Guide Part 7 (Civil War)

Marvel Heroes Collide in Civil War

While Avengers Disassembled started it all, and the likes of House of M and Secret Invasion certainly have their merits, Civil War is really the mega Marvel event of the 2000s. Hero vs Hero, Villains turned ‘Heroes,’ and answers to the age old question – Who would win in a fight: Captain America or Iron Man?


Whether we’re talking sales, attention, or sheer scale, Civil War was a watershed moment for event-driven comics (for better or worse). While it’s hardly the first ever event featuring tie-ins, Civil War marked the moment in the 2000’s were nearly every title was pulled into an event-specific plot. Don’t believe me? Check out the the official issue-by-issue reading order below compared to House of M. Just a bit more… expansive.

On top of all that, Civil War is the inspiration for the third Captain America Marvel movie, and the start of MCU Phase 3, featuring the crossover inclusion of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and just about every hero we’ve seen to date.

Certainly makes for some interesting reading (with the help of a good guide to navigate the continuity, of course). Below you’ll find my preferred order for the Civil War collected trades, followed by an issue by issue breakdown of every tie-in. As always, hope you enjoy! If you have questions or concerns, let me hear about it, or let’s talk on Twitter!

Cap vs Iron Man

Previously: Decimation & Tie-Ins

Elsewhere: Looking for Civil War II (2016)?

Civil War Trade Reading Timeline

Main Marvel Characters in Civil War

Below you’ll find reading orders for certain characters playing a prominent role in Captain America: Civil War, a major installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Note that these reading orders are for the character’s entire history in the Marvel Universe, and not just their involvement in Civil War. For just Civil War, see the Marvel Unlimited issue by issue reading order below.

Captain America

Iron Man

Black Panther

Black Widow

Spider-Man

Ant-Man

Avengers

Marvel Unlimited Event Reading Order

The Road to Civil War

  • Amazing Spider-Man #529
  • New Avengers: Illuminati
  • Amazing Spider-Man #530
  • Fantastic Four #536 – #537
  • Amazing Spider-Man #531
  • Civil War: Opening Shot #1

Stamford Bomb

  • Civil War #1
  • She-Hulk #8
  • Black Panther #17
  • Wolverine #42
  • New Avengers #21
  • X-Factor #8
  • Civil War: Front Line #1
  • Amazing Spider-Man #532

The Act Passes / Sides Are Chosen

  • Civil War #2
  • Amazing Spider-Man #533
  • Civil War: Front Line #2
  • She-Hulk #9
  • Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts #103
  • New Avengers #22
  • Blade #4
  • Sensational Spider-Man #28
  • X-Factor #9
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #11 – #13

Opening Shots

  • Civil War: Front Line #3
  • Heroes For Hire #1
  • Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways #1 – #4
  • Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts #104 – #105
  • Cable & Deadpool #30
  • Fantastic Four #538
  • New X-Men #28 – #32
    • Not direct tie-ins but connect to Storm’s events in Black Panther #18
  • Black Panther #18
  • Civil War: Frontline #4
  • Daredevil #87
    • Another indirect tie-in that explains Daredevil’s appearances during Civil War
  • Civil War: Choosing Sides #1
  • Black Panther #19
  • Iron Man #13
  • Black Panther #20
  • Civil War: Front Line #5
  • Sensational Spider-Man #29 – #31

War

  • Civil War #3
  • Civil War #4
  • Civil War: Front Line #6
  • Cable & Deadpool #31 – #32
  • Wolverine #43 – #45
  • Captain America #22 – #23
  • Civil War: Front Line #7
  • Amazing Spider-Man #534
  • Fantastic Four #539
  • Black Panther #21 – #22
  • Civil War: X-Men #1 – #4
  • Heroes For Hire #2 – #3
  • Ms. Marvel #6 – #8
  • New Avengers #23 – #24
  • Civil War: The Return
  • Captain America/Iron Man: Casualties of War
  • Wolverine #46 – #47
  • Black Panther #23
  • Captain America #24
  • Civil War: Front Line #8

