Thanos with the six Infinity Gems (here referred to by their original name, the Soul Gems)
|First appearance||Soul Gem: Marvel Premiere #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|
The Infinity Gems, originally referred to as Soul Gems, are six immensely powerful fictional gems appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Whoever holds all six gems and uses them in concert, such as in the Infinity Gauntlet, gains virtual omnipotence and omniscience. In later storylines, crossovers and other media, a seventh Infinity Gem is sometimes added to the primary six. The Gems play a prominent role in the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where they are known as the Infinity Stones.
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The Soul Gems first appear in The Power of Warlock. All six appear together for the first time in the second "Thanos War" storyline in Avengers and Marvel Two-In-One annuals. Thanos harnesses their latent energies to power a giant gem to extinguish every star in the universe.[full citation needed]
In the third volume of the Silver Surfer title, the Surfer refers to the gems as "Soul Gems" for the first time. 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 was the last survivor of the Universe that existed prior to the birth of the current Marvel Universe). This plot is thwarted by the Silver Surfer, and several Elders and the gems are lost in a black hole; Galactus consumes some of the other Elders. In a follow-up story, Galactus is poisoned by the Elders he consumed. Silver Surfer, Mr. Fantastic, and the Invisible Woman journey through the black hole to recover the gems. Invisible Woman becomes possessed by the sentient Soul Gem, awakening her evil Malice persona. She is later subdued, and the gems are used to remove the Elders from Galactus' body. The Elders later reclaim the gems.
In the limited series The 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 in 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. Thanos explains the origin of the gems to the Runner, one of the Elders of the Universe: the set are the remains of a once nigh omnipotent but lonely being. Unable to endure eternity alone, the being committed suicide, although a fraction of its essence remained and became the Infinity Gems.
Thanos becomes nearly omnipotent, and challenges the Silver Surfer and Drax the Destroyer, handling the heroes with ease. He reclaims his ship Sanctuary II from its current captain, his granddaughter Nebula. He burns her nearly to death, but uses the Gems to keep her suspended between life and death in immortal agony; he claims this is a "work of art", "a monument to the insanity of Life and Death denied". Mephisto joins Thanos as an adviser. The Silver Surfer travels to Earth to warn Earth's superheroes of the threat of Thanos and the Gems, setting the stage for The Infinity Gauntlet limited series.
In The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos uses the Gauntlet to erase half the population of the universe, completing the quest that had led him to find the Gems and assemble the Gauntlet. This fulfilled a pledge to his love, Death, to repair a "cosmic imbalance" caused by the presence of more sentient beings alive than had ever died in all of history; Death believed that this imbalance would lead to starvation, pestilence, and misery across the cosmos. Thanos decimates Earth's heroes in combat when they retaliate, and then battles the pantheon of cosmic entities when they attempt to strip him of the Gauntlet; he defeats them all and turns them to stone. He uses the Gems to supplant Eternity, gaining Eternity's ethereal form and forsaking his physical body. This leaves the Gauntlet vulnerable, and Nebula removes it from Thanos' body, ending his control over the Gems. (according to Adam Warlock, Thanos subconsciously felt unworthy of the power of the Gauntlet, causing him to lose control of it.) Nebula's attempts to wield the Gauntlet fail due to her inexperience and lack of willpower, and she is left debilitated after restoring the universe to a state before Thanos used the Gauntlet. She is defeated in a battle with Earth's heroes, and Adam Warlock emerges as the new possessor of the Gauntlet. Warlock insists that he will not be a threat like Thanos, but the heroes do not trust him and he sends them away before they can attack. He is 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 reasons with Adam, revealing that a fight to retain the Gauntlet would devastate the universe. Warlock uses the Gauntlet to perceive the flow of time, and sees his inevitable course of action is to distribute the Gems to a group of trusted guardians and companions. The Tribunal accepts this decision, to the dismay 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". He places himself as the leader and guardian of the Soul Gem. He names Gamora guardian of the Time Gem, Pip the Troll guardian of the Space Gem, Drax the Destroyer guardian of the Power Gem, 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. In an early encounter, Warlock's old nemesis from Counter-Earth, the creature called the Man Beast, abducts several members of the Watch and uses the combined Mind, Power, Space and Time Gems to create a monstrous energy humanoid called "the Infinity Thrall". Both are eventually defeated by Adam Warlock. 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 Magus gained physical form when Warlock used the Gauntlet to cast out his "Good" and "Evil" sides in an attempt to make decisions based on pure logic. The Magus unites the Gems and plans universal conquest, but Warlock tricks him by substituting a fake Reality Gem. Eternity later announces that the six Gems will never again be used in unison. The Gems are featured in the Infinity Crusade limited series, where Warlock's 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.
