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Infinity Countdown is a 2018 Marvel Comics event spinning out of Gerry Duggan's Guardians of the Galaxy run, and is the cumulation of various plots that were planted as early as his Nova and Deadpool runs from 2012.

Several years ago, the Infinity Gems were destroyed, in an attempt to save the Earth from destruction. Over the last few months, the newly reconstituted Infinity Stones have been reappearing across the universe, often in less-than-savory hands seeking to use the Stones and their power for their own aims. But there is more. Something else is coming. Something worse... The universe is counting down to the end, but what is the cause?

Infinity Countdown leads immediately in to Infinity Wars in July 2018.

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Comics involved include:

Prelude:

  • Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock

Main story:

  • Infinity Countdown Prime
  • Infinity Countdown

Tie-ins

  • Infinity Countdown: Black Widow (one-shot)
  • Infinity Countdown: Captain Marvel (one-shot)
  • Infinity Countdown: Champions (mini-series)
  • Infinity Countdown: Daredevil (one-shot)
  • Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk (mini-series)

Tropes involved include:

  • Alternate Universe: Where Captain Marvel found the Reality Stone. Apparently the Reality Stones of various parallel universes were displaced from their home dimensions, and are being recovered from there by anyone named Captain Marvel. In her solo she can use her stone to communicate with parallel Marvels who've collected theirs.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Hank Pym, still stuck inside Ultron. Then Ultron touches the Soul Stone, and part of Hank gets dragged in there.
    • Advertisement:
    • Speaking of Ultron, Ultron uses his virus and the Soul Stone to assimilate the Silver Surfer into an Ultron Hybrid. For about five minutes.
  • Art Shift: The cold opens of the main series are drawn by Mike Deodato.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Wolverine, mysteriously resurrected and in possession of the Space Stone.
    • Adam Warlock comes back to life just in time for the event to begin.
  • Back for the Dead:
    • Adam Magus makes his first 616 appearance since Annihilators and is swiftly killed by Ultron in the prologue
    • Hank Pym's soul is finally separated from Ultron's control thanks to the Soul Gem. Unfortunately, his soul is devoured by a Soul-Eater in the Soul World making.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Adam Warlock's tie-in and the prologue set up the Magus as the Big Bad. He's killed by Ultron before the first issue of the main book.
    • The "Who holds the stones?" cover for the Prologue shows the Thing's hand holding one of the stones. In the same issue, a rocky hand reaches for said stone. Turns out it's actually Kl'rt's hand rather than Ben Grimm's.
      • And then that becomes a B&S itself, since the next time the Time Stone appears in the main story, Doctor Strange has already taken it from him.
    • Issue 5 begins with Hank Pym's soul fragment seemingly finding a way to escape from Soul World. Near the end of the issue, the Avengers seemingly create a dimensional doorway to allow Pym to escape back to earth, where he is greeted with welcomes from his friends, and a loving embrace from Janet Van Dyne. Only for the next page to reveal that all of this was part of his imagination, as he gets eaten by a Soul-Eater. The last lines from Old Woman Gamora says it all.
      Old Woman Gamora: You wanted out of here, Pym. You got what you wanted.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: In space, it's a toss up between:
    • Ultron, who's trying to turn everyone into Ultrons.
    • Thanos, who's on a rampage.
    • Warbringer, who wants to kill Thanos.
    • The Fraternity of Raptors the Guardians have been dealing with.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • The Magus looks like he's one of the major threats after the Stones, until he is killed by the Ultron/Hank Pym Hybrid.
    • The Fraternity of Raptors the Guardians fight. They're not the real Raptors, who are understandably pissed at the copycats and start murdering them all.
  • Bittersweet Ending: For Darkhawk's tie-in. Chris regains full control over his armor, takes back his gem, and defeats the Dark Starhawk. However, Robbie Rider seemingly dies in the process and Nova effectively ends their longtime friendship as a result, warning him that if Chris ever leaves Earth again, he'll rip out his Raptor crystal and lock him in the darkest cell the Nova Corps has.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Restored Groot.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: By the end of the event, Star-Lord decides the Guardians are no more, since Drax has quit and Gamora has taken off on her own.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Sam Alexander at the end of the Champions tie-in, has his Nova helmet confiscated by Commander Scott Adsit.
  • Butt-Monkey: Scott Lang, just for a change. Everyone rags on him, with Cosmo (who, being a dog, is normally friendly to everyone who isn't Rocket) calling him the "worst Avenger", and when he apparently dies, the other Guardians barely acknowledge it.
