Thanos with the six Infinity Gems.
|First appearance||Soul Gem: The Power of Warlock #1 (Aug. 1972);
Power & Time Gem: Marvel Team-Up #55 (Mar. 1977);
All Six Gems: Avengers Annual #7 (1977).
as The Infinity Gauntlet: The Thanos Quest #2 (Oct. 1990)
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Adam Warlock; Thanos|
Infinity Gems, sometimes referred to as Soul Gems or Infinity Stones, are six immensely powerful gems featured in the fictional Marvel Universe. Whoever holds all six gems and uses them in concert, such as in the Infinity Gauntlet, gains virtual omnipotence and omniscience. In later storylines and crossover media a seventh Infinity Gem is sometimes added to the primary six.
The Soul Gem first appears in the The Power of Warlock, with all six appearing during the second Thanos War storyline in an Avengers and Marvel Two-In-One annual, with Thanos harnessing their latent energies to power a giant gem to extinguish every star in the universe.
In the third volume of the Silver Surfer title, the character refers to the gems as Soul Gems. They are gathered by the Elders of the Universe, who intend to use their combined power to drain Galactus of his lifeforce and then recreate the universe with themselves as the oldest beings in it (Galactus (Galan) having existed in the Universe that existed prior to the birth of the current Marvel Universe). This plot is thwarted by the Silver Surfer with several Elders and the gems lost in a black hole, while Galactus consumed other members of the Elders. In a follow-up story, because the Elders of the Universe were barred from entering Death's realm due to prior machinations of the Grandmaster, Galactus soon found himself being poisoned from within by the Elders he consumed. Silver Surfer, Mr. Fantastic, and the Invisible Woman journeyed through the black hole to recover the gems, where Invisible Woman became possessed by the sentient Soul Gem and had her evil Malice persona awakened. She was later subdued and the gems were returned to successfully extract the Elders and save Galactus. The gems then fell back into the possession of the Elders before the beginning of their most famous story.
In the limited series Thanos Quest Thanos refers to the entire set as Infinity Gems for the first time. Thanos systematically subdues the Elders one by one to gather all six gems. Once reunited under his control he sets the gems into a gold glove (the left gauntlet of his customary attire) which he refers to as the Infinity Gauntlet. This series also reveals the origin of the Gems, with Thanos explaining to the Elder of the Universe the Runner that the set are actually the remains of a once nigh omnipotent but lonely being (later revealed to be Nemesis). Unable to endure eternity alone, Nemesis eventually commits suicide, although a fraction of her being remains and becomes the Infinity Gems.
Thanos becomes nigh omnipotent and challenges the Silver Surfer and Drax in the former's title, handling the heroes with ease. He also reclaims his ship Sanctuary II from its current captain, his ostensible granddaughter, the space pirate Nebula, burning her nearly to death, but then uses the Gems to keep her suspended between life and death in immortal agony as a "work of art" in his words; "a monument to the insanity of Life and Death denied." He is then joined by Mephisto as an advisor as he sets about dominating reality, while the Silver Surfer makes his way to Earth to warn Earth's superheroes of the threat of Thanos and the Gems, thus setting the stage for the tale of the Infinity Gauntlet.
In the Infinity Gauntlet limited series, Thanos uses the Gauntlet to erase half the population of the universe, finally completing the quest that had led him to find the Gems and assemble the Gauntlet in the first place; fulfilling a pledge to his love, Lady Death, who felt it was a great cosmic imbalance that there were currently more sentient beings alive than had ever died in all of history, that this was a danger akin to a universal ecological imbalance which would lead to starvation, pestilence, and misery for the overpopulated living species across the cosmos. Thanos goes on to decimate Earth's heroes in combat when they attack him in retaliation, and then battles the pantheon of cosmic entities when they attack in an attempt to strip him of the Gauntlet, defeating them all and turning them to stone. He eventually (and apparently inevitably) loses the Gauntlet to the aforementioned Nebula when he uses the Gems to supplant Eternity, gaining Eternity's ethereal form and forsaking his physical body, which leaves the Gauntlet vulnerable to being separated from his body and ending his control over the Gems. (According to Adam Warlock this was subconsciously intentional by Thanos, who, deep down, didn't truly believe he was worthy of the power.) Nebula takes the Gauntlet from Thanos' body, but her attempts to wield it fail due to her inexperience and lack of willpower, and to Adam Warlock's great understanding of the Gems' "sentience" and nature; Nebula is left debilitated after undoing the deeds of Thanos (specifically resetting things to the way they were before he had killed half the population of the universe, which unintentionally included restoring all of Earth's heroes, setting free the cosmic pantheon, and once again reducing her to a near-mindless state suspended between life and death.) She is defeated in a battle with Earth's heroes, and out of the ensuing conflict and confusion Adam Warlock emerges as the new possessor of the Gauntlet. Warlock tries to reassure a few of Earth's heroes that he will not be a threat like Thanos, but they do not trust him and he sends them away before they can attack. He is then called to judgement in a suit brought by Eternity before the Living Tribunal, who finds Warlock unworthy of the power of the Gems due to his emotional instability. The Tribunal manages to reason with Adam and talk him out of using the Gauntlet, and out of fighting to maintain possession of the Gems, a battle that would devastate the universe. Instead of fighting the Living Tribunal and the greater power it represents and potentially destroying the universe, Warlock follows the course he always knew he would (as his possession of the Gauntlet allows him to perceive the flow of Time as a continuous loop, making him aware of all outcomes) and proposes to distribute the Gems to a group of trusted guardians and companions, a proposal which the Tribunal accepts, to the dismay and anger of Eternity.
