WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Infinity Countdown #5 by Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder, Mike Hawthorne, José Marzan Jr., Jordie Bellaire and Cory Petit, in stores now.
Coinciding with last year's Legacy relaunch, the comic book publisher's six Infinity Stones received a Marvel Cinematic Universe inspired makeover. When the Stones (previously named Infinity Gems) began re-surfacing in the wake of the reality-altering Secret Wars, readers noticed that their color scheme was now in line with the MCU: the Time Stone was now green, the Space Stone was now blue, and so on.
Over the course of Infinity Countdown, we've seen many of Marvel's characters, cosmic and otherwise, fight for control of these Stones, as each found its way into the hands of a surprise hero or villain.
In her solo series, Captain Marvel found the Reality Stone in a seperate universe; the Super-Skrull found the Time Stone in the crust of the resurrected planet Sakaar; the Guardians of the Galaxy found a mountain-sized Power Stone on a small planet; low-level street criminal Turk Barrett came into possession of the Mind Stone after a confrontation between Skrulls and Monks in Hell's Kitchen; Ultron claimed the Soul Stone after killing Magus; and Wolverine mysteriously returned to life with the Space Stone in is hands.
The battle for the Infinity Stones intensified, with many characters fighting over control of them. As a result, some of them changed hands: Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, has come into possession of the green Time Stone, and he is one of the first to notice that the Stones have changed -- that they are not how they once were. For that reason, and in order to protect the gems from oncoming danger, he calls forth a meeting of the new Infinity Watch.
The original Infinity Watch appeared in 1992, a group of powerful characters assembled by Adam Warlock who entrusted Drax, Gamora, Moondragon and Pip the Troll with their own Infinity Gems. The purpose was to safeguard the Infinity Gauntlet, and make sure it never gets assembled again. The Watch disbanded three years later, once the Infinity Gems had been scattered once again in the Ultraverse -- but now desperate times call for desperate measures.
Doctor Strange recognizes the potential danger of the Stones resurfacing all at the same time, and he knows that there are imminent threats right around the corner, from Requiem to Thanos. To make sure the Stones don't fall into the wrong hands, and to unearth the mystery of their altered appearances, Doctor Strange uses his mystic power to reach out to each and every one of the current guardians of the gems. He calls for a meeting, set on Earth, that will assemble the new Infinity Watch: Captain Marvel, guardian of the Reality Stone; Star-Lord, guardian of the Power Stone; Turk Barrett, guardian of the Mind Stone; Adam Warlock, guardian of the Soul Stone; and finally Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, who found herself the guardian of the Time Stone when Wolverine dropped it in her lap.
The final issue of Infinity Countdown ends before the group can be physically brought together, which means that this new iteration of the Infinity Watch will be assembled at the beginning of Infinity Wars. This is an interesting pairing of characters, and it's bound to lead to some fascinating interactions when Requiem makes her play for the Stones next.