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X-Men Reading Order, Part. 4: The Messiah trilogy, Dark Reign, Schism, Avengers Vs X-Men (2007-2012)

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This is Part #4 of our tentative to compile a comprehensive X-Men Reading Order using the collected editions – You can find the first part here (The Silver Age & Chris Claremont, 1963-91), the second part here (Age of Apocalypse & Onslaught, 1991-2001), and the third part here (From the Grant Morrison era to House of M).

In 2007, the “Messiah Complex” storyline redefined the world of the mutants, first with the destruction of the Xavier Institute, then with the disbanding of the X-Men. This time, X-Men was renamed X-Men: Legacy. That said, The X-Men reformed in Uncanny X-Men #500.

More major events follow with “Messiah War”, the new New Mutants volume, “Second Coming”, the new series Young X-Men and Generation Hope, and more. Later, there was  “X-Men: Schism” that led to “Regenesis” and the new main series titled Wolverine and the X-Men.

This is a massive reading guide, so here is a menu to help you navigate. Some parts are under construction for now. I’ll keep updating this article regularly.

X-Men Reading Order: The Menu

The reading guide is a work in progress. It’s a major project, it will take time to complete it.

  1. X-Men: The Silver Age Reading Order (1963-70)
  2. The Chris Claremont X-Men Reading Order (1975-1991)
  3. ’90s X-Men Reading Order (1991-2001)
  4. The Modern Era Reading Order (2001-2004)
  5. X-Men ReLoad Reading Order (2004-2007)
  6. Messiah trilogy, Dark Reign, Schism, Avengers Vs X-Men Reading Order (2007–2012)
    1. From Decimation to Messiah Complex
    2. The Dark Reign
    3. The Road to Fear Itself & Schism
    4. The Road to Avengers vs X-Men
  7. X-Men: Marvel NOW Reading Order (2012-2015)
  8. All-New, All-Different Marvel X-Men Reading Order (2015-2017)
  9. ResurrXion Era Reading Order (2017-2020)
  10. The X-Men of Krakoa Reading Order: Dawn of X/Reign of X (2020-2021)
  11. The X-Men of Krakoa Reading Order: Destiny of X (2022-)

I. From Decimation to Messiah Complex

After making her debut in NYX (collected in NYX: The Complete Collection), Laura aka X-23, the clone and later adoptive daughter of Wolverine, made her way into the X-Men continuity with mini-series and an ongoing series. For more information about the character, see our X-23 Reading Order.

This is the biggest of the big events of that time period, the famous Civil War. You can find our full reading order of Civil War. It’s not that big for the X-Men, but there are some tie-ins in the next 5 books in this guide:


World War Hulk takes place here. It’s another minor event for the X-Men, but they still had their tie-in series called : X-Men: World War Hulk. No reading order for this event yet.

This period is marked by the Messiah Trilogy. It starts here with Messiah Complex: With no more mutants being born, the future of Homo superior has never looked bleaker. At the seeming end of their evolutionary cycle, a miracle arrives—in the form of the first child born with the X-gene since the tragic events of M-Day! But this sudden source of hope spawns a bloody, violent—and tragic—conflict for control over the baby girl’s fate. It is a battle in which every mutant on the planet has a stake. The fight is on! Look out for part 2: Messiah War.

Alert Event! There’s a Secret Invasion going on: The shape-shifting alien race known as the Skrulls has secretly infiltrated every super-powered organization on Earth with one goal – full-scale invasion! Follow the reading order here.


II. The Dark Reign

Dark Reign is the new status quo of the Marvel Universe after Secret Invasion. Norman Osborn is the man in power and it’s not good for the real heroes. You can find more information in the Dark Reign Reading Order.

A new volume, the third, of The New Mutants begins here, taking place after the limited series X-Infernus. The team is a reunion of the cast from the first volume, consisting of Cannonball, Karma, Magik, Magma, Dani Moonstar and Sunspot.

 Messiah War: The sequel to Messiah Complex! Months ago, Cyclops gave Cable custody of the first mutant born since M-Day, an infant many see as mutantkind’s last hope. Cable took her into the future but soon found himself trapped there – with the relentless Bishop in hot pursuit, intent on killing the child. Look out for part 3: Second Coming.

  • X-Men Milestones: Messiah War
    Collects X-Force/Cable: Messiah War (2009) #1, Cable (2008) #13-15, X-Force (2008) #14-16, X-Men: Future History – The Messiah War Sourcebook (2009) 1

Alert Event! It’s time for Siege: Beginning with the ravaging effects of Avengers Disassembled and following the aftermath of House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion, culminating with the evil Reign of Norman Osborn, the Marvel Universe has been left with its greatest villains holding more power and control than ever before. You can find our full reading order for Siege here.

 The Conclusion to the trilogy after Messiah Complex and Messiah War. The Human League is bent on eradicating Earth’s final mutants – and they see Hope’s death as the final nail in the coffin. As Bastion and his allies unleash a merciless all-out assault on the X-Men, everything rests on Hope’s shoulders. Will this be mutantkind’s end?

III. The Road to Fear Itself & Schism

Uncanny X-Force is a new title (see X-Force Reading Order for more information), but it’s the continuation of the story of Wolverine and his X-Force team from the series X-Force, vol. 3.

Alert Event! In Age Of X, reality has changed: In a world where the X-Men never existed and mutantkind has been hunted to extinction, the few remaining Homo superior have banded together to make their last stand.

Event Alert! It’s time for Fear Itself… Because even Marvel’s greatest heroes know fear. And the X-Men play a part in this event. You can find our full reading order for Fear Itself here.

Alert Event! Cyclops asked the United Nations for the end of the Sentinel programs. Things don’t turn out the way he expected. The result:

Wolverine Goes to Hell omnibus
Collects Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine 1-6; Wolverine (2010) 1-20, 5.1, 300-304; X-Men: Schism 1-5; Material From Wolverine: Road To Hell.


IV. The Road to Avengers vs X-Men

New series alert! Wolverine and The X-Men begins here. During the crossover X-Men: Regenesis, Wolverine left Utopia with a group of X-Men and students. They moved back to Westchester, New York, where they founded the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Now Wolverine is the headmaster!

Alert new old series! X-Treme X-Men is back, but with no connection to the previous volume. Spinning off the “Exalted” storyline, it’s like Exiles, with Dazzler, Sage, and alternate dimensional versions of familiar X-Men characters.

Event Alert! With the return of the Phoenix Force, everybody thinks it’s in Hope Summers. As a result, it’s Avengers Vs. X-Men. After that, we will jump to Marvel Now. To find the full reading order of the event, follow the link. The simpler version follows:


Coming Next: Marvel NOW, All-New, All-Different Marvel & ResurrXion (2012-2017)

Last Updated on November 1, 2022.

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