Guide Part 1 (1999-2004)

The Marvel Knights Era Begins

The whole point of Comic Book Herald is to help you decipher which comics and collected trade paperbacks are worth your time and in what order to read them. More often than not, when a newcomer to the comic book scene asks for guidance on where to begin with Marvel Comics, they’ll hear “Start with Avengers Disassembled.

the best 100 marvel comics of the 200's



This is not necessarily terrible advice, as Avengers Disassembled begins the Event-centric modern era of Marvel that continues to this day. Nonetheless, I’m avoiding this approach for one very big reason: the immediate material leading up to Avengers Disassembled is absolutely crucial in developing an understanding of the Marvel Universe that is to come. Plus, there are some of the best Daredevil, Punisher, and Fantastic Four stories of all time within this timeframe (just to name a few).

As a result, what you’ll find below is a spoiler-free reading order guide to the Marvel graphic novels originally published in the early part of the new millennium. A handful will even date back to the late 90’s, but for the most part, this is the Marvel Knights era of my favorite comic publisher, capturing exactly how Marvel built their way to Avengers Disassembled.

I hope that you’ll find the below guide useful. There’s a ton of great material here from a decade ago, as well as a ton of laughable material that nonetheless helps paint a complete picture.

Without further ado, this is the Marvel Universe up until the Era of Events. Devour as you so choose.

Previously: X-Men Onslaught

Marvel Comics Reading Timeline

Dave’s Note 5.1.16: I have updated the below guide to include Deadpool and the Kurt Busiek & George Perez Avengers comics! 

NEXT: Avengers Disassembled & Tie-Ins

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187 Replies to “Guide Part 1 (1999-2004)”

  1. It is slightly confusing that you add titles to collections and link to amazon pages of collections that dont match the correct issue numbers. For example, Captain Marvel: First Contact refers to a collection of the issues 0-6 but you say to read 1-14. So does that mean I should skip issue #0? Should I only read till issue #6? THis would not be a huge problem except for you do it several times.

    Please do not take this criticism as insult, I am simply pointing out something that could be fixed making the use of this fantastic guide a little less confusing.

  2. Yo, spooky timing in regards to Captain Marvel!
    I read the Issues 1-14 a couple of months ago but just finished 15-25 today and it left me feeling something wasnt quite right.

    Should 1-14 and 15-25 in this list refer to Volume 4 (which runs 1-25) or are the issues from Volume 3 (which the Amazon entry links to)?

    Both volumes are Peter David, but im thinking if this reading order only gives 1-25, that maybe ties in more with Volume 4 and not Volume 3 (which runs 1-38).

    Sorry if that doesnt make sense…..Great work btw!

      1. Iron Fist is like Civil War compared to Doom: The Emperor Returns. Those 3 comics nearly made me pop out my eyeballs with a spoon, burn my iPad and cancel my MU subscription.

  3. If I were to skip this precursor to the events and start with Disassembeld, and only read core event issues, and not any tie-in issues, would I get the main gist of everything? I want to be a completist, but the time it takes is daunting. I have followed this list all the way through New X-Men, and I am burning myself out. I feel like I’d rather get caught up to the present, as opposed to filling in every crack in every place. For example, if I just read Civil War #1-7, would I get the majority of the storyline? And are most “events” like that?

    Thanks!

    1. Cory,

      I was able to read most of the tie-ins in Civil War. So glad to have done that and of all the events to invest time for tie-ins, I am glad I invested on Civil War. It is fantastic and so well done!

      I am not the commenting type on forums, but I wanted to tell you, please consider not missing out on this gem!

  4. Im confused by this sections reading order. The others are formatted in an issue by issue way thats easy to go by. Any way you could send me this sections reading order in the same format as the others.

    1. Honestly, this part of the guide is more about the appropriate collections of stories from this time period. The issue by issue approach is more necessary with events full of tie-ins and crossovers. For example, while Alias #8 may technically occur after Daredevil #37 (not accurate, just an example), you can read those full stories included here without needing to switch between issues. It isn’t really central to enjoying the story.

      That said, I’d understand if you wanted to read in that chronological approach. Plenty of fans do. Nonetheless, I won’t be taking that approach here, largely so I can maintain the ruse that I do things other than read comics.

      1. Man, an issue by issue guide would be awesome. Too bad it’s too hard. The complicity of the non-linear storytelling is both a blessing and a curse.

      2. The link you posted for the order of watching a specific show that you enjoyed
        Can we watch a show while following this?
        I mean, if I watch inhumans and love it, can I watch it in order before watching deadpool classic volume 2?
        Thanks!

  5. Hi! I’m new to Marvel and I started reading the comics in this guide. Could I read the series in there “randomly” or reading some of them at the same time. I see that Marvel Universe is so complex and I’m scared of getting spoiled or not understanding something.
    Thanks!

    1. You can hop around a bit with this portion of the guide. Most importantly dive into the series you’re most excited about! If somethings confusing, shoot me a note and I’m happy to help.

      1. Well, I have read Inhumans, Daredevil 1-15 and Marvel Knights so far. The questions are:
        Can i read Sentry and are the subtitles of anything i’ve read? I say it because Sentry it’s published on 2005-2006. Also, i’m focused on Black Panther, i’m loving this comic so much, but, when would you recommend me to read also antoher series? I’m saying it because there are 50 issues. PS.: Sorry for my english, I now I’ve repeated too much the word ‘read’ a that can be a little odd. (I wanted to put the comment here.)

        1. This is the Sentry series you want. I highly recommend reading it, it will work well for the time period you’re on.

          With Black Panther, you can really jump to other series from around the same time period at any point you want. The Panther stays pretty true to his own world for most of the run, with the exception of some Dr. Doom and Magneto action. So that said, I’d finish Black Panther before you read Fantastic Four and New X-Men. Otherwise, hop around and enjoy!

  6. You have the Sentry, which is vol 2 of the New Avengers, in there. Surely if vol 1 of the new avengers is 6 months after Disassembled then this is after that? How would it go before all that happened? I’m new to all this so just trying to figure out what’s happening. I started with Disassembled but wanted to know what went on before that

    1. The sentry comics you see here are from Paul Jenkins and Jae lee, and detail the origins of the sentry. As you mention, the new avengers arc doesn’t occur until later and builds off the work established here. Go ahead and click the link to see the specific trade collection.

