Secret Empire Reading Order (Updated 8/19)

After the last update, readers Tyler G, Gary and I got into a discussion about the current storyline running in Ultimates2.  Tyler was concerned that the events in Ultimates2 #9 contradicted the events of Secret Empire #8.  I was curious about these Ultimates2 issues myself as they are not branded as Secret Empire tie-ins, but the Ultimates play a large role in that series.  So I decided to check them out.  (Small spoilers for the last few issues of Ultimates2 going forward.)

Let’s get Ultimates2 #8 out of the way first.  It is essentially a Galactus story and I don’t think Secret Empire is even mentioned, so I think for our purposes we can ignore that one.  Ultimates2 #9 is a different story.  It clearly takes place during Secret Empire.  There is much talk of Secret Empire and the Ultimates are seen fighting the good fight after Hydra has taken over.  (I’m trying my best to keep this Secret Empire spoiler free.)  So it makes a good case to be included here.  And to ease Tyler G’s mind, I’m pretty certain it takes place early in the event, so no worries about it being a continuity issue…with Secret Empire #8 anyway.

Next up is Ultimates2 #100.  (Yes, the numbering jumps from #9 to #100.  Yeah Marvel Legacy!)  Keeping it simple, the issue doesn’t really clear things up continuity wise as nicely as I would like it to.  It does still work within the scope of Secret Empire.  The problem is, Secret Empire is barely mentioned.  Really only in a panel or two near the end.  So little so in fact that I’m inclined to not include it in the reading order.  The only problem with that is issues #9 and #100 are very continuity tied, and if you include one, you have to include both.  Or, conversely, if you exclude one, you need to exclude both.  So that is what I’m going to do.

I know in the past I have given Marvel flack for some of the things they include as tie-ins to these events *cough*Deadpool in Civil War II*cough*, but I think in this case I agree with them not including these Ultimates2 issues.  They are such a huge aside from the main story that I think casual readers who are just reading through Secret Empire will find it a completely wasted and confusing diversion.  If you are intent on including them to get the ultimate (pun intended) edition of Secret Empire (and an issue of U.S.Avengers also makes mention of the events in Ultimates2, so it’s inclusion would not be without precedence), I think they work just fine immediately after Ultimates2 #7.

Let’s shift gears and easily place X-Men: Blue #9 after X-Men:Blue #8.  The Blade and Domino stories in Secret Empire: Brave New World #5 feel like they take place early in the event, but can really go anywhere after Secret Empire #0 and before Secret Empire #8.   I’m going to place them just before Secret Empire #5, for the sake of keeping the later story lines as uncluttered as possible, and having the book somewhat close to it’s publishing order.

After that, things get a bit messy.

There is often a phenomenon that happens in these events to the tie-ins when they span several months.  When they get up into the 4 or 5 month range.  What quite often happens is that the tie-ins begin their stories clearly in the early going of the event.  The story for the next few issues of the tie-in is generally continuous, one issue following right after the other.  So from a chronological point of view, not much time is passing.  Then all of a sudden we are presented with information or a character shows up looking different or with different powers, etc.  If you are reading the books as they are released you are like “oh yeah, well I knew that from last week’s main book”.  So it makes sense from a real world passage of time point of view.  But from a comic book chronology point of view, while time seems to pass from point A to point B in days in the tie-in, the amount of time between those points in the main book can be weeks or months.  (Or vice versa.)

We had this happen in this weeks U.S.Avengers book to a certain degree.  (There is a worse offender that I will get to next.)  Actually, U.S.Avengers in general has been a bit of a pain.  It’s ties to the main event have been fairly obvious, unfortunately the series overlaps the main books quite a bit and placing them accurately means breaking the issues up, even though they are continuous for the most part.  U.S.Avengers #9 is no exception as it takes place immediately after issue #8, but has to be after Secret Empire #1.  The problem is that U.S.Avengers #7 takes place before Secret Empire #1 and issue #8 takes place immediately after #7.  So somewhere between the continuous story in U.S.Avengers, Secret Empire #1 has to occur.  At this point we have to pick our poison about where to split the issues.  (I already had to do this between issues #6 and #7.)  So what I think I’ll do is move issue #8 up a bit and place issue #9 right after it.  It’s not ideal, but will have to do.

