MARVEL's Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two



By Brandon T. Snider

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Space. Reality. Soul.

A deadly threat emerged from the cosmos-and it was fulfilled. In the wake of Thanos’s horrifying success, the people of Earth are left reeling in despair and confusion. Without any logical explanation for the blip-out event, those remaining must pick up the pieces.

Doctor Erik Selvig and his associate Darcy Lewis are determined to find and understand the cause of the devastation. With a team of friends both old and new, they embark on a pursuit of knowledge, eager to discover the links between their own pasts and the stones that decimated half of humanity–the Infinity Stones. Little do they know that a new foe who threatens to destroy them all is looming…


Millions of people across the globe faded from existence without a trace. Their bodies turned to ash and scattered into the wind. There was no warning, no preparation, and no explanation. The world was left without answers. As humanity struggled to make sense of its new normal, a passionate scientist named Erik Selvig believed the event pointed to something much bigger. He slowly began assembling the puzzle pieces to determine what.

Once the head of Theoretical Astrophysics at Culver University, Selvig had been an admired figure in the scientific community for decades. His life’s work suddenly changed the day Thor Odinson appeared on Earth. This fantastic encounter forced Selvig to reconsider everything he thought he knew about the nature of the universe. Earth was now one small part of a grand cosmic tapestry. Selvig’s resources expanded, his ideas became bolder, and his work fulfilled him more than ever. Sadly, it wouldn’t last. Thor’s brother, Loki, used a powerful Scepter to control Selvig’s mind and abuse his intellect for evil purposes. Innocent lives were lost, and Selvig was left devastated and confused. The experience had shattered him. The healing process was difficult and time-consuming. Slowly but surely, his mental prowess returned. But with Earth’s population decimated, Selvig struggled to maintain his sanity in a world without answers.

“Erik, are you in there? And if so can you just… open up… please?”

Darcy Lewis had been knocking on the door of Room 212 at the Seafarer Motor Inn for the past fifteen minutes. Much to her frustration, Selvig wasn’t answering. She wasn’t 100 percent positive he was even inside, but it was where he’d said he’d be. Selvig called her in the middle of the night, demanding she join him on an unspecified quest. Normally, she’d tell him to relax, that they’d talk about it in the morning. By then he would’ve moved on to some other pressing scientific matter. This time was different. He didn’t sound like himself. His words were garbled. His voice trembled. It seemed as if he’d reached a breaking point. Being the dutiful companion that she was, Darcy got in her car and drove. That kind of dedication wasn’t in her official job description, but, then again, that description had changed quite a bit from the day she was first hired. The trip to New Mexico had been long and boring. Her radio didn’t work, leaving Darcy with only her thoughts to keep her company. She feared the worst and hoped for the best. It took her all night, but she’d finally made it. There was no way she was leaving without answers.

Open the door, dude. I’m seriously dying out here!”


“I’m going to give you one minute to open this door, Erik. I don’t know what exactly I’m going to do if you don’t open this door, but I’m going to do something, and, trust me, you’re not going to like it.”

Darcy wiped the sweat from her brow and tried a different tactic.

“What if I told you I’ve got gummy worms, hmm? Would you open the door then?” Her voice took on a playful, singsongy tone. “They’re organic.”

Darcy had never wanted to be an astrophysicist. She hadn’t even wanted to be a scientist. Not that she was, either. At best, Darcy was Erik Selvig’s assistant. At worst? She didn’t think about it. Her job began as a goof. Years earlier, she’d applied as a long shot to a summer internship. The next thing she knew, she was working for Selvig and Doctor Jane Foster, learning how to make a good cup of coffee and dodge entities from other dimensions. Suddenly, her political science classes didn’t seem as interesting. At first, she was insecure about her role. She didn’t have the scientific background, but she was smart and quick on her feet. That’s all that mattered to Selvig. The job took her all over the world, but the long hours kept her from family and friends. Birthday party? Darcy had to work. Vacation? Darcy had to work. Though she never showed it, she started enjoying the job less and less. Selvig’s erratic behavior put a strain on things. She did her best to support him, but he’d become difficult to deal with. Darcy wondered if it was time to move on.