      1. Well, I have read Inhumans, Daredevil 1-15 and Marvel Knights so far. The questions are:
        Can i read Sentry and are the subtitles of anything i’ve read? I say it because Sentry it’s published on 2005-2006. Also, i’m focused on Black Panther, i’m loving this comic so much, but, when would you recommend me to read also antoher series? I’m saying it because there are 50 issues. PS.: Sorry for my english, I now I’ve repeated too much the word ‘read’ a that can be a little odd.

      2. Hey Dave – this guide is GREAT. So useful to making sense of how to proceed through Marvel Unlimited, as their chronology and publish dates are so screwy!

        Two quick adds I’ve noticed so far that would make this even more useful to MU users – 1. the chronology of the black widow three issue minis – the dates are messed up in MU AND they seem to have the same cover art: make sure to read Black Widow before Breakdown or it won’t make sense. Also, if we’re going to be continuity sticklers it actually makes sense to read the first Black Widow series should be read before the Smith/Bendis Daredevil comics as they are still dating in that mini while they are clearly a thing of the past in the Daredevil ongoing. 2. The chronology (and importance of reading) Sentry: Spider Man, Sentry: Hulk, Sentry: FF, Sentry X-Men and FAR most important Sentry: The Void could be clearer here for MU users. I didn’t realize these were there at first (they are listed separately from the Sentry in MU and don’t show up in read next). If you don’t read them then the Sentry mini series will seem to end COMPLETELY without resolution. Basically these all come after the mini, are all written by Jenkins (main series author) and happen simultaneously except Sentry v. The Void which should be read LAST as it wraps up who the hell the Sentry and the Void are and sets up the Sentry’s role in the Marvel Universe for the next five or so years.

    1. There’s only a couple trades for that series. The rest were never given a collected edition. I suggest Marvel Unlimited, it’s all on there

      1. There’s an extremely limited Marvel Unlimited selection for this run, so honestly I’m not all that familiar. Open to feedback on including though!

  7. I love this guide and I’ve been using it since this summer, when I subscribed to Marvel Unlimited as a total comics newbie. Still I feel it could be improved with a clearer distinction between essential reads and less important ones. The bulleted list is a good way of displaying this, although the hierarchy right now is a little off. For example, in your list New X-Men is dependent from Daredevil and/or seems less important, and I don’t think this is the case nor what you meant (since it’s in your essential 25 guide).
    Also, maybe this part of the guide should focus more on the actual avengers (since it looks like an introduction to avengers disassembled, most of all)? There’s a lot of great reads but maybe they’re really too many. It could be split in two: what you need strictly to understand Disassembled and what you should read just for the enjoyment of it (which is all that matters in the end anyway).

    Just a few thoughts that don’t subtract anything from the awesomeness of the guide. I get how difficult it must be to put together all this stuff with amazon links and an eye to the actual trades. I wish I had your knowledge in comics, it’s amazing what you do with your blog 🙂

    I’m following this part of the guide by choosing what excite me the most, thanks to Unlimited, and I’m enjoying it a lot. So far my favourite reads were anything by Paul Jenkins (especially the Sentry, great stuff), Bendis’ Daredevil and Morrison’s New X-Men. Infinity Abyss was also pretty cool even if I didn’t know half the characters and I didn’t love the art.

    Keep up the good work man.

    1. Thank you for the feedback! That’s extremely helpful and I agree, it’s time to make the hierarchy more clear. I’ll need to to think about that breakdown, but I appreciate you taking the time to provide some thoughts on how to improve Comic Book Herald.

      Glad you’ve been using and enjoying the guide, and I hope to see you around the site!

  8. I’m not seeing Marvel Knights: Fantastic Four in MU. Can you list the issue #’s, or is it just not there?

    Loving the guide, by the way. My favorites have been Bendis and Brubaker’s runs on Daredevil (not as good as Waid’s, but I digress), Waid’s run on Fantastic Four (so good!), Black Panther, New X-Men (Xorn!!), and Inhumans. Keep up the good work, Dave!

  9. First off, awesome guide. Really helping me use my MU sub to it’s fullest. Just finished Avengers Forever, so I’m nowhere near this part, but looking through the guide you have Amazing Spider Man 30-58 then later the same series but at 500-518. I can’t imagine they published 400 some issues in a year or two gap, so I’m a bit confused on the numbering. Can you help to clear that up? Thanks!

    1. I’m a comics newbie as well but in these last few months I picked something up so I think I can answer this particular question 🙂
      It’s just that many series get relaunched over their many years of serialization. For example, Amazing Spider-Man started with #1 in 1963 and continued uninterrupted till #441 in 1998. Then the series got relaunched in 1999 (I think marketing reasons are behind this kind of move) with a new #1 and stopped with #58 in 2003. Then again, #59 would have been the 500th issue if they kept the original numbering so guess what? They went and adopted back the old numbering for this occasion (again, marketing move?) and launched #500 right after #58, continuing from #500 from then on. So that’s why the big leap forward with issues numbers.
      Something similar happened in 2013 with issue #700 which so far is the end of the very first serialization of ASM, while a new number #1 came out last June. How do you tell one #1 from the other? I noticed that you usually (e.g. on Marvel Unlimited) have the year of the corresponding #1 in the series in brackets after the series name, so the number that came out last June would be Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1, while the one that came out after #441 would be Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #1. This should shed some light on the many different entries with different years for the same series you can find in Marvel Unlimited.

      In my very limited experience I noticed this happens a lot with series spanning decades (Fantastic Four and Captain America come to mind). There’s this very useful site, comicbookdb (google it) that’s a tremendous resource for keeping track of these things, so make sure to bookmark it 😉

      Hope I could be of any help!

  10. Hey Dave,

    I’ve been reading PAD’s Hulk run lately and really enjoying it. I’m wondering if the Hulk stories post-PAD but pre-WWH are worth a look at. Specifically, I see you start the modern Hulk era with Hulk 70, and I was wondering if Vol 2 1-69 are any good.

