Dark Reign Reading Order Guide (2024)

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In Marvel’sSecret Invasioncomic book event, the Avengers and the wider hero community came up against a covert invasion by the shape-shifting Skrulls. Unfortunately, they are unable to stop them on their own, with Norman Osborn (aka the original Green Goblin) and H.A.M.M.E.R., his version of S.H.I.E.L.D., swooping in to save the day. With the crisis averted, Osborn and his organisation have become the new premiere security force.

However, that’s just the beginning of an era in Marvel Comics’ publication known asDark Reign. With Norman Osborn accompanied by his version of the Avengers, the heroes have essentially lost. It’s an era where villains reign supreme.

Find out how you can readDark Reignwith this reading order guide. It explains howDark Reignis structured, gives a loose reading order to guide you, and heaps more. Soon you’ll be able to jump into this fan-favourite period of the modern era.

Table of contents

  • How is Dark Reign structured?
  • Do I have to read everything?
  • Why is every reading order different?
  • Where can I find Dark Reign comics?
  • Background reading
  • Dark Reign reading order
  • After Dark Reign
  • Dark Reign collected editions
Dark Reign Reading Order Guide (1)

How is Dark Reign structured?

Dark Reignisn’t your traditionalcomic book eventlikeHouse of MorWorld War Hulk. It’s technically not one at all. Instead, it’s best to see it as a banner encompassing a period in Marvel’s publication history, which contains dozens of stories set during a specific status quo of the Marvel Universe.

There are no core miniseries. Instead,Dark Reignconsists of story arcs in ongoing series, a handful of one-shots, and plenty of miniseries. Each branch out to explore how Norman Osborn’s takeover affects different characters and teams in their own corner of the Marvel Universe and are connected thematically. That being said, some series likeDark AvengersandNew Avengersmove the larger meta-narrative forward.

Do I have to read everything?

As you’ll soon discover below, there are over 200 comic issues touched byDark Reignin some way or another. (Most are labelled asDark Reign, but some are not. However, it’s clear they fit into the other comics when read.) That’s a lot of comics. Luckily, you don’t need to read every comic if you don’t want to. As you read above,Dark Reignis a banner for dozens of stories. As a result, you can pick and choose which ones you want to read.

You could make your decision in several different ways, including:

  • Story premise
  • Creators involved
  • Characters featured
  • How many comics your willing to read

It’s totally up to you. Once you’ve made your decision, you can use the reading order below to inform your reading experience.

Why is every reading order different?

You’ve likely compared this Dark Reign reading order against other ones if you found it through a Google search. You’ll quickly notice that each one is different. This is due to the nature of Dark Reign being a period of thematically connected stories instead of traditional comic book events.

Each author, including myself, has strategically placed each comic where they think it makes the most sense. Some story arcs and miniseries are positioned at a specific time during this period. But it doesn’t really matter if you read some before others. As a result, each reading order has similarities and differences.

I crafted How To Love Comics’ reading order by placing the comics on a logical timeline while also thinking about the reading experience. As a result, most story arcs and miniseries are grouped together as it will make for a more enjoyable read without losing any of the detail.

Where can I find Dark Reign comics?

Dark Reign comics and trade paperback collections can be found at all good comic book shops, online retailers, eBay, Amazon/Kindle, and the Marvel Unlimited series.

Dark Reign Reading Order Guide (2)

Background reading

Do you want to do some background reading before you jump into Marvel Comics’Dark Reignera? While it’s not essential, as you’ll be able to get the gist of previous events, the below offers some reading recommendations that help contextualiseDark Reign.

Secret Invasion
Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Art by Leinil Francis Yu.

TheDark Reignera picks up directly after theSecret Invasioncomic book event, showing what happens next when the Marvel Universe’s power dynamics shift. Check it out to see the incidents that allowed it to happen.

Learn how to read this comic book event in our Secret Invasion reading order checklist.

Civil War
Written by Mark Millar. Art by Steve McNiven.

Marvel’sCivil Warcomic event divided Marvel’s superhero community, splitting many heroes ideologically. The effects of this can be felt in theDark Reignera, with multiple incarnations of the Avengers operation, each with different alignments to the Superhero Registration Act.

