From 1984 to 1985, Secret Wars became Marvel’s first limited series event impacting Universe wide continuity. 30 years later, Secret Wars (not to be confused with 2004’s Secret War) is back with the biggest Marvel event since Age of Apocalypse. Below you’ll find 30 years of Secret Wars continuity, with reading orders for all related events and background reading for 2015’s all-new Secret Wars.Index:
0) Secret Wars Fast Track
I) Original Secret Wars (1984 to 1985)
II) Secret Wars II (1985 to 1986)
III) Secret Wars III (1988 to 1994)
IV) Thanos and the Cosmic Beyonder (2003 to 2006)
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V) New Avengers: Illuminati Meet the Beyonder (2007)
VI) Hickman’s Avengers & New Avengers: Build to Secret Wars (2012 to 2015)
VII) Essential Ultimate Universe Reading (Background to read before Hickman’s Avengers #41!)
VIII) Secret Wars: Everything Ends! (2015)
0) Secret Wars Fast Track Trade Reading Order
The Secret Wars guide below is pretty expansive, so if you want to cut the fat, here’s a fast track trade reading order to get you up to speed. Marvel released a Secret Wars: Prelude trade that ostensibly should do the same thing, but personally I think it’s a pretty limited collection.
Original Secret Wars #1 to #12 (1984 – 1985)
Avengers: Time Runs Out Volume 1
The Time Runs Out trades collect issues from both Avengers and New Avengers. If you’re doing the fast track, I recommend utilizing the full Hickman Avengers reading order below for the proper issue by issue order here.
Avengers: Time Runs Out Volume 2
Before you read Avengers #41 in the Time Runs Out Volume 2 trade, I recommend jumping to the Marvel Ultimate Universe background reads below. Note that this may be a cold splash of Ultimate Universe introductions if you’re unfamiliar, but it’s worth it.
Ultimate: Enemy + Ultimate: Mystery + Ultimate: Doom
Three 4 issue Ultimate miniseries that set us up for Jonathan Hickman’s run on…
Ultimate Comics Ultimates Volume 1
Ultimate Comics Ultimates Volume 2
Avengers: Time Runs Out Volume 3
Avengers: Time Runs Out Volume 4
I) 1984 Secret Wars Reading Order – The Original
Secret Wars on Marvel Unlimited
For the most part, you can read the original twelve issues of Secret Wars without paying much attention to the prelude tie-ins that announced the coming of Secret Wars. They largely just allude to a powerful presence before our heroes and villains find Battleworld hanging out in Central Park and are shot off into space.
Secret War Prelude Tie-Ins
Amazing Spider-Man #249 – #251
Doubles as a pretty excellent Hobgoblin story that you could go all the way back to Amazing Spider-Man #238 for the full effect. Not necessary, but a good read for Spidey fans.
Also, while you’re in the neighborhood, I highly recommend you read Amazing Spider-Man #248. This has nothing to do with Secret Wars, but the issue includes “The Kids Who Collects Spider-Man,” which is one of the finest Spider-Man stories of all time.
Uncanny X-Men #178 – #179
New Mutants #13
Avengers #240 – #241
Hulk #293 – #294
These issues actually go a long way to help explain the current state of the Hulk as we enter Secret Wars.
Iron Man #181
Captain America #292
Uncanny X-Men #180
Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars #1 – #12
After the Secret Wars Tie-Ins
Fantastic Four #265
Amazing Spider-Man #252
Uncanny X-Men #181
Thing #11 – #22
II) Secret Wars II – The Beyonder Comes to Earth (’85 – 1986)
Secret Wars II is a fascinating, yet extremely problematic and disappointing comic book series. I’ve probably started and stopped this event 25 times before finally plowing through, always frustrated by the event pretty quickly. It’s no guarantee that if you loved Secret Wars, you’ll love Secret Wars II.
Nonetheless, you are probably a braver soul than I, and the order for the event can be found below.
Special thanks to the bravest of souls, Dan Molden, who created the updated Secret Wars II guide below!
Dan’s complete Secret Wars II reading order w/ fast track notes!
Secret Wars II on Marvel Unlimited
Secret Wars II Trade Collection
Secret Wars II & Tie-Ins
Secret Wars II #1
Secret Wars II #2
Secret Wars II #3
Secret Wars II #4
Secret Wars II #5
Secret Wars II #6
Secret Wars II #7
Secret Wars II #8
Secret Wars II #9
New Mutants #38
III) Secret Wars III – The Cosmic Cube Era in Fantastic Four (1988 – 1994)
The Beyonder takes a backseat for a while until the unofficial “Secret Wars III” a series of issues in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four Annuals. These are for Beyonder completists, as these issues explain much of the Beyonder’s origins, and a huge transformation in his status in the Marvel Universe moving forward.
