Despite last year’s promise to take a break from big crossover events, Marvel Comics is launching another one next month. It’s all about Infinity Stones, and will apparently “extend out into the entire Marvel Universe.”
Infinity Countdown isn’t directly connected to Avengers: Infinity War, but Marvel probably hopes to drum up some interest from MCU fans. The franchise spent 10 years setting up a storyline about the universe-altering power of Infinity Stones, and the upcoming Avengers movie relies on people actually caring about them. Unfortunately, Marvel fans generally seem more invested in the fate of characters like Thor and Captain America, rather than focusing on sparkly but forgettable MacGuffins from previous movies. Infinity Stones just don’t hold the emotional weight of, say, the space jewelry in The Last Jedi.
Judging by the initial announcement, Infinity Countdown is actually the prologue to an even bigger crossover event this year. It’s a five-part miniseries, beginning with a squad of heroes (you guessed it!) competing with Thanos to collect the Infinity Stones and wield their power. It continues from the recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics, and Wolverine’s return in Marvel Legacy #1 last year.
THE INFINITY STONES ARE COMING! Get ready for Infinity Countdown Prime in February, and then Infinity Countdown #1 in March! pic.twitter.com/bl1zBLJuhz— Jordan D. White (@cracksh0t) December 13, 2017
If you detect a hint of weariness in our tone here, you’re not imagining things. Marvel is well aware of “event fatigue” among readers, which is why it hinted that last year’s controversial Secret Empire would be the last event for a while. Fans often complain that event storylines disrupt ongoing character arcs, or feel like an unwarranted attention-grabbing tactic.
Infinity Countdown promises to make an unmissable impact on the Marvel Universe, but so did Secret Empire, Civil War II, Inhumans vs X-Men, and numerous other crossovers in the past few years. It’s also not the only crossover event in the works for 2018.
All that being said, Infinity Countdown could turn out to be a masterpiece. Infinity Stones aren’t intrinsically boring, as proven by Secret Wars in 2015—which was, yes, a massive crossover event. It explored the Infinity Gauntlet’s political power as a unique weapon of mass destruction, leading to an apocalyptic conflict that actually did change the Marvel Universe forever. The problem is, Marvel Comics followed it up with more and more allegedly earth-shattering crossovers, and the whole situation is getting tiring. With a new editor-in-chief at the helm, it would be nice to see Marvel begin the new year with a fresh start, rather than doubling down on ideas that led many readers to lose interest last year.