SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #150 by Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder, Marcus To, Ian Herring and Cory Petit, on sale now
Marvel Comics is counting down to a new Infinity, and at the heart of it is the man once known only as Him: Adam Warlock. In fact, Infinity Countdown begins with an Adam Warlock one-shot, but first he had to come back from the dead, which is exactly what happens in the final issue of Guardians of the Galaxy.
The enigmatic messiah figure and occasional ruler of the Soul World has been missing in action for some time, but luckily for him, resurrection is part of his whole deal. However, there’s a bit of a twist this time. An A-List Marvel villain is at the heart of Warlock’s return, one that changes the game for Infinity Countdown before it even gets started.
I’ve Got Soul, But I’m Not A Soldier
Much of this issue focuses on Adam Warlock and his steps to returning to life, which tie into a larger story from this run on Guardians of the Galaxy centering on the nature of the Soulworld. Gamora has been searching for the Soul Stone to reunite with an aspect of herself and become whole once again. Meanwhile, inside the Soulworld, we’ve seen glimpses of characters thought dead fighting their doppelgängers, including Adam Warlock and his evil-self the Magus. This issue features Warlock wandering the Soulworld looking for answers before deciding it's time to return to the land of the living. In between life cycles, Adam Warlock gestates in a cocoon; this time, when he emerges he finds none other than Kang The Conqueror waiting for him on the other side.
Kang’s involvement in the impending Infinity event is interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which his involvement in Warlock’s most recent death. Adam Warlock became The Magus after using all of his power to try and seal a rift in space. Kang recruited the Guardians of the Galaxy to go back in time and stop him, giving Star-Lord a Cosmic Cube to help him. Unfortunately, Kang’s plan failed and many Guardians fell in the battle. The Magus ushered in the arrival of The Revengers, eldritch-influenced heroes of another universe who worshiped the Lovecraftian “Many Angled Ones.” It was their Mar-Vell who killed The Magus, just to see what death looked like.
The addition of Kang shuffles the board of an already complex game being played throughout time and space; the hunt for the Infinity Stones. We know the location of four of the six stones so far: Wolverine has the Mind Stone, Captain Marvel is closing in on the Reality Stone in the mirror universe known as Earth-Zeta, the Cosmic Ghost Rider has a cracked fraction of the Time Stone in the far future of King Thanos and the Nova Corps has the Power Stone, which as of this issue is guarded by Drax The Pacifist who quit the Guardians of the Galaxy in order to dedicate himself to a more contemplative existence.
While Drax is content to watch over the Power Stone in solitude, what he doesn’t know is that the entire galaxy just learned of its location. We see the Skrulls, the Chitauri and the Ultron Empire learn exactly where it is and while Drax may expect a peaceful life he’s sitting at the eye of the storm.
This is the final issue of Guardians of the Galaxy (for now), but hopefully Duggan, Kuder and To get the chance to pick back up with the team after Infinity Countdown because this issue leaves a number of plot lines unresolved. The Nova Corps are still at war with the Raptors, and Richard Rider doesn’t yet know that his brother Robbie is one of their leaders, Talonar. The Gardener still has his army of Evil Groots rampaging across the galaxy and is keeping Groot Prime from growing to full size. During this series current run, every corner of the galaxy has been explored. There’s still so much room for more storytelling, it would be shame if that was lost in the pursuit of the Infinity Stones.
Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock #1, by Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder, goes on sale Feb. 7, 2018, from Marvel Comics.