Following the cancellation of the Infinity Watch series, the one-shot title Rune/Silver Surfer depicts the Gems being stolen by the extradimensional vampire Rune and dispersed throughout the Ultraverse. The Asgardian god Loki enters the Ultraverse and collects the Gems, also discovering the existence of a seventh Gem, "Ego". Loki learns that the lonely omnipotent suicide whose essence became the Gems was the gestalt being known as Nemesis. The Ego Gem, possessing the Avenger Sersi, merges with the other Gems to reform Nemesis and battles the Avengers and Ultraforce before being dissipated once again.
In the mainstream Marvel Universe, 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 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. This parasite had been mentally influencing Galactus' actions all along. Thanos advises that the Gems can be used to wish Hunger away. After the threat is averted, the Gems are scattered again with the exception of the Soul Gem, which Thanos retains for its customary custodian, Adam Warlock.
The Gems are featured in the JLA/Avengers limited series. The Infinity Gauntlet is found by DC Comics villain Darkseid when it arrives on Apokolips. He discards it upon discovering that the Gems do not work in the DC Universe. The Flash is able to retrieve it.
Titania gains possession of the Power Gem in the She-Hulk ongoing series. Subsequently, all six Gems are featured in the New Avengers: Illuminati limited series and become the possessions of the superhuman group the Illuminati. Reed Richards attempts to will the Gems out of existence to prevent further misuse, but the Watcher Uatu reveals that the Gems must exist as part of the cosmic balance. The Gems are separated and each is placed in the care of an Illuminati member, who vows never to use it or reveal its location.
The Gems are reunited in the Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers limited series. The pets of various heroes find the Gems and are forced to use them to battle Thanos. Lockjaw, pet of the Inhumans, 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 and Thor beating him to the Space Gem. He was able to acquire the Mind and Time Gems. He subsequently used the Gems to travel to the Soul Gem in the astral plane. The Hood is delayed by an illusionary Thanos that Doctor Strange had created, allowing the Avengers to catch up with him. After the battle, the gems ended up with Iron Man. After sending the Hood back to jail, Iron Man appears to wish the gems out of existence. It was revealed that the gems were actually returned to the Illuminati, who all vowed to hide them more securely than before. In an attempt to stop another universe from collapsing into their own, the Illuminati decides to reassemble the Infinity Gauntlet. Captain America uses the Infinity Gauntlet to push the other universe back, but because Eternity declared that the Gems cannot be used in unison the Gems shatter, except for the Time Gem which vanishes.[full citation needed] To prevent the Illuminati from tampering with other universes, Doctor Strange wipes Captain America's memory.[full citation needed]
After the murder of Uatu, Captain America is exposed to Uatu's eye[full citation needed] which restores his memory.[full citation needed] 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 throughout time.[full citation needed] This destroys multiple universes and combines the survivors into a single Battleworld. Doctor Strange gathers Infinity Gems from various realities into a new Infinity Gauntlet, which he leaves hidden until the surviving heroes of Earth-616 return. The Gauntlet is subsequently claimed by T'Challa, who uses it to keep the Beyonder-enhanced Doom occupied until Mister Fantastic can disrupt his power source.
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Each Gem is a small, smooth oval, and known by their respective powers. Each of the Gems represents a different characteristic of existence; 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. 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 battle with Ultraforce and the Avengers.
The 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. The Soul Gem is sentient and has a hunger for souls. At full potential, the Gem grants control over all life in the universe.||High Evolutionary; 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. It grants its user the ability to see into the past and the future; the ability to stop, slow down, speed up or reverse the flow of time; time travel; the ability to change the past and the future; age and de-age beings; and trap people or entire universes in unending loops of time. At full potential, the gem grants Omniscience.||Gardener; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Odeni; Gamora; Maxam; Magus; Rune; Hardcase; Loki; Galactus; Namor; Thor; Mister Fantastic; Iron Man; Black Widow|
|Space||Purple||Allows the user to exist in any or all locations, move any object anywhere throughout reality and warp or rearrange space. The gem allows its user to teleport oneself and others any place the user can imagine regardless of distance or preventive measures such as walls or spells. It can increase the speed of the gem user and also enables its user to alter the distance between objects contrary to the laws of physics. At full potential, the gem grants Omnipresence.||Runner; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Pip the Troll; Magus; Rune; Loki; Galactus; Iron Man; Hood; Odeni; Namor; Black Panther; Black Widow|
|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|
|Reality||Yellow||Allows the user to fulfill wishes, even if the wish is in direct contradiction with scientific laws, and do things that would normally be impossible. The gem can also be used to create any type of alternate reality one wishes and when backed by the other stones it allows one to alter reality on a universal scale. 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. At one point, the gem rapidly cycled through multiple alternative universes.||Stranger; Collector; Thanos; Nebula; Adam Warlock; Rune; Night Man; Loki; Galactus; Black Bolt; Hood; Odeni; Iron Man; Black Widow; Vision|
|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 them 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 crossover media and alternate universes outside the Marvel Universe.
|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 re-imagined 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.[full citation needed]
During the "Incursion" storyline, the Avengers travel to a parallel Earth where a pastiche on the Justice League have replaced this Earth's Avengers who all died in a previous cataclysm. Here the gems are all square planes which are assembled into the "Wishing Cube", a composite of the concepts of the Infinity Gems and the Cosmic Cube.