Note that the relevant annual issues are not on Marvel Unlimited. The rest are.
Fantastic Four #318 – #319
Fantastic Four Annual #23
Fantastic Four #351
IV) That Time Thanos Met The Beyonder / Kosmos In a Cosmic Prison (2003 – 2006)
Jim Starlin’s 2003 to 2004 run on Thanos reintroduced the Beyonder to the Marvel spaceways in a story deeply versed in Marvel cosmic lore. The story would carry over in part all the way to the mid-2000’s Annihilation event.
Thanos Meets the Beyond Trade Collection
Thanos #7 – #12
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #3
Note that this Annihilation tie-in is going to make somewhere between zero and NO sense if you aren’t reading Annihilation as a whole. Not necessary for the Secret Wars experience, but a great read nonetheless.
V) The Illuminati Retcon – Beyonder Meets Black Blot (2007)
While Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers is all the rage these days (and rightfully so), it was Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Cheung’s New Avengers: Illuminati that launched Marvel’s clandestine heroes making the choices that only kings, geniuses, and sorcerer supremes could make. The third issue of this series found the team of Iron Man, Professor X, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange, Namor, and Black Bolt encountering The Beyonder.
The story would retcon the Beyonder’s origins as we know them, although it is unclear – still – if this revelation is in continuity.
New Avengers: Illuminati on Marvel Unlimited
VI) Secret Wars Prologue: Hickman’s Avengers & New Avengers (2012 – 2015)
Here we come to Jonathan Hickman’s intertwining run on Avengers & New Avengers, with the former series dealing with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in their well known heroic incarnation, and the latter dealing with the Illuminati in a thankless moral death spiral.
For even more awesome background, I’d also point you to Hickman’s Fantastic Four. Not required, but starts building some of the same concepts we see in Avengers.
Additionally, I would note that you can really read Avengers and New Avengers without any crossover until the designated event sections (Infinity and Original Sin). After Original Sin, New Avengers and Avengers begin intersecting (approximately) every other issue.
Read Avengers on Marvel Unlimited
Read New Avengers on Marvel Unlimited
Start collecting Avengers trades
Start collecting New Avengers Trades
Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers Reading Order
New Avengers #1 – #3
Avengers #1 – #6
New Avengers #4 – #6
Avengers #7 – #13
New Avengers #7
The above order includes Avengers #14 through #23, Infinity #1 through #6, and New Avengers #8 through #13
Avengers #24 (also labeled #24.NOW)
New Avengers #14 – #15
New Avengers Annual #1
Avengers #25 – #28
Above order includes Avengers #29 through #34, and Original Sin #1 through #8
New Avengers #16 – #23
Essential Remender Avengers Reading
Captain America #16 – #22
A couple Remender-verse Avengers reads will go a long way to explaining the state of the Marvel Universe in “Time Runs Out.”
You could almost skip Axis if it wasn’t for the impact on Iron Man…
Ok actually, if you’re in a hurry, you really could just skip Axis. Hickman largely ignores the event, and although it generates the Superior Iron Man, you could infer your own reasons for Iron Man’s status quo change simply based on the events of Avengers and New Avengers.
Time Runs Out Begins!
Avengers World #17
This Avengers World issue was actually published after the majority of “Time Runs Out” in Avengers and New Avengers. It fills in some of the story involving Sunspot, Smasher, and Cannonball prior to “Time Runs Out.” Chronologically it fits here, but you could conceivably skip and come back to fill in the details.
Update: Having now completed the Avengers World tie-ins, I would personally recommend you read the Avengers / New Avengers saga, and then come back to these later if you’re really jones-ing for more. Not required reading. Placed in order below nonetheless.
Avengers #34.1, #34.2, #35
New Avengers #24
Avengers World #18
Avengers World #19
Both these Avengers World issues are published later than this, and in fact, Avengers World #18 actually has a “See Avengers #37” reference. That said, the story makes the most chronological sense before the events of Avengers #36. If you want the “as they were released” experience, though, go ahead and read both after Avengers #37, and just know they’re flashbacks.
New Avengers #25
New Avengers #26
Avengers World #20
Avengers World #21
New Avengers #27
New Avengers #28
New Avengers #29
Begin reading Hickman’s Ultimates (next section of the guide) run here!