    As always- great site, keep up the good work

    1. It’s entirely possible I’m short-changing those issues, but I’ve tried to get invested and it just never grabs my interest. Now, I include plenty of series on here that aren’t my favorite just for the continuity of things, but for Hulk it just doesn’t feel relevant to me until his Marvel Knights run begins with issue #70.

      So my take is keep enjoying the amazing PAD run, and hop into issue #70 without bogging down in those earlier issues. Or go ahead and read all things Hulk because you love smashing. Choice is, of course, yours 🙂

      Thanks for the nice words!

  11. Thank you for the list, it helps quite a lot ^_^ Although i’m currently reading Captain Marvel 2000 series and it does not end with 25, it ends with 35 but Marvel Unlimited only has up to 25 because they mixed the covers and credits with Captain Marvel (2002 – 2004). I’ll just skip to Black Panther for now, and wait for the rest of the Captain Marvel issues.

  12. As someone new to the Marvel Universe, I rely on your site religiously. I have been making my way through this page for the better part of a year and am probably a couple months away from moving to the age of events.

    Everything has been great so far, but I have to say, I think the Spider-Man section needs a little clean-up. You have us read Amazing #30, then PP #20-29, even though the storylines in PP20-29 are spoiled by AS30. You have us read Spectular Spiderman 1-5 BEFORE AS 46-50, when actually I think SS1-5 fits like a glove AFTER PP 46-50.

    Please review this section of the list and consider making it a bit clearer for future readers. At the moment, it’s a bit too Tarentino for me. Thanks.

  13. Hey buddy, one of the firsts series you list, Captain Marvel, is a fantastic read – but leaves you with a full-on cliffhanger on issue #25. You gotta read #26 if you want to see the (decidedly farcical) conclusion to the events of the past 10 or so issues. Just a heads up 🙂

      1. Awww man, I’m LOVING these lists…. just blew through most of the ones leading up to Disassembled. Just gotta get through the Spidermens. Quick question though, in your order you have the Marvel Knights Spidey ahead of the Amazing 500-518. Issue 500 was the 3rd of a 3-parter. Issue 515 seems to occur after disassembled, and post-secret war. sooooo, the question was: Do think a better timeline would be AMS501-514, MKS1-5, Disassembled, MKS6-12, AMS15-18? Or is splitting up MKS a bad move? Whether or not the chronology is better?

        After that it gets a bit more New Avengery, so gonna try and get into that concurrently.

        Also, you have Astonishing Xmen in BOTH the ‘read before disassembled’ and ‘read after disassembled…

        Sorry for the griping, my OCD made me do it 😀 Keep up the good work bro! Also shout out if you need content creators, I’d love to pitch in 🙂

        Cheers
        Ben

  14. This list is awesome, especially for me, in my 40’s and have been away from Marvel and comics for a long time. The movies are like my childhood come to the big screen and have rekindled my inner “Make it Marvel.” With two little boys, I generally have no life but them, so plenty of time to get caught up. For that reason, this site combined with MU has been a godsend.

    Just a tip for those using these sections of the site. Don’t place so much emphasis on chronological order before 2003 (or the indents in this section, other have pointed out, they could use some work.)

    Once you hit mid to late 2003, the dates in MU begin to get more consistent. I’ve added first issue of each run highlighted in these lists into my library. So then you get a sort-of publishing date order. Even then, I don’t recommend you read issue by issue, but rather by story-arc. Read the full three, five or six-part story and then add the next issue for the next arc to your library to be read when you get to it in the list.

    For pre-2004 comics without accurate dates (showing Nov 0002, or some other obviously wrong date), I use ComicVine, ComicsDB or Marvel Wiki to add the correct date to the comment for the comic in MU.)

    For example:
    New X-Men #146 has a Nov 30, 0002 date but #147 starts correct dating (Oct 2003). So I add both to my library. When #147 comes up in my reading list, (when I get to October 2003 comics), I first read #146 then read the rest of the five-part story arc. When I finish the arc and the next issue is #151, I simply add it to my library. There it waits until I get to January 2004 comics.

    I then go back to the bottom of my library and pick up the next comic in October 2003 where I had left off, which is Thanos mini-series. I’ll read the first arc or the entire series, depending on my whim, then go back to the bottom of my library to pick the next October 2003 comic, which is Exiles #35. Read the next arc in that title, rinse and repeat.

    The MU library sorts by Newest date first then alphabetically for titles with the same date.

    Thor #80 begins Avengers Disassembled, so when I get there (June 2040 comics), I’ll continue my system, interspersing the Disassembled prequels until I get to Disassembled proper, read the entire thing, then go back to my system until the next major event.

    This allows me a sort-of chronology based on publication dates as if I had been reading the comics as they came out but able to read entire story-arcs at a time instead of issue by issue. It also breaks things up so I don’t have to read entire multi-year runs of X-Men or Spider-Man at once, too. No burn-out.

    1. I came across your comment about your way of reading through this list and this is pretty much what I want to do; Publication dates but keeping to story arcs. Did you run into any continuity problems in stories or anything? Just wondering before I get really into it.

  15. Hi, can I read simultaneously Black Panther, Daredevil, Punisher, etc. or should i read them in order? And when should i start with the new x-men issues? Thanks!!

  16. I started with this guide (and have since moved on to the “fast track” 25 trades) but wondered what the connection between the original inhumans run and the rest of the marvel universe. Don’t get my wrong they were interesting stories, but i didnt understand how they fit into the continuity or had major influence on other events

    1. The Inhumans will play an increasingly relevant role in overall Marvel continuity as you progress (especially as you get closer to Secret Invasion, Silent War, and all the way on through to Infinity).

      The first series helps explain the characters and their status in the Marvel U. This will be essential background if you read FF / Inhumans, or Young Inhumans.

      I’d also clarify that not everything on the list necessarily has a major influence on continuity. Occasionally it’s just comics from the time period that give you a sense of the character and (potentially) some good reads.

      Enjoy the comics!

