WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Infinity Countdown #3 by Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder and Mike Hawthorne.
In Infinity Countdown, the battle for control of the Infinity Stone is heating up at an alarming rate. Out in the far reaches of space, the Guardians of the Galaxy are fighting the Raptors for possession of the Power Stone, and on the planet Saiph, a reborn Adam Warlock has just come face to face with Ultron, who has assimilated all life on the planet. Whatever inhabitants were on planet Saiph are now Ultron hybrids, and they answer to his every whim.
But the people of Saiph aren't the only ones Ultron has now converted to his side. Infinity Countdown #2 ended with the shocking revelation that the Avengers villain was in the process of turning the Silver Surfer to his side, with a bit of help from the Soul Stone. In issue #3 of the event series, Adam Warlock faces off against an evil Surfer, a character whose cosmic powers can easily match his own. Thankfully, Warlock lends his unwilling opponent the power of his regenerative cocoon -- the Silver Surfer is quickly healed from his Ultron infection but, instead of fighting the villain, he abruptly departs.
Where did he go? To find reinforcements, of course -- in the form of the former Devourer of Worlds, Galactus, now known as the Lifebringer.
For a very, very long time, Galactus was a cosmic villain for the whole of the Marvel Universe. As the Devourer of World, the purple-helmeted space giant consumed entire planets to satiate his hunger, a purpose that has pitted him against the biggest and bravest of heroes. However, Galactus recently became a hero in his own right in the pages of Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort's The Ultimates. In the series, Galactus was transformed into the Lifebringer, thanks to a celestial machine called the Incubator and a trans-dimensional element known as Neutronium. Now wearing an armor of gold, Galactus has a new purpose: To bring life to planets instead of death.
This has been Galactus' new role in the Marvel Universe for the past three years. Now, Galactus is no longer feared; he's a cosmic hero, and he has even formed a group known as the Eternity Watch, to help protect the living embodiment of Eternity. This all goes to demonstrate how much of a shock the final page of Infinity Countdown #3 really is.
The battle for the Infinity Stones has grown dire, and even the Silver Surfer recognizes that fact. Ultron has become too much of a threat to ignore, with an entire planet now under his control. Worse still, the malevolent robot has prepared countless rockets filled with Ultron bots to spread his rule throughout the galaxy. The Surfer has no choice but to call in the big guns, and ask his former master to do the impossible. With the fate of the entire universe at stake, Silver Surfer pleads with the Lifebringer to become that which he isn't anymore: a destroyer.
What will Galactus answer? Will he once again consume a world to annihilate the threat of Ultron, in order to allow life to persist? Whatever the answer is, we can't wait to find out -- but by the look on his face, he doesn't seem to happy about it.