New Avengers #30
New Avengers #31
New Avengers #32
New Avengers #33
VII) Ultimate Comics Ultimates – The Reed Richards of The Ultimate Universe (2000 – 2014)
This is a recent revelation, but it is now clear that Jonathan Hickman’s time spent writing twelve issues of Ultimate Comics Ultimates (2011 through 2012) is going to be instrumental in his Secret Wars series.
You have a couple of options here: You can read ONLY Hickman’s run and be done in a couple hours, or you can get the backstory that helps Hickman’s run make any sense. Or, you could just up and read the entire Ultimate Universe in order, since it’s coming to a close real quick like.
Again, reading this background before Avengers #41 will help you make the most sense of “Time Runs Out.”
Read Ultimate Comics Ultimates on Marvel Unlimited
Ultimate Comics Ultimates Trade Collection
Ultimate Reed Richards Reading Order
Ultimate Fantastic Four #1 – #6
We’ll skip over the vast majority of Ultimate Fantastic Four for the purposes of this order. Nonetheless, the intro gives you the origins of Ultimate Reed.
If you’re doing the full Ultimate Universe, note that Ultimate Nightmare and Ultimate Secret come first.
Technically the above series will all make more sense if you’ve read Ultimatum. I’m not going to make you read Ultimatum.
Again, if you want the full Ultimate experience, there is a fairly essential Spider-Man story that comes before this.
Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1 – #6
Ultimate Comics Ultimates #7 – #12
Hunger #1 – #4
Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men #1 – #3
Cataclysm: The Ultimate’s Last Stand #1
Cataclysm: Ultimates #1
Cataclysm: The Ultimate’s Last Stand #2
Cataclysm: Ultimates #2 – #3
Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2 – #3
Cataclysm: The Ultimate’s Last Stand #3 – #5
The above constitutes a Cataclysm reading order, which effectively brings you up to speed with Reed Richards and the Ultimates in the Ultimate Universe.
VIII) Secret Wars – Marvel’s 2015 Event!
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Aymara Belmonte says
Pretty late, but this is an amazing list. Thank you so much!
Francisco Cabrera says
First you say “Original Secret Wars #1 to #12 (1984 – 1985)”
and then you say “Secret Wars #0 to #8”
How many Secret Wars exist before Secret Wars 2?
Tony Smirk says
Secret Wars 2, issues 0 – 8, I think
Caique C P says
Hi! Thank you very much for the content. I’ve been following your read order guides for a while.
I just readed Captain America #16 – #22 and I’m feeling like I’m losing something… Also, the Axis event. Taking a look at it I feel like I’ll jump outside the Secret Wars event, idk… Should I read the Avengers x X-men before Axis? How much is it (Axis and Avengers x X-men) important to the secret wars event? Thank you!!!
Daniel Davis says
Speaking as a person who:
A) Loves Secret Wars
B) Has never read AXIS or Avengers vs. X-Men
and C) loves to read things extensively to get the entire story
You don’t need to read AXIS to read Secret Wars. You don’t need to read Avengers vs. X-Men either. The X-characters don’t even play that big of a role. Now, if you are an X-men fan, you might want to read that, but if that’s the case you probably would want to read it anyway and wouldn’t be asking this question.
I also probably wouldn’t waste time with Remender’s Captain America – *too late*. I know Dave calls it essential, and yes, you need it to understand Captain America’s transition from Steve to Sam. But… it creates continuity problems and honestly I didn’t like those issues very much. But hey, you read them already, so you got what you need either way. If you feel like you are missing out on AXIS, you technically are, but also it really, truly does not matter.
Here is my recommended reading in prep for Secret Wars:
1) The original Secret Wars mini-series (Marvel Super-heroes Secret Wars 1-12)
2) Background on the Illuminati (Civil War Illuminati #1, New Avengers Illuminati 1-5, Avengers (2010) 8-12)
3) Background on the Maker (Ultimate Enemy 1-4, Ultimate Mystery 1-4, Ultimate Doom 1-4, Ultimates (2011) 1-12)
4) Hickman’s epic run on Avengers and New Avengers (Avengers (2013) 1-34.2, New Avengers (2013) 1-23, Infinity 1-6, Original Sin 0-8)
5) Time Runs Out (Avengers (2013) 35-44, New Avengers (2013) 24-33)
6) Secret Wars (Secret Wars 0-9, Siege 1-4)
It’s been a few years since I read all this, but here are some other things I decided to keep in my reading order. Can’t remember if any were totally necessary or not, but I liked the way they fit:
New Avengers (2005) 7-10 (Sentry origin story, features Illuminati)
Captain Marvel (2012) 15-16 (Infinity tie-ins)
Thanos: A God Up There Listening 1-6
New Avengers (2013) Annual 1
Avengers World 1-21
Mighty Avengers (2013) 10 (Original Sin tie-in)
Captain America and the Mighty Avengers 8-9 (Secret Wars prelude from street level)
AND THEN, from Battleworld (because you really should choose SOME series to read between Secret Wars 5 & 6 so that you can get a feel of the patchwork planet being held together by… I won’t say in case you somehow still don’t know): Civil War 1-5, Guardians of Knowhere 1-4, Red Skull 1-3, Attilan Rising 1-5, Korvac Saga 1-4, Runaways 1-4, Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders 1-2, *in that order*)
*Note: most of these are not in a strict order. I can give you an exact order if you really want, but I’m too busy to type it out right now.