Introspection

  • Wolverine #48
  • Fantastic Four #540
  • Amazing Spider-Man #535
  • Civil War #5
  • Punisher War Journal #1
  • Fantastic Four #541
  • Civil War: War Crimes #1
  • Civil War: Front Line #9
  • Moon Knight #7 – #10
  • Fantastic Four #542
  • Amazing Spider-Man #536
  • Iron Man #14
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14 – #16
  • Blade #5
  • Sensational Spider-Man #32 – #34
  • Winter Solider: Winter Kills #1

Final Battle

  • Amazing Spider-Man #537
  • Black Panther #24
  • Punisher War Journal #2
  • Civil War #6
  • Punisher War Journal #3
  • New Avengers #25
  • Civil War: Front Line #10
  • Civil War #7
  • Black Panther #25

Conclusion

  • Amazing Spider-Man #538 – #539
  • Fantastic Four #543
  • Civil War: Front Line #11
  • Ghost Rider #8
    • Very loose tie-in so passable if you want to get to the real meat below.
  • Captain America #25
  • Civil War: Fallen Son #1 – #5
  • Civil War: The Initiative #1
  • Civil War: The Confession

Next: The Initiative and comics between Civil War & Secret Invasion


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88 Replies to “Guide Part 7 (Civil War)”

  1. Just wondering where you feel “Moon Knight” 07, 08, 09 (and possibly 10) fit into the ‘Civil War’ Story Arc. “Moon Knight” (07, 08, 09) are ‘Casualties of War’ issues (issue 10 continues the ‘Midnight Sun’ story line started in 07, 08, 09)?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. Thank you. As a newcomer to comic books, all of this is hugely confusing. I was interested in Civil War because I heard good about it, but typing in “Marvel Civil War” in amazon results in probably a kajillion hits.

    Now I ordered Road to Civil War and Civil War (208 pages… whoa). But I have to admit, I don’t know what a Tie-in trade is (non native speaker). I assume these are sidestories told inbetween the main story? Let’s see if I get some of those

    1. You pretty much have it. A publisher like Marvel has series of comic books that run year-round. For example, Amazing Spider-Man is available as a single issue every month (or sometimes multiple times per month) on Wednesdays (new comic book day!). For parts of the year, Amazing Spider-Man is telling stories about Peter Parker and his adventures as Spidey. When an event launches (like Civil War), suddenly Spidey’s universe is embroiled in this larger Universe-wide event. So Amazing Spider-Man as an individual series becomes a tie-in, explaining how Spider-Man fits into the overall event, and providing more detail from Spidey’s point of view on the overarching narrative.

      Some tie-ins are much more directly related to an event than others. In the example above, The Amazing Spider-Man Civil War tie-ins actually do a lot to add to the story. Some – for example, the Moon Knight tie-ins – don’t really add much to the story, but technically do relate to the same time period in Marvel continuity.

      Hope that helps clear this up some!

    1. Certainly an option, but generally checklists from the publisher are based on publication date. This doesn’t always (or even usually) present the best reading order, which I’ve attempted to create here.

  3. Thank you for what you’ve done here. Very nice work, but I have 4 questions/comments/concerns:

    #1 – You have left out Amazing Spider-Man #530 which is included in the TPB Road To Civil War. I am guessing this is an oversight as you likely intended it to be connected with either #529 or #530.

    #2 – You have Civil War: The Return twice on your list (at 79 and 123 by my count) I am not sure what happened here.

    #3 – Near the end, you list Fantastic Four #534 (which actually was published the previous year) I am guessing you meant to indicate #543-#544

    #4 – Your list does not include 3 other issues which are included in the Comixology Civil War Bundle from near the end: Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. # 15, Mighty Avengers #1 and Avengers: The Initiative. Is this because you view these issues as part of a different story arch?

    Thanks again for your work.

    1. Thanks for the help, Barry!

      In regards to the last question, I consider those issues transitional – from Civil War to the next stage in the MU – but not a part of the Civil War event. Certainly don’t discourage reading them once you’re done with the event, but that’s why.

      1. Thanks again. I really appreciate that you responded and reacted so quickly. Plus I am glad that you took my comments as feedback and not criticism.