  17. So should I start with this list or with “The 25 Essential Trades to Marvel Comics From 1961 to 2000” and why in the COMPLETE MARVEL READING ORDER you start only since 1999?

    1. It depends how far back you want to go. If you really want to make your way from the very beginning of Marvel, then I highly recommend my fast track guide from 1961 to 2000. That will give you the (most) essential reads. If you just want to get caught up on present day, you can use my modern guide. If you’re very new to comics, I’d recommend the guide from 1961 to 2000. That will help with a lot of Marvel history.

  18. First off I would just like to say thanks for the website and all the guides! I’ve been using them for the last couple of months and finally done with MK era. I didn’t read everything, just the stuff that interested me as I really want to get to the events.

    Anyways, my one recommendation would be to make a note of series that were canceled. I got really into Weapon X for example but the last issue ended in a cliffhanger. I googled some info on the series and it turns out the series was scrapped so everything was left unresolved. It was a huge letdown and ultimately it felt like I big waste of time, even if it was an enjoyable series to read. Just a suggestion. Thanks again for everything!

  19. Great list here. Myself and my fiance are finally able to start reading comics with new tools like MU and your list makes a great way to organize it all. So far We are up to Elektra and I wanted to say that Issue’s 1-7 make my body hurt. Story is good, but with poor art and panel design I wanted to lobotomize myself to rid my mind of the horrible images I saw.

    How can marvel let comics ship with art like that? I mean seriously why would they let that happen?

    1. Haha it’s a great question. I’m only half kidding when I say the early 2000’s were a surprisingly different time. Marvel’s come a long way in some cases.

      1. Same question. Should I read Elektra beyond #22? I’m really enjoying the series but don’t want to spoil anything by going further than recommend.

  20. I am very interested in this great guide, but it seems so long and hard to read. Is it really necessary to read all of these issues? The one thing that scares me is 49 issues of black panther. What here is essential and what is optional? Would it be okay to just skip to the next part of this guide, or are these comics needed?

    1. You can really skip anything you aren’t totally feeling. The first part of the guide here is especially focused on everything you could read. I like Black Panther, but you certainly don’t need all 49 issues to know what’s going on in Marvel Boy, or Avengers Disassembled for that matter.

      If you really want more of an essential fast track, I have a guide for that too.

  21. Great list from 1999-2004. I think I’ve only skipped X-Statix and the superhero dogs or whatever.

    So far I’m up to the Spider-Man section which led me to your Spider-Man reading order. Then I noticed some of the 1999-2004 collections are also in the ‘Diasassembled to House of M’ section.

    Is there anything in 1999 to 2004 that I definitely shouldn’t read before Disassembled?

    1. Nah, you’ll be totally fine. Spidey’s Disassembled tie-in is pretty self contained.

      But thanks for pointing that out… I get confused sometimes 🙂

  22. I have been reading these comics, but many are hard to understand. Like the plot in Black Panther. They keep jumping around in time, and it is so hard to read. Does anyone have someplace I can look to make sure I am understanding the story right?

  23. Hello,

    I just read Sentry 1 to 5. The story was amazing and I want to continue it. But I don’t see anything else about the Sentry in your pre-Disassembled list. Does the story continue in Sentry: the Void or Sentry: Fantastic four etc. In MU I see these other runs listed but I’m not sure what order to read them in. Can you give me any advice?

    Mike

  24. Another question. When I click on an individual title, let’s say the daredevil in the beginning, it has a part that days continuity relevance. Will I be fine if I only go through the ones that have major on them? I am just looking for something between the essentials and full guide so I get all of the major story, but don’t need to go into the minor characters.

    1. Just get stuck in and read a couple of issues. Some of them you probably won’t like and will skip anyway.

      I couldn’t get into X-Statix (for lack of depth in the colouring, weird reason) , or Human Torch because of it’s graffiti style people. Never got into Sentinel either.

      Others stand out as great story-arcs (I’m into my comic book lingo now)
      Search for Cyclops
      Emma Frost
      All the Exiles stuff
      Alias
      Identity Disc

  25. Dave, I love this site. I’ve been spending a lot of time on it lately researching things. First, can I borrow some money? kidding. Second, what does it mean when some bullets are indented? Also is there other formatting that has meaning we should be aware of?

    1. Exactly this. I have been asking this myself. I really enjoy your site and it seems that the event reading list following later are a bit more straight forward.
      But in Part 1 it seems like there is headline Comics and then the ones that follow it.
      For example: daredevil 1-15 is the Headline and the two black widows are to be read afterwards.

      Is that how the list is intended to be read?

      1. Honestly, I’d ignore the indents. It’s less confusing to just use as an ordered list currently. When I set this up a few years ago it was some sort of indication of priority (indented comics less directly relevant to continuity, but it’s not great).

        That lukewarm response aside, there’s a planned update in the works that better organizes and recommends.

  26. Absolutely excellent list, I’ve been cherry-picking between this and your fast-track guide in order to make a sort of medium-track guide for some friends that are new to comics. But may I ask why you have Marvel Knights listed as being more important than The Sentry? MK just seemed like a ho-hum team up story, whereas Sentry introduced a major future player (not to mention that it’s also such a wonderfully creative and beautifully told story).

  27. Hey Dave. A quick comment about Black Panther #50 – #62 (The remainder of the 1998-2003 series that is right at the top of this reading order) – though they’re not included here, the issues provide pretty essential backstory to the White Tiger, who shows up in The Crew. The last page of issue 62, in fact, notes that the White Tiger’s next appearance is The Crew.

  28. Dave, thank you very much for the work you are doing here. I’m part of the endless legion of nerds that always wanted to start reading comics but got overwhelmed by the possibilities. I always leave an MCU movie session with the urge to start reading, be it because of the post-credit scenes or just the story arc. After Netflix’s Daredevil and A2: Age of Ultron, i decided to take a leap of faith and found your amazing site and lists.

    After reading through Daredevil #1-#15 and then reading Black Widow’s mini series, i realized switching the order would be a tad better. It isn’t a big deal. It won’t change your experience that much, but if you are going to read them anyway, i can say based on my 1-day expertise it would make for a better approach.