**: The Maker also shows up in Ultimates (2011) 25-30. This is technically the last appearance he makes before appearing in the 616-verse books. I currently do not have these books listed in my order, and do not remember how I determined that they were unnecessary. Or perhaps it was an oversight. Maybe read them just in case?
*** Some of these issues I probably commented on in more detail 3 years ago further up the thread, if you want to go back and look.
Anyway, hope this was helpful. Let me know if you want my full order, but you’ll have to be a bit patient for it if you do.
Caique C P says
Thank you very much!
I need to say that I’m loving Secret Wars too, mind blowing!
Your main reading order it quite the same from the article, and it’s what I’m reading, the fast track.
Also I’m reading all tie-ins. About the AxX and Axis, I decided that I’m not going to read it now, but I’ll after finishing the Secret Wars. I’ll keep your suggestions in my e-mail, so thank you for the help!
I have recently finished this amazing series of comics including the Secret wars 2015 all the tie ins and yes the entire ultimate universe and it has been one of the most fun experiences I’ve had reading comics ever. Your reading lists were essential and made it even more enjoyable. So thank you for your time and effort. Now I’m off to be confused but amused by Age of Apocalypse. P.S. I loved Ultimatum apparently I’m one of the few
Where would Fantastic Four Annual #27 fit in here ?
jim li says
Can you tell me what issues the fairly essential Spider-Man story are in? Thanks!
Secret Wars #8 involves the biggest development for Spidey.
Elton Alwine says
Absolutely fantastic reading orders! I’ve just just begun reading Marvel again (lifelong fan of the big two but the last few years I’ve just picked up stuff here and there. Don’t know why I felt the need to qualify that…) But your lists have been instrumental in my reading orders and building my collection. Your site has quickly become my go-to for reading Marvel runs/events. Thank you for that. I’m beginning my Hickman Avengers run this week.
Where is the Civil War story line in between the Secret Wars story line?
I was confused by Reed’s first appearance in Cataclysm (wasn’t he suppose to be in a force-field ball right now?) so I consulted the marvel wiki, which led me to read Ultimate Comics Ultimates #25-30. Honestly that arc seems pretty essential too, if you’re going to bother to understand Ultimate Reed Richards at all. The reveal in #30 explains all his behavior from the time Sue broke up with him till #30!
Brian Best says
So, I kind of skipped the whole Secret Wars redo, way too convoluted for my tastes, not to mention it involved a lot of characters I really don’t care for.
My two questions are these:
Is Kitty Pryde on the GOG 616 or AoA?
Is Dazzler in A-Force the 616 variant?
The fact that this is so complicated is one of the reasons I’m getting out of buying new comics. Everything is so convoluted and impossible to follow. Marvel killed my hobby.
I find this page really confusing as where to start exactly with the secret war comics.
I’m currently following your page for Civil war and you made a very easy to read guide which comics to read in which order for Marvel Unlimited. Is there by any chance you could make that here?
I’m confused. I thought that Marvel Ultimate was it’s own semi-rebooted Universe…how is it possible for non Ultimate Universe stuff to tie in? And Ultimate Universe is coming to an end? Did it sell poorly? I don’t understand.
It is it’s own Universe, but Secret Wars involves the collision of the two Universes, so it’s useful to know some background on both. And yes, the Ultimate universe comics have sold poorly in recent years, with the exception of Ultimate Spider-man.
So if I’m readi my through your 616 Universe guide, do you eventually bring in the Ultimate stuff?
Or will it work to read 616 up to the first mention of it here, then do all the Ultimate stuff and then read them together until ultimate ends?
