Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Mike Allred
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee

Much as I have enjoyed the efforts put forth by Gerry Duggan and a rotating crew of very talented artists that have accompanied him on this era of everyone’s favorite gallivanting space rogues, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the announcement of this “mini-event,” INFINITY, kind of took me for a loop. One, not so much knocking me for a “loop” but for a “of fucking course” was seeing this and like three other of these smaller scale events – like DAMNATION and the Avengers based NO SURRENDER – coming hot on the heels of Marvel swearing up and down that they would cut back on events after a year’s worth of Nazi Captain America in SECRET EMPIRE earned them all the deserved flak in the world. And two, because despite a lot of groundwork from a lot of GUARDIANS issues thanks to some bi-monthly shipping, I didn’t quite feel like we were at a point with the storyline to go big like this. There are definitely players and pieces in place, we’ve been dealing with the Grandmaster and The Collector since the get go and recently we’ve been ramping up Infinity stone appearances to get here, but that’s the problem. While for the like twenty-ish issues that this GUARDIANS run has existed there’s been a lot of hijinks and pulling off capers and pulling in aspects of the Marvel Cosmicverse like the Darkhawks and the Nova Corps and so on, this “event” still seems out of place except when you look at the broader picture and notice that it’ll be right in mid-swing as the aforementioned Infinity Stones will be front in center in definitely the biggest Marvel movie and possibly the biggest movie of all time period.

Obviously, this is nothing new. Marvel has been dead set on using movie and TV stuff as an excuse to shift storylines on a dime to match up and theoretically “cash in” I guess, though I don’t think there’s ever been much of a correlation between movie storylines and comic book sales (could be wrong, of course). It’s just a shame that sometimes when it happens it does so to runs like this are already so good and don’t need the “derailing.” I’m not going to insinuate that someone with as much clout at Marvel in recent years as Gerry Duggan got sideswiped by this – especially just a year out from AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – but if this was always the plan, well, it doesn’t feel quite like they got where they wanted to be by now.

Because the long and short of it is, with this issue being the first official INFINITY proper comic we have gotten, I’m not even exactly sure what the focus on besides the, of course, the Infinity stones themselves. Not that they aren’t a big, cataclysmic thing in their own right, but if all this effort between the factions I mentioned above is about to step aside for a generic scramble with some of the usual suspects sprinkled in – like Adam Warlock here – it just seems pretty frivolous. But, after reading this issue, I have a sinking feeling that is where we are headed.

Focusing on this issue itself, and not to get super doom and gloom with this review overall, it’s a solid crash course for Adam Warlock himself that happens to look fucking glorious under Mike Allred’s pen. As a Marvel Cosmic fan it aptly wraps up his importance and absurdity as a character in the galactic level day-to-day but it also just abruptly inserts him, his villainous doppelganger Magus, and time-hopping megalomaniac Kang, into the fracas that is to come. Just like that. After all those issues of GUARDIANS that have been building a of fun and interesting new character dynamics and putting some of the stones and more celestial level beings on the chessboard, just before this thing gets started we’re basically throwing half a dozen pawns away for a fistful of queens to totally cause havoc. Yes, it amps up the power level of this donnybrook for the stones rather quickly but its haphazardness makes me wonder just how much this was done for the sake of amping things up because Duggan and crew just weren’t quite getting their fast enough for the movie hype.

Lastly, this also makes me call into question the scope of this titanic battle in the making when you throw some of these INFINITY COUNTDOWN splash issues in the checklist for the vent into the mix. I get there being DARKHAWK books; hell, given how much that faction has been ramped up since the Abnett and Lanning era that put these Cosmic books and the Darkhawks back on the map, I downright demand that, but a Black Widow issue? Daredevil? Hell, even the Champions despite there being Nova Junior on the team. If I was confused before I’m official lost at sea with all of this action, and we’re legit a week away from this officially kicking off. My excitement for this event, much as I can even muster it for one of those things from this publisher these days, and kind of kicks the legs out from underneath it.

Admittedly, my anticipation for this particular INFINITY story stemmed completely from Gerry Duggan and art talent like Allred here and Aaron Kuder, who is doing the book proper, and there is nothing in their GUARDIANS run and this issue to blunt my enjoyment of what they are doing, but taken on the whole and looking at the broad picture of this story, I’m definitely wary. As it has come together to this point, I’m really starting to feel that almost a year’s worth of investment is going to be thrown on the “cash grab” fire. I’m hoping I’m wrong and I still believe in the talent but given that we are literally days away from this story going into full effect, I kind of feel we’re still at a red light revving engines instead of accelerating into potential glory.

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to AICN COMICS and now at MLMILLERWRITES.COM. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to – funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He’s a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn’t the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.