    Keep up the great work 😉

  29. Hey Dave, quick continuity comment. You have She-Hulk 1-12 in this list, but in the series, she talks about the events of Avengers Disassembled; there is a point in the middle (issue 6 or so) during which Avengers Disassembled occurs. You may want to put the second half of the series into the inter-Disassembled and House of M period.

    1. I just found the same thing. Took me googling to figure out what happened so there’s a bit a spoiler and a “wait when did that happen” moment in issue 11. You could stop this run at number 10 I think without this coming up.

  30. AND………………………..done! I think I’ve been through 90% of this list and now Avengers Disassembled.

    There are some surprisingly deep storylines and a lot of stuff I definitely won’t be reading to the kids!

    Cheers for the list, time to move into the pre-House of M stuff!

  31. Hi Dave,

    I have just got into comics. (I decided I wanted to after the recent Avengers movie!)

    NOOB QUESTION INBOUND

    Example near the end of the list but this is consistent throughout the list. Runaways (1-12) Then below that, slightly to the right, there is another list of comics. Does this mean within Runaway it has Hulk/Wolverine (1-4) or is that a separate comic series that I will need to read.

    Thanks! Good list!

    -Ben

  32. Hi
    I’m pretty new to comics but have been reading bits here and there but really want to get stuck in so I decided I would like to read through your avengers trade collection however when I saw this list I wanted to read this too as it looks at the characters own stories. Is there a way of combining the two chronologically? So I can read the avengers stories as well as this list

    1. The easiest way would be to use the Marvel events as indicators. I believe I mark where an event occurs in the Avengers timeline, so you can map that to the bigger marvel reading order. Enjoy!

    1. It’s not on Unlimited (you can do what I did and send them an email to ask for it, maybe
      if enough people do it they will react).

      There’s an omnibus on sale on Amazon or you can get the trades second hand I think, but that’s about it.

  33. Hi Dave,

    Been using this list as a bible since I decided to take the plunge and actually try and figure out this Marvel Universe!
    I’m coming up to reading Thor: Death of Odin, Son of Asgard and then Infinity Abyss but see you say it requires some knowledge of Thanos. Rather than reading all of the Thanos continuity up to Infinity Abyss, are there a couple of essential Thanos stories that would give me enough background to appreciate/understand Infinity Abyss? Or is there another place in the Marvel continuity where I could come back and read it where it would still make sense?

    Thanks, and keep up the amazing work! Finding this website was the only thing that convinced me there was hope for me getting into marvel comics!

  34. Hi Dave,

    First of all, thanks for the awesome job.
    I bought my MU subscription a while ago, but I was just reading random comics, and usually not in the right order, until I discovered you guide.
    I’ve read most of the stuff in there up to Bendis’s Daredevil (except Elektra ’cause the art is terrible), and I was wondering: is there a (continuity) reason why you only included issues up to 60 in this part of the guide and will I get to catch up on it in some later part of your guide, or can I read all 100+ issues at once before moving on to the other series you mentioned?
    I really (really) like this series, but i’d hate to end up reading massive spoilers on some later events/crossovers just because I was too impatient and read it all at once.

    Also, maybe an odd question but: are you planning on doing a Ben Urich character guide? I like his role in Daredevil and I remember he appears in Civil War (like I said, reading random issues), and I think that he brings a cool angle in these stories… I was wondering if he was in other stories, and if so, which ones were the best/most important to read.

    Anyway, thanks again for your guide and keep up the good work!

  35. Hello Dave!

    Thank you so much for your lists, I’ve been following the X-Men one for a while and sometime ago decided to check this one. I’m glad I did so!

    I’m almost finishing Alias and I’m in love w/ Jessica, hahah..
    Have you read her other comics? The Pulse and What If Jessica Jones…? Because I’d love to read at least The Pulse but I have no idea if it fits somewhere in the guides or if it’s unrelated.

    Anyways thanks again for these guides, and keep up the great work 🙂

    1. Glad you’re enjoying the site! I actually like the Pulse quite a bit, although it’s not as good as Alias (the lack of the Max rating doesn’t suit Jessica very well). I believe the first 5 issues are on this list actually… I recommend giving them a go!

  36. Just curious, and I apologize if this has been asked elsewhere, but is there any particular continuity reason you end Bendis’s Daredevil run at 60? MU has it as going to 80. I’m considering just reading them all since I’m enjoying it so much. Will I be missing anything?

  37. I’m at Captain Marvel 1-25, and I was curious why it stops at issue 25? Are issues 26-35 not worth reading or is it that they are just less essential? Thanks for your great guides!

  38. New X-Men Annual should be read after New X-Men issue 116 and before issue 117. It really helps fill in a few holes.

  39. I had a hard time with X-Statix, so I went back and started with X-Force #116 and it made more sense. The trade is out of print, but it’s available on MU.

    1. I have to agree with you. i skipped the X-Force stuff and went straight to X-Statix and had to google about them a little bit to understand why this team existed and that the comic is largely satire. Still, I really liked the run, overall!

  40. Working through this, with a little bit of skipping around… up to Avengers Forever, so a long way to go!

    Great work – couple of questions…

    Should the Doom series from 2000 be on here? It seems quite a lot better than Doom: The Emperor returns, even though its from the same team of Dixon/Manco!

    Also – wondering about Moon Knight. Never read any of it , but have heard good things about the character. Wondering if any is relevant. He showed up in the Black Panther series and Marvel Knights ( I didn’t realise this was a series as well as an imprint at first!). There seem to have been a couple of 4 issue series in 98/99 – unfortunately missing from Unlimited. Moon Knight: High Strangers from ’99 seems to have been quite acclaimed…

    1. Glad you enjoy.

      With the Doom series… probably not? I placed them based on release date and don’t like the implication that I’m endorsing them (everyone thinks I’m endorsing them) but now I’m just leaving based on some misguided sense of sticking to my guns 🙂

      Moon Knight’s MU presence doesn’t really kick in until Civil War era. If you’re looking for just a good Moon Knight read pretty free of continuity restrictions, check out Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s 6 issues (#1 to #6) from 2012.