“Ugh. Whatever, dude. I give up.” As she turned to walk away, Darcy heard a faint rustling inside the motel room. She rushed over to check. “Listen, Erik, it’s time to get serious. I want you to listen very carefully, okay? When you open that door, I swear to God, Odin, and whoever else is up there—you’d better have clothes on. I’m talking one hundred percent covered. Not a hint of anything. A girl’s gotta put her foot down. Run around in your undies as much as you want on your own time, but I’m here now. There will be zero nakedness. Put on some pants and open up! It’s hot as you-know-what out here.” She cupped her hands around her ear and tried to hear through the door. Despite the tease of progress, she was met with nothing but silence. “I bet Pepper Potts never has to deal with stuff like this.”

Darcy strolled over to the rusty metal railing that overlooked the motel grounds. The place was teeming with curious characters. Poolside, a woman clipped her toenails and flicked them into the water while her husband lathered himself in cheap tanning oil. A mangy dog, possibly blind, wandered, while bumping into things and barking angrily at nothing in particular. Two twin boys, covered in dirt, played peekaboo in a mud puddle near the edge of the parking lot. Their mother and father argued over who’d clean them up. The motel’s owner, Ken, did one-armed push-ups in the middle of the courtyard, looking around in between reps to see if anyone was watching. Darcy noticed a boy lingering near her in the open-air hallway, inching closer and closer. He seemed to be around twelve years old, dressed in a gray polo shirt and jeans, with a head full of tight black cornrows. She saw that he was smiling, but she couldn’t figure out why. “Can I help you with something?” she asked.

“Doctor Selvig is probably sleeping,” he said. “He stays up all night, sleeps all day. It’s his routine. He thinks he’s not predictable, but he totally is. I know his patterns.”

“Thanks for the heads-up,” Darcy replied.

“Do you believe in supernatural forces?” the boy asked. “Only an idiot wouldn’t believe in supernatural forces.” He looked her up and down. “Not that you’re an idiot.”

Darcy was thrown for a loop. She remained silent, hoping the kid would take the hint and walk away. No such luck.

“There are all these unexplained phenomena on our planet. Stuff we don’t understand and will never understand. But there has to be a scientific explanation for everything. That’s just how the universe works,” he explained. “You agree, right?”

“Who are you, dude?” asked Darcy.

“Sorry. I’m Felix,” he said, extending his hand for a shake. “You’re Darcy Lewis. Doctor Selvig’s assistant, right?”

Darcy shook Felix’s hand. “I’m his associate, not his assistant, and this is a no-tween zone. That means no tweens within this zone,” she said, swirling her fingers in a circle.

“Has he told you his theory yet?” Felix asked. “Doctor Selvig knows the truth behind what happened. Or at least he thinks he does. I don’t know. He won’t tell me. I hear him talking to himself about it at night, but that doesn’t count.”

“You seem nice, kid,” Darcy said. “But I’m dealing with a situation here.”

“My parents are immigrants. From Ethiopia,” Felix said awkwardly. “They moved here about twenty years ago, and I was born about eight years after that. They were scientists like Doctor Selvig. Biologists, actually.”

“Cool,” Darcy said. Her patience was wearing thin. She looked in the other direction, hoping Felix would take the hint and leave her be.

“They’re, um, gone,” Felix said softly. “Because of, you know… I’m on my own now.” He shifted his eyes and shuffled his feet. “The therapist at my old school said that since I’m a prodigy, it’s hard for me to communicate because I’m so smart. I have trouble relating to people because my mind goes, like, a million miles per hour. That’s why Doctor Selvig and I get along so well, I guess.”

“Erik’s mind definitely goes a million miles per hour,” Darcy said. “I’m really sorry to hear about your parents. Tough stuff, little man.”

“Yeah.” Felix looked out across the motel courtyard. Tears welled in his eyes. He wiped them away before they fell. “Sorry if it’s weird that I brought them up like that. I can’t help it. I miss ’em. The more I tell people about who they were and where they came from, the more it keeps their spirits alive. You know what I mean? Besides, the first law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of conservation of energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; only transferred or changed from one form to another. That means my parents, and everyone else we lost that day, are out there somewhere, just in a different form.”