        Keep up the incredible work!

  4. Hey, I’m reading through the Cosmic Marvel stuff and I’ve come to the beginning of Annihilation: Conquest. While I’m going to press on with the Cosmic stuff, I’m suddenly intrigued by the earth-bound Civil War. At what point does this list intersect with Nova’s return home: After this list ends, or at some point in the middle?
    I’m also curious to know if I can simply skim through the Civil War main piece without tie-ins and still grasp the story as background for Nova 1-7.

    1. Top of my head it’s Nova #2 that he comes to Earth. This is after Civil War has ended, and the earthbound Marvel U is in The Initiative stage of registered heroes.

      You could definitely do the main Civil War issues w/o tie-ins for background to Nova. Should be well covered there.

  5. Hello 🙂 I just recently bought my first comic book (or collection of comic books) and it just happened to be Civil War, but I was a bit disappointed that it didnt include the death of Captain America and although I plan on buying them all I really want to know which collection it would be in.

  6. Hi, I’m not entirely sure what page to post this on, but this seems like the most relevant page…
    I would like to start reading the Thor TPBs starting post-Civil War roughly up to the modern day. I know the post-Civil War Thor comics start with J. Michael Straczynski’s run, but I am getting a bit lost on where it goes from there… Any chance you could help?
    Thanks, Jack

    1. haha, I am in the same boat, picked up Thor Vol. 1 by JMS out of curiosity because I liked the movie and since then try to read the entire run and, boy!, is it complicated. One would think it would just go Thor Vol1, Thor vol2, thor vol 3 thor vol 4, thor vol 5 etc, no, extremely complicated.

      But Dave recently posted a Thor reading order
      http://www.comicbookherald.com/thor-reading-order/
      which is a tremendous help, especially since he posted Amazon links (although not entirely helping, since I live in germany)

      What you want is everything in chapter IV) and onwards.
      I have tremendous fun reading the Thor story and I hope you will have as much fun as I have.

  7. Thanks for the lists!

    Just one question (newby to comics). If I buy all the items listed on the ‘Civil War Trade Reading Timeline’ (which are mostly combined comics) do I have every comic listed on the ‘Marvel Unlimited Event Reading Order’? Or do I still need to order some individual comics?

    Regards,

    Wesley

      1. For the most part, yes. There are a handful of characters that don’t have a “Civil War” trade, such as She-Hulk, Blade, and Cable & Deadpool.

        For She-Hulk by Dan Slott: The Complete Collection Volume 2 (She-Hulk: the Complete Collection)She-Hulk

        For Cable & Deadpool

        For Heroes for Hire (I just missed this one the first time around)

        And then for some of the odds and ends:

        Civil War Companion (Marvel Comics)Civil War Companion

        And Civil War: Marvel UniverseCivil War: Marvel Universe (note that this trade overlaps w/ the Cap Civil War trade).

        Then finally, for the fallout, there’s The Death of Captain America, Vol. 1: The Death of the DreamCaptain America #25 and Fallen Son: The Death of Captain AmericaFallen Son.

        That should darn near cover everything. Enjoy the comics!

        1. Thanks for all of this – one question I had (as a newbie) was what your recommendations are for getting my hands on all of these. I’m really into the tie-ins and have been enjoying the collected works so far, but I’m trying to figure out how to read everything affordably.

          For context – I am reading digitally on a Kindle Fire. The Comixology app reader is awesome…the resolution looks good, it fills the screen width, etc. On the other hand, more subscription-based stuff like Marvel Unlimited or Scribd pales in terms of the digital reader (in fact, MU isn’t even available for Kindle. I had to side-load it, and it works about 1/2 the time).

          Given that the Comixology reading experience is so dreamy, I tend toward that, but what I’ve realized (per your guide) is that I’d need to buy 6-8 trade paperbacks (or numerous single comics) via Comixology in order to get through the next few events (i.e. She-Hulk #8, Wolverine #42 and so on). That said, the cost does start to add up.

          Any ideas? Is there a subscription-based service with a great Kindle experience that I’m missing?