      1. I just got done reading Doom: The Emperor Returns as part of the reading order. I understand not wanting to put the original Doom series in the list if you don’t really want The Emperor Returns there either, but I would at least add a note about it’s existence for those of us who decide to brave it. I didn’t realize that The Emperor Returns was a continuation of the original 3 part Doom series, and with as bad as everyone says it is, it is so much worse when you have no idea what is going on to begin with!

        To anyone else going down the list and wondering if you should read it, I’d have to say no. It is all over the place, and really just made me want to take a break from the list completely.

  41. Weapon X: The Draft fits better before Weapon X (1-14). Some of the character interactions in Weapon X make a lot more sense if you read The Draft first.

  42. I’m in the middle of reading Doom:The Emperor Returns and I’m enjoying it despite your warning. But some background information would be nice. When did doom get his own planet and what Doc Oc doing leading a resistance?

    1. So, in the late 90s, a bunch of heroes and villians (Dr Doom, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and others) got shunted off into their own separate pocket universe during an event called Heroes Reborn. I guess it was sort of an experiment to split the Marvel universe into two universes.

      The experiment failed, and Marvel decided to return everyone back to the main universe.

      Dr Doom is basically the last guy left in the pocket universe, and he has taken it over. Doc Ock isn’t the real Doc Ock, but rather a duplicate created for the new universe. This series basically tells how Doom gets back to the real universe.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

  43. I’ve read through Daredevil, Inhumans, and I’m currently on Marvel Knights. I do have one quick (albeit possibly ridiculous) question: shouldn’t we read any Avengers issues? I know you listed Avengers Forever, but I don’t really see anything else on the list…

    1. The Kurt Busiek and George Perez Avengers (1998 to 2004) would be your best bet here. I initially skip the series and suggest starting with Avengers Disassembled, but it’s certainly an option!

    2. Finally a question I feel like I can answer and add value to the thread!

      Having been in the same predicament, I dipped my toes in the Avengers (98-04) world while starting part 1 of the guide. To be honest this run on the Avengers doesn’t even get close to some of the genius found in later runs on Avengers and New Avengers, but there are still some good stories to pick out, and the issues on MU have all had gorgeous HD-style makeovers, so they look great.

      I read Black Panther (which is really good, by the way) #1 to #12, and then read Avengers #19 to #22 (this is the Ultron Unlimited storyline, which is really enjoyable and influenced the Age Of Ultron movie in some respects). I didn’t stick with Black Panther much further after that, I seem to remember the creative team changed after the initial 12 issues? May be wrong. Anyway, it ties in nicely with Cap’s appearance early in the Black Panther run.

      After that and at any point before (I think) Iron Man #73 to #83, pick up the Avengers with #41 to #44, Avengers Annual 2001, and #45 to #55 – this is the Kang Dynasty story arc, and is brilliant from start to finish. In fact I think it’s the only Avengers arc from the pre-Disassembled era which could legitimately be listed under part 1 of the guide because, well, because Kang. If there’s one arc from the 98-04 Avengers run you should read, it’s this one.

      In the interests of setting up the events of Disassembled completely you could also read to the end of the run from #65, as from here you’ll pick up the Red Zone story arc, the Search for She-Hulk, and also includes some quality Captain Britain action of the highest order in Lionheart of Avalon. #76 also explains Jack Of Hearts’, er, “predicament” in the midst of Disassembled).

      The rest of the run is pretty forgettable to be honest, unless you’re totally into the romantic endeavours of Hank/Janet Pym and Wonderman/Vision/Scarlet Witch. There’s far too much other quality stuff in the rest of part 1 of the guide (for instance Daredevil, Captain Marvel, Sentry – so good!) to worry about picking too much up from this Avengers run, especially the early issues.

      As Dave has already said, nearly all the story arcs here are self-contained enough that the occasional appearance of another character from an associated story is either inconsequential, or is explained away in two panels.

  44. Dave,

    First of all, though I’m sure I’ve said this elsewhere: thank you for this/these amazing list/s.

    Second, I’ve begun the rather ambitious project of translating all of your lists into Marvel Unlimited jargon (e.g. instead of “Vol. I” my list reads “Title (Years) Issue Numbers”), with the ultimate goal of combing all of your lists (including Cosmic, Spider-Man, Marvel Ultimates, etc.) into one giant reading list (which I’ll happily share with you if you’d like…is the forum a good place for that?).

    In the process of doing this, I’ve noticed a handful of errors in your hyperlinks (such as Sentinel Vol. I actually leading to Vol. III on Amazon), and have continuity questions about how things all work together – again, are the forums a good place for those discussions?

    Thanks again, and sorry for the lengthy comment.

  45. I gotta say that first recommendation of Inhumans got me hooked. What a fantastic comic.

    I have a question about the next comic though. There’s clearly a lot I’m missing as far as Black Panther goes, like the fact that he was apparently an Avenger, for example. For the big names (read: movies made, sorry, I’m new) I sort of know the background enough to jump in the middle, but I want to know more about who Black Panther is, where he came from, and how he became an Avenger. Any recommendations on where to start?

    1. You’re in luck. The first Black Panther series is on Marvel Unlimited and is only 13 issues long, you’re looking for Black Panther (1976).

      For his very first appearance, you’re looking for Fantastic Four #52-#53, then Tales Of Suspense #97-#99.

      Black Panther first joins Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers #52.

  46. Great site. Really enjoying working through this list. I think you should add Marvel 1602: New World 2005 in before Spider-Man 1602.

  47. Thank you for the amazing hard work and dedication you’ve put into this site and the reading lists. Just a thought, since the reading lists are so wonderfully comprehensive… I know sometimes they will get updated, perhaps even earlier parts of the list. Have you considered perhaps a short post just to highlight any changes made to the reading list, like the complete list? (E.g. Black Panther split up with Deadpool 44 added) This does 2 things. It helps us to know any changes, perhaps issues we might have missed and can go back and read; also, it makes an entry that those of us using RSS newsreaders can see to know a change has been made. Otherwise it seems impossible to keep up with all the changes. Not sure if this makes sense. It isn’t a complaint at all BTW. I love how wonderfully you are keeping up the reading order lists. Just an idea that I think would help us loyal readers keep up with you. Thanks again for the amazing work on this website!!