In the series Warlock and The Infinity Watch the Gems are distributed by Adam Warlock to a group he dubs "the Infinity Watch", with himself as the leader and once again guardian of his old companion, the Soul Gem. He names the astral samurai Gamora guardian of the Time Gem, the hedonistic rogue Pip the Troll guardian of the Space Gem, the impervious powerhouse Drax the Destroyer guardian of the Power Gem, the Eternal-trained human mystic telepath Moondragon guardian of the Mind Gem, and an unknown member (later revealed to be Thanos himself) guardian of the Reality Gem. During the course of the series several enemies attempt to steal the Gems. An early encounter sees Warlock's old nemesis from Counter-Earth, the creature called the Man Beast, abduct several members of the Watch and use the combined Mind, Power, Space and Time Gems to create a monstrous energy humanoid called the Infinity Thrall, although both are eventually defeated by Adam Warlock. The cosmic entity the Living Tribunal is once again called for judgement, and declares that the Infinity Gems will no longer be able to act in unison.
This decree is overturned — courtesy of the machinations of Warlock's evil alter ego from an alternate future, the Magus — in the Infinity War limited series. The character, who had gained physical form when Warlock cast out his "Good" and "Evil" sides from himself while holding the Gauntlet in an attempt to make decisions based on pure logic, unites the Gems and plans universal conquest until tricked and defeated, with Warlock revealing that the Reality Gem was a fake. Eternity later announces that the six Gems will never again be used in unison. The Gems then feature in the Infinity Crusade limited series, where Warlock's cast out feminine "Good" side attempts to rid the universe of Evil by eliminating free will, and, ultimately, rewriting the universe such that it has no sentient life to commit Evil at all.
Following the cancellation of the Infinity Watch series, in the one-shot title Rune/Silver Surfer the Gems are stolen by the extradimensional vampire Rune and dispersed throughout the alternate universe Ultraverse. The Asgardian god Loki enters the Ultraverse and collects the Gems, also discovering the existence of a seventh Gem - Ego. The character learns the Infinity Gems were originally part of a gestalt being known as Nemesis. The Ego Gem, possessing the Avenger Sersi, merges with the other Gems to reform Nemesis and battles superhero teams the Avengers and Ultraforce, before being dissipitated once again.
In the mainstream Marvel Universe the cosmic entity Galactus collects all six Infinity Gems in the Thanos ongoing series, intent on ending his need to consume planets. He is seen taking the gems off a vampiric skeleton (presumably Rune) that he retrieves through an interdimensional portal. Galactus' plan fails, and instead allows a deadly inter-dimensional parasite, named Hunger, access into the Earth-616 universe (it was this parasite mentally influencing Galactus' actions all along; as Thanos noted he could have simply used the Gems to finally wish away his hunger). After the threat is averted, the Gems are scattered with the exception of the Soul Gem, which the Titan Thanos retains for its customary holder, Adam Warlock.
The Gems feature briefly in the JLA/Avengers limited series, when the Infinity Gauntlet is found by DC Comics villain Darkseid as it is placed on Apokolips, who discards it upon discovering that the Gems do not work in his own (DC) universe. The Flash is able to retrieve it.
Following a story in the She-Hulk ongoing series, in which Titania gets possession of the Power Gem, all six Gems feature in the New Avengers: Illuminati limited series and become the possessions of the superhuman group the Illuminati. Reed Richards of the Illuminati attempts to will the Gems out of existence to prevent further misuse, but the entity the Watcher Uatu reveals that the Gems must exist as part of the cosmic balance. The Gems are then separated and each is placed in the care of an Illuminati member, who vow never to use them or reveal their location.