Sorry, that should say “if I’m reading my way through your 616…”
The latter. Secret Wars is the first time Ultimate U comics get blended into the 616 Universe-wide continuity (with some minor exceptions).
Does Waids Hulk series (2014-2015) fit into the Secret Wars at all?
Not directly. Familiarity with the series will help explain Hulk’s involvement in the pages of New Avengers.
Thanks for the response, I do have another question though. What about Ultimate Vision? Is it an important read or no?
can you make a list of all new comics after secret wars I cant find a list of them and would like to read all the current running comics once I catch up
Hi there. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on all your guides. It’s what got me into reading the comics. Before everything was a bit confusing. Anyway, I’m really interested in reading Hickman’s entire run on Avengers and New Avengers, Secret Wars and the events in between. I just have one doubts concerning the tie-ins. Best I explain with an example:
In the infinity event, you place Captain Marvel #15, Avengers Assemble #18, Nova #8, Thunderbolts #14 and others, all as tie-ins. In this very guide you also place Remender’s Cap #16-#22 as an essential read.
What I was wondering is, in order for me to fully understand what’s happening, should I read the previous issues of these tie-ins, such as Nova #1-#7, Avengers Assemble #1-#17, Captain America #1-#16, Avengers World #1-#16 etc?
Pardon any english mistakes, it’s not my first language.
New Mutants #13 and Uncanny X-Men #178 should be reversed. In NM #13, Xavier mentions the scanning wave he felt in UXM #178.
Daniel Davis says
All of the Avengers World issues (17-35) actually take place before Avengers 35. If you look at the beginning of 18, it shows the scene of Sunspot going to pick up Cannonball and Smasher as being a future scene. And 19 is where Starbrand gets his new blue suit. At the end of 20, Sunspot shows up in the savage land with the crew of AIM workers which we see in Avengers 35. The note in AW 18 to “see Avengers 37” is confusing continuity wise, but it seems pretty clear to me based on everything else that it should be ignored. It’s probably just there because, like you said, the Avengers World issues were published later.
Daniel Davis says
Crap. I meant Avengers World 17-21 obviously. lol
Also, Avengers 34.1 and 34.2 take place before AW 17, and really don’t need to be labled as part of Time Runs Out.
Great list. I was just wondering where Avengers World #21 fits in?
I’ve added it right after Avengers World #20.
When I decided to catch up on Marvel comics and found this Website there was nothing that could stop me.
I started reading Hickmans Avengers and New Avengers, read through Infinity and Original Sin and would very much like to thank you for that.
But there is one thing I absolutely don’t get:
You are suggesting to read Captain America #16 – #22. I started and read #16 and #17.
Now I am more confused than ever. How was Captain America in “Dimension Z” when he was fighting along the Avengers? Is this another Universe? Do I need to read Captain America #1 -#15 to understand this? Do I really need to read Captain America at all? I’d appreaciate some guidance. Can’t wait to start with Secret Wars! 🙂
You don’t need all of Cap, I promise 🙂 Honestly, it just explains why he’s older in the pages of Avengers. So up to you if you want that full background or not.
Cap was only gone for a few hours in the 616 universe while he was stuck in Dimension Z. I personally really liked the Dimension Z story but I don’t feel like it’s even vaguely necessary in Hickman’s broader storyline. The way that Remender wrote Cap’s aging was very stupid and possibly the worst thing he’s ever written for me. So the books Dave mentions of Remender’s Cap run are the ones I’d personally skip out.
Shane Cole says
So I finally worked out the different between Secret War and Secret Wars. Quick question now. I know that you have put to read Secret War between Avengers Disassembled and House of M in your Marvel Reading Order. Just wondering as Secret Wars is so expansive should it be read in pieces within your complete Marvel Reading Order or just at end once I have read through the Marvel Reading Order you have created? Love all the work you have put into this!
Good question. Generally speaking I’d use the years of publication as a guide. So the first 3 items (The original Secret Wars) can all be read before you start on my Earth-616 pre Avengers disassembled guide. From there, Thanos and the New Avengers issues are included as parts of the Marvel Reading Order as a whole. That leads us to Hickman’s Avengers, which is included in the Marvel Now guide. You can either read those issues as part of Marvel Now, or jump straight here to Secret Wars depending on how many comics you want to read 🙂 Enjoy the ride!
this is a mess. very hard to read. needs to be organized.
If you have any specific questions or suggestions, I’m happy to consider.
Jimmy gray says
Hey mate excellent work. I bet its a big effort.