After various alternate universes were combined into Battleworld, Doctor Strange gathered Infinity Gems from another universe into a new Infinity Gauntlet that he ensured would work in the area where Doom had built his palace, although he left it hidden until he had access to someone he could trust to use it; after his death, it was claimed by T'Challa,[full citation needed] who used it against the Beyonder-enhanced Doom in the final battle,[full citation needed] although T'Challa freely admitted once the battle was over that he never expected to be anything more than a distraction as Reed targeted Doom's power source.[full citation needed]
A separate section of 'Battleworld' known as New Xandar has also a gauntlet fought over by multiple factions; until the majority of the stones, except the Reality Stone, were taken by Thanos. Thanos eventually is able to track the missing stone, but the stone had already been found by Awen Bakian. When Thanos confronted her to get the aforementioned stone, Awen suspiciously gave Thanos the stone without a fight. However the completed Infinity Gauntlet started acting odd, since Awen hadn't given Thanos the Reality Stone, instead she used the gem to create a rock which when used along with the remaining stones was capable of corrupting Thanos with some form of black matter and ultimately turned him to dust. Awen named the stone the "Death Stone."
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, an 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.[full citation needed] The Power Gem 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.[full citation needed] 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.[full citation needed] 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.[full citation needed] After brainwashing Johnny Storm and forcing him to travel to the Earth's core, the Dark Ultimates are able to recover the final gem,[full citation needed] but are defeated by the Ultimates. The gems then shatter, rendering the Gauntlets useless.[full citation needed]
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.[full citation needed]
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.[full citation needed]
In the Contest of Champions miniseries, an alternate version of Tony Stark uses the reality gem to win the superhero civil war and affect the outcome of a presidential election. When he tries to use the gem on Battleworld, he is killed by the Maestro, who says the gems do not work in any universe other than their own.[full citation needed]
In other media
The Infinity Stones are significant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing important roles in several films. Director James Gunn created the backstory for the Stones in the film Guardians of the Galaxy, where the Collector explains they are six singularities that existed before the Big Bang, that were compressed into the Stones after the universe began. In order of introduction, they are:
- Space Stone (Blue):
- Housed in the Tesseract, it first appears briefly in the Thor post-credits scene. In Captain America: The First Avenger it is used to power weaponry developed by Hydra, and in The Avengers it is shown to be capable of generating wormholes. At the end of the latter, it is returned to Asgard for safekeeping. In a November 2013 interview, producer Kevin Feige confirmed that it is the Space Stone.
- Mind Stone (Yellow):
- In The Avengers, Thanos gives Loki a scepter that allows him to control people's minds and to project energy. The scepter falls into the hands of Hydra leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who is shown in the mid-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to have been using it to experiment on humans. The only surviving subjects of those experiments are Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, in whom superhuman abilities were unlocked. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the scepter is revealed to contain the Mind Stone, and has an artificial intelligence which grants sentience to the computer program Ultron, who then incorporates the stone into his "Vision", an android. The Mind Stone can also enhance the user's intelligence.
- Reality Stone (Red):
- Formed by the Dark Elf Malekith into a fluid-like weapon called the Aether, it is said to be able to destroy the Nine Realms and return the universe to its pre-Big Bang state. The Asgardians entrust the Aether to the Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World, to separate it from the Tesseract, as they consider it unwise to have multiple Stones close together.
- Power Stone (Purple):
- In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Power Stone is contained within an orb that Ronan the Accuser sought for Thanos. It is capable of destroying entire civilizations, and Ronan tries to use it to destroy the planet Xandar. The Guardians of the Galaxy stop him and entrust the stone to the Nova Corps for safekeeping.
- Time Stone (Green):
- The Time Stone was encased in the Eye of Agamotto by Earth's first sorcerer, Agamotto. A Master of the Mystic Arts can use the Stone to alter time. Thousands of years later, in Doctor Strange, Dr. Stephen Strange learns to use the Eye and uses it to save the Earth from Dormammu. The Masters of the Mystic Arts retain possession of the Eye in their secret compound Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- Soul Stone (Orange):
- The Soul Stone is shown in Guardians of the Galaxy to be orange. Feige stated that it would be seen "sometime in Phase Three, for sure. There's a gauntlet that needs to be filled."
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- The Infinity Gems also feature in the video games Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (based on the Infinity Gauntlet saga) for SNES, Marvel Super Heroes for the arcade, which was later ported over to the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation, and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, Thanos uses Power, Soul, Reality, and Space for his Supers.
- 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.
Starting in January 2012 and continuing through August, Wizkids presented the Infinity Gauntlet program at stores that host HeroClix tournaments. Every month a new gem (usable in the game) was 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.
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