By popular demand, a complete Venom reading order, from his origins to Maximum Carnage, to Venom’s space-faring role with the Guardians of the Galaxy, to the Venomverse event and beyond! Get to know Spider-Man’s most venomous villain!
I) The Birth of Venom
A few notes about this section. There is some overlap in the available trade collections for the issues of Spider-Man in which Venom first appears. For example, “The Birth of Venom” includes the first Amazing Spider-Man issues in which Spidey and Venom battle, but it also includes backstory for the black suit all the way to its origins in Secret Wars. Of course if you’re reading on Marvel Unlimited, this won’t be an issue.
Additionally, “Venom: Dark Origin” is the only series on here published during the 2000’s. Although it was published much later, the story deals with the origins of Venom, and can be read closer to his original appearances in Spider-Man.
Secret Wars #8, Amazing Spider-Man #252-259, #298-300 & #315-317, Fantastic Four #274 And Web Of Spider-Man #1
The “Birth of Venom” collection covers the essentials, but if you want the full ride of the Symbiote suit and Spider-Man, I recommend the below collection:
Amazing Spider-Man 298-300, 315-317
#1 – #5
Amazing Spider-Man 330-333, 344-347
Collects: Venom: Lethal Protector 1-6, Venom: Funeral Pyre 1-3, Daredevil (1964) 323, Iron Man (1968) 302, Darkhawk 35-37, Venom: The Madness 1-3, Venom: The Enemy Within 1-3, Incredible Hulk Vs. Venom 1, Venom: The Mace 1-3, Nightwatch 5-6, Venom: Nights Of Vengeance 1-4, Spider-Man: The Arachnis Project 6, Web Of Spider-Man (1985) 118-119, Spider-Man (1990) 52-53, Venom: Separation Anxiety 1-4, Venom: Carnage Unleashed 1-4, Material From Silver Sable & The Wild Pack 18-19, Venom Subplot Pages
Collects: Venom: Sinner Takes All 1-5, Venom: Along Came A Spider 1-4, Venom: The Hunted 1-3, Venom: The Hunger 1-4, Venom: Tooth And Claw 1-3, Venom: On Trial 1-3, Venom: License To Kill 1-3, Venom: Seed Of Darkness -1, Venom: Sign Of The Boss 1-2, Spiderman: The Venom Agenda, Venom: The Finale 1-3, Uncanny Origins 7; Material From Amazing Spider-Man Super Special, Spider-Man Super Special, Venom Super Special, Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special, Web Of Spider-Man Super Special, Spider-Man Holiday Special 1995
Note that the two mega “Venomnibus” editions will take you through all of the limited series listed below (and then some). These are the most complete collections for the full 90’s Venom experience.
#1 – #6
Collects: Venom : Funeral Pyre 1-3, Venom: The Madness 1-3, Venom: The Enemy Within 1-3, Incredible Hulk & Venom 1
Venom: The Mace #1 to #3
Nights of Vengeance #1 to #4
Amazing Spider-Man #332-333, #346-347, #361-363 And #374-375, Spider-Man: The Trial Of Venom — And Material From Amazing Spider-Man #373, #388 And Annual #25-26, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #12, And Web Of Spider-Man Annual #8
II) Venom Breeds Maximum Carnage
Venom reading order will not quite double as a complete Carnage reading order, but because Venom and Carnage are so closely related, you will find plenty of Carnage included here, notably Maximum Carnage.
Amazing Spider-Man #378-380, Spectacular Spider-Man #201-203, Spider-Man #35-37, Spider-Man Unlimited #1 And #2, And Web Of Spider-Man #101-103
Check out this page, for a proper Maximum Carnage reading order.
#1 – #4
Collects: Venom: Carnage Unleashed 1-4, Venom: Sinner Takes All 1-5; Material From Amazing Spider-Man Super Special, Spiderman Super Special, Venom Super Special, Spectacular Spider-Man Super Special, Web Of Spider-Man Super Special
Note that this mega collection of 90’s Venom minis includes the “Super Specials” that coincided with the Spider-Man Clone Saga!
Along Came a Spider #1 to #4
The Hunger #1 to #4
Tooth and Claw #1 to #3
On Trial #1 to #3
License to Kill #1 to #3
Sign of the Boss #1 to #2
III) A Venom for the 21st Century
Not necessarily the beast Venom stories on our list, but the Marvel Knights Spider-Man from Mark Millar in particular has a big influence on the status quo of Venom. The individual inside the symbiote will feel a bit confusing if you skip over this section!
Venom #1 – #18
#1 – #4
Marvel Knights Spider-Man Ultimate Collection
#5 – #12
I’ll be clear that Civil War is in no way a Venom story, but it does include the sinister symbiote and sets up his status during the following section. You’ll want a passing familiarity with the core Civil War story.
IV) Venom and the Thunderbolts
Some of the most interesting Venom stories stem from his unexpected time as one of the “heroic” Thunderbolts. Following the events of Secret Invasion, this leads to an even more intriguing period of Venom as a part of the Dark Avengers.