I’m brand new to comics and thought id start with secret wars. This guide has been more than helpfulin getting me off and running.
just wondering though, where you say begin reading Hickmans ultimates here. Do you mean read them in full before avengers 41?
Ideally, yes. Once the Ultimate Universe characters are introduced, you’ll understand the story a lot better if you’re semi-familiar with those stories. Enjoy!
Jimmy gray says
Keep up the great work
I’m considering reading the entire Ultimate Universe according to your guide for it. If I read up to New Avengers #29, then take a break and read the entire Earth-1610 universe before resuming with Avengers #41, would it spoil any of the remaining issues of the Earth-616 universe? (Also, would such a long break from the main universe be a bad idea?)
It shouldn’t spoil anything for 616 moving forward, but I’ll warn you that’s a long break. If you’re interested in the Ultimate Universe, then I highly recommend you go for it, as it’s a very fun read for a good percentage. I would only hold off if you’re desperate to get to Secret Wars!
Thanks. I think I’ll modify my reading plan so it’s not such a big break.
Hi. Can I start reading secret wars 2015 without all the other secret wars if I will read HIckman’s Avengers and New Avengers or will I need to read all the other previous secret wars to understand that?
You can definitely read without the other Secret Wars. I really enjoy the first event, but you don’t need it to understand the 2015 event. Enjoy!
I think you should include the Beyonder’s interaction with the New Mutants during Secret Wars II. I mean he does some crazy stuff to them.
Eth Lowe says
Now that Avengers World 21 has been released, where does it fit in?
Dow Zabolio says
Where does all of this fit in with the rest of your reading guide? Can you make a list of which parts of this guide go where in the full reading order?
Now that Avengers World is concluded I wanted to give my opinion on the “Time Runs Out” lead up to Secret Wars. Chronologically all of Avengers World 17-21 takes place before Avengers 35. But you should probably read them in the publication order. Why? Well because it kills some of the suspense. At several points during the battle between the Illuminati and Steve’s Shield “cards” are played. Steve makes one move followed by Reed making another. If you read the books in Chronological order some of the surprises are spoiled. Example Avengers World 21 reveals that Namor told the Illuminati that he would help them defeat the Cabal. Thats one of the surprises that Reed unveils to Steve after the battle.
Avengers 35 we join the team after all the events of Avengers World have concluded.
Same thing for Might Avengers. The last 2 issues takes place before Avengers 39 but if you read it in the Chronological order instead of the publication oder many of the surprises are spoiled.
This is a great start but for people who are thinking “do I really need to read SW1 and SW2 plus all that ultimate universe stuff. Or even just the Avengers, New Avengers is still over 50 comics before you catch up…may I recommend. “Secret Wars: Prelude”. It comes out in print on May 26th. It has only the very, very essentials but its fills in most of the holes. All the fluff has been cut away.
It stats off with SW#11 and SW#12 (the original from the 80’s)so you get the results with the least amount of books
Then you get FF#611. (from 2012)
Next up is The Ultimates #4,
As you can see its jumping around, but its giving you in order everything you need to understand Secret Wars.
Ultimate Spider-Man #1
New Avengers #1, #2, #3
I would pick that up read it, and then come back to this list and start with “Time Runs Out” reading order (Avengers, New Avengers, and Avengers World). Read it all the way through to the start of Secret Wars
I’ve been using your guides as a jumping point for my own collection, trying to figure out where everything should go if I were reading them “as they happen.” So, right off the bat, I want to say thank you for all the work you’ve done.
But wow… as a Secret Wars primer, Axis is a mess. You mentioned that the Avengers/Original Sin tie-ins were a little difficult to place, because of Cap’s interaction with certain key players, and how they seemed to conflict with events going on in Avengers. Axis just takes that to a whole new level, with the Cap/Iron Man schism rendered completely non-existent.
Exactly how I felt about AXIS and the Tony/Steve dynamic.
In Original Sin Steve is traveling forward in time and everyone he meets literally calls Tony Stark a “monster”. I was like, why is Tony being singled out. There at least 5 other coconspirators, and the world is still standing so…? Anyway Steve comes back to the present and AXIS starts and Tony and Steve never resolve the schism. “Time runs out” starts and the schism is there again.
It’s maddening. Marvel has a habit of doing this. They never hold their writers accountable when they either decide to drop a plot device or move on to another project.
AXIS is going to be looked at the most useless event in the last 10 years.
How essential do you think Hickman’s run on Ultimate Comics Hawkeye will be and should I read it? I’ve read every other Marvel comic of his.