The Gems are reunited in the humorous Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers limited series, with the pets of various heroes finding the Gems and being forced to use them to battle Thanos. Lockjaw, pet of the Inhumans, then gives the Gems to Reed Richards.
The gems were part of the ongoing Avengers series during the Heroic Age. Although the Hood managed to collect the Gems of Power and Reality in time to defeat the formidable Red Hulk, his subsequent attempts to acquire the others resulted in the Red Hulk stealing the Power Gem from him while Thor beat him to the Space Gem, although he was able to acquire the Mind and Time Gems. He subsequently used the Gems to take him to the Soul Gem in the astral plane. Fortunately, the Hood was delayed by an illusionary Thanos that Doctor Strange had created long enough for the Avengers to catch up with him. After a climactic battle, the gems ended up with Iron Man who after sending the Hood back to jail, seemingly wished the gems out of existence. However it was revealed that the gems were back with the Illuminati and Captain America (replacing Black Bolt), who all vowed to hide them more securely than before. In an attempt to stop another universe from collapsing into their own, the Illuminati decided to gather the Infinity Gems and reassemble the Infinity Gauntlet. While Captain America managed to use the Infinity Gauntlet to push the other universe back, because the gems cannot be used in unison, the result end with all gems shattered, except for the time gem, which vanishes. Afterwards, Captain America does not want to destroy more worlds, so Doctor Strange wipes his memory.
After the murder of Uatu the Watcher, Captain America is exposured to Uatu's eye that restores his memory. Afterwards, Captain America and some of the Avengers are transported into future realities with the previously vanished time gem as a result of the time gem being destroyed across all time.
Each gem is a small, smooth oval, and known by their respective powers. Each of the gems represents a different characteristic of existence and possessing any single gem grants the possessor the ability to potentially command whatever aspect of existence the gem represents. The gems are indestructible but not immutable. On two occasions one or more of the gems have appeared in the form of deep pink spheres that were several feet in diameter. On other occasions the gems have appeared in their normal shape but with different coloring (i.e. when the Soul Gem appeared to be red when worn by the Gardener). In the Ultraverse, the merged gems, Nemesis, were once again separated after a climactic battle with Ultraforce and the Avengers. The space, power, soul, and mind gems morph into humanoid-like beings. The accounts of these beings are not known, as well as how these beings returned to their "gem" forms.
The primary six Infinity Gems include:
|Name||Color||Powers and capabilities||Known owners|
|Soul||Green||Allows the user to steal, control, manipulate and alter souls, living or dead, and is the gateway to an idyllic pocket universe that is much like heaven. It also has the ability to steal the powers and abilities of others, which is why people argue that this gem is more powerful than the other gems. The Soul Gem is sentient and has a hunger for souls. It is often considered to be the most dangerous and corrupt of all the gems. Mastery of the gem would allow the user to control all life in the universe.||Adam Warlock; Gardener; In-Betweener; Thanos; Nebula; Count Abyss; Magus; Rune; Odeni; Gemini; Loki; Syphonn; Galactus; Doctor Strange|
|Time||Orange||Allows the user total control over the past, present and future. Allows time travel, can age and de-age beings and also be used as a weapon by trapping enemies or entire universes in unending loops of time. Also at full potential grants Omniscience.||Gardener; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Odeni; Gamora; Maxam; Magus; Rune; Hardcase; Loki; Galactus; Namor; Thor; Mister Fantastic; Iron Man; Black Widow (Marvel Comics)|
|Space||Purple||Allows the user to exist in any or all locations, move any object anywhere throughout reality and warp or rearrange space. At full potential it grants Omnipresence.||Runner; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Pip the Troll; Magus; Rune; Loki; Galactus; Iron Man; Hood; Odeni; Namor; Black Panther; Black Widow (Marvel Comics)|
|Mind||Blue||Allows the user to greatly strengthen and enhance mental and psionic power and access the thoughts and dreams of other beings. Backed by the Power Gem, the Mind Gem can access all minds in existence simultaneously. When searching for it, the Grandmaster apparently discovered that the Mind Gem was the manifestation of the universal subconscious.||Grandmaster; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Moondragon; Magus; Rune; Primevil; Loki; Galactus; Professor X; Odeni; Hood; Ms. Marvel; Beast; Black Widow (Marvel Comics)|
|Reality||Yellow||Allows the user to fulfill wishes, even if the wish is in direct contradiction with scientific laws. Occasionally stated to be the most 'powerful' of the Gems if wielded without the other Gems to keep its reality-altering powers from accidentally surging out of control. During the storyline where The Hood had control of the object, it at one point rapidly cycled through multiple alternative universes (apparently showing its ability to not only control reality, but travel to and through different realities as well).||Stranger; Collector; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Rune; Night Man; Loki; Galactus; Black Bolt; Hood; Odeni; Iron Man; Black Widow (Marvel Comics)|
|Power||Red||Accesses all power and energy that ever has or will exist, and can boost the other gems' effects. Allows the user to duplicate almost any physical superhuman ability and grants nigh Omnipotence. It also grants the possessor the potential to manipulate all forms of energy for virtually any effect. However, nearly all who have possessed the Power Gem singularly have used it to only enhance themselves physically.||Champion of the Universe; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Drax the Destroyer; Thor; Magus; Rune; Lord Pumpkin; Loki; Galactus; She-Hulk; Titania; Mister Fantastic; Odeni; Hood; Red Hulk; Xiambor; Namor|
Additional gems have appeared in cross-over media and alternate universes outside the Marvel Universe. Their official canonicity within Marvel continuity is unknown; as the gems are stated to exist within each universe and only function within their own universe any canonicity is doubtful.
