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Infinity Countdown #1: Review

Mar 2018
Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Infinity Countdown #1 Review by (May 27, 2018)
Mike Deodato was the artist for the opening flashback page with Frank Martin providing colours.

This issue is really a continuation of the Guardians of the Galaxy Legacy run which ended with #150. #151 was solicited but its cover was used for Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock and the proposed guest artist was Mike Allred for both. The blurb for #151 was all about Warlock as well suggesting that IC:AW *was* GotG#151. On that basis this issue was probably intended for GotG#152 with Deodato's opening and the Black Widow ending possibly added as an afterthought. THis issue's Aaron Kuder was the artist who shared #150 with previous regular Marcus To so he was probably scheduled to continue the title. (He'd previously handled some of All-New GotG.)





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Infinity Countdown #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue mainly continues the plotlines of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #150 plus an extra element from INFINITY COUNTDOWN PRIME.

But we start with a flashback to an unidentified new participant who has kidnapped a Dwarf metalsmith from Nidavellir (1 of the Asgardian 9 Realms) and ordered him to make some armour. The Dwarf says they'll kill him for making *that*.

Now we look in on the planetoid Xitaung where a troop of Nova Corps led by Eve Bakian are hiding the way-oversized Power Stone. But the Fraternity of Raptors have heard about it (GotG#150) and sent a fleet to take it from them.. And they're jamming comms so the Novas can't signal for backup. But they already have *some* backup. Drax has given up his Destroying ways and left the Guardians of the Galaxy in #150 to help defend this place.

He's sitting on top of the Stone when Raptor missiles blow him off it. Talonar leads 2 other flying Raptors in to steal it but they're shocked at the size of it. Talonar suggests they could cut it up and give pieces to all their troops - it would make them invincible. Eve Bakian orders them to leave, and Talonar gets a 2nd shock when he sees she's pregnant. She blasts him with Nova Force and Drax throws him out of the building. Then Drax plans to go out and use a Raptor communicator to transmit their request for help.

Our 3rd stop is the planet Telferina where huge clones of the Guardian Groot are running amok. The Guardians (including our sapling Groot) and Nova (Richard Ryder) are fighting them and looking for their controller the Elder of the Universe the Gardener. Star-Lord picks the strangest time to try to tell Gamora, who is searching for the Infinity Stones, that he's known for a while where the Power Stone is. But he's interrupted by the arrival of the guy they're looking for.

This subplot has been building all through the All-New GotG and the GotG Legacy issues. Gardener created this planet as a wonder of plant-life but then sentient animal life arrived and ruined it. Loki caused Gardener to go mad because he wouldn't tell the Asgardian where the Soul Stone was, and this madness caused Gardener to reclaim his planet. He turned Groot into splinters and took all but 1 of them to grow into the giant sentient trees. (Groot's pal Rocket Raccoon regrew Groot from the other splinter.)

Rocket now jetpacks towards Gardener with 1 of his trademark big guns, blasting his way through the odd tree. But the Elder plucks him out of the air and discards the gun. So Rocket stabs him in the cheek. But Gardener is unfazed and starts to strangle him.

Now back to Drax who has downed 2 Raptors and stolen 1 of them's wings. But they don't enable him to fly. The Raptor says they'll only work for *him* so Drax stamps on his head to shut him up and reconsiders his plan. Next thing we see is Drax in midair riding on the back of another Raptor and holding another 1 over his head. Their combined wingpower is enough to bring him crashing into the control room of a Raptor spaceship. He tries to use the ship's comms but finds *that* doesn't work for him either. A Raptor helpfully tells him that they upgraded their security to use DNA checks since the Guardians stole a Raptor ship (in GotG's Free Comic Book Day 2017 issue). So angry Drax throws the comms bank at him.

But then Drax hears a voice in his head. It's Quinon the female alien he rescued in GotG#148. Ultron had attacked her people but his infection had the side-effect of making them telepathic and thus able to resist him. She established a mental connection with Drax and can't ignore him when he gets angry. Now she listens to the situation and promises to alert the Nova Corps and the Guardians.

Talonar confronts Drax who warns him to retreat because help is on the way. The Raptor doesn't believe him until Drax points to some spaceships arriving overhead. But then they both realise these aren't Novas or Guardians. They're Chitauri led by Warbringer, who also learned about the Power Stone in GotG#150. The lead Leviathan living spaceship crunches the Raptor vessel in its jaws as Drax asks Quinon if she knows any Asgardians.

Meanwhile Raptors have captured all the Nova Corps on Xitaung and are about to execute them when a chunk of the destroyed vessel lands on the Raptors and Drax walks out of the wreckage. He tells the Novas that they only need to defend the place until help arrives. Eve Bakian blasts a trench and the Novas use it to shoot from.

The Guardians are still fighting the trees on Telferina, and Ant-Man (Scott Lang) continues to crack wise. They retreat to their ship (the stolen Raptor ship Milano) and call Nova HQ for help. But Scott Adsit tells them about Drax and the Power Stone (which gets confused Gamora angry). All the Nova Corps resources are being committed there - the Guardians are on their own.

The team now find themselves facing a particularly large tree that calls itself Scar. They dodge past it to get to Gardener and Rocket. Star-Lord throws little Groot at the Elder. And when he gets closer Groot throws even-littler Ant-Man who kicks him in the face (dislodging Rocket's knife). Groot grabs Rocket's gun and blasts Gardener's feet just as Star-Lord shoots him in the head. Gamora tries to cut the head off, saying it worked for Contemplator (though how she knows about this event which happened elsewhere in IC Prime I don't know). But it doesn't work so Nova rockets into him. And then Rocket shoots him.

That doesn't work either so Groot takes a direct hand. He jumps on Gardener's prone body and starts an "I am Groot" conversation. The Elder reluctantly agrees that Groot is 1 of his children and he's done him wrong. (After he stole Groot's splinters Groot was unable to grow beyond his sapling state.) Then Groot sends out tendrils which infiltrate Gardener's body and suck out Loki's poison, and the madness it caused. Groot is now poisoned but the sane Gardener works his magic and Groot is cured and becomes his huge proper self.

Gardener says he's restored him to his original form (as seen in Tales to Astonish #13) so Groot can also now converse properly and he invites his friends to join him in smiting the enemy trees. We leave him squaring up against Scar.

But what about the extra bit from IC Prime? It occurs in an epilogue with Black Widow (actually the clone with her memories revealed in the recent short Legacy run of Tales of Suspense) in Madripoor. She's still letting most of the world thinks she's dead (since Secret Empire) but she sees a sign for her to check a dead drop known only to Wolverine (who *she* thinks is dead) and Captain America (busy on his post-Secret Empire apology tour of the US). She finds a message from Wolverine asking her to look after the Space Stone (which he got hold of in the Marvel Legacy 1-shot).



Aaron Kuder
Aaron Kuder
Jordie Bellaire
Nick Bradshaw (Cover Penciler)
Nick Bradshaw (Cover Inker)
Morry Hollowell (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Jordan D. White. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Ant-Man
Ant-Man

(Scott Lang)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Drax
Drax

(Drax the Destroyer)
Star-Lord
Star-Lord

(Peter Quill)

Plus: Chitauri, Eve Bakian, Nova (Richard Rider), Nova Corps, Quinon, Scott Adsit, Talonar (Robbie Rider), Warbringer.

> Infinity Countdown: Book info and issue index

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