Infinity Countdown Prime #1 is the prelude issue to the upcoming big event entitled Infinity Countdown. Marvel has killed off nearly any interest I have had in their comics during their All New All Different MarvelNOW initiative. Having said that, I am still all over Infinity Countdown for several reasons. First, I am a massive fan of Marvel’s cosmic characters and larger cosmic universe. Second, I have always loved Adam Warlock’s character. Third, Infinity Countdown is only going to be a five issue big event. This is fantastic news. This means that Infinity Countdown should be a big event that is free from rampant bloat and decompression.
Marvel has assembled an excellent creative team in Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato, Jr. Duggan is an underrated writer and I am glad to see Marvel giving him the honor of penning a big event. I have high hopes for this story. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Infinity Countdown Prime #1.
Words: Gerry Duggan
Art: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Colors: Frank Martin
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a one page explanation of the Infinity Stones, their powers and their relationship with each other.
We cut to “somewhere in the wilds of Canada.” We see Wolverine (If I’m using the codename “Wolverine” you can always rest assured that I am talking about the one true Wolverine: Logan.) We see Wolvie telling a wolf to run along and that it wants no part of him.
Logan then stands up and pops his claws. We see he is surrounded by Ultron hybrids. Wolverine says that the Ultron hybrids want no part of him, either. We see that the Ultron hybrids are being led by some weird cybernetic alien.
The Ultron hybrids tell Wolverine to hand over the Infinity Stone. Wolverine declines and with that we officially have a braaaaawl!
Wolvie slices and dices his way through the Ultron hybrids. Wolverine uses the Time Stone’s abilities to teleport about the battlefield in order to get the drop on the cyborg looking alien. During this, Wolverine comments how “Bamfin’ is fun.” (Ha! Love it. Nice shout out to Wolverine’s best friend Nightcrawler.)
Wolverine kills all of the Ultron hybrids. Suddenly, Loki appears on the scene. Loki slices Wolverine’s cheek. Loki apologizes and says that he had to make sure that it was actually Wolverine and not an imposter. Wolverine responds by popping his claws through Loki’s head. (Damn!! Nasty!) Wolverine “apologizes” saying that he had to make sure it was the real Loki and not an imposter.
Loki exclaims that he is here for a parley. Loki says that the fate of the universe is in danger. That someone is looking for all of the Infinity Stones and that this mysterious person is going to rewrite the entire universe. Wolverine says that he is keeping the Space Stone. Wolverine says he is going to use the Space Stone to make sure mutants no longer get the short end of the stick all of the time.
Loki counters that Wolverine is not equipped to handle the Time Stone and that Wolverine will do more damage than good. Loki tries to persuade Wolverine to give him the Space Stone. Wolverine says that he may not be able to trust himself but that he knows he does not trust Loki.
Loki loses his temper and yells that Wolverine does not understand the hazard the Infinity Stones present. Wolverine replies that he believes Loki and that is why the Space Stone is staying in his pocket.
Loki asks what will Wolverine do when other stone wielders come looking for the Space Stone. Wolverine replies “Well…I got more pockets, bub.” (Damn, I love Wolverine. It is great to have him back.)
Wolverine then uses the Space Stone to teleport away from the scene. Loki rants how Wolverine is as maddening as his brother. Loki repeats Wolverine’s parting line and comments how that statement is so preposterous. Loki mockingly states that the universe will tremble when Logan of the wilderness assembles the infinity dungarees.
Loki then says, “Let the coming void take us all. I guess I shall just take the hard road.”
A voice narrates how the Space Stone is in difficult and unpredictable hands. The voice then says that there is a second Infinity Stone on Earth. We cut to New York City. We see Turk getting out of a big limo. He is wearing a big fur coat. We see that Turk has a pimp cane with the Mind Stone as the handle. (Turk has an Infinity Stone? How crazy. I love it.)
Turk He enters a casino. He then offers to pay a round of drinks for everyone in the place. Turk then sits down at the blackjack table. Turk promptly beats the odds and beats the house at blackjack. The power of the Mind Stone is allowing Turk to craft his own amazing good luck.
The voice then narrates that some of the stones are in the hands of souls that are only beginning to understand their power.
We cut to Marvel’s answer to Roman Reigns out in space with the Reality Stone in her hand. The voice narrates that Carol has located the Reality Stone. The voice says that Captain Marvels from other multiple universes are also finding their Reality Stones. We see an alternate universe with Monica holding a Reality Stone. We see another universe with Mar-Vell holding a Reality Stone. (Yeah! The one true Captain Marvel! Sign me up for that universe. That is the one I want to be in!) We then see half of the body of another Captain Marvel whose costume looks an awful lot like DC’s Captain Marvel’s costume. (Ha! I love it. Thats a nice playful touch.)
