After preludes and set ups, Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder have brought the Infinity Countdown event full force, with a no holds barred explosive first issue. With all of the Infinity Stones now into play, Duggan puts the Guardians straight into a conflict with a myriad of foes seeking the power infinite, and the result is a fantastic first issue into the series with great character interactions, fantastic action, and amazing art by Aaron Kuder.
While there are more characters than the Guardians of the Galaxy at play in this series, Infinity Countdown #1 does the smart thing and chooses to focus on only the Guardians with this issue, dealing with Drax and the repercussions of choosing to protect the power stone, as well as the rest of the Guardians on another planet, attempting to fight the cosmic elder known as the Gardener, and his evil versions of Groot that are sapping away the original Groot’s power.
While story and dialogue are an amazing component of this issue, one thing that I want to focus on is the art in this issue, which is at the forefront of Infinity Countdown #1. Aaron Kuder does an absolutely phenomenal job with the art, and it is brought all together perfectly by color artist Jordie Bellaire. The colors in this issue bring an old school style to the art, with a real water color feel to the pages. Each panel has some truly great detail put into it, and put together with Kuder’s intricate pencils all of this book has truly fantastic art and each page is an absolute joy to look at. After being absent from the Guardians book for the last of its issues before it’s cancellation, it’s so great to see Kuder back at it drawing the Guardians and all of their crazy cosmic adventures. Just for the beautiful artwork alone this issue is an absolute must buy.
While the Guardians versus the Gardener is the highlight of this issue, the B story involving Drax is a fantastic one man versus the world issue, demonstrating the power of Drax the Destroyer, even when he is holding back. With Drax being the only line of defense and the only thing standing between The Power Stone and a legion of Chiutari as well as the Talonar, Drax has a lot on his hands, and it is made very evident in this issue. Seeing Drax trying to handle this in the most pacifistic way possible made the situation humorous as well, without taking away the stakes and gravity of the situation.
Groot’s story arc that began in the first issue of Guardians is resolved at the end of Infinity Countdown #1 as well, with his small and feeble size finally resolved and his regeneration making a return, albeit in a way that was never seen before in the Guardians comics. Groot’s triumphant return to strength is amplified by the fantastic watercolors and art by Kuder, and as said before the art in these scenes and watching them play out is such a joy to watch.
Duggan’s inspired writing bleeds through this whole issue and is the cherry on top, moving the story forward and providing some truly great character dynamics throughout. Seeing the Guardians under immense pressure and their resources stretched thin really shows what our heroes are made of. Overall, Infinity Countdown #1 is an absolute great start to the event, after Infinity Countdown Prime and Infinity Countdown Adam Warlock, this issue absolutley delivers after all of the setup. One thing that can’t be forgotten is the quick trip back to earth in a closing sequence, showing the Infinity Stones are in a current game of hot potato, with different people in possession of the stones than previously thought. With those wielding the stones constantly changing, there’s no telling where this story from Duggan could go next, but I for one am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next. – Ernesto Valenzuela
Grade – 10/10