This week's Infinity Countdown Prime from writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Deodato Jr. sets the stage for the impending cosmic crossover by revealing the locations of each of the Infinity Stones - and by bringing back a surprise villain.
Spoilers ahead for Infinity Countdown Prime.
Infinity Countdown Prime kicks off with a scene of the newly-returned Wolverine fending off a patrol of Ultron drones who have come to seize his Space Stone. As Wolverine dispatches the drones using his newfound teleportation abilities, Loki arrives.
Loki demands Wolverine hand over the Space Stone, but Wolverine has other plans – he wants to use it to aid mutantkind. Loki warns of impending calamity that will befall the mutants if Wolverine doesn’t give him that stone, but Wolverine won’t relent and keeps the Space Stone for himself, vowing to take down anyone who comes for it.
Elsewhere, as an unseen narrator runs down the location of the other Infinity Stones, a man named Mr. Turk is seen entering an underground gambling facility with the Mind Stone mounted on his cane. His identity isn’t clear - there is a lesser known Daredevil character named Turk Barrett, a low level street criminal, but it’s not made clear that this is him. He appears to be using the Mind Stone to gamble.
Jumping to the Reality Stone, Carol Danvers is shown holding the one from the mainstream Marvel Universe, while her counterparts in other realities - Monica Rambeau, Mar-Vell, a hint of a figure resembling DC’s Captain Marvel/Shazam - have also found the Reality Stones of their worlds.
The Power Stone, meanwhile, has been discovered by the Nova Corps. It is the size of an asteroid and has its own gravity. The Fraternity of Raptors and Chitauri are racing to claim it from the Novas – one of whom sits among the Guardians of the Galaxy as they argue over whether to go find the Soul Stone which has a piece of Gamora’s soul stuck inside.
As for the Time Stone, according to the narrator, it is causing fluctuations in time, such as the reappearance of Sakaar. On the surface of the former “Planet Hulk,” a stony hand bursts from the earth holding the Time Stone – it’s Kl’rt, the Super Skrull, who makes a vow to use the power of the Time Stone to undo the fall of the Skrull empire.
Back on Earth, Adam Warlock emerges from the tomb into which he was placed by Rama-Tut thousands of years prior, and sets off to find the Soul Stone – which is in the hands of his dark reflection, the Magus.
The Magus has captured the severed head of one of the Elders of the Universe, the Contemplator, who is identified as the book’s narrator. He helped Magus find the Soul Stone after Magus beheaded him, and the two are hanging out on Ego the Living Planet. But Contemplator has secretly betrayed his captor, a fact which he confesses to Magus.
Brushing off Contemplator’s words, Magus pontificates about beating Warlock once and for all. But just then, he’s attacked from behind – by Ultron/Hank Pym, who rips him apart, vowing to do the same to Warlock.
Before Ultron/Pym can take the Soul Stone, the Contemplator warns him not to take it. When Ultron takes it anyway, he collapses. The Contemplator tells Ultron “All may not be lost for you,” clarifying he’s speaking to Pym before engaging a vow of silence he promises will “last for eons.”
As Ultron finally seizes the Soul Stone, we see Hank Pym’s soul trapped inside, greeted by the fragment of Gamora’s soul that resides there.
The story continues in Infinity Countdown #1, due out on shelves March 7.