Find out how to read this classic comic book event in our Civil War reading order checklist.

Dark Reign Reading Order Guide (3)

Dark Reign reading order

Discover all the comics involved in Dark Reign and their approximate reading order below. Along the way are some annotations that help give further context.

Thunderbolts #126

Thunderbolts #127

Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1

New Avengers (2004 series) #48

Avengers: The Initiative #20

Secret Invasion: Requiem #1

Dark Avengers #1

Dark Reign Files #1

Note: Dark Reign Files #1 is a guidebook that offers profiles and details about characters involved in Dark Reign.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #2

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #8

New Avengers (2004 series) #49

Note: New Avengers (2004 series) #49 takes place during Dark Avengers #1.

Dark Avengers #2

Dark Avengers #3

Wolverine Origins #33

Wolverine Origins #34

Wolverine Origins #35

Wolverine Origins #36

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5

Note: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four begins Jonathan Hickman’s celebrate run on Fantastic Four.

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #4

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #5

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #33

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #34

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #35

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #36

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #37

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #38

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #39

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #40

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #41

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #42

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #43

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #44

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #45

Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #46

Dark Wolverine #75

Dark Wolverine #76

Dark Wolverine #77

Dark Wolverine #78

Dark Wolverine #79

Dark Wolverine #80

Dark Reign: Elektra #1

Dark Reign: Elektra #2

Dark Reign: Elektra #3

Dark Reign: Elektra #4

Dark Reign: Elektra #5

Spider-Woman (2009 series) #1

Spider-Woman (2009 series) #2

Spider-Woman (2009 series) #3

Spider-Woman (2009 series) #4

Spider-Woman (2009 series) #5

Spider-Woman (2009 series) #6

Spider-Woman (2009 series) #7

Note: Spider-Woman (2009 series) is not labelled as part of Dark Reign but fits well into the larger story.

Captain America (2004 series) #49

Captain America (2004 series) #50

Captain America #600

Note: These Captain America issues are not labelled as part of Dark Reign but fits well into the larger story.

Deadpool (2008 series) #6

Deadpool (2008 series) #7

Dark Avengers #4

Avengers: The Initiative #21

Avengers: The Initiative #22

Avengers: The Initiative #23

Avengers: The Initiative #24

Avengers: The Initiative #25

Dark Reign: New Nation #1

Note: Dark Reign: New Nation #1 is a one-shot that sets up Secret Warriors, Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew, Agents of Atlas (2009 series), and War Machine (2008 series).

Secret Warriors #1

Secret Warriors #2

Secret Warriors #3

Secret Warriors #4

Secret Warriors #5

Secret Warriors #6

Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew #1

Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew #2

Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew #3

Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew #4

Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew #5

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #1

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #2

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #3

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #4

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #5

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #6

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #7

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #8

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #9

Agents of Atlas (2009 series) #10

War Machine (2008 series) #1

War Machine (2008 series) #2

War Machine (2008 series) #3

War Machine (2008 series) #4

War Machine (2008 series) #5

Black Panther (2009 series) #1

Note: Black Panther (2009 series) #1 is the first appearance of Shuri as Black Panther.

Black Panther (2009 series) #2

Black Panther (2009 series) #3

Black Panther (2009 series) #4

Black Panther (2009 series) #5

Black Panther (2009 series) #6

Punisher (2009 series) #1

Punisher (2009 series) #2

Punisher (2009 series) #3

Punisher (2009 series) #4

Punisher (2009 series) #5

Punisher (2009 series) #6

Punisher (2009 series) #7

Punisher (2009 series) #8

Punisher (2009 series) #9

Punisher (2009 series) #10

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #2

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #3

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #4

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #5

Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1

Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #2

Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #3

Dark Reign: Mister Negative #1

Dark Reign: Mister Negative #2

Dark Reign: Mister Negative #3

Dark Reign: Zodiac #1

Dark Reign: Zodiac #2

Dark Reign: Zodiac #3

All-New Savage She-Hulk #1

All-New Savage She-Hulk #2

All-New Savage She-Hulk #3

All-New Savage She-Hulk #4

Deadpool (2008 series) #8 (Magnum Opus: Part 1)

Thunderbolts #130 (Magnum Opus: Part 2)

Deadpool (2008 series) #9 (Magnum Opus: Part 3)

Thunderbolts #131 (Magnum Opus: Part 4)

Note: Magnum Opus is a crossover between Deadpool (2008 series) and Thunderbolts.