|Name||Color||Powers and capabilities||Known owners|
|Ego||Gold||The Ego Gem contains the consciousness of the cosmic entity Nemesis, which when united with the other gems reforms the character. This gem is found in the Ultraverse when the Asgardian god Loki attempts to steal the other gems. It has never been seen outside its initial appearance except for the Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet video game and The Super Hero Squad Show where it is known as the Infinity Sword.||Sersi; Nemesis; Odeni; Thanos|
|Rhythm||Pink||In the Marvel Super Hero Squad universe and related media, a seventh "Rhythm Gem" exists. The acquisition of the Infinity Gems is the main focus of The Super Hero Squad Show's second season as well as the Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet video game. The Rhythm Gem was revealed to be a ploy made by Loki.||Loki; Enchantress; Thanos|
Council of Reeds
The Reed Richards of Earth-616, in an attempt to "solve everything," meets with a council of alternate universe Reeds. Three of them wear Infinity Gauntlets, which only work in concert with their respective universes.
Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet
In the Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series, Thanos's attempts to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet were opposed by a group of Avengers consisting of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, U.S Ace and Doctor Doom, his attack on the universe ending when Spider-Man acquired the Gauntlet and used it to undo Thanos's godhood (Simultaneously erasing the entire event from the memories of all but himself and Thanos, much to his slight annoyance at the idea that none of the other Avengers would know of the role he played in thwarting Thanos's schemes).
In a reality where Doctor Doom retained the power of the Beyonder, he acquired the Infinity Gems from the Elders of the Universe and used them to defeat the Celestials in a 407-year-long war before finally forsaking his power.
In an alternate reality where the original Fantastic Four died, a new Fantastic Four — consisting of Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider—was formed. With Iron Man replacing Ghost Rider, they were the only heroes available to fight Thanos when he initially assembled the Infinity Gauntlet. Despite Iron Man's use of Negative Zone–enhanced Celestial armor, Thanos still easily defeated the team until Wolverine tricked Thanos into erasing Mephisto from existence before cutting off Thanos's left arm, and therefore the Infinity Gauntlet. With Thanos powerless, Spider-Man used the gauntlet to undo the events of Thanos's godhood.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, a version of the Infinity Gauntlet is seen in Project Pegasus. The Mind Gem (stolen by Hydra) is used by Modi (Thor's son) to control both Director Flumm and Cassie Lang, but are stopped by the Ultimates. The Gem of Power is later revealed to be in the possession of former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sayuri Kyota, while a second Infinity Gauntlet is recovered from an A.I.M. base by Thor and Susan Storm. Kang the Conqueror later allies himself with the Hulk, Reed Richards and Quicksilver as part of a plan to steal the two Gauntlets, which results in the destruction of the Triskelion. Quicksilver recovers two additional gems allowing the villains to teleport away. Richards is later able to recover another of the gems, which is found lodged in Tony Stark's brain. He informs Stark that the Infinity Gems are needed to save the world from a coming cataclysm that will destroy the entire universe. After brainwashing Johnny Storm and forcing him to travel to the Earth's core, the Dark Ultimates are able to recover the final gem, but are defeated by the Ultimates. The gems then shatter, rendering the Gauntlets useless.
