The stage is set for Infinity Countdown, the prelude to Marvel’s next big cosmic tale in this week’s Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock #1 from writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Allred. With the newly-returned Adam Warlock teaming up with an unlikely pair of villains and the whereabouts of another Infinity Stone revealed, Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock puts the pieces in place for the return of the Infinity Gauntlet.
Spoilers ahead for Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock.
Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock opens with Adam Warlock being summoned to an unspecified time by Kang the Conqueror.
With some convincing, Kang brings Warlock to another unspecified time, where (after a recap of Warlock’s history) he shows the newly-returned cosmic hero a vision of the future - which Kang calls "Infinity's End" - in which an unseen calamity has befallen the universe after the Infinity Stones were reunited, killing almost all of Earth’s heroes and effectively ending the universe.
("Infinity's End" sounds like an ideal name for a Marvel summer event to run alongside Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War, doesn't it?)
Warlock asks Kang to send him back to before the death of the heroes, with Kang revealing he’s already done that before – 113 times. This time, Kang tells Warlock, he’s got a new plan – he’ll send Warlock to retrieve the Soul Stone in exchange for Warlock giving him the Time Stone. Warlock reluctantly agrees as he explains that he hopes keeping the two gems apart will prevent disaster. He sends Warlock back in time to find the Soul Stone as the timestream comes apart around him.
Warlock arrives in ancient Egypt, where he meets Rama Tut, a pharaoh who is also an earlier version of Nathaniel Richards, the man who would eventually become Kang. Rama Tut shows Warlock where he can find the Soul Stone in the future – in the hands of Warlock’s “dark reflection” the Magus, who Warlock realizes has followed him back from death.
Rama Tut then seals Warlock in a tomb where he’ll awaken thousands of years in the future with a chance to claim the Soul Stone. Rama Tut then poisons his guards, saying no one can know of the plot.
The story continues in Infinity Countdown Prime #1 on February 21, then Infinity Countdown #1 (of 5) on March 7 - which editor Jordan White said is building to another, "even biger" story.