Hawkeye is occasionally referenced in Ultimate Comics Ultimate, but other than that you’re pretty safe. Ultimates on the other hand is increasingly essential as Secret Wars progresses. Highly recommend those 12 issues!
Stephen Adkison says
Hey so I’ll probably read all of this backstory stuff eventually but I was thinking of just reading the original secret wars for time constraint purposes. Is there any way to just read some plot descriptions of this stuff you’ve listed (like ultimate universe stuff, avengers/new avengers) that you would recommend? I really don’t have the time to read all of this but would like to read current Secret Wars as it happens.
Personally I skipped everything and only read time runs out…as long as you kinda know what’s happened before that you will be good to go for Secret Wars. But I will say Avengers and New Avengers are definetly worth the read.
Oh and if you just want a quick recap on everything prior to the event…check out ComicsExplained on YouTube, he does an awesome job summarizing everything 🙂
In the original Secret Wars, I think the prelude tie-ins should include Avengers #242. The end of Captain America #292, at least, seems to suggest it.
Thanks for the list!
Good call, thanks!
This list is a damn mess, there’s so much ambiguity. Where do Avengers world 1-16 fit in? Do I read Hickman’s Ultimates in it’s entirely before I continue to Avengers #41? You say to only read Hickman’s Ultimates, ok which are they? “You can hold off on reading the below until before Avengers #41”. What? All of the Ultimate titles listed below or just Ultimates? “Ultimate Nightmare and Ultimate Secret come first.” Before Extinction or after? “There is a fairly essential Spider-Man story that comes before this.” Which is…? Then you list Ultimates 1-12 after all that?
This is really poorly cobbled together and needs to be reworked. Unfortunately this is the only complete list I can find so I’m forced to stumble through and try to make sense of it as I’m reading. Please do an edit.
Daniel Davis says
Maybe I can be of service. Avengers World 1-14 happen in a single day. I slid them in between Avengers 28 and the beginning of Original Sin, as that seems to be the best fit. There’s a note in one of the issues to “see Original Sin 2” as if that’s already happened, but seeing as how it would make no sense for this crazy day to happen in the middle of Original Sin, and seeing as how I find it unlikely that AW 1-14 happen AFTER Original Sin, I think that can be ignored and chalked up to the fact that these issues were being published later despite occurring before.
I didn’t read Avengers World 15-16 because they are AXIS tie-ins and I ignored AXIS. But the fact that they are tie-ins at least lets you know that they take place somewhere in there.
Hickman wrote the most recent Ultimates series. All of it. There are 30 issues. It’s the only Ultimates series that goes that long.
Ultimate Nightmare and Ultimate Secret come before Ultimate Extinction. They are a trilogy.
Ultimate Fallout is the aftermath of the Death of Spider-man storyline that runs through Ultimate Avengers vs. New Avengers 1-6 and Ultimate Spider-man 156-160. This is probably not really essential reading, though I would recommend reading Ultimate Spider-man all the way through anytime if you have the chance. It’s very well done. Ultimate Fantastic Four is pretty good too, and that, along with the major events he has mentioned, will give you the story of Reed Richards.
As a final note, maybe give the guy a break. It takes a lot to assemble a list like this. There are bound to be mistakes here and there. Some are unavoidable, because (I’m assuming) the writers didn’t communicate (those Remender Captain America issues are ALL OVER the place). The only reason I can give you such information rather easily is that I have spent a rather large chunk of time this summer reading a ton of comics, and I am such an organizationally minded person that I will order and reorder these things on my computer when I notice small details until I think they are right. And even then, I’m probably not perfect either. This guy is doing a much larger project than I am, reading pretty much everything that comes out – so it’s amazing that he even keeps it this organized. And if you want to check it against other lists, he’s definitely not the only other source there is. Check out the Complete Marvel Comics Reading Order. It’s not caught up on mainline 616 stuff, but it will get you up to date on what you need to know about the Ultimate Universe. Of course, it’s not perfect either. Nothing is. Unfortunately, having SO MANY comics as part of one universe is both a blessing and a curse.
Sorry for beginning this comment with a correction, but Hickman only wrote the 12 issues of Ultimates Dave put in his list, after that Humphries and then Fialkov took over.
Secondly, and more importantly, thank you for being so level-headed in your reply to this commenter. This list is very straight forward and easy to understand. The one place (death of Spider-Man) Dave isn’t clear, it’s specifically to avoid spoilers. When people come onto a site like this, where someone who doesn’t have to has spent valuable time compiling such a great resource, and craps all over it, it really gets my blood boiling. You are a better man than I. I hope for Oar’s sake, (s)he appreciates the time it took you to reply.