“That’s a nice way of looking at things,” Darcy said, smiling warmly.

Felix leaned closer to Darcy. “You wanna hear something freaky?” he asked. “Some of the relatives of the people who vanished at the Seafarer show up every single day just to see if their folks are back. The manager always calls the cops on them. He’s a jerk like that.” Felix stared at Darcy, unblinking. “You’re way more basic-looking than I thought you’d be.”

Darcy’s expression turned sour.

“No shade. Most women your age are pretty basic overall. At least in my experience.”

“In. Your. Experience?” she fumed.


A panic-stricken Erik Selvig swung open the door to his motel room. “Darcy!” he shouted. “What are you doing here?!” He craned his head down the hallway in both directions, checking to make sure she hadn’t been followed. Selvig’s gray hair was a wild mess. There was a fresh trail of drool that went from the corner of his mouth all the way down to his neck. He’d wrapped himself in bedding, covering his body in a cocoon-like toga.

“Don’t you look together?” Darcy said, her eyes wide with sarcasm. “You called me last night, Erik. At three AM. You were going on about something I didn’t understand, then the phone cut out. I tried calling you back, but it went straight to voice mail. I got in my car and drove here because I’m faithful to the cause. I’m also worried.”

Selvig stared at her blankly.

“Do you remember any of this?”

Selvig remained silent.

“Hey, Doc,” Felix said with a wave. “How’s it going?”

“Felix,” Selvig said with a kind nod. “My associate and I are conducting some very important business at the moment. Run along now.”

Down in the courtyard, Ken, the manager, had just finished his exercise routine and was looking for a confrontation. “Felix!” he yelled. “Get down here and scrub these toilets! You wanna keep stayin’ here, you gotta work. I ain’t gon’ tell you again.”

Felix bolted. “Nice meeting you, Darcy. Talk to you later, Doctor Selvig!” he shouted, racing down the stairs to complete his task.

“What’s his deal?” Darcy asked.

“Ken is a tyrant,” Selvig groused. “Always in my business. I caught him cleaning my room the other day without my permission. And the rent? Highway robbery.”

“I meant Felix.”

“Oh. He’s a very bright young man who has taken a shine to me,” Selvig said. “He’s in need of mentorship. Something I’m not in a place to provide at the moment.”

“Clearly,” Darcy said. Her clothes were damp with sweat. “Are you going to invite me inside or what? I’m dying out here.”

“Yes! Yes. Yes, come in,” Selvig said, welcoming her into the room. He tossed away his covering to reveal a once-white XXL T-shirt, tattered around the edges and covered in powdered-cheese-crusted fingerprints.

Darcy entered the dark space, tripping gently over a pile of unwashed clothing. As her eyes adjusted, she realized that dirty clothes were just the beginning. “Holy…” She gasped, flipping on the light. Selvig’s motel room was a total disaster. It was littered with trash and half-eaten food items. The smell was rancid, as if a mayonnaise-filled burrito had been stuffed in an old shoe, baked on high for a week, then simmered in liquid body odor. An enormous pile of sour towels sat in the corner of the room like a terry cloth snowman, melting in the heat. Darcy was confused by the trail of candy bar wrappers that went from the bed to the bathroom. The wallpaper had been torn down, replaced with Selvig’s etchings of cubes, suns, wheels, trees, and other childlike formations. A crescent-shaped device had been drawn and crossed out. Sticky notes lined the perimeter of the room, each one filled with formulas and theories. The sight was overwhelming. Darcy didn’t know where to begin. “Have you tried meditation?” she asked. “You should try meditation.”

Selvig spotted the bag of gummy worms in Darcy’s pocket and snatched it away. “Despite my disheveled quarters, I’m actually in a good place. The pieces of a great puzzle are coming together,” he said, ripping open the bag and stuffing a handful of candy into his mouth. “This is where it all started for us, you know. The very first recorded sighting of an Einstein-Rosen bridge was right here in Puente Antiguo. That’s why I came back. This location has significance. It has meaning. Remember when we first met? What a day that turned out to be, eh?”