Sorry, this has gotten long, and most won’t care about my ramblings, but I have one thing left to place.  The Invaders story from Secret Empire: Brave New World #5.  The Invaders storyline has run through all the issues of Brave New World and it’s placement has been a bit of a guessing game.  But the fifth part really throws a monkey wrench into things as it spoils a reveal that occurs in Captain America #25/Secret Empire #8.  And from a continuity standpoint, I don’t think it can go after those issues.  This is one of those cases where if reading as the books are released, you already know the reveal, and don’t pay much attention to it in the tie-in.  But for our purposes, what to do with it?

It clearly has to take place before Secret Empire #8.  And if that’s the case, there’s no way to avoid it being something of a spoiler for later issues.  The best I can do to mitigate that is to move all the issues back a bit to be closer to Captain America #25/Secret Empire #8.

I’m sure this is way more info than you were looking for, so here’s what pays the bills:

  1. Road To Secret Empire [Trade]
  2. Captain America: Sam Wilson #21 [Unbranded]
  3. Uncanny Avengers #22 [Unbranded]
  4. Captain America: Steve Rogers #15 [Unbranded]
  5. Deadpool #31
  6. U.S. Avengers #5 [Opening Salvo]
  7. Thunderbolts #12 [Opening Salvo]
  8. Captain America: Steve Rogers #16 [Opening Salvo]
  9. Secret Empire #0
  10. Mighty Captain Marvel #5
  11. Uncanny Avengers #24
  12. Uncanny Avengers #25
  13. Ultimates2 #7
  14. Amazing Spider-Man #29
  15. U.S. Avengers #6
  16. X-Men: Gold #7
  17. X-Men: Gold #8
  18. Secret Empire: Brave New World #3 (Daily Bugle and Starbrand stories)
  19. Secret Empire Free Comic Book Day 2017
  20. U.S.Avengers #7
  21. Amazing Spider-Man #30
  22. Amazing Spider-Man #31
  23. Avengers #9
  24. Mighty Captain Marvel #6
  25. Mighty Captain Marvel #7
  26. Secret Empire: Brave New World #1 (Giant Man and Gwenpool stories)
  27. Champions #10
  28. Occupy Avengers #8
  29. Occupy Avengers #9
  30. Secret Empire: Brave New World #4 (Misty Knight and Emma Frost stories)
  31. Secret Empire #1
  32. Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 (Patriot story)
  33. Champions #11
  34. U.S.Avengers #8
  35. U.S.Avengers #9
  36. Deadpool #32
  37. Deadpool #33
  38. Deadpool #34
  39. Secret Empire #2
  40. Captain America: Sam Wilson #22
  41. Captain America: Steve Rogers #17
  42. Secret Empire #3
  43. All-New Guardians of the Galaxy Annual (2017)
  44. Avengers #10
  45. Secret Empire: Uprising #1
  46. Doctor Strange #21
  47. Doctor Strange #22
  48. Doctor Strange #23
  49. Captain America: Sam Wilson #23
  50. Secret Empire #4
  51. Captain America: Steve Rogers #18
  52. X-Men: Blue #7
  53. X-Men: Blue #8
  54. X-Men: Blue #9
  55. Secret Empire: United #1
  56. Secret Empire: Underground #1
  57. Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 (Hydra Bob story)
  58. Secret Empire: Brave New World #5 (Blade and Domino stories)
  59. Secret Empire #5
  60. Secret Empire #6
  61. Secret Empire #7
  62. Captain America: Sam Wilson #24
  63. Captain America: Steve Rogers #19
  64. Secret Empire: Brave New World #1 (Invaders story)
  65. Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 (Invaders story)
  66. Secret Empire: Brave New World #3 (Invaders story)
  67. Secret Empire: Brave New World #4 (Invaders story)
  68. Secret Empire: Brave New World #5 (Invaders story)
  69. Secret Warriors #1
  70. Secret Warriors #2
  71. Secret Warriors #3
  72. Secret Warriors #4
  73. Secret Warriors #5
  74. Captain America #25
  75. Secret Empire #8

That’s it for now.  If anywhere along the way you spot anything missing or incorrect or are wondering why I placed something where I did, feel free to use the comments below or message me directly.


3 thoughts on “Secret Empire Reading Order (Updated 8/19)

  1. Wow, another fantastic job…and I’ve really enjoyed reading your mini-essays as you walk us through your thought process about how you order these issues…I’m going to go back and search out some of your past pieces, because these have been very fun to read!

    1. Good point. The latest U.S.Avengers does have more of a “there’s hope, we’re back in the battle” feel that’s probably more fitting later in the event. It actually ties into what I said above about these long running tie-ins skewing time in comparison to the main event.

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