The countdown to Infinity Countdown -- yes, that makes sense -- officially begins in Gerry Duggan and Michael Allred's Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock #1. While serving its purpose as an introduction to Marvel's next cosmic event, Duggan and Allred's one-shot mainly excels as a nostalgic tribute to the history of Adam Warlock. Going back to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's intro of the character through Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet, the issue is a nicely explained and lavishly illustrated recap. Not only does the refresher provide a rich explanation of Warlock's history for new readers, but it also gives existing ones a fun and detailed look back at the character's past.
Duggan wastes no time bringing Warlock back for his story. The character is resurrected straight away on page one, and from there Duggan doesn't let up on the pace. Channeling his inner Starlin, the story spans the most cosmic reaches of Warlock's early days, touching on the entire catalog of Starlin's classic '70s era stories and beyond. Duggan's dialogue is that classic Starlin-esque dichotomy of cosmic-level higher conversation and more lighthearted quips. Starlin, long the master of such trademark banter in his stories, is done justice by Duggan – when told "I wish to reveal your place in the order of the universe," Warlock's reply of "You first" is probably the most Starlin-y thing he could say in response.
Similarly, Allred's Kirby influence is perfectly suited for his lush interpretations of these epic storylines. Nowhere is this more beautifully apparent than his representation of Warlock's -- then known as "Him" -- first appearance in the Kirby-drawn Fantastic Four #66 and #67. Allred is no less adept at giving Starlin's own past storylines some epic representation, though. While looser than Starlin's '70s era style, Allred's renderings capture the same kind of epic scope, as well as the opportunity to illustrate some characters that he's rarely, if ever, drawn before. His grandiose layouts also depict the far-reaching nature of these important fan-favorite classics. Laura Allred's vibrant colors also go a long way towards evoking the nostalgic wonderment of Starlin's iconic storylines.
The above comprises the first third of the issue and serves as its highlight. Duggan then serves up a dire foretelling of a possible future, one that's eerily conveyed by both artist and colorist, beginning to fulfill the issue's purpose of whetting readers' appetites for the upcoming series. By comparison, the remainder of the issue is a bit more pedestrian, but enjoyable enough. Having taken readers on a journey into the past, Duggan then does the same for Warlock himself, where some clues are sprinkled about as to the nature of Infinity Countdown. Not a lot really happens by this point, other than instilling some suspense as to how Adam Warlock will figure into the event once it truly unfolds.
Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock might not captivate for the intended reasons, but it remains a fun look at a character history that made for a lot of terrific and notable stories. Infinity Countdown: Prime, on sale Feb. 21, continues the prelude to the main event. Infinity Countdown #1 is scheduled for release on March 7.