“Do… you… need… a hug?” Darcy asked tentatively. “I’d give you one, but your clothes are filthy, and you smell like a pet store. Why don’t we clean you up so we can go get some fresh air and a bite to eat, huh?”

Selvig reached under his bed, pulled out a crumpled bag of cheese twists, and poured them into his mouth. “These are very good,” he crunched. “Let’s eat these.”

Darcy was done playing games. “What am I doing here, Erik?”

Selvig tossed away the cheese twists, grabbed the nearest two-liter bottle of soda, and chugged. After a lengthy burp, a sly smile crossed his face. “We’re going to solve the riddles of the universe.” Suddenly, his tone had changed. He was clearheaded and in control. “After the decimation event, my mental health stumbled. I was clouded, spewing out all manner of things. It’s been a struggle to get back on track, but I can feel things changing for the better.” Selvig paced through the room, looking for something he had trouble finding. “There was a time when humanity had no idea what lay beyond our world. As modern science evolved, we gazed deeper into the heavens. And what have we seen?” He paused for dramatic effect. “Oh, what we have seen.” Selvig’s eyes grew wilder. “The heavens gazed back at us. Earth became a cosmic focal point. From the first Einstein-Rosen bridge right here in New Mexico, to the unexpected decimation of humanity itself, the planet has attracted all manner of uncanny phenomena. Darcy, you and I have experienced both gods and monsters. Did you ever dream of such a thing?”

“In my youth, I may have written a diary entry about one day meeting a beautiful blond-haired guy with broad shoulders.”

Selvig continued, undeterred. “Astronomers recently made a wonderful discovery in ghost particles. These tiny neutrinos arrived on our planet from deep space, yet we never feel them. They pass through our bodies, rarely interacting with their surroundings. Don’t you see? It’s possible that these ghost particles were somehow awakened by the chaotic energies Earth has been imbued with—an unavoidable by-product of the fantastic events that have occurred over the last few years. The Tesseract, the Aether, Loki’s Scepter—these items of power have left behind a kind of cosmogonic toxicity, swirling through our atmosphere.”

“Like cosmic backwash?” Darcy asked.

“Precisely!” Selvig exclaimed. “Humanity is swimming in cosmic backwash.”

“Oh yeah. We’re swimming in something all right.”

Selvig snapped. “Why are you worried about the condition of this room when our universe is crying out to be heard?! Don’t you care about that?!”

Darcy strode over to Selvig’s desk. It was covered in drawings, formulas, and crumbs. She picked up a stack of papers and found what she needed. “Don’t you care about this?” she asked, handing a photograph to Selvig.

“The three of us,” he said. He grasped it tightly before flicking the photo onto the bed. Darcy calmly retrieved it, using her sleeve to give it a quick shine before placing the photo on the corner of a nearby mirror. “We need to find Jane.”

“We’ve been through this before,” Darcy explained. “Her phone is dead. Her emails bounce back. She probably went on an extended vacation.”

“No, no, no. I reject this notion,” Selvig said. “Jane and I have endured the same hardships. Our bodies have housed otherworldly forces. She and I should know the secrets of the universe, but they aren’t”—he strained to find the right word—“clear. Not yet. But they will be. Jane will help us get to the bottom of this mystery. We’ll figure out what caused this terrible tragedy, and we’ll bring everyone back. We’ll bring them all back.

“We have to face facts, Erik. Jane might not be among the living anymore.”

“Hogwash!” Selvig exclaimed. He paced back and forth through the minefield of trash. He reached under his bed, retrieved an empty bag of potato chips, and thrust his hand inside it. “And now I’m out of chips!”

Darcy took Selvig and moved his body in front of the mirror. “Get it together, Erik. Your pit stains have pit stains. Your hair is crusty. You need a shower, a shave, and a week’s worth of sleep.”


On Sale
Nov 27, 2018
Page Count
224 pages

Brandon T. Snider

About the Author

Brandon T. Snider has authored numerous books for Little Brown featuring pop culture favorites such as the Transformers, Minions and My Little Pony. He has also written for and appeared on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. Brandon lives in New York City, where he’s a member of the Writers Guild of America.

Learn more about this author