Devil’s Reign (1997) Reading Order

Unlike most intercompany crossovers, ‘Devil’s Reign’ actually takes place within the respective mainstream Marvel Universe and Top Cow Universe continuities.

Mephisto is dead. Murdered by his son Blackheart (as witnessed by Wolverine, Ghost Rider and the Punisher) who then claimed the throne of Hell. But you can’t keep a good devil down for long! Hiding on the outskirts of the dark realm, the ‘returned’ lord of evil spies something in another universe that sparks his interest and gets his fires burning once more…

Note: This event is not to be confused with the Daredevil-led DEVIL’S REIGN (2021-2022).

SCROLL DOWN to the bottom for the KEY COLLECTED EDITIONS for this event!

Minor Crossover: This is a standard multi-part crossover event made up of a number of one-shots, each featuring a Marvel and Top Cow character. Issues of the ongoing CyberForce, Gen¹³ Bootleg, Weapon Zero and Witchblade also tie-in, establishing Devil’s Reign as part of Top Cow continuity.

Must Reads: Story arcs marked with a ✔are must-read stories from this time period, along with any key related stories and often-forgotten tales that are worth a read.

Want to keep it simple? Here’s the chronological reading order without story descriptions, or spoilers:

  •      Witchblade #11(tie-in)
  • Devil’s Reign #½: Silver Surfer/Witchblade
  • CyberForce #29 (tie-in)
  • Weapon Zero/Silver Surfer #1
  • Weapon Zero #10 (tie-in)
  • CyberForce #30 (tie-in)
  • Gen¹³ Bootleg #4 (tie-in)
  • Cyblade/Ghost Rider #1
  • Ghost Rider/Ballistic #1
  • Ballistic/Wolverine #1
  • Wolverine/Witchblade #1
  • Witchblade/Elektra #1
  • Elektra/Cyblade #1
  • Silver Surfer/Weapon Zero #1
  • CyberForce #31 (tie-in)

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Must ReadsTitle, Issue Number & Synopsis
Witchblade #11 (tie-in)
In pursuit of the Microwave Killer, New York Cop Sara Pezzini is observed by a cowled figure who quickly disappears when she confronts them, leaving only a trace of a substance that looks like her mystical Witchblade. She follows up on her role as guardian to Lisa Buzanis, the daughter of her deceased close friend. Lisa appears to have been drawn into a modelling career again, working with Danette Boucher. All the while, Sara is watched by Mephisto
Devil’s Reign #½: Silver Surfer/Witchblade
‘Retired’ but bored, Mephisto discovers another version of Earth populated by strange, dark heroes. A world devoid of gods of death that would be unprepared for a Hell-Lord like him. Mephisto takes particular interest in Sara Pezzini’s beauty and hopes to subvert her purity to make her his queen. He observes the time-travelling group Weapon Zero and discovers a way to trick the Silver Surfer into using their T’Srri technology to allow him to make the jump to this new universe…
CyberForce #29 (tie-in)
After defeating Cyberdata, CyberForce are split by members wanting to call it quits and those wanting to be on-hand to prepare for the next threat. Team leader Heatwave starts to break down, losing control of his mind and powers thanks the many personalities Cyberdata programmed into him. He turns against CyberForce and flees, eventually levitating into the sky and detonating his powers in a huge explosion…

Must ReadsTitle, Issue Number & Synopsis
Weapon Zero/Silver Surfer #1
On Earth-616, the Silver Surfer is drawn to the site of a crashed T’Srri ship in the Mohave Desert, littered with the corpses of human scientists. He expels enough of his power cosmic to destroy the ship and departs, unaware that Mephisto took the ancient ship from below the surface and – with souls from Hell acting as the dead – fooled the Surfer into powering it up. Mephisto uses the ship to make a transdimensional jump to the Top Cow Universe, where Weapon Zero are currently fighting off an attack on the Alien Investigations Division (AID) by a T’Srri Berserker. Ansh’r sacrifices himself by teleporting the Berserker into space. Lilith teleports the rest of Weapon Zero to a safehouse, but somehow loses Fist along the way. Fist finds himself in Los Angeles and decides to turn his back on Weapon Zero. However, his teammates are determined to track him down. Mephisto forms an alliance with the T’Srri. Still alive, Heatwave flies over Manhattan. In the Himalayas, Killrazor fades out of existence…
Weapon Zero #10 (tie-in)
When Weapon Zero fail to locate Fist in LA, she teleports the team to another safehouse where a computer with Lorelei‘s voice and memories runs a test program that relentlessly tries to kill them. Ordnance shuts the computer down, but Lilith reveals that she instructed the programme to kill them as payback for the death of Lorelei and Ansh’r – her sister and father. Ordnance talks Lilith around and allows her to grieve. Weapon Zero head off to find Fist, who’s being manipulated by the T’Srri Erisha.
CyberForce #30 (tie-in)
Ripclaw witnesses a vision of Heatwave gone mad, burning the city. Ballistic returns to the group and learns Heatwave is missing, presumed dead. A spectre points Impact towards a clue to Heatwave’s whereabouts in the subway. He’s joined by CyberForce and they’re quickly faced with horde of possessed humans. Cyblade burns them all, leaving them for dead. The group are unaware that a demonically-possessed Heatwave it behind it all…
Gen¹³ Bootleg #4 (tie-in)
Weapon Zero arrive too late at the motel where Fist was staying with Erisha. Valaria runs after Fist with her pet ‘dog’ Janus, only to get lost in LA. Gen¹³ come to the aid of the lost Valaria. Erisha summons a T’Srri Killborg to murder Valaria, but Gen¹³ finish it off quickly, then help her look for her friends. Another Killborg targets them, leaving Valaria no choice but to unleash her Leviathan powers to destroy it. Ordnance arrives and takes Valaria back to Weapon Zero’s safehouse.

