Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Aaron Kuder, Jordie Bellaire, Cory Petit, Mike Deodato, Jr., Frank Martin
Edited by Annalise Bissa, Jordan D. White
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 7, 2018

What is it exactly that Infinity Countdown #1 is counting down to? We don’t get the answer in this issue, but with four more issues remaining in the main title and nine or so tie-in issues (that we know of) remaining I think we’ll get an answer at some point.

In the meantime, Infinity Countdown #1 presents the cast of characters set to help us all count down as the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Nova Corps, and a couple surprises pop up in this Gerry Duggan-written adventure.

Drawn by Aaron Kuder, Infinity Countdown #1 reads like an issue of Duggan’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a good thing, considering it carries on a few plots from that series. In effect, this could be Guardians of the Galaxy #151, but with a few more characters in it, including a very surprising epilogue scene that builds on previous events and weaves in the tale of the Space gem-toting Wolverine. These extra bits take the story beyond simply being a Guardians yarn, but only barely.

Kuder doesn’t draw my favorite interpretation of Rocket (he looks more like a cartoon coyote than a raccoon), but he does draw a lot of other things that are awesome enough to make up for it. I’m especially pleased with what he does for Groot in Infinity Countdown #1. His storytelling, regardless of character, is crisp and clean, and his lines give his colorist plenty of space to work into and through. My only other gripe is Kuder does leave a couple panels slightly more open than it seems they should be, especially since the page and the layout of the panels works around the characters so well (see the page with Groot bringing the fight to the Gardener).

As has been the case with the Guardians, Duggan writes Guardians I like to read. They don’t get a lot of personal growth in Infinity Countdown #1, but they do have some playful exchanges that describe their personalities nicely. Cory Petit’s letters make sure of that. On occasion (which is super-rare, especially for Petit), some of the word balloons seemed stitched together a bit too quickly, like the Talonar’s switch from removing the Power stone to his other idea, one dash hardly seems enough for such a dynamic change in strategy. But it stays cohesive and doesn’t obscure too much of Kuder’s art, so in this case Petit wins the balancing act again.

Kuder gains a fantastic visual ally with Jordie Bellaire packing her color palette for a trip into outer space. The Power stone virtually radiates warmth, given how Bellaire applies the glow and interprets the pink gem’s power. Throughout the issue Bellaire nails every coloring opportunity, from the soft, hazy, orange-tinted skies of Telfernia to aforementioned Power stone to the cyan Kirby Krackle of the Chitauri’s assault. There are flames, jet boosters, leaves, and explosions aplenty in the thirty-three-page issue, which is simply a breathtaking offering worth the price of admission.

Infinity Countdown #1 provides a bit of resolution for some of the plots from Duggan’s Guardians series, but more importantly, it begins to bring the stories of the stones together.

This is a decent enough way to kick off an event, but it is going to be a bit more well received by fans of Duggan’s (and Kuder’s) work on The All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, for completion’s sake, if nothing else. With such a tight focus, it does feel less like an event, but the prologue and epilogue expand the concept just enough to offer a glimpse of potential beyond the Guardians. And there a few more stones still out there somewhere. . .

The Verdict: 8.0/10


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