Donny Cates’ Venom Reading Order Guide

Venom was wildly popular in the 90s. With a design by Todd McFarlane, which was then taken to the next level by Erik Larsen, he was so hot with readers that he outgrew the status of Spider-Man villain and was able to sustain his own comics as an anti-hero. But interest cooled as readers’ tastes changed and beyond the Flash Thompson era Venom was seen as a bit of a relic of its time. But thanks to Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and other collaborators, Venom is in a renascence period.

It’s all due to giving fans a bit of the old along with plenty of new, while also making sure there is interesting character beats mixed in with the symbiote action. As a result, Venom has become one of Marvel’s top-selling comics yet again.

If you’re looking to see what all the fuss is about or to do some background reading before diving into the King in Black event, then this guide is what you need. It has the recommended reading order for the regular series, specials, and Venom-centric events with plenty of notes along the way.

Web of Venom: Ve'Nam cover by Ryan Stegman.
Web of Venom: Ve’Nam cover by Ryan Stegman.

What is Web of Venom?

As you browse through the reading order below, you will see a number of issues that are called Web of Venom. These are supplemental one-shots that expand is being told in the main series. They will often focus on other characters and will often build up to a story later down the track.

Most of these are written by Donny Cates but a few of them are written by others.

Venom (2016 series) #1 cover by Rafa Sandoval.
Venom (2016 series) #1 cover by Rafa Sandoval.

Background Reading

There isn’t any required background reading in order to jump into Cates Venom run. You can easily start with Venom #1.

Long time readers who haven’t read since the time Flash Thompson was the host might be confused to see Eddie Brock back. This is explained in the opening story of Mike Costa’s run (which precedes Cates).

Venom Volume 1: Homecoming
Collects: Venom (2016 series) #1-6

Venom (2018 series) #1 cover by Ryan Stegman.
Venom (2018 series) #1 cover by Ryan Stegman.

Donny Cates’ Venom Reading Order

Below is the recommended order for the Donny Cates era of Venom. This features the main Venom series as well as the Web of Venom one-shots, annuals, and Venom-centric events.

Venom (2018 series) #1

Venom (2018 series) #2

Venom (2018 series) #3

Venom (2018 series) #4

Venom (2018 series) #5

Web of Venom: Ve’Nam #1 (one-shot)

Venom (2018 series) #6

Venom Annual #1

Venom (2018 series) #7

Venom (2018 series) #8

Web of Venom: Carnage Born

Note: Web of Venom: Carnage Born references Venomized. Check that out if you want to know more about what has happened to Carnage.

Venom (2018 series) #9

Web of Venom: Unleashed

Venom (2018 series) #10

Venom (2018 series) #11

Venom (2018 series) #12

Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage

Venom (2018 series) #13

Venom (2018 series) #14

Venom (2018 series) #15

Note: Venom #13-15 tie into the War of the Realms event. Find out how these issues tie into the larger story in the War of the Realms Reading Order.

Free Comic Book Day 2019 (Spider-Man/Venom)

Note: You can read Free Comic Book Day 2019 (Spider-Man/Venom) for free on Comixology.

Venom (2018 series) #16

Web of Venom: Funeral Pyre

Absolute Carnage

Note: Venom #17-20 is part of the Absolute Carnage, a big Venom-centric event. Find out how these issues tie into it with the Absolute Carnage Reading Order.

Web of Venom: Wraith

Web of Venom: The Good Son

Venom (2018 series) #21

Note: Venom #21-25 are part of the Venom Island storyline. This story references Amazing Spider-Man #347.

Venom (2018 series) #22

Venom (2018 series) #23

Venom (2018 series) #24

Venom (2018 series) #25

Free Comic Book Day 2020 (Spider-Man/Venom)

Note: You can read Free Comic Book Day 2020 (Spider-Man/Venom) for free on Comixology.

Venom (2018 series) #26

Venom (2018 series) #27

Venom (2018 series) #28

Venom (2018 series) #29

Venom (2018 series) #30

Web of Venom: Empyre’s End

Note: Web of Venom: Emypre’s End bridges the gap between Avengers/Fantastic Four: Empyre and King In Black events.

King In Black

Note: King in Black is another Venom event (like Absolute Carnage) that will bring in much more of the Marvel Universe. This kicks off in December 2020. Check out the reading order.

Updating…

The Donny Cates era will keep on rolling after King In Black. This guide will be updated when Marvel announce more information.

Collected Editions

Prefer to read your comics in trade paperback? You will want to track down the following collections:

Venom by Donny Cates Volume 1: Rex
Collects:
Venom (2018 series) #1-6

Venom by Donny Cates Volume 2: The Abyss
Collects:
Venom (2018 series) #7-12

Venom: War of the Realms
Collects:
Venom (2018 series) #13-15 and Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage

Absolute Carnage
Collects:
Absolute Carnage #1-5 and material from Free Comic Book Day 2019 (Spider-Man/Venom)

Venom by Donny Cates Volume 3: Absolute Carnage
Collects:
Venom (2018 series) #16-20

Venom by Donny Cates Volume 4: Venom Island
Collects:
Venom (2018 series) #21-25

Venom by Donny Cates Volume 5: Venom Beyond [Available March 2021]
Collects:
Venom (2018 series) #26-30


This run has also been collected in larger hardcover collections too:

Venom by Donny Cates Volume 1 HC
Collects:
Venom (2018) #1-12

Venom by Donny Cates Volume 2 HC [Available January 2021]
Collects:
Venom (2018) #16-25

Have Your Say!

Will you be reading this run on Venom? Share your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Comments (3)

  • Thanks for the reading order. Since i\’m interested only in the venom story, do i really need to collect all the annuals and one-shots like Ve’Nam, Carnage born, Unleashed, Cult of Carnage, Funeral Pyre, Wraith, The good Son, Empyre\’s End?

    And sorry for asking this stupid question but is \”Venom by Donny Cates Vol. 3: Absolute Carnage\”, the same as the issue with the title- \”Absolute Carnage\”?

  • hey, thank you very much for this!, it really helped me. can you please post a mike costa’s venom’s reading order?, i’ve been having trouble.

  • Hi,
    Thank you for this guide. I have just started reading the Venom series and this has been very helpful.
    I went for the trade paperback as it was easier for me and I found there is a series called “Venom Unleashed”. I am a bit confused as I found there is a Volume 1 and Volume 3 (no vol. 2). Which one should I get to read the full story?