Must ReadsTitle, Issue Number & Synopsis
Cyblade/Ghost Rider #1
While Mephisto celebrates successfully corrupting Heatwave, Cyblade wonders if she can hold CyberForce together without him. On Earth-616, Eternity grants mystic Jennifer Kale the power to trigger Danny Ketch‘s transformation into Ghost Rider and transport him to the Top Cow Universe to stop Mephisto. His arrival attracts Cyblade’s attention and the two of them fight it out until Mephisto interrupts, demonically-possessing humans to attack them. Hellrazor then emerges, powered up by Mehisto and revealing Heatwave also serves the Hell-Lord. Cyblade brutally beats Hellrazor and Ghost Rider gives his Penance Stare, prompting Mephisto to materialise and taunt the Ghost Rider. An explosion of hellfire throws the Spirit of Vengeance back, with Cyblade nowhere to be seen when the dust settles…
Ghost Rider/Ballistic #1
Days pass. Minions of Mephisto interrupt Ballistic’s efforts to drown her sorrows in a bar. She kills all but one which the Ghost Rider picks off when he arrives looking for her on CyberForce’s behalf. Leaving the bar, they find New York in flames. They head for Times Square – Mehisto’d new lair – tearing through possessed gang members until they’re beaten back by the Hell-Lord’s raw power having consumed so many souls. They chase his minions into the Midtown Tunnel. Watching above them, a familiar silhouette pops his claws…
Ballistic/Wolverine #1
Step back in time a little to Earth-616, where Wolverine follows up on an urgent summons from Zoe Culloden of Landau, Luckman & Lake. Stepping through a warp chamber in their Manhattan offices, he finds himself in a different Manhattan. He immediately takes on armoured goons and finds himself on the same side as Ballistic who explains Mephisto has warped her friend Heatwave into Manhattan’s twisted new mayor. Together, they storm Heatwave’s headquarters and break his control over Zoe Culloden. But they don’t stop him before the bell tolls midnight which triggers the transportation of all the souls Mephisto and Heatwave have infected to vanish from Times Square and go straight to Hell. Now, Mephisto sets his sights on Sara Pezzini…
Wolverine/Witchblade #1
Wolverine and Zoe Culloden decide they need reinforcements. Elsewhere, Sara Pezzini starts to think her entire experience with the Witchblade was fiction. Michael Yee and her fiancée Ian Nottingham are all alive. Ian takes Sara out to dinner where Wolverine bursts through the window and attacks him. He snaps Sara out of her delusion and ‘Ian Nottingham’ reveals his true form as Mephisto, towering above them…

