I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about a proper reading order for the period in Marvel history between Civil War and Secret Invasion. It’s almost like you’re saying there’s a gap between January 2007 (when Civil War ends) and June 2008 (when Secret Invasion begins). Sometimes I just don’t understand you guys and gals.
Although World War Hulk falls in between the events, it’s a lot more self-contained of an event with fewer universe-wide implications. This entire time period can probably be best described as “The Initiative,” the period following Civil War with Iron Man’s Superhuman Registration Act in full effect.
So to paraphrase a Twitter question:
→ What comics are essential between Civil War & Secret Invasion? ~ @mattborosweh
Note that text links will take you Marvel Unlimited readers to the series page or issue on MU.
The Initiative Marvel Comics Reading Order
Including the Planet Hulk story arc first so you have it under your belt before you hit World War Hulk. Planet Hulk is not a part of The Initiative, but it is 1) essential backstory for World War Hulk and 2) the single best Hulk story of the decade.
Captain America #25 – #42 + Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #1 – #5
The first issue you’re going to want read after completing Civil War is Captain America #25. This begins the 18 issue, three story arc Death of Captain America omnibus, and shades almost everything in the Marvel Universe to come.
Following Cap #25, you will want to pick up Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America. This five issue miniseries deals with various Marvel heroes reactions to Cap’s apparent demise, and Falcon’s speech will be referenced in Captain America #26. After Fallen Son, you can pick the Captain America series back up.
Launching in the wake of Iron Man’s defense of the Superhuman Registration Act, the Initiative lays out a bold new status quo for the heroes of the Marvel Universe. The series ties into World War Hulk pretty quickly (issue #4) but can otherwise be read without interruption until Secret Invasion.
Off the beaten path Initiative tie-in series which documents a newly formed, SHIELD sanctioned team on the West Coast. Written by Matt Fraction.
Tony Stark’s time as the Director of SHIELD after Civil War and before Secret Invasion. Ties into World War Hulk starting with issue #19, but otherwise a pretty self-contained look at Stark’s reign as Top Cop.
Wondering why Spidey is all in black during the Fallen Son tie-in? You’ll need to read the Back in Black story arc as Spider-Man deals with the ramifications of his role in Civil War.
After Civil War, the Avengers break into two separate factions – New Avengers and Mighty Avengers. The New Avengers are the anti-SRA rebels…
And the Mighty Avengers are Stark’s government / SHIELD sanctioned Avenging crew.
A surprise stand-out classic comes from the pages of Thunderbolts as Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato begin the “Faith in Monsters” story arc. In the wake of Civil War, Norman Osborne is in charge of the Thunderbolts, the superhumans responsible for enforcing the Superhuman Registration Act. A great read and increasingly essential for purposes of Marvel continuity.
Issue should immediately precede starting Secret Invasion.
And with those stories under your belt, you should be in pretty darn good shape for Secret Invasion. Enjoy the comics!