Infinity Countdown Prime #1: Review

Feb 2018
Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Review by (May 18, 2018)
Turk was a long-running low-level villain mainly in Daredevil, usually played as comic relief. Infinity Countdown: Daredevil will tell us how the Mind Stone fell into his hands and changed his life. But even with its power it can't be long before someone takes it off him.

The 2 alternate-reality Captain Marvels we see are analogues of previous Earth-616 holders of the title.
The Kree Mar-Vell was the 1st such character. Sent by the Kree to monitor human activity he soon switched sides and became an Earth hero, but eventually died of job-related cancer in the 1st Marvel graphic novel.
For copyright reasons Marvel has nearly-always had someone operating with the name. Monica Rambeau was the 2nd title-holder, mainly as an Avenger including leading the team. She gave up the name to Mar-Vell's son Genis-Vell but has continued as a superheroine under other aliases, currently Spectrum.

The Skrull Empire is based in the Andromeda Galaxy but extends into other galaxies. It is probably the oldest political entity in the Marvel Universe but has recently suffered reversals of fortune such as fragmenting after Galactus ate its throneworld, and the Annihilation Wave destroying most of its planets. During the Infinity event in the war against the Builders Super-Skrull united what was left under his leadership.
But in this new universe things may be even worse for the Skrulls. The only other appearance of Super-Skrull in the new universe was in Moon Girl's 'Legacy' story arc Fantastic 3 where things were so bad he tried to destroy the universe. And in this issue he talks about the humiliation of the Skrull Empire.

We 1st met Magus as the evil future version of Adam Warlock but his future got aborted. Then he reappeared as Adam's evil side in Infinity War I until he was imprisoned in the Soul Gem. He escaped from there to become an enemy of the Genis-Vell Captain Marvel. Then he became involved with the Guardians of the Galaxy and evil Lord Mar-Vell from the Cancerverse who killed him in The Thanos Imperative: Ignition. He was resurrected as a baby by his Universal Church of Truth but didn't get to do much before the multiverse was destroyed.
But now in the new universe he and Adam are back for this event, and mMgus gets killed again.

The Avengers' longterm robotic foe Ultron merged with his creator Henry Pym (ex-Ant-Man/Giant-Man/etc) in Avengers: Rage of Ultron GN, probably early in the post-Secret Wars III universe. He was exiled to space where he returned in the last Uncanny Avengers series - Ultron and a maddened Pym as a villain. He played an important part in Secret Empire, and now here.
The end of this issue suggests that this event is going to restore Hank Pym to humanity.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This is the 2nd issue in the Infinity Countdown sequence continuing from IC: ADAM WARLOCK.

The IC sequence continues the storyline from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #150. There Adam Warlock was resurrected by Kang the Conqueror in the far future, and in IC:AW he was sent back in time to confront Thanos in the present (via Ancient Egypt). Meanwhile in GotG#150 The Guardians had found the Power Stone and were looking for the other Infinity Stones.

This issue assembles all the players and lets us know where all the Infinity Stones are.

Our 1st stop is the Canadian wilderness where Wolverine is attacked by 5 Ultron-infected aliens because he has the blue Space Stone (which he got in the Marvel Legacy 1-shot after his own resurrection). Logan easily beats them, especially with the added teleportation ability the Stone gives him.

But then he's accosted by Loki who slashes his face with a knife just to check that he's the real self-healing deal. So Wolverine slams a claw up through Loki's jaw and pulls out an eyeball - just to check if Loki's really a god. The Asgardian binds up his eye-socket and offers to take the Infinity Stone off Logan's hands. He claims that more threats like Ultron are after the Stones and it will only endanger Earth and people Logan cares for. And whoever gets them all could endanger the whole multiverse. Logan agrees that he's not the best person to hold a Stone but he's certainly better than Loki. And if any other Stone-wielders come after him he'll just take theirs off them. And he teleports away from the Trickster God.

There's another Infinity Stone on Earth. Turk Barrett walks into a casino with the yellow Mind Stone atop his walking cane. He is confidant of winning at blackjack because the Stone's gift of telepathy tells him what cards the dealer has and Stone-enhanced intelligence helps him gauge the odds. (It shouldn't allow him to predict cards.)

The 3rd Stone, red for Reality, is just off Earth in space in the hand of Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) who found it in alternate reality Earth-Zeta in her Legacy issues #125-129. But we also see Reality Stones in the hands of alternate-reality versions of the Monica Rambeau and Mar-Vell Captain Marvels. (And a hint of the Captain Marvel of DC and previously Fawcett Comics.)

The purple Power Stone has featured in the Legacy issues of GotG (#146-150). It is the size of a (small) mountain and is guarded by the Nova Corps on a secluded planetoid, but the Chitauri and the Fraternity of Raptors are coming to take it. Meanwhile the Guardians of the Galaxy are in the Nova Corps HQ the Rock. Star-Lord wants them to go to Telferina where giant trees cloned from Groot by the Gardener are killing people, but Gamora wants them to go seeking the Soul Stone to free a fragment of herself trapped in it. (This takes place just before the end of GotG#150 because they head for Telferina but drop Drax off to help guard the Power Stone on the way.)