Dark Reign: The Hood #1

Dark Reign: The Hood #2

Dark Reign: The Hood #3

Dark Reign: The Hood #4

Dark Reign: The Hood #5

Vengeance of The Moon Knight #1

Vengeance of The Moon Knight #2

Vengeance of The Moon Knight #3

Vengeance of The Moon Knight #4

Vengeance of The Moon Knight #5

Note: Vengeance of The Moon Knight is not labelled as Dark Reign but fits well into the era. These issues also made it onto our list of best Moon Knight comics.

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #21

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #22

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #23

Dark Reign: The Goblin Legacy #1

Dark Reign: Made Men #1

Note: Dark Reign: Made Men was originally serialised on Marvel Unlimited as four villain-focused short stories. It has since been collected in a one-shot.

M.O.D.O.K.: Reign Delay #1

Note: M.O.D.O.K.: Reign Delay first appeared on Marvel Unlimited.

Dark Reign: The Cabal #1

Incredible Hercules #127

Incredible Hercules #128

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #24

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #25

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #26

New Avengers (2004 series) #50

New Avengers (2004 series) #51

New Avengers (2004 series) #52

New Avengers (2004 series) #53

New Avengers (2004 series) #54

Thor #601

Thor #602

Thor #603

Thor Giant-Size Finale #1

Note: These Thor issues are not labelled as part of Dark Reign but fits well into the larger story.

Dark Avengers #5

Dark Avengers #6

Amazing Spider-Man #595

Amazing Spider-Man #596

Amazing Spider-Man #597

Amazing Spider-Man #598

Amazing Spider-Man #599

Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #1

Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #2

Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #3

Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #4

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #9

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #10

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #11

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #12

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #13

War Machine (2008 series) #6

War Machine (2008 series) #7

War Machine (2008 series) #8

War Machine (2008 series) #9

War Machine (2008 series) #10

War Machine (2008 series) #11

War Machine (2008 series) #12

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #28

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #29

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #30

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #31

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #32

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #33

Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1 (Utopia prelude)

Dark X-Men: The Beginning #2 (Utopia prelude)

Dark X-Men: The Beginning #3 (Utopia prelude)

Dark X-Men: The Confession #1 (Utopia prelude)

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1 (Utopia: Part 1)

Uncanny X-Men #513 (Utopia: Part 2)

X-Men Legacy #226 (Utopia: Tie-In)

Dark Avengers #7 (Utopia: Part 3)

Uncanny X-Men #514 (Utopia: Part 4)

X-Men Legacy #227 (Utopia: Tie-In)

Dark Avengers #8 (Utopia: Part 5)

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1 (Utopia: Part 6)

Note: Utopia is a crossover between Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-Men. It also has a handful of tie-ins and preludes too.

Dark Reign: The List – X-Men #1

Dark X-Men #1

Dark X-Men #2

Dark X-Men #3

Dark X-Men #4

Dark X-Men #5

Note: Dark Reign: The List – X-Men #1 and Dark X-Men spin out of the Utopia crossover.

