It feels like the Marvel Universe only just finished putting itself back together again after Secret Wars and already Marvel Comics is teasing its destruction again.
The Infinity Countdown event kicked off last week with the Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock one-shot from writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Allred. The issue finds the powerful cosmic hero Adam Warlock resurrected once again and brought to the future by Kang the Conqueror.
For once, Kang appears to be trying to save reality instead of conquering it. The issue takes a look at Warlock's history. Warlock has served as the guardian of the Infinity Stones for much of his life. Now someone is again assembling those Stones, and the result could be the end of infinity.
Kang gives Warlock a glimpse of the future that could await, where all of Earth's heroes lie dead on a cracked world:
Kang tells Warlock that he must travel back in time and hunt down the Soul Stone for safekeeping. He must also find the Time Stone and deliver to Kang. Perhaps then they can prevent the destruction of everything. Warlock is able to surmise that this isn't the first time he and Kang have attempted to save reality. Kang reveals that this is, in fact, their 113th attempt.
Kang sends Warlock back just before whoever it is threatening reality arrives. Kang tells this person that they are too late. The person destroys Kang. The shot then pulls out to reveal drawing table, as if Kang was burned off of a page. The table is surrounded by artifacts from the Marvel Universe, including an Avengers's logo, a Celestial head, a Sentinel's head, Professor X's chair, Magneto's helmet and Xorn's helmet, and Wolverine's adamantium skeleton.
Meanwhile, Warlock ends up in ancient Egypt where pharaoh Rama Tut – Kang before he was Kang – entombs Warlock so that he can sleep undisturbed until 2018 when he must seek out the Infinity Stones.
The Soul Stone rests with Warlock's evil alter ego Magus. Future covers for Infinity Countdown have teased that the other stones are in the possession of Wolverine, Captain Marvel, Loki, Super Skrull, and Gamora.
Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock is on sale now. The story continues in Infinity Countdown Prime, releasing February 21st.