  48. Wondering why avengers (1998) isn’t in this part or the next, as it leads up to avengers disassembled. Does it mean that it isn’t important to the storyline?

    1. This was discussed previously by another user in the comments, so I’ll copy/paste what was said:

      “Finally a question I feel like I can answer and add value to the thread!

      Having been in the same predicament, I dipped my toes in the Avengers (98-04) world while starting part 1 of the guide. To be honest this run on the Avengers doesn’t even get close to some of the genius found in later runs on Avengers and New Avengers, but there are still some good stories to pick out, and the issues on MU have all had gorgeous HD-style makeovers, so they look great.

      I read Black Panther (which is really good, by the way) #1 to #12, and then read Avengers #19 to #22 (this is the Ultron Unlimited storyline, which is really enjoyable and influenced the Age Of Ultron movie in some respects). I didn’t stick with Black Panther much further after that, I seem to remember the creative team changed after the initial 12 issues? May be wrong. Anyway, it ties in nicely with Cap’s appearance early in the Black Panther run.

      After that and at any point before (I think) Iron Man #73 to #83, pick up the Avengers with #41 to #44, Avengers Annual 2001, and #45 to #55 – this is the Kang Dynasty story arc, and is brilliant from start to finish. In fact I think it’s the only Avengers arc from the pre-Disassembled era which could legitimately be listed under part 1 of the guide because, well, because Kang. If there’s one arc from the 98-04 Avengers run you should read, it’s this one.

      In the interests of setting up the events of Disassembled completely you could also read to the end of the run from #65, as from here you’ll pick up the Red Zone story arc, the Search for She-Hulk, and also includes some quality Captain Britain action of the highest order in Lionheart of Avalon. #76 also explains Jack Of Hearts’, er, “predicament” in the midst of Disassembled).

      The rest of the run is pretty forgettable to be honest, unless you’re totally into the romantic endeavours of Hank/Janet Pym and Wonderman/Vision/Scarlet Witch. There’s far too much other quality stuff in the rest of part 1 of the guide (for instance Daredevil, Captain Marvel, Sentry – so good!) to worry about picking too much up from this Avengers run, especially the early issues.

      As Dave has already said, nearly all the story arcs here are self-contained enough that the occasional appearance of another character from an associated story is either inconsequential, or is explained away in two panels.”

  49. Hi Comic Book Herald Community,

    I have created a fun way to track your progress through this list if you are interested: https://trello.com/b/UjJbREAO

    Simply copy the board and all it’s card to use it for you own comic reading checklist/journal. You can comment on each series to remember things about story or makes notes to yourself. The cards can be dragged between the different lists.

    Enjoy!

      1. on the left hand side click on the “Show Menu” link. in the menu click “… More” then there should be an item that says “Copy Board” you use that to copy it your own space where you can use it and edit it freely. Just make sure the Keep Cards box is checked.

  50. I’ve just started to read the comics on this list. Inhumans was sooo good, now I’m onto Black Panther!
    I wanted to pass this link along, it contains the anticipated release of the TPB for Black Panther (50 – 62); as well as Crew 1-7 which is also on this list.

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Panther-Christopher-Priest-Collection/dp/1302900587/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460764453&sr=1-1&keywords=black+panther+by+christopher+priest+the+complete+collection+vol.+4

    1. Offering a helping hand with the TPB’s.
      Regarding the Daredevil 1-15 link, it brings you to the Guardian Devil TPB which has issues 1-8.
      Issues 9 – 15 are collected in the TPB Parts of a Hole.
      http://www.amazon.com/Daredevil-Echo-Parts-David-Mack/dp/0785142878/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460933113&sr=1-2&keywords=daredevil+parts+of+a+hole

      Then I also found this which says it collects 1-15.
      http://www.amazon.com/Daredevil-Vol-2-Parts-Hole/dp/0785108084/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460932919&sr=1-1&keywords=daredevil+parts+of+a+hole

      1. The description on that 2nd one is incorrect on Amazon, as I found a lot of the Amazon descriptions are unfortunately (either that or incomplete). That 2nd link is actually the TPB I have. The only difference in the two is that your 1st link is Hardcover, the 2nd link is the Paperback. Both collect Issues 9-15

  51. I just started on this list and it’s been amazing. I was wondering if there’s a good way to combine the Joe Kelly Deadpool run? Or is #44 enough for continuity? (I haven’t gotten that far into BP yet)

    Cheers

    1. I just use the deadpool reading order as focus point next to these orders, so I read until the beginning of the first comic (1999) and then after I’m done with this first part, I catch up again with deadpool.

  52. Hey Dave,

    I was looking through the list and noticed that the link for She-Hulk shows the same She-Hulk series that later appears in Guides 6 and 7 (Pre-Civil War and the Civil War event itself). Is this an error or did you want us to read that She-Hulk series now?

    1. I believe the difference here is that in this part 1 the She-Hulk being referenced is She-Hulk (2004) 1-10, whereas the She-Hulk in Guides 6 and 7 is She-Hulk (2005). The TPB linked to here contains She-Hulk (2004) 1-12, plus She-Hulk (2005) 1-5, and there and then Amazon contains links Collection Volume 2 to get the remainder of the She-Hulk (2005) issues. On a related note, however, here it says to save She-Hulk (2004) #11-12 until after Avengers Disassembled, but I couldn’t find anywhere in the guides that those 2 issues were re-inserted into the reading guides to be finished.

      I know I’m not Dave, but hopefully this helps. 😛

  53. Hi, I’ve looked through your entire guide and I have to say it is the easiest guide to follow for Marvel comics for the past 15 years. As a new comic book reader, I’m excited to get started on it. However, I am curious as to Marvel comics and storylines prior to 1999 that you would suggest reading. If you could help me out with that, that’d be awesome. Thanks!

  54. I’ve given some thought about the sentry miniseries, and I think the best way to read it after #5 is x-men, fantastic four, spiderman, the hulk and sentry. In that way you get the back stories in a chronological order.