We then shift to the Nova Corp. We see that they have the Power Stone. The Power Stone is now massive sized. The voice narrates that the Power Stone was once small but is now the size of a mountain. The voice says that the Nova Corp could not keep the Power Stone a secret and that the Fraternity of Raptors and the Chitauri are moving in for the kill.
We then cut to the Guardians of the Galaxy. We see Gamora arguing with Starlord. Gamora says that the Soul Stone is out there with part of her trapped in it. Gamora says that they need to go find it. Starlord says that they already have their own problems with Groot having his old limbs turned into man-eating trees. That they need to solve that problem first before tackling new problems.
We see Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Nova (Richard Ryder, baby!), and Ant-Man all sitting there while Gamora and Starlord argue. Ant-Man comments that space has as much yelling as Earth. The voice narrates that it is impossible to predict who will win the Power Stone.
We slide over to Planet Sakaar. The voice narrates that the Time Stone is beyond their sight. But, that strange occurrences throughout the universe indicate a re-ordering of existence. Like the Planet Sakaar existing when it should not.
We then see the Super Skrull break though the ground on Sakaar. Super Skrull has the Time Stone in his hand. Super Skrull says that he will erase the humiliation of the Skrull Empire from the cosmos. Super Skrull says that he has to go find the other Infinity Stones.
We then shift to Egypt. We see Adam Warlock breaking free of his sarcophagus. Adam Warlock asks some tourists what year it is. The tourist says that it is 2018. Warlock replies “Wonderful.” The voice says that Adam Warlock will be a player in the coming strife. Especially considering the relationship Warlock has with the Soul Gem.
We then cut to Thanos with the Chitauri army bowing before him. The voice says that Thanos has conquered the Chitauri with relative ease.
We see that Magus has the Soul Gem in his hand. Magus said that he severed Contemplator’s head from his body. Magus says that he will be the one to assemble the Infinity Stones and reorder the universe in his image.
Contemplator asks Magus if he considered the possibility that Contemplator led Magus to the Soul Gem after Magus cut off his head and made sure that Magus was noticed by greedy eyes. Magus says, “Let Thanos come!”
We then see a shadowy figure sneak up from behind of Magus. Contemplator says that he has contemplated a different outcome for Magus. We then see that the shadowy figure is Ultron Hank Pym. (It always makes me sad to see Hank Pym like this. He really deserves better.) Ultron Hank Pym punches his fist through Magus’ chest and kills him.
Ultron Hank says that Magus’ twin Adam Warlock will go down just as easily. The Contemplator says that in a moment he will begin a vow of silence and meditation that will last for eons. The Contemplator says that Pym should not seek to possess the Soul Gem. Ultron Pym says that Contemplator cannot stop him. Ultron Pym reaches to pick up the Soul Gem and gets shocked by the Soul Gem.
The Contemplator says that all may not be lost for Ultron Pym. Ultron Pym then successfully snatches the Soul Gem off of the ground. Ultron Pym replies “Of course it, isn’t!” The Contemplator replies that he was speaking to the man and not the machine.
Ultron Pym then blasts the Contemplator’s head. Ultron Pym stares at the Soul Gem and says that he will be unstoppable. Ultron Pym says that he will get all the Infinity Stones and then “We can rewrite the entire universe.”
We then zoom up close to the Soul Gem and see normal Hank Pym inside of the Gem. We then zoom into the Soul Gem. Pym realizes he is trapped inside of the Soul Gem. Suddenly, an old version of Gamora appears in the Soul Gem. (Damn. She has not aged well.)
Old Gamora welcomes Hank to the Soul World. Old Gamora says that this is Pym’s spiritual awakening. She says that Pym is trapped here forever.
We then get a nine page concisely and clearly detailing the history of the Infinity Stones in the Marvel Universe. End of issue.
The Good: Infinity Countdown Prime #1 was a quality issue. Duggan delivers a tightly plotted and paced issue. Infinity Countdown Prime #1 does everything that a prelude issue should accomplish and it does so in an entertaining fashion. Duggan clearly explains the abilities of the Infinity Stones and their relationships to each other. Duggan then methodically introduces all of the location of the various Infinity Stones and the individual players wielding each of the Infinity Stones.
Duggan also has each possessor of the various Infinity Stones clearly set out their motivations for possessing the stone and their goal in trying to assemble the other Infinity Stones. This is important. Each of the wielders of the various Infinity Stones need to have their own unique motivation and goal in mind. This makes the reader more invested in the story and gives more depth to the conflicts between the various wielders of the Infinity Stones.