#110 – #121
#122 – #125 (Secret Invasion reading order)
#568 – #573 (Aug 2008 – Oct 2008)
#126 – #127
#1 – #4 (June 09 – Sept 09)
Dark Reign: Anti-Venom #1-3, Extra #2
V) An All-New Venom From Spider-Man’s Past
One of the greatest, and perhaps most unexpected turns in Venom’s existence. This is my personal favorite section of Venom comics, and I won’t spoil anything here by saying exactly what happens!
#654 & #654.1
#1 – #5
Amazing Spider -Man 666-673, Venom 6-9, Spider -Island : Deadly Foes , material from Amazing Spider -Man 659-660, 662-665, Spider-Island Spotlight
Within my modern Amazing Spider-Man guide, you’ll find a complete Spider-Island reading order.
Venom 10-13, 13.1-13.4, 14
Secret Avengers 21.1, 22-25
Secret Avengers 26-32 (Apr ’12 – Oct ’12)
Venom #23-25 And #28-30
Minimum Carnage: Alpha 1, Venom 26-27, Scarlet Spider 10-12, Minimum Carnage: Omega 1
I include a Minimum Carnage reading order within my Marvel NOW guide.
Secret Avengers 33-37 (oct ’12 – Feb ’13)
Thunderbolts #1 to #6
Superior Spider-Man 22-26, Annual 1
Thunderbolts #7 to #13
Thunderbolts #14 to #18
Thunderbolts #19 to #26
Thunderbolts #27 to #32
VI) Venom… In Space!
Free Comic Book Day 2014 (Guardians Of The Galaxy) 1, Guardians of the Galaxy 14-17, Amazing Spider-Man 654 (B story), Captain Marvel (2012) 1
Guardians of the Galaxy #24 to #27, Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1
Issues #24 and #25 of Guardians of the Galaxy are part of the Black Vortex crossover event with the X-Men. You can find their placement in the timeline with Comic Book Herald’s Black Vortex reading order.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2015 – ) #1 to #5
Guardians of the Galaxy (2015 – ) #6 to #10
Venom: Space Knight #1 to #6
Venom: Space Knight #7 to #13
VII) It’s Good To Be Bad – Classic Venom Returns
Venom #1 to #6 (2017)
Venom #150 to #153
Note that following 2017’s Venom #6, Venom returned to its legacy series numbering with issue #150. So although the series appears to skip 144 issues, don’t worry, that’s just renumbering.
Edge of Venomverse #1 to #5
Collects: Venomverse 1-5
You can see the entire Venomverse event in Comic Book Herald’s Venomverse reading order.
Collects: Venom 154-158
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha 1, Amazing Spider-Man 792-793, Venom 159-160, Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Omega 1
Collects: X-Men Blue 21-22 And Annual 1, Venom 162-163
- X-Men Blue Annual #1
- X-Men Blue #21,
- Venom #162
- X-Men: Blue #22
- Venom #163
Collects: Venomized #1 To #5
Collects: Venom 161, 164-165
VIII) Venom by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman!
Collects: Venom (2018) 1-5
Critically lauded (and deservedly so), Donny Cates’ run on Venom has injected fresh life into our favorite Symbiote-user Eddie Brock.
Taking some hefty pages out of Alan Moore’s “Anatomy Lesson,” Donny Cates reimagines and reinvigorates Venom and the Symbiote lore, making it fresh and exciting and mythological, tying the Symbiote to a before-unseen cosmic space god named Knull.
The “Rex” storyline offers a great jumping on point for Venom fans new and old, building on the foundation of what came before it while filtering Venom through an exciting new lens.
From “Rex” to 2020’s King in Black, Cates has built a Marvel epic for the ages. Highest possible recommendation!
I’d recommend reading Web Of Venom: Ve’Nam #1 and Venom Annual #1 after Venom #5.
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (2018)
Flashback issue written by Saladin Ahmed, looking back at the time immediately after Peter Parker found the symbiote on Battleworld. You could conceivably read this in line with the 80’s symbiote discovery, but obviously it’s written (quite well) with the benefit of hindsight.
Collects: Venom (2018) 7-12
Following the world-shattering revelations of “Rex”, “The Abyss” sees Eddie Brock face his traumatic past and his troubling relationship with his father.
Writer Donny Cates gives us a deeply personal story here, as “The Abyss” shows us a deep, harrowing dive into Eddie Brock, furthering the epic scope of Cates’ Venom story by giving us a deep dive into Eddie’s psyche.
Read the two collections above in the following order:
- Venom #6-8
- Web Of Venom: Carnage Born #1
- Venom #9
- Web Of Venom: Unleashed #1
- Venom #10 to #12
- Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1
Collects: Venom #13 to #16
Read in the following order —
- Venom #13 to #15
- Free Comic Book Day (2019): Spider-Man
- Venom #16
- Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre #1
For the full reading order and all tie-ins, check out Comic Book Herald’s guide to Absolute Carnage.
The Wraith one-shot sets up King in Black and occurs shortly after the conclusion of Absolute Carnage.
“The Good Son” takes place more or less in line with Venom #21, but I’d recommend reading all three of these before starting “Venom Island.”
Collects: Venom #21 to #25
The “Venom” story introduces Virus and occurs directly before Venom #26.
Collects: Venom #26 to #30