Hulk (2008 series) #13

Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil #1

Dark Reign: The List – Hulk #1

Dark Reign: The List – Punisher #1

Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine #1

Deadpool (2008 series) #10

Deadpool (2008 series) #11

Deadpool (2008 series) #12

New Avengers (2004 series) #55

New Avengers: The Reunion #1

New Avengers: The Reunion #2

New Avengers: The Reunion #3

New Avengers: The Reunion #4

New Avengers (2004 series) #56

New Avengers (2004 series) #57

New Avengers (2004 series) #58

The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #27

Secret Warriors #7

Secret Warriors #8

Secret Warriors #9

Secret Warriors #10

Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors #1

Thunderbolts #132

Thunderbolts #133

Thunderbolts #134

Thunderbolts #135

Thunderbolts #136

Thunderbolts #137

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #14

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #15

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #16

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #17

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #18

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #19

New Avengers (2004 series) #59

New Avengers (2004 series) #60

Dark Reign: The List – Avengers #1

New Avengers Annual #3

Mighty Avengers #34

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #20

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #21

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #22

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #23

Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #24

Dark Avengers Annual #1

Dark Avenger: Ares #1

Dark Avenger: Ares #2

Dark Avenger: Ares #3

Thunderbolts #138

Thunderbolts #139

Thunderbolts #140

Captain America: Reborn #1

Captain America: Reborn #2

Captain America: Reborn #3

Captain America: Reborn #4

Captain America: Reborn #5

Captain America: Reborn #6

Dark Avengers #9

Dark Avengers #10

Dark Avengers #11

Dark Avengers #12

Thor #604

Thor #605

Thor #606

Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield? #1

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Dark Reign Reading Order Guide (4)

After Dark Reign

Have you finished reading Dark Reign and are wondering what you should read next? Here are a few suggestions for you.

Siege
Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Art by Oliver Coipel.

Siege is the next comic book event in the Marvel timeline and is built up to in the through the events of Dark Reign. It sees Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers, under the influence of Loki, attempt to invade Asgard.

How To Love Comics doesn’t have a Siege reading order yet. Let me know in the comments if you want to see one.

What If? Dark Reign #1
Written by Jason Henderson. Art by Tana Sakeda.

This one-shot explores what would happen if Clint Barton took things into his own hands and killed Norman Osborn. The result is something darker than the original story.

What If? Dark Reign #1 can be found in a trade paperback collection called What If?: Dark Avengers.

What If? Infinity – Dark Reign #1
Written by Joshua Williamson. Art by Goran Sudzuka.

Another What If? one-shot. This one from 2015 explores what would happen if Norman Osborn happened to possess the infinity gauntlet.

What If? Infinity – Dark Reign #1 can be found in a trade paperback collection called What If? Infinity.

Dark Reign collected editions

Do you prefer to read your comics in a collected format? Below are all the trade paperbacks that gather the Dark Reign material.

Dark Reign: Accept Change
Collects: Dark Reign: New Nation, Secret Invasion: Dark Reign, Dark Avengers #1, Uncanny X-Men Annual #2, Dark Reign Files, and Marvel Spotlight: Dark Reign

Avengers: The Initiative: Disassembled
Collects: Avengers: The Initiative #20-25 and Avengers: The Initiative Special

Dark Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis: The Complete Collection
Collects:
Dark Avengers (2009 series) #1-6, #9-16, and Annual #1

New Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis: The Complete Collection Volume 4
Collects: New Avengers (2004 series) #38-54 and Secret Invasion: Dark Reign

New Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis: The Complete Collection Volume 5
Collects: New Avengers (2004 series) #55-64, Dark Reign: The List – Avengers One-Shot, New Avengers Annual (2006 series) #3, New Avengers Finale, and Material From Free Comic Book Day 2009 (Avengers), Amazing Spider-Man (1999 series) #601 and Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way #1

Invincible Iron Man Volume 2: World’s Most Wanted Book 1
Collects: Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #8-13

Invincible Iron Man Volume 3: World’s Most Wanted Book 2
Collects: Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #14-19

Invincible Iron Man Volume 4: Stark Disassembled
Collects: Invincible Iron Man (2008 series) #20-24

Thunderbolts Volume 6: Burning Down The House
Collects: Thunderbolts #126-129 and #132

Secret Warriors: The Complete Collection Volume 1
Collects: Secret Warriors #1-16, Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors #1, and material from Dark Reign: New Nation #1

Thor By J. Michael Straczynski Volume 3
Collects: Thor (2007 series) #601-603 and Thor: Giant-Size Finale

Agents of Atlas Volume 1: Dark Reign
Collects: Agents Of Atlas (2009 series) #1-5, Wolverine: Agent Of Atlas, Giant-Size Marvel Adventures Avengers, and Material From Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust? and Dark Reign: New Nation