          1. For whatever reason, the Kindle has definitely gotten the short end of the stick for digital comics subscriptions. Marvel Unlimited has had a challenging time just keeping up with Android. That’s too bad to hear it isn’t a real viable Kindle solution because that’s without a doubt the best value to read all these books.

            You mention Scribd, so I assume you’ve given the free trial a shot. The Civil War selection is pretty spotty there – MU has a lot more. Marvel Unlimited and Scribd are the only two subscription services I know of that offer Marvel books.

            Wish I had a better secret answer for you, but Comixology is going to offer your best digital experience.

            That said, I’d also consider used TPBs on Amazon (can usually get these for very cheap) or – the best option of all time – your local library. I get TONS of comics through my library, so worth a shot to save some money!

        2. Thanks. I’ll stick with Comixology then. I’ve taken the just buying 6-7 issues at a time and reading that way. Great so far.

          Any cant-miss series I should check out?

        3. This list is awesome, and I have spent about 3 months acquiring the trades listed at the beginning. Knowing that I also purchased the Heroes for Hire Civil War, and Death of Captain America Vol. 1, is it necessary to purchase the She Hulk, Cable and Deadpool, and Marvel Universe trades, or are they just loose tie ins? Thanks in advance!

  8. I cannot seem to find where the 5 comic House of M Civil War series fits in the civil war reading order. Any help would be appreciated.

  9. If I were to start reading the civil war trade paperbacks, are the tie-ins absolutely necessary? Would the plot be understandable without massive holes in?

    1. When I was first getting into comics I read Civil War with none of the tie-ins, and it was largely understandable. Most of my questions stemmed from the state of the Marvel U at large (Where is Thor? Spider-Man & Iron Man are buddies?).

      So the short answer – I’d read Civil War, and then go back and fill in the tie-ins if you’re interested. The Amazing Spider-Man and Frontline tie-ins always stand out to me as adding the most to the story.

      1. I can see that Thor isn’t relevant to Civil War, and I have looked at the Thor-specific reading order, but where would you fit in JMS Thor in this timeline (aka do those Thor events happen before/during/after Civil war or does that even matter?)

        I have the Civil War trade and JMS Thor Vol. 1, also planning on getting Road to Civil War as it seems important.

        Love these guides btw (:

  10. I tried to find a correct reading order but I found a lot of different lists in different orders and even different comics in it. The “official” order on the Marvel website seems to be incorrect because they didn’t even have Civil war #5 in there.

    I’ve read this comics already in that exact order:

    #Prologue

    The Invincible Iron Man Execute Program Part 1 to 6 of 6.

    #Stamford Disaster

    New Avengers: Illuminati
    Amazing Spider-Man #529
    Amazing Spider-Man #530
    Amazing Spider-Man #531
    Fantastic Four #536
    Fantastic Four #537
    Civil War #1

    Now I don’t know where to go. Here it says is She-Hulk #8, other places Amazing Spider-Man #532, others New Avengers #21. What do I do?

    1. Roll with the Comic Book Herald reading order 🙂

      In all seriousness, I really like the guide we have here. It’s gone through a few revisions, and multiple comic book fans ordering it in the best possible order.

      That said, Marvel events are not always completely, 100% linear. We try to get as close to linear as possible, though, so I’d encourage you to give the order here a try.

      1. Curious, does the New Avengers Prelude (just dropped 03/10) fit neatly directly in front of The Road to Civil War, replacing it as the event starting point?

        Thanks –

  11. Also, regarding the suggested reading order, shouldn’t the reading order reflect:

    Amazing Spider-Man #529 – Begins with flashback of many years ago; Transitions to one month ago.
    New Avengers Illuminati #1 – Begins with Illuminati meeting of many years ago; Culminates with Illuminati meeting that happens immediately prior to events of ASM #530
    Incredible Hulk #92 – Elaborates “Hulk” events alluded to in Illuminati #1
    Amazing Spider-Man #530 – Immediately follows Illuminati #1
    Fantastic Four #536 – #537 – No mention of timing of events (if I remember correctly) – Could probably even read after ASM #531
    Amazing Spider-Man #531 – Immediately follows ASM #530
    Civil War: Opening Shot #1

    Civil War: Opening Shot #1
    Civil War #1

    1. How do you know Amazing Spiderman 529 happened many years ago?
      I’m hoping that would explain Tony’s flip flop from arguing against it in that story, to being for registration in both the Illuminati AND throughout Civil War itself.
      I’ve always been confused by his (what seemed to be very quick) change of attitude.