In other media
- The Infinity Gauntlet appears in The Super Hero Squad Show. The effort to create and use it is the focus of multiple episodes of the first half of the second season. Within the show, the Infinity Gems are sometimes called the Infinity Stones. During the second season, Thanos searches for the Infinity Gems across the universe. After finding all six, he challenges the Super Hero Squad with the Infinity Gauntlet, only to have it swiped by the Dark Surfer, who then combines its power with that of the Infinity Sword. In the series finale, both items are shattered into Infinity Fractals and spread across the universe.
- The Infinity Gems (once again referred to as the Infinity Stones) appear as a running subplot in the second season of Avengers Assemble. In this show, there are five Infinity Stones instead of six (the Soul Stone is omitted for some reason) and are shown to have an influence on whoever possesses them unless they are placed in the Infinity Gauntlet. During the second season, the Avengers face various threats caused by the four stones; the Time Stone becomes trapped in Iron Man's arc reactor and causes him to become younger as temporal ripples draw in threats from the past and future, MODOK's use of the Mind Stone causes the Avengers to switch bodies, the Squadron Supreme use the Reality Stone to invert history so that the Avengers are now villains, and Loki's control of the Space Stone nearly causes Asgard to crash into Earth. All By "Widow's Run," Thanos claims the Infinity Gems and places them inside of his Infinity Gauntlet before leaving. In "Thanos Triumphant", the Avengers fight Thanos and defeat him, but the Infinity Gems are taken and drained of their power by Ultron, who managed to possess Arsenal.
- During the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, Marvel unveiled the prop Infinity Gauntlet on the showcase floor. The Infinity Gauntlet appeared very briefly in the film Thor where it was stored in Odin's vault.
- In a November 2013 interview, producer Kevin Feige stated that the Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers is an "Infinity Stone" (specifically the Space Stone), as is the Aether introduced in Thor: The Dark World. At the end of Thor: The Dark World, the Aether is entrusted in the Collector's care while the Tesseract is on Asgard. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Power Stone is seen within an orb that was stolen by Peter Quill, and is briefly used by Ronan the Accuser before it is claimed by the Guardians of the Galaxy and entrusted with the Nova Corps for safekeeping. James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, created the backstory for the Stones, as seen in the film, where the Collector states that the six Infinity Stones are the remnants of six singularities that existed before the Big Bang and were compressed down into the Stones after the universe began. In October 2014, during a press conference for Marvel's Phase Three films, Loki's scepter was seen in the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, seemingly implying it is an Infinity Stone.
- The Infinity Gems also feature in the video games Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (based on the Infinity Gauntlet saga) for SNES and Marvel Super Heroes for the arcade, which was later ported over to the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation.
- The Infinity Gems, including the 'Ego' Gem in the form of the Infinity Sword, appear as a driving part of the Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet video game.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, Thanos uses Power, Soul, Reality, and Space for his Supers.
- Starting in January 2012, and continuing through August, Wizkids will be presenting the Infinity Gauntlet program at stores that host Heroclix tournaments. Every month a new gem (usable in the game) will be given away as a prize, starting with the Gauntlet. Each gem that comes out after that can be added the Gauntlet, increasing its power in game. Gems can be displayed on a stand that comes with the Gauntlet or on each Elder that Thanos encountered in the story Thanos Quest, also prizes, and can also be used as 3D objects during games.
- The Gauntlet has been featured in the Impel Marvel Universe trading card set, the Fleer Overpower game, and the Upper Deck Entertainment Heralds of Galactus expansion set for the VS System.
- Replica Infinity Gauntlets were given out as trophies at Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament 8, a 2012 Road to Evo tournament.
- In the Parks and Recreation episode "Article Two" while filibustering the Pawnee city council meeting, Patton Oswalt's character refers to the Reality Gem as a means of bridging the now Disney-owned Marvel and Star Wars universes together as part of a plot for the seventh Star Wars movie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), directed by J. J. Abrams.
- In the one hour Danny Phantom episode "Reality Trip", the villain Freakshow blackmails Danny and his Friends to find "the Gems of Reality" for his weapon, the Reality Gauntlet (both a parody of the Infinity Gems and Gauntlet). However, this gauntlet differs in extending to the elbow and coming with only four gems as opposed to six.
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- Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 (1977)
- Silver Surfer vol. 3, #6-10, 16-17 (Dec. 1987-Apr. 1988 & Oct.-Nov. 1988)
- Thanos Quest #1-2 (Sep.-Oct. 1990)
- Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (July-Dec. 1991)
- Warlock and The Infinity Watch #1 (Feb. 1992)
- Warlock and The Infinity Watch #5-6 (June–July 1992)
- Infinity War # 1-6 (June-Nov. 1992)
- Infinity Crusade # 1-6 (June - Nov. 1993)
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