For the longest time, I have waited for DC to make trades of the Milestone universe. In the absence of that, I’ve waited for someone online to create a comprehensive reading order/bind map for the Milestone universe. I waited a long time. I’m done waiting. So, in the words of one Mad Titan, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” Of course, I must shout out a couple users over on CollectedEditions (original thread here) who helped me refine this map into a reality. It was an extremely daunting task that required a lot of research, so special thanks to limel, ElectricPeterTork, and others for aiding in my insane quest.
So why read Milestone this way? These are some fantastic comics that benefit greatly from the interlocking continuity between them. Reading the individual series will not give you the satisfaction that the Milestone world was built to create. This is a superhero comic universe with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. That’s a rare thing. It’s well worth your time, unlike lots of other mid-90′s comic universe experiments. These stories were wildly progressive for their day, and shockingly, remain more relevant than ever today. Contained within is some of the late Dwayne McDuffie’s best work, along with other amazing creators like Denys Cowan and MD Bright.
These issues are presented in (mostly) chronological order, but also preserving internal story arcs. Reading this way, you will see certain subplots unfold in the background. The volumes are all of roughly equal size (~25-35 issues), with the exception of the Long Hot Summer, which can be cleanly split in half for a “prelude” volume. Alternatively, if you prefer ~50 issue omnibuses, just double up the volumes. The volumes are designed to have satisfying break points. No arbitrary cutoffs in the middle of a major crossover event. Important to note that besides the main Volumes 1 through 10, the Xombi series has been separated out into its own special “Volume X”, because its interaction with the rest of the Milestone universe is extremely minimal, and works much better as a standalone. Including Xombi within the main volumes would actively undermine the flow of both Xombi and the rest of the books, as they have almost nothing to do with each other. More details provided in the notes for that volume.
Without further ado, the Complete Milestone!
VOL.1 – THE BIG BANG
Blood Syndicate 1-4
VOL.2 – SHADOW WAR
NOTE: Issues with an asterisk end with a Shadow War issue. These issues are not normal crossover issues, but rather have a brief cliffhanger which set up the main crossover in Shadow Cabinet #0. Otherwise the issues deal with the individual series’ plotlines. Don’t make the mistake of putting all the Shadow War issues in order like a normal event. Just follow this guide.
Blood Syndicate 5-10*
Shadow Cabinet 0
Blood Syndicate 11-12
VOL.3 – WORLDS COLLIDE
NOTE: Worlds Collide was a crossover between the Milestone universe (Dakotaverse) and the DC universe. As such, it includes several DC issues, namely from various Superman-related series of the time.
Blood Syndicate 13-15
Superman MOS 35
Blood Syndicate 16
WORLDS COLLIDE 1
Superman MOS 36
Blood Syndicate 17
VOL.4 – THE MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION
Shadow Cabinet 1-4
Hardware 20-21 (fill-in arc, optional)
Blood Syndicate 18-23 (18 is a fill-in, optional)
VOL.5 – RED DEATH
Shadow Cabinet 5-10
Hardware 22-24 (optional fill-in)
Hardware 26-28 (direct continuation of Deathwish mini)
Shadow Cabinet 11-13
Blood Syndicate 24-27
VOL.6 – THE LONG HOT SUMMER
NOTE 1: Long Hot Summer is a big crossover event between all the Milestone series. However, it is impossible to create a perfect chronology because the different books move at different speeds and focus on different events. This reading order provides the best possible reading experience by balancing preservation of small internal arcs with the larger ovararching story, avoiding big spoilers where possible. Still, keep in mind that as you change character perspectives, you may move slightly forward or backward in time.
NOTE 2: You may notice that the Xombi issues from this event are missing. That is very deliberate. See “Vol.X – Xombi” for details.