  • Call-Back: During the Daredevil one-shot, Matt recalls the time Turk stabbed him while dressed as Santa Claus. Turk also remembers the incident on "overhearing" this, but barely remembers stabbing some guy, and had just assumed he'd died.
  • The Cameo:
    • Kang's glimpse of the future has several, including Phyla-Vell who has been suffering from a bad case of dead since 2010 (Turns out she's not 616's Phylla).
    • When showing the many alternate universe Captain Marvels finding their universe's Reality Stones, the panel on the far right side shows a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo from Billy Batson, the DC comics Captain Marvel (since renamed Shazam).
  • Cancelled: Both Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel were ended for this event.
  • Canon Immigrant: Nova Centurion Eve Bakian from Secret Wars: The Infinity Guantlet, is introduced into the prime Marvel Universe.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The fact that the Planet Sakaar has been recreated after its pretty comprehensive destruction is given as proof of the Time Stone's work.
    • When Groot is restored to his original form (vocabulary and all), Ant Man is confused by how chatty Groot is and asks Gamora if she's ever seen him like this, to which she replies no. Gamora was the only one present, besides Scott and Nova, who joined the team after Groot's switch to Pokémon Speak. Star-Lord even comments on this when Nova questions it.
    • Black Widow determines that Wolverine is alive again because only he and Captain America (who was busy on his "apology tour" at the time) knew about that particular hiding spot and dead drop from an earlier adventure between the three, referencing their team-up in Uncanny X-Men 268.
    • Talonar reveals his identity as Robert Rider to Nova by removing his glove and revealing that he's still missing half of his left pinky finger.
  • The Corruption: Turns out the Gardener's madness is because of this, caused by Loki.
  • Evil Counterpart: The event further explores the parallels between Adam Warlock and Ultron which were first brought up in Annihilation: Conquest. Ultron even taunts Adam with their similarities, noting how both were artificial creations of humans who would quickly surpass their creators and even oppose them.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy:
    • When the new Fraternity of Raptors break down the barrier to Null Space hoping to access the original Fraternity's android bodies and armor, the old Fraternity is awakened and enter the main universe through the rip in space. The new Raptors are immediately slaughtered as a mockery to their legacy.
    Talonar: We came here ready to sacrifice ourselves for the great purpose.
    Gyre: I accept your sacrifice.
    • Gyre himself ends up on the receiving end of this. After summoning the Dark Starhawk and planning to control him to bring a twisted brand of order to the galaxy through extermination, the Starhawk's cosmic awareness eventually develops enough for the godling to recognize that Gyre is too sadistic to serve as a bringer of order and kills him on the spot.
  • Evil Is Petty: Turk Barret, having somehow managed to get his mitts on the Mind Stone, uses it mainly to hustle card dealers and get rich.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Turk Barret plans to use the Mind Stone to fill in the void left by Wilson Fisk in the criminal underground after Fisk became mayor.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Warbringer wants the Stones to get rid of Thanos, among other things.
  • Exact Words:
    • Kang tells Adam his "dark counterpart" is waiting for him. It's only when he gets to where he's going that Adam realises he means Ultron, not the Magus.
    • Star-Lord, when Gamora accuses him of having known about the location of an Infinity Stone, claims she was only looking for the Soul Gem, while he only knows about the Power Gem.
  • Eye Scream: Loki tries to convince Logan to part with the Space Stone, and loses an eye for it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In a pretty literal sense. When Kang shows Adam a glimpse of whatever it is that's coming, all we see is a looming shadow... which is someone with an abnormally large, round head, and a high collar. Almost like a Watcher...
    • In the literary sense, when alt!Phyla and Moondragon show up, they mention a mysterious "Requiem" they're apparently fighting. That becomes important soon.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • The various realities Carol sees using the Reality Stone, including one where Tony Stark put her into a coma, instead of the other way around, at the end of Civil War II, or where Monica Rambeau was involved in House of M.
    • Peter Quill runs into an alternate universe's Phyla-Vell who has a vastly different look from regular Phyla. And is evil. And is still alive.
  • Full Set Bonus: The Infinity Stones have always been this, but the prologue narration here elaborates that mastering use of one of them feeds into mastering the one that follows in a positive feedback circuit illustrated as an infinity sign.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Several parties want the Stones for their own ends, including (but not limited to) Thanos, the Fraternity of Raptors, the Magus, Ultron, and Super-Skull.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Whoever it is that abducted the dwarf smith and forces them to craft a helm for them remains off-screen.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Raptors require two, one willing and one not, for the summoning of the Starhawk. Chris Powell barely manages to survive being the unwilling one.
