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Secret Empire Reading Order, the Evil Captain America crossover event from Marvel

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Secret Empire Reading Order

Big Marvel crossover Written by Nick Spencer (with artists Rod Reis, Daniel Acuña, Steve McNiven, and Andrea Sorrentino) published between April and September 2017, Secret Empire is one of those Universe Redefining massive event. One that started with a huge twist, as it was revealed that Captain America is—pardon my French—a f***ing Hydra Agent!

Here is the official description of the event: Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty, is living a lie! The Cosmic Cube has remade the world’s greatest hero into a secret true believer in the cause of Hydra, wholly dedicated to its mission of progress through authority and unity through adversity! Now, using the trust and respect he’s been accorded by the great powers of the Marvel Universe, Steve Rogers makes Hydra’s ideals a reality—and changes the landscape of the world dramatically! How will he take some of his biggest threats off the board? Who will remain to stand against him? And which heroes will fi ght on his side? Find out as the impossible becomes real! Hail Hydra!

What to read before Secret Empire?

This limited series event addresses the aftermath of the crossover event Avengers: Standoff! and the ongoing series Captain America: Steve Rogers, in which Captain America has been acting as a sleeper agent and covertly setting the stage to establish Hydra as the main world power.

So, before reading Secret Empire, maybe take a look at the time when we discovered that Cap is a member of Hydra. To do that, you have to read Captain America: Steve Rogers Vol. 1: Hail Hydra, and you can go after that to Captain America: Steve Rogers Vol. 2: The Trial of Maria Hill, and then Captain America: Steve Rogers Vol. 3: Empire Building. If you want to read what’s essential, Marvel published a book collecting exactly that:

  • Secret Empire Prelude
    Collects Captain America (2012) 21, 25; Captain America: Sam Wilson 7 (A story), 8; Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha, Omega; Captain America: Steve Rogers 1-2.

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Justice League Dark Reading Order

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Published by DC Comics and created by Peter Milligan with art by Mikel Janín, Justice League Dark is the Magic equivalent of the regular Justice League, a group of superheroes fighting together against powerful enemies to stop the unusual world-shattering events from happening.

The idea is quite simple, the team consists of the supernatural members of the DC Universe, handling situations deemed outside the scope of the traditional Justice League.

The Justice League Dark originally featured John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade: The Changing Man, and Zatanna. There will be changes. Some of the members will leave or die, some will join the team for a time or for a long time. You know the deal, it’s Justice League business. Except it’s about magic and occult dangers.

Here is the official synopsis: With the Justice League defeated at the hands of the mad sorceress Enchantress, the clairvoyant Madame Xanadu must assemble the world’s most powerful and strange magical heroes to prevent her premonitions of end times from coming to fruition! Bringing together the likes of London’s savviest street sorcerer, John Constantine; stage (and actual) magician Zatanna; the reality-altering alien Shade; and the ghost and body possessor Deadman, this unlikely team will be forced to put aside their differences to stop evil.

Never one to play nice, Constantine and the group will fall apart time and time again only to come together when the world needs them most. Joined by the likes of a centuries-old vampire, the shape-shifter Black Orchid, and Frankenstein among many more, some will live, and many will die, but together, maybe they can save this world!

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Steven Universe Comics Reading Order

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Steven Universe Comics Reading Order

If you are here, you probably know Steven Universe, the American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network. It’s the story of Steven Universe, your normal Beach City citizen … who is anything but normal! He lives with the Crystal Gems—magical, humanoid aliens named Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. Steven is half-Gem and has adventures with his friends and helps the Gems protect the world from their own kind.

The series ran for five seasons, from November 2013 to January 2019. The TV film Steven Universe: The Movie was released in September 2019, and an epilogue limited series, Steven Universe Future, ran from December 2019 to March 2020. It’s not enough? Well, there are also comic books published by Boom Studios. Those comics are not totally canon… Mostly, they are considered canonical as long as they aren’t contradicted by the series.