Infinity Countdown Prime #1 sets the proper mood and tone for the upcoming big event. Duggan also does a good job setting the stage and putting into place a setting on a grand scale that encompasses all of the corners of the cosmic Marvel Universe. An epic scope and feel to a big event is vital. So is a well developed setting. Duggan achieves that with this issue.
Duggan does an excellent job making Infinity Countdown Prime #1 extremely new reader friendly. This is huge. Big event stories should try and appeal to as wide of a cross-section of readers as possible.
Duggan wisely places a perfectly written nine page back up story that clearly and concisely tells the story of the Infinity Gems’ history in the Marvel Universe. Everything a reader needs to know about the Infinity Stones is right here in the pages of Infinity Countdown Prime #1. A reader with zero knowledge of the Infinity Stones can pick up Infinity Countdown Prime #1 and be fully informed and ready to enjoy Infinity Countdown. This is a brilliant job by Duggan.
Duggan turns in plenty of quality dialogue and nice character work. All of the characters had nicely defined external voices. Almost all of the characters felt well developed. The two characters that shine the most in this issue are Wolverine and Loki. These two characters received the best dialogue and the most character work. These two characters also generated more chemistry between each other than any of the other characters in this issue.
Infinity Countdown Prime #1 is also well plotted and paced. Duggan moves the story along in a methodical fashion with a clear purpose in mind. Duggan also shows off an impressive ability to juggle multiple plot lines and a large cast of characters with relative ease. This is something that many Marvel writers struggled with when trying to deliver a big event story.
Infinity Countdown Prime #1 is a dialogue heavy issue. There is not much action in the story. Duggan gives us five pages of action in Wolverine’s scene. We then get one page of action when Ultron Pym makes his dramatic appearance. Personally, the six pages of action that we get is sufficient for me. Infinity Countdown Prime #1’s main job is to establish the various plot lines and introduce all fo the various wielders of the Infinity Stones and to properly set the stage for the upcoming event.
Infinity Countdown Prime #1 is a prelude issue and preludes by their very nature are not usually action packed. The great thing about a proper prelude issue is that it gets much of the foundation installed for the big event so that once the big event begins Duggan can kick things off on a fast pace and get to the action and the meat of the story in quick fashion.
Let’s take a quick look at the wielders of each of the Infinity Stones. Duggan has done an excellent job selecting the various characters who possess the various Infinity Stones. Normally, god-like characters or cosmic characters have been used to wield the Infinity Gems in the past. Duggan shakes things up with a few surprising choices to wield the Infinity Stones in this story.
Wolverine has possession of the Space Stone. I dig this selection. The ability to manipulate space in order to teleport anywhere in the universe is an interesting pairing with Wolverine. I like that Duggan has Wolverine give a little shout out to his longtime best friend in Nightcrawler as Logan discovers how much fun teleporting can be.
Duggan gives Wolverine the proper and logical motivation to control the Infinity Stones: Helping mutantkind. The desire to use the Infinity Stones gives Wolverine a sympathetic and heroic reason to want to collect all fo the Infinity Stones. Often, characters want to control the Infinity Stones for nefarious or evil reasons. It is refreshing to see a character like Wolverine who has more noble desires.
Duggan continues this trend of a non god-like and non cosmic character wielding an Infinity Stone with the person who has the Mind Stone. The person who has the Mind Stone is none other than Turk Barrett. Turk is known for being a long-time supporting character on Daredevil. Turk is just a complete loser criminal who Daredevil uses as an informant. Turk is like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch.
Giving Turk the Mind Stone is a brilliant idea. This matches perfectly with a character that is well known for being a such a loser. Seeing Turk use the Mind Stone to radically turn around his luck and fortune is fantastic. Again, it is great to see such a low level street character like Turk wielding an Infinity Stone. Duggan choosing unlikely people to possess an Infinity Stone helps to spice up the story and make it seem different and unique to all of the previous stories involving characters racing to possess the Infinity Stones.
After unconventional choices with Wolverine and Turk, Duggan keeps it conventional for the remainder of the characters possessing an Infinity Stone. We see that Carol Danvers posses the Reality Stone. This is a pick that is far more predictable since Carol is a cosmic character.
Also, it does not surprise me at all that Marvel would give their Roman Reigns one of the Infinity Stones. Marvel is determined to make sure that Carol plays a central role in the Marvel Universe despite the fact that the character continues to be a miserable sales failure.
