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How to Read Secret Invasion in Trade Paperback (TPB)

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I’ve made some comments over the last month or two about feeling sorry for anyone planning to read Secret Invasion in trade paperback (tpb) format.  The actual mini-series was released as a solo tpb and when released on a weekly basis, the tie-ins (especially the Avengers titles) would unfold as flashbacks, filling in parts of the mystery at times, or be more current at times.

Marvel, since Civil War, has taken to printing “Chronicles” books for the newsstand market that integrate the various cross-over titles for a more linear reading in one title.  For instance, Civil War notably integrated the Civil War mini-series with the Civil War:Frontline mini-series.  You figured that there would be a “Secret Invasion Chronicles” and that would give you some idea of an order for the series to be read in.

Well, they’ve now solicited “Secret Invasion Chronicles” through issue 5, and according to the solicitations I’ve seen, this would be the preferred reading order, translated into tpbs.  (Numbers in parenthesis indicate start of content for the given issue of “Secret Invasion Chronicles”)  Marvel seems to have adopted the chronological approach for the newsstand audience.

(1) New Avengers: Illuminati #1 New Avengers: Illuminati
New Avengers #44 New Avengers Vol. 9: Secret Invasion, Book 2
New Avengers: Illuminati #5 New Avengers: Illuminati
(2) Secret Invasion #1 Secret Invasion
Avengers #40 New Avengers Vol. 8: Secret Invasion, Book 1
(3)Secret Invasion #2 Secret Invasion
New Avengers #41 New Avengers Vol. 8: Secret Invasion, Book 1
New Avengers #43 New Avengers Vol. 9: Secret Invasion, Book 2
(4)New Avengers #42 New Avengers Vol. 8: Secret Invasion, Book 1
New Avengers #45 New Avengers Vol. 9: Secret Invasion, Book 2
Secret Invasion #3 Secret Invasion
(5)Mighty Avengers #12 Mighty Avengers Vol. 3: Secret Invasion, Book 1
Mighty Avengers #13 Mighty Avengers Vol. 3: Secret Invasion, Book 1
Mighty Avengers #18 Mighty Avengers Vol. 4: Secret Invasion, Book 2

How messed up is that order?  You don’t read consecutive chapters from the same tpb until you get to the fifth issue/chapters 12-13.  That’s slightly half-way through the nine issues that will make up the Chronicles reprinting.

But it gets better.  You’ll notice that the suggested reading order of the New Avengers stories is not in sequential order.  Does this mean the flashback formatting of the New Avengers tpbs is inherently out of order?  Maybe not with flashbacks, but it’s a valid question, given the reprint order.  Similarly with Might Avengers, the order calls for skipping 5 issues ahead and into a new tpb.

Oh, but it still gets better.  Roughly half-way through this official sequence, we’re already at six different books to get the full “Chronicles” version of the story.  Let’s say you want tpb’s, not hard covers.  Here’s the release dates for those six books as listed at Amazon:

5/20/09: New Avengers Vol. 9: Secret Invasion, Book 2

5/13/09 Mighty Avengers Vol. 4: Secret Invasion, Book 2

4/15/09 Mighty Avengers Vol. 3: Secret Invasion, Book 1

3/25/09 New Avengers Vol. 8: Secret Invasion, Book 1

2/4/09 Secret Invasion

6/4/08 New Avengers: Illuminati

If you wanted to read it in the correct order, the second chapter is in a volume that won’t be released for roughly another month.  Three and a half months after Secret Invasion’s tpb was issued.

Thus the book release schedule isn’t even close to conducive to reading Secret Invasion’s core story in anything resembling the suggested (“Chronicles”) order.

Maybe this is how you emphasize buying the monthlies?

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