is going to be a long one, so be advised)…

      – X-Men: Messiah CompleX (let’s start here)
      – Wolverine: Get Mystique (Wolverine #62-65)
      – X-Men: Divided We Stand
      – X-Force, Vol. 3 #1-11
      – X-Men: Manifest Destiny, Part 1: Young X-Men #1-5, Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1-4, X-Men: Manifest Destiny – Nightcrawler, X-Men: Manifest Destiny #1-5, Astonishing X-Men #25-30
      – X-Men: Original Sin: Wolverine: Origins #28, X-Men: Original Sin #1, X-Men Legacy #217, Wolverine: Origins #29, X-Men Legacy #218, Wolverine: Origins #30-32
      – X-Men: Manifest Destiny, Part 2: Uncanny X-men #500-503
      – Amazing Spider-Man #546-567 AKA “Brand New Day”
      – Secret Invasion
      – Captain Britain and MI-13 #5-9+Annual #1+#10-15 (continues straight from Secret Invasion, that’s why I’m adding this one)
      – Amazing Spider-Man Annual #35, #568-574, Extra #1 (only story 1!), #575-582, Extra #2
      – War of Kings (only added this because you might want to know what happens to the Shi’ar, the Starjammers, and Cyclops’s evil brother Vulcan)
      – Amazing Spider-Man #583-587, Extra #1 (story 2+3), #588, Extra #3, #589
      – X-Men: Worlds Apart (limited series, 4 issues)
      – X-Men: Manifest Destiny, Part 3: Uncanny X-Men #504-507
      – X-Infernus (you might want to read the “Saga” issue to really get up to speed with Illyana)
      – Cable, Vol. 2 #1-12
      – X-Men: Manifest Destiny, Part 4: Eternals #7-9, Uncanny X-Men #508-512
      – X-Force #12-13
      – Messiah War
      – X-Force #17-20+Annual #1+X-Force: Sex & Violence #1-3
      – Dark Reign:
      Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1 (One Shot)
      New Avengers #48
      Thunderbolts #126-127
      Invincible Iron Man #8
      Avengers: The Initiative #20
      Avengers: The Initiative #21-23
      Secret Invasion: Requiem #1 (One Shot)
      New Avengers #049
      Dark Reign Files #1 (One Shot)
      Dark Avengers #1
      Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1-2
      Wolverine Origins #33-36
      Thunderbolts #128-129
      Deadpool #6-7
      Avengers: The Initiative #24
      Deadpool #8
      Thunderbolts #130
      Deadpool #9
      Thunderbolts #131
      Dark Avengers #2-4
      Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3-5

      – #590-594, Annual #36

      Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1-5
      Dark Wolverine #75-#77
      Ms. Marvel #31-50
      Dark Reign: Elektra #1-5
      Spider-Woman #1-7
      Captain America #49-50
      Dark Reign: New Nation #1 (One Shot)
      The Skrull Kill Krew #1-5
      New Avengers: The Reunion #1-4
      Secret Warriors #1-6
      Agents of Atlas #1-11
      Black Panther #1-6
      Dark Reign: The Hood #1-5
      Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #1-3
      The Punisher #1-10
      Dark Reign: Zodiac #1-3
      Savage She-Hulk #1-4
      Vengeance of The Moon Knight #1-5
      War Machine #1-5
      The Mighty Avengers #21-23
      Incredible Hercules #127-128
      MODOK Reign Delay #1 (One Shot)
      Dark Reign: The Goblin Legacy #1 (One Shot)
      Dark Reign: Made Men #1 (One Shot)
      Dark Reign: The Cabal #1 (One Shot)
      Thor #600-603 (Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter, concurrently)
      Mighty Avengers #24-26
      New Avengers #50-54
      Mighty Avengers #27-#31
      Dark Avengers #5-6
      SWORD #1-5
      Captain America #600
      Amazing Spider-Man #595-599
      Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #1-4
      Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1-5
      Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1-3
      Dark Wolverine #78-80
      Invincible Iron Man #9-11
      War Machine #6-10
      Avengers: The Initiative #25
      War Machine #11-12
      Invincible Iron Man #12-13
      Avengers: The Initiative #26
      Avengers: The Initiative #27
      Deadpool #10-12
      New Avengers #55-58
      Mighty Avengers #32-33
      Uncanny X-Men Annual #2
      Dark X-men: The Beginning #1-3
      X-Men Legacy #226-227
      Dark Avengers X-Men Utopia #1
      Uncanny X-Men #513
      Dark Avengers #7
      Uncanny X-Men #514
      Dark Avengers #8
      Dark Avengers X-Men Exodus #1
      Dark X-Men: The Confession #1
      Deadpool #15-16
      Dark Reign The List: X-Men #1

      – X-Nation

      Dark X-Men #1-5
      Planet Skaar Prologue #1
      Skaar Son of Hulk #11-12 (Skaar vs. Hulk.)
      Hulk #13
      Incredible Hulks #601-603
      Dark Reign The List: Hulk #1
      Incredible Hulk #604-605
      Avengers: The Initiative #28-30
      New Avengers #59-60
      Dark Reign The List: Avengers #1
      New Avengers Annual #3
      Mighty Avengers #34
      Dark Reign The List: Daredevil #1
      Dark Wolverine #81
      Dark Reign The List Wolverine #1
      Dark Avengers Annual #1
      Thunderbolts #132-134
      Secret Warriors #7
      Thunderbolts #135
      Secret Warriors #8
      Thunderbolts #136
      Secret Warriors #9
      Dark Avengers: Ares #1-3
      Dark Reign The List: Secret Warriors #1
      Secret Warriors #10
      Invincible Iron Man #14-17
      Thunderbolts #137
      Dark Reign The List: Punisher #1
      Dark Reign The List: Amazing Spider-Man One-Shot #1
      Invincible Iron Man #18-19
      Dark Avengers 9-12
      Avengers: The Initiative #31
      Thunderbolts #138-140
      Captain America Reborn #1-6
      Invincible Iron Man #20-24
      Thor Giant-Size Finale #1 (One Shot)
      Thor #604-606
      Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield?

      1. Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3-5

        – #590-594, Annual #36

        Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1-5

        Missed a bit. Of course I’m talking about Amazing Spider-Man #590-594, Annual #36

  13. I am looking for a little help! In all your other reading orders you put the published years for each comic at the end. I don’t know which Captain America run you are referencing when you have the 49-50 listed. Which year run is this? Thanks! Love all of the reading orders, it has helped me get into comics so much more.

  14. If case anyone is looking for Incredible Hulk #604-605 on MU, its under Incredible Hulks not Hulk.

    Dave, thank you so much for all your lists. I’m relatively new (new as in started 3 years ago) to the Marvel world and your lists have been exactly what I wanted when I started.

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