  55. Just read ASM 515, there an editor’s note indicating this takes place after New Avengers number 3. The whole arc should probably be moved to the guide between Disassembled and House of M.

    Side note, I am finally almost done with this stage of the guide, hooray!

  56. Hi Dave, first of all I love this site but I’m a bit confused. I want to start using this reading order but I’m confused on what to read. For example, with the Inhumans, do I just read the Inhumans graphic novel (which is the link) or do I need to read everything in the reading order also?

      1. Will,

        It really depends on how much of the Inhumans’ story you’d like to read and how much you’d like to know and how much time you have to read. What’s listed here is sort of “main continuity,” this is the sort tuff you really ought to read to keep up on the Marvelverse(s) in general.

        If you find yourself really enjoying the Inhumans or Hulk or X-Men, or your just a foolish completionist like myself, that’s what the other guides are for.

        Short amswer: if you just want to read the “main” guide, the graphic novel is what you’re looking for.

  57. With the addition of the Deadpool TPBs into this reading order, thought I’d share this find on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Deadpool-Classic-Omnibus-Vol-1/dp/0785196749/ref=pd_sim_14_58?ie=UTF8&dpID=61%2B3lCH-dxL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR109%2C160_&refRID=0GV67JV3261X03P3JW9E

    It is the Deadpool Classic Omnibus Vol. 1, which is a complete collection of the Classic TPBs Volumes 6-10. 5 TPBs in 1. This might be a good buy, just throwing it out there…

    1. And just for clarification, Agent X Issues 1-15 are contained within the Deadpool Classic Vol. 9 and 10 Trades.

  58. Does Venom #1-18 (2003-2004) written by Daniel Way is a continuity to something or can I read it whenever I want ? Anyway , this is a wonderful website, keep up the good work !

  59. For the dead pool vol. 2, the Amazon description says that it collects issues #2-8 and issue #-1. Why is it -1 and why isn’t issue #1 in it.

  60. Hi Dave! Two questions:

    1) What about the X-Men? There’s a real paucity of X-Men early on, especially with adding in Deadpool, some of his storylines seem to continue in the X-Series…

    2) What’s up with the Hulk? In Deadpool and Sentry he seems anti-Banner and stuck in Hulk form. Can you direct me to the arc where that happened? I highly doubt Marvel storylines are quite sophisticated enough to add in a major secret like that across multiple series to be filled in later, but I could be wrong.

    1. Followup: Much of what’s going on seems to harken back to Onslaught. Are we still in imaginary worlds? Is/will Onslaught be resolved?

      If I go back to read Onslaught, am I just going to find another background event to go back and read which has another background event which has another…? I only mention it as maybe it’s another option for a jumping on spot.

      1. Good question. You certainly could go back to Onslaught, although I don’t think it’s a very functional jumping on point. There’s a ton of X-Men continuity to catch up on before Onslaught even makes an appearance.

        If you love X-Men, then by all means do Age of Apocalypse and Onslaught prior. Otherwise, it’s all resolved by the time that busiek/perez avengers #1 hits, and we are on the one and only Earth-616!

  61. You should make a co Part 1 so you can fit in all the useless but fun extras in the marvel universe like Howard the Duck.

  62. I really enjoyed the Eighth Day storyline which leads up to Avengers Assemble volume 3. This would include Iron Man (1998) #21-22, Thor (1998) #17, Peter Parker Spider-Man (1999)-#11, and Juggernaut (1999) #1. Worth reading if you want some background there.

  63. I’ve been slowly working my way through this list using Unlimited and taking breaks along the way. I figure I’m finally making progress off page one and then I come back and you’ve added over 100 comics!

    I will make it to page 2, I think I can, I think I can…

    Anyway keep up the great work. Thanks for the list!

  64. Quick question regarding the Avengers run you added: The reading order for post Disassembled has Avengers stopping at issue 56. Next time we see an Avengers title is 500.

    SPOILER:
    At that time, JOH comes back and Scott Lang is on the team?
    Seems like there are a few important items missing that could lead us to this?

  65. I don’t know how on Earth you could have possibly found time to read all of the comics on the pre-Avengers Disassembled list much less all those on your many other lists, but thanks a million. Whatever you do, for God’s sake, don’t ever take this site down. I will be utterly lost if you do.

    Highest Regards,
    Eddie

  66. Just finished this part of the guide and I can’t thank you enough because it was a really cool journey !!!
    FYI : if I didn’t forget any, there are 1083 comics in this guide that are available on MU plus 28 that aren’t (Alias) for a total of 1111 comics in total ! Sorry, just had to measure the extent of what I read over the past 2 years (with big pauses) so I could be proud of myself xD
    Bottom line is : I can’t wait to read the next part of the guide, so I’ll have to end my comment here !
    Thnk you again for your amazing work !!!

  67. Just got a couple of questions:

    1) You added a few new reads since the last time I visited, among them a number of Avengers comics. I follow on Marvel Unlimited and noticed that Avengers #35 (the one right after the Count Nefaria storyline, I think that’s the right issue) forms part of the Maximum Security storyline. I found what I think should be the rest of that event and am currently reading through it but you might want to fit them into the reading order so that issue doesn’t just come out of left field.

    Presumably the trade version covers it nicely but for anyone following on MU, it’s something you should mention. Also, on a similar note, the Nefaria plotline that’s mixed between the Avengers and Thunderbolts comics should have the last Avengers issue come last, rather than reading through the Avengers parts and then the Thunderbolts parts.

    I hope what I said made sense. 🙂

    2) Is the X-Men Onslaught read still an issue for MU users? Its mention at the top of the list was also something I hadn’t noticed before and following the link you mention it’s poorly collected on MU but I’m not sure how recent that statement is.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  68. Hello Dave

    Great guide. It’s really helping to make sense of all the various titles. I’ll probably have a number of questions like this but here goes. Is Tomb of Dracula (1 – 4) collected as a trade paperback? WHen I look on Amazon for it, different titles come up but they all look like they’re from the seventies.

    Thanks very much for this guide.

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