My Name is Holocaust 1-5 (Long Hot Summer prelude)
NOTE: If you want to split the volume in two, here is the break point for a “prelude” volume
Shadow Cabinet 14
Blood Syndicate 28
LONG HOT SUMMER 1
LONG HOT SUMMER 2
Blood Syndicate 29-30
Shadow Cabinet 15-16
LONG HOT SUMMER 3
Shadow Cabinet 17
VOL.X – XOMBI
NOTE: Xombi as a whole must be treated differently from the other Milestone books. It should not be read concurrently with the other books, as it has basically nothing to do with them. It very rarely interacts with the main Dakotaverse, and in fact doesn’t even take place in Dakota! Even when it does explicitly cross over (eg. Long Hot Summer), the crossover is actually very minimal, as the issues remain focused on Xombi’s plotline, rather than LHS. In fact, I highly advise against including Xombi’s LHS issues in the LHS volume, because they hurt the pacing significantly (and that event already has complicated pacing). Xombi really is its own thing, and thus deserves its own volume. Trust me on this. As for when to read it, I would recommend between Vol.6 and 7. But really, any time before Vol.8 is fine.
Xombi 0 (Published before issue 1, but takes place here. Up to you where to place it. You can also skip it if you just want it in the Shadow War volume.)
Shadow Cabinet 0 (directly continues from Xombi 0, but barely features Xombi himself, optional)
Xombi 12-21 (14-16 are Long Hot Summer issues, but are barely relevant to that story, and much more relevant to Xombi’s story)
Brave and the Bold (2009) 26 (Only include this here if you don’t want to make Vol.9, see “Vol.9 – The Brave & The Bold” for details)
Xombi v2 1-6
VOL.7 – THE WORLD NEEDS HEROES
Superman & Batman Magazine 7 (Only the “Milestone for Kids” stories are relevant, featuring Static, Icon, & Hardware. Cut the rest out. These are optional, but fun.)
Icon 32-33 (both fill-ins that take place before 31, buying time for McDuffie to finish writing that arc)
Icon 31, 34-36 (34 continues directly from 31)
Icon 37 (fill-in)
Blood Syndicate 31-32 (fill-in)
Hardware 33 (fill-in)
Hardware 34-38 (Rozum arc, Xombi makes an appearance)
Blood Syndicate 33-35
Heroes 1-6 (Direct followup to Shadow Cabinet, plus Static)
VOL.8 – MILESTONE FOREVER
NOTE 1: Unfortunately, Milestone died a slow and painful death, and this volume is proof. There are many fill-in writers, dropped plot threads, unfinished arcs, and an overall decline in quality due to the editorial chaos of a dying business. Thankfully, against all odds, the Milestone Forever mini brings it together, giving this universe solid closure. After this point, the Milestone characters were merged into the DC universe, making random background appearances. If you want, you can stop with Vol.8 and ignore everything afterward.
NOTE 2: The “Static: Rebirth of the Cool” mini came out several years after the death of Milestone. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to place in continuity. Milestone Forever picks up right where the various old Milestone series left off, and it definitively ends the universe as a whole. Thus, Rebirth of the Cool cannot come before OR after Milestone Forever. But it is very much worth reading, and the events are canon to SOME unknown degree, so the best option is to simply leave it in publication order. Just do some mental gymnastics and it fits just fine.
Wise Son 1-4 (prelude to following Icon arc)
Static 43-45 (ends on a weird cliffhanger, sadly)
Static: Rebirth of the Cool 1-4
9/11 Vol.2 (8-page Static story only, totally optional and of dubious canonicity due to how it incorporates elements from the Static Shock cartoon)
Milestone Forever 1-2 (finishes all dangling plot threads and merges Dakotaverse with DCU)
VOL.9 – THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
NOTE: This volume collects random post-Milestone Forever appearances of various Dakotaverse characters in the DC Universe. It is is entirely optional, but there’s some fun stuff here, and many of the original creators are involved. There are other minor Milestone character appearances you could include, such as other Titans issues with Static standing in the background for 2 panels, or god forbid, the New 52 rebooted Static Shock series, but most of those are dogshit and will only serve to detract from the experience in my opinion.
Justice League of America (2006 series) 27-34 (from McDuffie run, various Milestone characters appear)
Brave and the Bold (2009 series) 24-26 (DCU teamups ft. Static, Hardware, and Xombi)
Teen Titans (2003 series) 79-82 (Static and the Titans go to Dakota and fight Holocaust)
Static Shock Special (a tribute to Dwayne McDuffie by several Milestone creators)
VOL.10 - MILESTONE RETURNS
NOTE: These comics are a brand new reboot of the Milestone world, and are still currently being published. Thus I do not know the correct reading order. I will update this when the project inevitably falls apart and ends.
And that’s it! Enjoy! And if you find any mistakes, PLEASE let me know!