Must ReadsTitle, Issue Number & Synopsis
Witchblade/Elektra #1
Zoe Culloden sends Wolverine’s current sensei Elektra to the Top Cow Universe. Mephisto burns Wolverine with hellfire, leaving Sara Pezzini to get Elektra to safety, growing wings with the Witchblade to fend off the flames. The two women find themselves in a snowy graveyard where they battle ninjas. They move on to a church in a cave where a dark priest questions Sara’s faith. Mephisto manifests again, striking Elektra down. Mephisto reunites Sara with her father and offers her freedom from the Witchblade. Sara rejects Mephisto’s manipulations and he teleports her home in disgust as he looms over the unconscious Elektra…
Elektra/Cyblade #1
Elektra and Cyblade find themselves wandering through a demon-infested Las Vegas. Heatwave – having renamed himself the Fire King – prepares everyone’s souls to go to Hell at midnight. Elektra and Cyblade sneak into the Fire King’s hellish casino where Elektra goes for the kill. But Cyblade can’t let Elektra hurt the man she loves. She shoots Elektra down, dooming them both. Back in LA, Erisha continues to manipulate and subvert Fist…
Silver Surfer/Weapon Zero #1
Standing beside his new T’Srri allies, Mephisto constructs his own ‘Eden’ in the Mohave Desert with followers gathered by Heatwave flocking to the site. He summons his demon horde and takes the form of a more palatable messiah, encouraging those gathered to give him their souls so he can ‘fight off’ the horde. On Earth-616, the Silver Surfer notices the rift in space and follows the horde through. The remaining members of Weapon Omega teleport to Eden to rescue Fist and Erisha, only to end up battling the demon horde. Erisha convinces Fist to leave with her. Cyblade reminds the Fire King that he was once a good man and convinces him to turn against Mephisto, blasting the T’Srri leader N’Golth, burning out the demons and taking Mephisto to the skies in a fiery explosion. The Silver Surfer finds no trace of Heatwave and assumes he’s dead, returning to his own universe and leaving Weapon Zero to ponder everything they’ve witnessed.
CyberForce #31 (tie-in)
In the wake of Mephisto’s brief reign and the loss of their beloved leader Heatwave, CyberForce relocate to the new mansion home. Agent Raleigh meets with Cyblade and offers to fund CyberForce if they agree to work for him. They start with a mission to Cyblade’s place of birth in Chalenne. Velocity meets up with her sister, Ballistic, in New York and convinces her to come to CyberForce’s new home where the team hold a ceremony for Heatwave.

Must ReadsIssues & FalloutEvent / Crossover
CyberForce #32-35 (1997)
CyberForce continue to carry out missions for Agent Raleigh.
Weapon Zero #13-15 (1997, Top Cow)
Weapon Zero continue their search for Fist and Erisha; Fist is purged of the Mindworm inside him and returns to Weapon Zero; the team have their final confrontation with the T’srri.
Witchblade #14 (1997, Top Cow)
The cowled figure is revealed to be Dannette Boucher; a small fragment of the Witchblade remained in her when she tried to wield it on behalf of Kenneth Irons; the fragment warped Boucher physically and metally; Boucher is revealed to be the Microwave Killer.
Silver Surfer #133, 135-137 (1998, Marvel)
The Silver Surfer’s spirit is separated from his body and encounters the equally disembodied Mephisto who has returned to Earth-616 with no physical form; Scrier destroys Mephisto’s spirit but explains that he will no doubt return.
Ghost Rider #93-94 (1998-2007, Marvel)
Blackheart is overthrown as ruler of Hell by the Ghost Rider.
Peter Parker, Spider-Man #93 (1998, Marvel)
Ghost Rider exits Hell, confused and out of control, abandoning the throne.
Nighthawk #1-3 (1998, Marvel)
Mephisto is revealed to have reclaimed Hell’s throne.
Wolverine #145 (1999, Marvel)
Apocalypse is revealed to have restored Wolverine’s Adamantium.
Witchblade/Wolverine #1 (2004, Marvel/Top Cow)
The Wolverine and Witchblade of Earth-7642 (aka Earth-Crossover) get married and clash with the Odessa Mafia.
CyberForce #1-6 (2006, Top Cow)
Heatwave is resurrected by the aliens whose tech was used to create CyberForce.
CyberForce/X-Men #1 (2007, Marvel Top/Cow)
Wolverine and Cyblade of Earth-7642 meet and join forces against the Hand.
Unholy Union #1 (2007, Marvel/Top Cow)
Sara Pezzini meets the Ghost Rider of (Earth-7642).
Fusion #1-3 (2009, Marvel/Top Cow)
CyberForce meet more heroes from the Marvel Universe (Earth-7642) including the Avengers and Thunderbolts.

Notable collected editions featuring the Devil’s Reign…

Collected Edition TitleCollecting…
Top Cow/Marvel: The Crossover Collection vol.1Ballistic/Wolverine #1
Cyblade/Ghost Rider #1
Devil’s Reign #½: Silver Surfer/Witchblade
Darkness/The Incredible Hulk #1
Elektra/Cyblade #1
Ghost Rider/Ballistic #1
Silver Surfer/Weapon Zero #1
Witchblade/Elektra #1
Witchblade/Wolverine #1
Wolverine/Witchblade #1
Weapon Zero/Silver Surfer #1
Gen¹³ Bootleg vol.1Gen¹³ Bootleg #1-4

Collected Edition TitleIncluding…
Complete Witchblade vol.1
Witchblade Compendium vol.1
Witchblade Origins vol.2
Witchblade vol.2: Revelations

Witchblade #11

Reading Order ©OmniverseComicsGuide 2023

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