Agents of Atlas Volume 2: Turf Wars
Collects: Agents Of Atlas (2009 series) #6-11

Deadpool Volume 2: Dark Reign
Collects: Deadpool (2008 series) #6-7 and #10-12

Dark Reign: Deadpool/Thunderbolts
Collects:
Deadpool (2008 series) #8-9 and Thunderbolts #130-131

War Machine Volume 1: Iron Heart
Collects:
War Machine (2009 series) #1-5

War Machine Volume 2: Dark Reign
Collects:
War Machine (2009 series) #6-12

The Mighty Avengers by Dan Slott: The Complete Collection
Collects:
The Mighty Avengers (2007 series) #21-36 and material from Secret Invasion: Requiem

Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D.
Collects: Spider-Woman (2009 series) #1-7

Dark Reign: Elektra
Collects: Dark Reign: Elektra #1-5

Ms. Marvel Volume 7: Dark Reign
Collects:
Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #35-41

Ms. Marvel Volume 8: War of the Marvels
Collects:
Ms. Marvel (2006 series) #42-46

Spider-Man: American Son
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man #595-599

Avengers/X-Men: Utopia
Collects: Uncanny X-Men (1963 series) #513-514, X-Men: Legacy #226-227, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1, Dark Avengers (2009 series) #7-8, Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1-3, and Dark X-Men: The Confession

Dark X-Men
Collects: Dark X-Men (2009 series) #1-5

New Avengers: The Reunion
Collects: New Avengers: The Reunion #1-4

Dark Reign: The List
Collects: Dark Reign: The List – Avengers, Secret Warriors, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Men, Punisher, Wolverine

Dark Avengers: Ares
Collects: Dark Avengers: Ares #1-3 and Ares #1-5

Incredible Hercules Volume 5: Dark Reign
Collects: Incredible Hercules #126-131

Dark Reign: Hawkeye
Collects: Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1-5

Dark Reign: Young Avengers
Collects: Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1-5

Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew
Collects: Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew #1-5

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four
Collects: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1-5

Vengeance of the Moon Knight Volume 1: Shock and Awe
Collects:
Vengeance of the Moon Knight #1-6

Black Panther: Shuri – Deadliest of the Species
Collects: Black Panther (2009 series) #1-6

Dark Reign: The Underside
Collects: Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #1-3, Dark Reign: Zodiac #1-3, and Dark Reign: Mister Negative #1-3

All New Savage She-Hulk
Collects: All New Savage She-Hulk #1-4 and material from Hulk Family #1

Dark Reign: The Hood
Collects: Dark Reign: The Hood #1-5 and material from Dark Reign: The Cabal

Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man
Collects: Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man #1-4

Punisher Volume 1: Dark Reign
Collects: Punisher (2008 series) #1-5

Punisher Volume 2: Dead End
Collects: Punisher (2008 series) #6-10 and Punisher Annual #1

Wolverine: Origins – Dark Reign
Collects: Wolverine: Origins #31-36

Thunderbolts Volume 7: Widowmaker
Collects:
Thunderbolts #133-137

Wolverine: Dark Wolverine Volume 1: The Prince
Collects:
Dark Wolverine #75-77 and back-up stories from Wolverine (2003 series) #73-74

Wolverine: Dark Wolverine Volume 2: My Hero
Collects:
Dark Wolverine 78-81

Captain America: Road To Reborn
Collects: Captain America (2004 series) #49-50 and #600-601

Captain America: Reborn
Collects: Captain America: Reborn #1-6

Siege: Thunderbolts
Collects: Thunderbolts #138-143

Thor by Kieron Gillen: The Complete Collection
Collects: Thor (2007 series) #604-614, Siege: Loki, and New Mutants (2009 series) #11

For those interested in the Thunderbolts issues, Marvel has reprinted these comics in a larger collection.

Thunderbolt: Dark Reign
Collects: Thunderbolts: Desperate Measures One-Shot, Thunderbolts: Breaking Point One-Shot, Thunderbolts: International Incident One-Shot, Thunderbolts: Reason In Madness One-Shot, Thunderbolts #122-131 And Deadpool (2008) #8-9

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Dark Reign Reading Order Guide (2024)
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