Carol is the only character that lacks any motivation to possess an Infinity Stone or any goal in mind on how she wants to use the Infinity Stone. And this makes sense since Carol’s inclusion into the story as one of the wielders of the Infinity Stones was probably editorially mandated rather than the product of an original idea by Duggan.
The best part of Carol’s scene was seeing Mar-Vell once again. I love Mar-Vell’s character and it is cool to see him in action even if it is an alternate universe. Of course, I also got a kick out of the Captain Marvel that we only partially see on the page. Drawing a character in the Shazam outfit is a playful nod to the never ending fight between Marvel and DC over the name Captain Marvel.
Duggan’s choice of the Super Skrull as the character to possess the Time Stone is also more conventional. Super Skrull is a classic cosmic character. Super Skrull’s inclusion in this story certainly makes sense. I dig Super Skrull’s motivation to gain control over the Infinity Stones in order to erase the same of the Skrull Empire. This is excellent motivation and an understandable goal for this character.
The surprise selection of Ultron Pym to possess the Soul Gem was quite interesting. I like this selection. Now, Ultron Pym makes me sad. Hank Pym is a fantastic character that has eternally gotten the short end of the stick ever since he was accidentally drawn hitting Janet Van Dyne. Marvel has unnecessarily dumped on Pym’s character ever since. Pym is a cool character who is an original Avenger. Pym has massive potential and deserves better than Marvel has given him ever since that artist screw up in 1983. Jim Shooter even explicitly said that Hank Pym got the shaft.
Ultron Pym is just the latest in indignities piled upon one of the original Avengers. So, since I am not a fan of Ultron Pym then why am I thrilled that Duggan chose him to wield the Soul Gem? Because of the short scene that followed Ultron Pym’s appearance. The scene involving the real Hank Pym inside of the Soul Gem.
Pym being trapped in the Soulworld gives me hope. It gives me hope that at the end of Infinity Countdown that we will see a rebirth of Hank Pym. Hopefully, this rebirth will allow Pym to be freed from the continuity that Marvel has unfairly saddled him with ever since 1983. It would be wonderful to finally see Hank Pym born again and free from all the garbage Marvel has stained his character with over the years. Pym is a great character and it would be nice to see him assume a more prominent and respected role within the Marvel Universe.
The only Infinity Stone that is still up for grabs in this issue is the Power Stone. Now, we know that Drax the Destroyer is going to possess the Power Stone during Infinity Countdown. Drax is another classic cosmic character who has a long history with the Infinity Stones. While this may not be a particularly surprising or unconventional choice I still think that Drax is a good selection.
Duggan definitely ends Infinity Countdown Prime #1 with a shocking hook ending with the unexpected death of Magus and then the reveal that normal Hank Pym is trapped in the Soul Gem. This is an excellent way to end this prelude with a bang and to give the readers the feeling that anything can happen during this story. The reader is certainly excited for the upcoming big event after the ending to this issue.
Mike Deodato’s artwork is excellent as always. I am a fan of Deodato’s art so I fully expect a quality looking issue anytime I see his name on the cover of a comic book. Now, is Deodato my first choice for a cosmic super hero tale? No, not really. Deodato’s artwork has a dark and heavy look with rough lines. I prefer cosmic Sci-Fi super hero stories to have brighter artwork with slick and clean lines. Still, Deodato is able to craft a dramatic looking issue. And there are several panels in Infinity Countdown Prime #1 that leap off the page at the reader.
The Bad: This is an incredibly small and pedantic nitpick. But, the Infinity Stones? They aren’t stones. They are gems. They have always been gems. I get it, for some pointless reason the Marvel Cinematic Universe refers to the Infinity Gems as Infinity Stones. It is change for the sake of change that lacks any reasoning or internal logic.
To make things worse, Marvel still refers to the Soul Gem as a gem. Even though the Soul Gem is considered an Infinity Stone. This just creates more unnecessary inconsistency. It is dumb. The Infinity Gems have been gems since they all appeared in 1977. Stop it, Marvel.
Overall: All in all, Infinity Countdown Prime #1 assembles all of the players, puts into place the various plot lines and sets the stage perfectly for Act I of the upcoming big event. Duggan crafts an excellent prelude to this upcoming big event. This issue is new reader friendly and introduces all the players and plot lines for the upcoming big event. Infinity Countdown Prime #1 effectively sets the stage for the upcoming big event so that Duggan can hit the ground running with the first issue of Infinity Countdown Prime.
I would recommend this issue to long-time and new readers alike. Duggan’s writing is strong and this issue will certainly get readers excited for Infinity Countdown.