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Spider-Gwen Reading Order (Gwen Stacy, Ghost-Spider)

 

Like her friend Silk, Spider-Gwen first appeared during the first Spider-verse event. Conceptualized by long-time Spider-Man writer Dan Slott, but really created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez, this Spider-Woman is not from the main Marvel universe.

Out of the Spider-Verse, Gwen Stacy swings into action as the Spider-Woman of Earth-65 — a neighborhood like no other! Gwen balances superhero life with being the daughter of a cop…and playing drums in an up-and-coming band, the Mary Janes! And you won’t believe her reality’s versions of the Lizard, the Osborns, Matt Murdock, Captain America, Frank Castle, and more!

The dimension-hopping Gwen joins a team-up of Spider-Women — and sparks fly when she meets Miles Morales! But troubles mount up at home, where she becomes S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most wanted…and problems with her powers lead to the introduction of Earth-65’s Venom!

Gwen would end up without a secret identity and so much more problems. This eventually led her to move to Earth-616 where she would become Ghost-Spider (because there already is a Spider-Woman on this Earth). With the help of Peter Parker, Gwen joined Empire State University, but she still went back to her own Earth, fighting villains on both fronts.

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Silk Comics Reading Order, the adventures of Cindy Moon in the Spider-verse

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Created by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, Silk real name is Cindy Moon. During a demonstration on the use of radioactive rays at a science exhibit that lead to Peter Parker getting bitten by a spider and gaining his amazing powers, Cindy was also bitten. She was just another young student with powers, but when her abilities manifested, she was not able to control them and didn’t become a superhero.

Later, the enigmatic Ezekiel approaches Cindy’s family with a proposition. He was going to help her to control her abilities. After six years of training to use her powers, Cindy is locked up inside a facility by Ezekiel to protect her and the other ‘spiders’ from Morlun and his family called the Inheritors – more info about that in the Spider-verse crossover (go to the Spider-verse event reading order).

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X-Men Reading Order – Part 1: The Silver Age & the Chris Claremont Era

Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the first X-Men series was launched in September 1963. Since then, a lot happened and it can be overwhelming to try to make sense of it all. That said, each new era began as a new entry point in this vast universe. But first, if you’ve lived in a cave during the last decades, you may not know who are the X-Men.

They are led by Charles Xavier, also known as Professor X, the X-Men are mutants, people born with superhuman abilities activated by what is called the “X-Gene.” They have incredible powers that make them, for some, dangerous people. Even if the X-Men fight for a world in which mutants and humans can be equals, they have not succeeded yet.

They must face anti-mutant bigotry, and all the powers in the world can’t seem to solve that problem. All the powerful mutants don’t see the world like Xavier and his X-Men, they want to rage war against humans. As new threats from Earth and Space continue to emerge, and enemies keep coming back, the X-Men must persevere.

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Hellboy Universe Reading Order (Hellboy, BPRD, Abe Sapien), from the mind of Mike Mignola

The Hellboy Universe is vast and full of monsters. It’s also composed of multiple series and miniseries, stories published in a non-chronological order. The following article is not the ultimate reading order, it’s a reading guide, an attempt to offer a good view of one of the best comic book universes.

Created by writer-artist Mike Mignola (you can read about the origin of the creation of the character here), Hellboy is a half-Demon who was summoned from Hell to Earth as a baby by the “Mad Monk” Grigori Rasputin for the Nazis. Adopted by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, the man behind the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (also called the B.P.R.D.), Hellboy grew up with humans and learned to hunt monsters. Adult, he is easily identifiable. After all, he is red-skinned, huge with a tail, horns, and cloven hooves for feet, and his right is hand made of stone.

Working with the B.P.R.D., he hunts Nazis, witches, and other types of Lovecraftian monsters, teaming up with the amphibian humanoid Abe Sapien, and pyrokinetic Liz Sherman. As the years pass, Hellboy must confront who he really is and fulfill his destiny as the B.P.R.D. becomes the first line of defense against cosmic menaces.