  12. Hi new too comics but always liked the idea of the Marvel Civil War.
    Great guide by the way really helped me empty my bank account 🙂
    I’m really struggling to find the Blade #4 comic and from what I’ve seen of it it doesn’t look like it’s a tie in like #5 does. Is #4 definitely a civil war tie in?
    Thanks again.

    1. Blade’s a pretty loose tie-in. And skimming through #4 just now it kind of looks like he just fights Santa… I can’t take that off the list. But I need to take a closer look at that one, good call!

  13. Hi, thanks for your breakdown! I have a question: do you maybe know where I can buy the complete collection for a normal price? I think around $100,- same price as on marvel, but I don’t want it digital. Thanks for your help!

    1. You are not going to get complete collection for $100, I saw only one set on ebay recently for £330, roughly $440.
      I’m around 18 short so far and have spent in the region of £300.

      1. Oh okay, thanks! Then I think I’m going for the digital version, or maybe marvel unlimited. Is that worth it?

  14. Few people I’ve spoken to have mentioned Spider-Ham having a civil war tie in. I’ve purchased this but have no idea where in the reading order to insert this? Any ideas?
    Also it looks like there is 3 issues of Ghost Rider with Casualties of War headings.

      1. Really doesn’t have much to do with Civil War. Those issues do get the “Casualties of War” banner, so you can absolutely read at the end of the event.

  15. Thanks for putting this together! It’s hard to be a casual fan without getting totally lost or totally sucked in. I know this is totally subjective, but what would you consider the most essential TPBs? Like I said I’m more of a casual Marvel reader, and I’d like to get as much of the story with as few books as possible. I don’t need every little thing, but I know I’ll want more than just what is in the Civil War trade. Based on this list and earlier comments, besides the CW trade itself, it seems like the other main ones are Road, Frontline, and Amazing Spiderman. Are there any other really important ones? I assume Cap and Iron Man? And really, thanks again for doing this. The comics industry is designed to be a crazy rabbit hole that gets you buying a zillion books a month, so it’s really great to have people like you creating a middle ground for people like me to stand on 🙂

  16. In the Road to Civil War section it has the New Avengers: Illuminati. Is that the whole paperback or isssues X through X? I found Issue #1 and was wondering if I need the rest. Thanks. Slowly I am collecting all of these and cannot wait to read them.

    1. There’s an unnumbered solo issue of New Avengers: Illuminati that has the “Road to Civil War” banner at the top of the cover. Issue #1 of the series is presumably after this meeting.

  17. Hey so just a little misstep in the order I noticed iron man number 13 showed something bad happen to Happy but in civil war number 3 and 4 which you have at about 3 issues after he’s perfectly fine, is that the comic writers fault or just a small mistake on your guy’s part?

    1. I think it’s a slight hiccup in the continuity from Marvel. You could conceivably read Iron Man #13 after Civil War #4, but the whole vibe of Tony’s video wouldn’t really work anymore. So it’s a fair point, but a tough issue to place.

      1. ah makes sense! i actually just finished all the issues and damn was it good i love this site man you do amazing work this will go down as my favorite marvel event of all time and its mostly thanks to your reading order it gave such a huge scope of the conflict from every possible angle i loved it keep up the good work its not unappreciated i recommend you to all my friends that read comics and have gotten new people involved simply cause they finally have a guide to follow so again thanks for everything and for replying to my pretty much useless question lol

  18. Thank you so much for making a list of the trade paperbacks order! I collect comics in that format (because I’m an idiot who likes to spend way to much money for the effect of holding an actual book) and I always find it so hard to figure out how to read events and in what order if they don’t specifically label them. 🙂