There is an unidentified voiceover throwing in bits of narration. At this point it tells us that it doesn't know where the Time Stone is, but there are places where things are not what they should be and they seem likely places to look.

1 such place is the planet Sakaar (which was destroyed by Galactus in the pre-Secret Wars III universe). It was seen back in the new universe when Hulk (Amadeus Cho) went there in #709-713 of his Legacy series. (Of course Sakaar is where Hulk (Bruce Banner) was exiled to before Civil War I.) A last page epilogue to #713 showed Super-Skrull finding the Time Stone deep inside the planet. That scene is expanded on here where he swears to use it to restore the status of the Skrull Empire.

Next we get a replay of the end of IC: Adam Warlock as Adam bursts free of the Egyptian sarcophagus where he was placed in suspended animation by Kang's earlier identity Pharaoh Rama-Tut.

Then we see Thanos ruling over the Chitauri homeworld ...

... and we learn that the voiceover is the severed head of the Elder of the Universe Contemplator talking to Magus, Warlock's evil self on the surface of Ego the Living Planet. Magus has forced Contemplator to find the Soul Gem for him (on Ego). (Is it significant that they refer to the Gem rather than the Soul Stone?) But the Elder now says he made sure others could track them. And now Ultron/Hank Pym sneaks up behind Magus and punches his heart out.

Contemplator warns Ultron not to touch the Gem but of course the robot ignores him. A shock sends him reeling when he picks 1st it up, but then he can handle it easily and he rewards the Elder by disintegrating the head. (But Elders don't die that easily.)

But Henry Pym's soul finds itself detached from Ultron and inside the Soul Gem where he is greeted by the aged fragment of Gamora (as seen in recent issues of GotG).

Follow Turk and the Mind Stone in IC: Daredevil, Carol Danvers and the other Captain Marvels with the Reality Stone(s) in IC: Captain Marvel, Super-Skrull and the Time Stone in Dr Strange #3, and everybody else in IC #1.

This story is followed by a potted history of the Infinity Stones.

An omnipotent being in the 7th Cosmos became 6 gems in the 8th Cosmos, which contained Marvel Comics history up to Secret Wars III. Initially they were known as the Soul Gems. The High Evolutionary had 1 which he gave to Adam Warlock to defend his creation Counter-Earth. Later Thanos gathered the 6 together and was going to use their energy to destroy all the stars in the universe for his lover Death. But Warlock and the Avengers killed him, and Warlock died too - his soul joining Gamora and others in his Soul Gem.

Some of the Elders of the Universe located the Gems. But Death resurrected Thanos, who learned that the 6 Gems were the Infinity Gems - each with a different power. He took them from the Elders and put them in the Infinity Gauntlet. He used them to kill half the beings in the universe for Death. Then he ascended to godhood leaving his body behind. But this allowed Nebula, his alleged grandaughter (in the Comics universe) to take the Gauntlet and bring everyone back to life (and Thanos back to his body). However Warlock and Gamora had been resurrected too, and Adam took the Gauntlet for himself.

Adam got rid of both his good and evil sides in order to be an objective wielder of the Gems. But the Living Tribunal wasn't satisfied and decreed that the gems should be entrusted to a 6 member group the Infinity Watch. Warlock and Gamora were 2 of them, and the 6th was Thanos who had renounced his lust for power. Warlock's evil side manifested as the Magus who used Cosmic Cubes to try to get the Infinity Gems. He was defeated by Warlock and allies including Thanos in the 1st Infinity War. (And Adam's good side became Goddess in the Infinity Crusade which didn't involve the Gems.)

Later the Gems were scattered again until the secret Illuminati (Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Iron Man, Mr Fantastic, Prof X and Sub-Mariner) located them and each hid 1. But the Hood found them and the Illuminati had to reveal themselves to the Avengers in order to defeat him. The Illuminati then pretended to destroy the Gauntlet and Gems, and to disband. But secretly they continued with Captain America replacing Black Bolt and the Gems in their hands again.

As the multiverse started to collapse by colliding alternate realities the Illuminati used the Infinity Gems to stop their reality dying in 1 such collision. But 5 of the Gems shattered and the Time Gem disappeared. Later the Time Gem took some Avengers on a tour of the future and then it too self-destructed.

After the multiverse was destroyed, Secret Wars III ended with the creation of a new multiverse, the 9th Cosmos. The Infinity Gems were recreated and called the Infinity Stones (with swapped colours). Gamora learned that a fragment of her soul still resided in the Soul Gem/Stone from her previous time in there. Her fellow Guardians of the Galaxy helped her look for it and the other Stones.

The resurrected Wolverine gained the Space Stone, and the Nova Corps found and guarded the giant Power Stone. Captain Marvel and Super-Skrull found the Reality and Time Stones. And this issue reveals the whereabouts of the Mind and Soul Stones.

Mike Deodato Jr.
Mike Deodato Jr.
Frank Martin
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Inker)
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Jordan D. White. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Loki Laufeyson)

(Peter Quill)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Chitauri, Contemplator (Tath Ki), Fraternity of Raptors, Henry Pym, Nova Corps, Super-Skrull, Turk Barrett.

> Infinity Countdown Prime: Book info and issue index

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