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Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Reading Order

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Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Reading Order

One of the most famous superheroes of the DC Universe, Wonder Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston and artist Harry G. Peter in 1941. Like Batman and Superman, the Princess Diana of Themyscira became a real icon. Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman was rebooted in 1987 by George Péres (you can find more in our Wonder Woman Reading Order). This era—the volume 2—gave her a new notoriety. If Péres is one of the most famous artists who worked on the title, Greg Rucka is also one of them.

Rucka’s runs on the character are some of the most celebrated. He helped redefine Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, more than once. In fact, he did it twice. So, here is a little guide of his work related to the main WW series.

I was in a coma for so long, refresh my memory, who is Wonder Woman? Princess Diana of Themyscira fights for peace in Man’s World. As Wonder Woman, she’s a symbol of truth, justice and equality to people everywhere. Raised on the hidden island of Themyscira, Diana is an Amazon, and her people’s gift to humanity. As Themyscira’s emissary to Man’s World, Diana has made it her duty to lead by example, even if the differences between her birthplace and new home sometimes present hurdles for her to jump. She is a beacon of hope to all who find themselves in need. She stands as an equal among the most powerful Super Heroes, with a sense of purpose to protect the world from injustice in all forms.

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Final Crisis Reading Order, a DC Comics Event by Grant Morrison

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Final Crisis Reading Order

Coming from Grant Morrison, Final Crisis is a crossover event published by DC Comics in 2008, during the post-Crisis era. If you are familiar with most of Grant Morrison’s work in the DC Universe, you know how much he loves to explore the past and, in his own way, to try to make sense of most of it, even if it often ends up hard to follow. That said, Final Crisis is a mostly self-contained story.

Final Crisis deals with alien villain Darkseid’s plot to overthrow reality, and the subsequent death and corruption of various DC characters and their universe. Here is the official synopsis: Using the soul-destroying Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid is remaking the heroes, villains, and everyday people of Earth in his dark image … and destroying the very fabric of reality itself in the process. Now superheroes from around the world—and across the Multiverse—must make a last, desperate stand against the forces of Anti-Life. Will Earth endure? And when the Crisis reaches its climax, who will make the ultimate sacrifice?

What to read before Final Crisis?

A lot of mostly nothing—you can go with DC Universe #0 and then the main event. If you want to be more thorough there’s a lot to read. You can begin with Death of the New Gods, then go to 52 volume #1 (collects 52 #1-26), 52 volume #2 (collects 52 #27-52), Seven Soldiers by Grant Morrison.

To stay in what was published before the event, connecting directly to Final Crisis, here is a list:

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Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy Reading Order, a Marvel/Spider-Man event

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Taking place in 2017, after the Civil War II event (no need to read it here, but reading order here anyway), Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy is a Spider-Man story written by Dan Slott, with Christos Gage, and Jim Cheung is the artist.

For more details, here is the official synopsis: Amidst a gauntlet of his deadliest rogues, an old foe returns to the fore. Loved ones lost are dead no more as Peter Parker plunges headlong into The Clone Conspiracy! The Jackal has returned, more driven and determined than ever. He’s offered Spidey’s greatest rogues a chance to reunite with their loved ones in exchange for loyalty.

But to what end? With the Rhino, the Lizard, Electro, and even Doctor Octopus at his side, things are looking bleak. But who else from Spider-Man’s past has reappeared?!

What to read before Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy?

It’s probably too much to say that you should probably start with the first Clone Saga (full reading order). It’s a big read (too big). That said, the last time we saw Jackal was during the Superior Spider-man era — it’s a really good read –, but it’s still not a necessity. Like it’s not an obligation to read The Spider-Verse Event (full reading order), but if you want to know what happened to Kaine, that’s where you should go.

Though, what you need to read to be up-to-date is:

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