  • It's Personal: Warbringer has a personal vendetta against the Nova Corp for being humiliated by Sam Alexander twice in the past. Of course when he tries to take this out on Richard Rider, he's mostly ignored by Richard, who is more focused on Talonar of the Fraternity of Raptors, both of whom have VERY personal issues with the other.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Loki confronts Logan in Countdown Prime, and tells him that using the Stones even for benevolent purposes can be extremely bad. Logan admits that while he doesn't trust Loki for even a second, he is actually telling the truth. Which is why he hands the Space Stone over to Black Widow.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: When Carol Danvers finds the Power Stone, she sees various alternate reality Captain Marvels discovering their Reality Stones at the same time, including Billy Batson, DC Comics' former Captain Marvel.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Hank Pym is placed in one by a monster in Soul World shortly before said monster eats his soul.
  • Mythology Gag: Among the many alternate Captain Marvels Carol sees in her one-shot is her MCU counterpart (specifically, in the green and black outfit she's been seen sporting in promo images).
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Dark Starhawk's physical form is powered by the souls of Chris Powell and Robbie Rider, as well as the later's body. Darkhawk is able to stop it by pulling his crystal out of the creature, removing his soul from the mix and shattering its physical form.
  • Sadistic Choice: Galactus and the Silver Surfer are faced with a rather cruel one in issue 4. Either destroy the dead planet which was fully assimilated by Ultron before he could launch his assimilation virus on a universal scale, but in turn forcing Galactus to lose his status as the Lifebringer and once again become a slave of the hunger, or leave it alone and remain free, dooming all life to Ultron's assimilation plot. He picks the former only on the grounds that Norrin once again takes up the mantle of his herald.
  • Save the Villain: The Champions rush to defend Chitauri soldiers who serve under Thanos from being slaughtered by Warbringer.
  • The Slow Path: In order to get Adam back to 2018, without attracting any attention, Rama-Tut stabs him in the back, then has his regenerative process slowed so that Adam may awake on time.
  • Status Quo Is God: Not only do circumstances force Galactus back into the Devourer role, but also Norrin becomes his herald again.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: A Raptor tries to invoke this on Nova Commander Eve Bakian upon seeing her...condition.
  • Summon Bigger Fish:
    • After being freed from Ultron, the Silver Surfer goes to recruit someone who can help fight him: Galactus.
    • The Fraternity of Raptors end up summoning the Starhawk. A cosmic entity who Gyre describes as the predator of the Phoenix.
  • That Man Is Dead: Talonar feels this way about his past life as Robert Rider. Though once the entirety of the New Raptors are slaughtered and he realizes that the greater purpose they promised was all a sham, he declares Talonar dead as well while the original Fraternity ponder giving him a new Meaningful Rename. They eventually redub him Starhawk.
  • Third-Person Person: Restored Groot
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Gamora becomes increasingly angry and driven in her quest to gather the Stones, eventually splitting off from the Guardians and attacking Adam for working with Kang.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The main series largely follows the Guardians dealing with the Gardener while Drax fight the Raptors, Adam fighting Ultron, and a mysterious third party who's up to something vague but sinister elsewhere.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Nova Corp commander Adsit thanks the Champions for capturing Warbringer by depowering Sam Alexander on the grounds that the new Corp didn't authorize him to wield the Nova Force, despite predating the new Corp and having the blessing of the Nova Prime.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Kang warns a newly-reborn Adam of a threat coming, that will kill every hero in its path, but we don't get to see it, only a shadow. Kang explains that this is all he can show Adam.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Wolverine is shown discovering the Space Stone, being practically omnipresent witnessing events in the "after-credits" pages of various entirely unrelated issues, before ultimately passing off the stone to Natasha.
  • The Worf Effect: The Magus, a reality-warping villain previously shown to be nigh-unstoppable unless faced by some of the bigger names of Marvel's cosmic stuff, is done in by... Ultron sucker-punching him.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Kang tried fighting whatever is responsible for the Bad Future, no less than one hundred and thirteen times. After that, he decided something new was needed.
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