Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (2024)

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (1)

In the aftermath of Secret Invasion (see reading order), Norman Osborn came out as a hero and rise to national power. This led us to Dark Reign, a period in the Marvel Universe where the former Green Goblin was in control. A branding used by Marvel Comics during 2008-2009, Dark Reign is not really what we would call an event, as stated by then-editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. This branding refers more to an era in the Marvel Universe, a troubled one where everyone is affected.

With more than 200 issues, Marvel explored a whole year of Osborn’s rise to power and its ramifications. After defeating the Skrull, Norman becomes the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which he replaces with H.A.M.M.E.R. Then, he created the Cabal alongside Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, Namor, Loki, and the Hood and used H.A.M.M.E.R. to carry out his and the Cabal agenda. However, Osborn’s actions and his reputation influence a number of heroes and villains to attempt to resist Osborn’s rule and remove him from power by force, if necessary.

What to read before?

To know exactly how Norman Osborn became a national hero, you have to read Secret Invasion, as stated above.

Dark Reign Reading Order

What follows is not a proper chronological reading order, as you can find that on other sites. In fact, this reading order is inspired by the work of BlakeCzirr from the now defunct Squidoo website and Dave Molyneauw from The Marvel Comics Guide. Both of them offer a more issue-by-issue reading order, so we will invite you to check them out if you want this more immersive experience.

With that said, see below for our own trade reading order, focused first on giving the most essential part of this era, and then a listing of the other titles happening at the same time.

I. Dark Reign, The essential

If Civil War was huge, Dark Reign was Massive – yes, with a Capital M. Though not with an official main title like a classic event, Dark Reign’s core story is mainly told in Dark Avengers. Brian Michael Bendis was still the main writer on Avengers at the time, and for a really short reading order, check out our Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers Reading Order.

The suggested listing is a more detailed essential reading order to help readers navigate this era. The titles chosen provide the most important information and understanding of what was happening and what was really Dark Reign.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (2)Accept Change – The Invasion is over, and the shape of the world has changed, with new and returning players now center stage. Get the lowdown on what’s going on across the Marvel Universe as we enter Dark Reign, in this trade paperback, offering a decent entry point in this era.

  • Dark Reign: Accept Change (entry point)
    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.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (3)New Avengers/Dark Avengers – Jump right into the Dark Reign era by meeting the New Avengers, the Dark Avengers, Iron Patriot and discover what their place in the Dark Reign is.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (5)Thunderbolts VS. Deadpool – Deadpool thinks Osborn owes him money, and Norman has been trying to have him killed. Business as usual right? This story arc issue by issue read as follows: Thunderbolts #126-127, Deadpool #6-7, Thunderbolts #128-129, Deadpool #8 Thunderbolts #130, Deadpool #9, Thunderbolts #131, Deadpool #10-12.

New Collection Alert! You will find all of Dark Avengers in the new Dark Avengers Modern Era Epic Collection: Osborn’s Reign.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (7)God of Fear, God of War – Baron Strucker and Norman Osborn team up to drive out the Marvel Universe’s ultimate covert superteam. It’s wall-to-wall insanity as the Dark Avengers and the Thunderbolts go after the Secret Warriors. This story arc issue by issue read as follows: Thunderbolts #134, Secret Warriors #7, Thunderbolts #135, Secret Warriors #8-9, Thunderbolts #136, ark Reign – The List: Secret Warriors #1, Secret Warriors #10

The List – After a betrayal, Norman Osborn decides to take it to the next level and makes a list of people he needs to kill.

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

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (8)The Road to Siege – The Dark Reign era is nearing its conclusion, and introduces us to Norman’s big plan, leading us to the Siege event…

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (9)

II. Dark Reign era, the other stories

Want more Dark Reign stories? We have you covered! If you want to complete your reading order with other ongoing series and limited series, discover what was doing your favorite characters during those events, you can find the answer below, organized by period. You can then read the story whenever you want, after having read the big chunk or place it during your reading at its chronological place.

Dark Reign era, the earlier stories: Before Dark Avengers #4

Those stories take place during the beginning of Osborn’s reign, when he sets up and introduces to the public his new team of Avengers.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (10)

Dark Reign era, the early stories: Before Dark Avengers #5 and Mighty Avengers #24-26, New Avengers #50-54

We’re still in the early part of Osborn’s Reign, but with now Norman Osborn running HAMMER, The Avengers Franchise, and The Avengers Fifty State Initiative. Following Dark Reign: New Nation #1, the story expands in different directions.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (11)

Dark Reign era, the story continues: After New Avengers #50

The Dark Reign event intensifies from all sides. Those stories take between New Avengers #50 & #55, before Dark Avengers #9 and the List.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (12)

What’s missing in this reading order?

Some issues/storylines took place during the Dark Reign era, but are not listed above, per choice. Don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments if you think otherwise.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (13)

Next: Siege

But wait, The Dark Reign era is not over yet, Norman Osborn’s reign ended in the “Siege” story arc which details Osborn’s invasion of Asgard and the reunion of the Avengers… Go check out our Siege Reading Order!

Did we forget something? Did we make a mistake? Write to us or Let us know in the comments!

Last Updated on December 15, 2023.

Dark Reign Reading Order, Norman Osborn takes over the Marvel Universe (2024)
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