Daniel Davis says
Oh, yeah, I totally forgot about Humphries and Fialkov (see how hard it is to keep all this straight Oar?), though you would think I wouldn’t because I now remember how disappointing I was with Fialkov’s writing.
As for the spoilers, I can see that now. I guess I didn’t think of it because a) with the fame Miles Morales has gained, I assumed everyone knew about the Death storyline, and b) the name of the storyline is actually “Death of Spider-man” so all you have to do is look at the front of the comic to see that. Marvel provided their own spoilers.
I just read these comments. I can’t believe that oar typed that comment. If u need a complete reading list of the ultimate universe and 616 universe leading into secret wars, it’s probably best to start with fantastic four number one from the 60s, then read every publication that marvel put out. You can probably skip ren and stimpy, and the terminator series, but make sure you read every other thing that has came out that says marvel on it. Then you’ll be prepared for (spoiler alert) the end of the marvel universe
Santiago Romano says
Hi, could you update the ultimate universe Reading order, i think its incomlete now, if you could do that it will be great, i am trying to read it and i am afraid i will come to a dead end
Do you mean the full Ultimate U reading order, or the sort of “greatest hits” collection above? Either way, both should be pretty current up until the new Ultimate End stuff that is coming out this summer!
THANK YOU! This is amazing. I cannot imagine the work that goes into creating these lists. Awesome work dude, you are a god amoung men.
THANK YOU! This is amazing. I cannot imagine the work that goes into creating these lists. Awesome work dude, you are a god amount men.
Finally, someone agrees 🙂
Re: The story would retcon the Beyonder’s origins as we know them, although it is unclear – still – if this revelation is in continuity.
Hickman was asked about this in an interview posted today on CBR. His response:
“Early on I talked with Brevoort about this and my understanding is that the editorial position regarding the “New Avengers: Illuminati” [miniseries] Bendis wrote was that it was all a construct of that Beyonder. It was all unreliable narrator stuff and he wasn’t Inhuman. I think that’s clearly the way we’ve gone, but I don’t know that Marvel would think they’ve ever moved off this path. It was just Beyonder shenanigans.”
Full article: with BIG SPOILERS about some Time Runs Out events if you aren’t caught up. I read it anyway, but I regret it.
Nice find! And – holy smokes – HUGE spoilers in that interview. Feel like a disclaimer from CBR wouldn’t have hurt there…
Ultimately, I like the approach of dealing with the Beyonder’s “Illuminati” story. It happened, but it’s the Beyonder, and he’s completely unreliable, so maybe it didn’t happen exactly the way everyone thinks. Works for me.
I just entered a subscription for secret wars and Was wondering i i have to read all of this to even understand what its all about of if i Can jump in when it starts releasing and its just as good 🙂
I’d really recommend the original Secret Wars and Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers. I think that’s some very useful background (and just good comics) heading into this event.
That said, I’d guess Marvel will make an effort to make Secret Wars accessible as a jumping on point. So always an option!
Should Amazing Spider-Man #268 come before #263 in the Secret Wars II list? I think Amazing Spider-Man #263 should possibly be #273.
You’re right, nice catch!
I loved the original secret wars, but have never read secret wars ii. It seems like everyone says
It’s terrible and hard to get through, just like you said.
Without spoiling anything, what is so terrible about it?
Jim Shooter (writer, Marvel’s EIC at the time) tries to do some interesting things, and explore essentially what it means to be human from the perspective of the Beyonder. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but the end result is really dense and unfocused. It’s also basically the polar opposite of the first Secret Wars, which is just “good guys vs. bad guys” ultimate fun.
It’s worth a shot, but end of the day I find it a lot more interesting than I do enjoyable.
I want to ask you, Avengers World #17 is necesary after Original Sin?
Yeah, good call, I actually updated the guide to reflect Avengers World now.
In Secret Wars II, I think it is Dazzler (1981) – #40, not #140
New mutants #30 also ties in after Secret War II #1
You’ve probably moves on from this reading order, but New Mutants #30 occurs chronologically before Captain America #308 during Secret Wars II.
yes! Its Dazzler #40
(Secret wars 2)
This list is not even close to all s.w.2 tie ins!!! It is missing 13 issues.
Powerman iron fist121, New mutants36,37,daredevil223, alpha flight28,docstrange74, New defenders152, cloak+dagger4,powerpack18,Deadpoolteamup1,thing30.