  19. Hi man, I used to be an avid reader growing up, during infinity war, phoenix saga etc..and used to be an inker for an independant as well, but hard times, drugs booze and woman got me out of it. now im clean and trying to catch up. specifically with this story line before movie drops. my question is, whats the best way to buy? Id rather as many “collection books” as possible, and then buy any individuals ill need. And gonna wait to collect all before even starting to read em.
    Currently I only have

    Road to Civil War: New Avengers: Illuminati; Amazing Spider-Man #529-531; Fantastic Four #536 & 537.
    Civil War: #1-7

    Thanks bud! oh and have cpt am civil war collection book and FF collection book being delivered. so that knocks about, what, 10 books off the list?

  20. Hi dave great list but is there a reason black panther #17 was listed before. Frontline and Amazing spiderman #532 one of the comments made during the wedding blows the lid off of Peter’s decision to come out and i dont see any reason why it cant be placed after these issues

    1. Nevermind, just realized that it was black panther #18 that i read not #17.

      Keep up the good work been reading since avengers disassembled and loving it ever since.

  21. Too bad it looks like Marvel’s complete 11 book hardcover set doesn’t look like they are going to sync all the issues into the order above. Instead they have a volume of Fantastic Four, another of X-Men, Spider-Man, ….
    Would have been nice if it was in the reading order. Just not sure if it is worth getting if I have to constantly switch volumes. Any suggestions? Or am I incorrect?

  22. This list makes reading on marvel unlimited so much easier. Its so much better than the marvel “recommended reading order.”

    One thing I noticed though is that Captain America/Iron Man: Casualties of War is actually listed as Iron man/Captain America. Not a big deal, but I was scrolling through the captain america comics trying to figure out where it was for longer than I should have.

  23. Can some one plz tell me where does the daily bugle special come in this reading order. I badly need to know it to read it properly in the order. Plz help me.

  24. After seeing the movie twice today, I really wanted to start reading the comics to see how different they are. Now that I’m seeing that there are countless issues to track down, I’m never going to read this. I was hoping I could read something like 20 issues or less and be done.

    1. You can, just read the civil war comics and frontline, guess that’s enough if you don’t want to read all.

    2. Getting marvel unlimited would really help you track down all the issues. Then you can pick and choose from there.

  25. I would suggest reading Deadpool and cable 30 along with number 31 and 32, after issue three of the Civil War main title. The new secret identities of Cap And his team that are revealed by cable i’m not actually donned by the heroes until Civil War number three

  26. Been out of comic collecting since 1991 and use this site religiously to catch up on each story arch! Thanks for all the work!

    Finished reading Civil War and most related issues prior to the movie and read after seeing it that Sharon Carter recites Cap’s speech from Amazing Spider-Man #537 in the movie. Not remembering that speech, went to my ASM Civil War digital copy and saw it ended at 536! Any idea if 537 and 538 are in another Civil War related digital collection or will I have to buy the individual issues?

    Thanks again! Awesome site!

  27. I trusted your damned order and then Frontline #6 spoiled things for me for being in the wrong place on the list. Thanks a lot. Fortunately marvel.com has the official order.

    1. I would have hated that as a reader myself. That sucks. If you can tell me where you think issues should be placed, I will definitely take a look at updating.

  28. I’m trying to figure out what “Civil War: Fallen Son #1 – #5” is in your guide under Conclusion. At first I thought it was “Civil War: Fallen Son – The Death of Captain America #1-#5” but that’s in your next reading guide. And the Daily Bugle Fallen Son special is only one issue, not 5. Can you help me out here?

  29. Hi! Curious where the Penance: Relentless 1-5 mini series fits in this. Do I just tack it on the end of this? I see the costume on the cover of frontline 10… also a couple other misc issues I have, not too sure where to place:
    1. Civil War files: who’s side are you on? (Not to be confused with Choosing Sides)
    2.Civil War: Damage Report
    Thanks!

  30. Hey, Young Avengers/Runaways has spoilers for the Parental Guidance arc of Runaways, which you have in the part after Civil War.

    Shouldn’t issues 13-18 have come before Civil War, not after?

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