While most of the news out of Marvel HQ this week has been in regards to yet another fresh start for the publisher’s entire comic book line, the oversized one-shot introduction to its spring mini-event may be generating the most excitement. Infinity Countdown Prime, by Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato, Jr., takes the obligatory company mandate to generate rack awareness for the next big Marvel film, namely, Avengers: Infinity War, and sets up a cosmic yarn with some genuinely surprising twists and a refreshing cast of characters.
Unexpected, that is, except for the Guardians of the Galaxy, of course. The Infinity Countdown series will supplant a regular Guardians title for the time being, and it makes perfect sense to focus in on this endearing collective of cosmic defenders. And in a refreshing switch from Bendis’s tired run, Gerry Duggan’s “All-new” crew has exhibited an effective balance of humor and pathos, reminding us of the team we were drawn to during the Abnett & Lanning era.
But this intro issue – and the upcoming event itself – is about far more than the Guardians, and it involves some unexpected Infinity Stone wielders. In the post-Secret Wars Marvel universe, the eighth iteration of the multiverse, our stones have taken on new lives, and have fallen into unique hands.
We already know about Wolverine, who’s been sidling in and out of after-credits pages gripping the space stone. There’s a claws-through-the-face sequence in this comic that you need to check out immediately, so that we can talk about it. Captain Marvel had to travel to a mirror universe to track down our universe’s reality stone. The power stone is now the size of an apartment building, and its landlords are the Guardians. The other three? Fun reveals in this comic.
Beyond that, Duggan has put a new twist on the old Infinity stone gathering, highlighting a circuit that connects the wielders, explaining how they work together to offer ultimate power. And even without that old yellow gauntlet, looks like we can expect one familiar purple face to get involved, fresh off his conquest of the Chitauri homeworld in the pages of Thanos.