The Omnipotent Mitten: Everything You Need to Know about the Infinity Gauntlet Before Seeing AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

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The MCU has teased the image of the Infinity Gauntlet so much that everyone knows what it looks like — even if you haven’t read a single comic. It definitely appears threatening on the poster for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, with its shiny golden exterior and ominously glowing stones. I’m sure all of you can imagine what it looks like pretty easily, but what exactly is the Infinity Gauntlet? Where does it come from and what does it do?

Although we all know what it looks like, the origin and capabilities of the Infinity Gauntlet are a little more mysterious. The trailer for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR gives some clues, but if you’re itching to know more about the universe-destroying hand accessory before seeing the MCU film, you’ve come to the right place.

infinity gauntlet
AVENGERS & THE INFINITY GAUNTLET #4 / Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

What’s an Infinity Gem?

In the MCU, the Infinity Gems are called “Infinity Stones.” However, because this article is dealing with the gauntlet’s comic origins, gems will be their title.

Where Are The Infinity Stones In The MCU?

Back in their first appearance in MARVEL PREMIERE #1, the six Infinity Gems are actually called “Soul Gems.” According to legend, these gems were once one being who existed during the creation of the universe. After so long alone, the being decided to split itself into six different sentient pieces that could explore space. Since then, various people have protected the gems, but the first person in comics to actively wield an Infinity Gem was Adam Warlock in MARVEL PREMIERE #1.

INFINITY GAUNTLET
MARVEL PREMIERE #1/ Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

More than Just a Rock

According to the 1991 miniseries INFINITY GAUNTLET, written by Jim Starlin and illustrated by George Perez, the six Infinity Gems all have different powers that, when used together, prove (almost) unstoppable. Thanks to the events in NEW AVENGERS #3 (2013), the gems were all destroyed after the Avengers tried to use the Infinity Gauntlet to stop a universe from colliding with Earth. Since then, the gems have been reappearing in various places but they are now different colors (which makes things really confusing). Presumably, writers did this so that the colors and powers from the MCU stones would align with the gems in the comics.

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All of the stones are connected to one another, not just from their common past but through their abilities. They are cyclical in how they can be mastered. According to INFINITY COUNTDOWN #1, to power the Reality Gem, you have to have mastered the element of Time. To power the Soul Gem, you have to have mastered the element of Reality. This same pattern continues for the other gems as well. In this way, the gems’ powers rely on the abilities of their users.

So, now that we know a little more about the Infinity Gems overall, let’s take a closer look at the individual gems. What sort of powers do these fancy, color-changing gems have that make them so invincible? What can possibly make the Avengers — Earth’s mightiest heroes — quake with fear?

Infinity Gauntlet
NEW AVENGERS #3 (2013) / Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Green Gem: Soul

While the Green Gem is the first to appear in comics, it’s also the strangest. Its sentient powers revolve around attacking and possessing the souls of others. It can also devolve creatures, turning humans into animals. But this isn’t the strangest thing about this gem. Not only can the Soul Gem trap souls inside of itself — it actively wants to. Since it (like the other gems) originally comes from a sentient being, it still retains some of that being’s consciousness. It might not look like it, but the Soul Gem is always on the lookout for new souls to steal. That might make you think twice before sliding on your great grandmother’s creepy green ring.

Adam Warlock is probably the most famous possessor of the Soul Gem. In MARVEL PREMIERE #2, he uses the Green Gem to revert an alien “Star-Hound” back to its lesser form of simple solar-impulses. In the current Marvel Legacy comics, the Soul Gem is orange and is owned by Ultron/Hank Pym.

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The Red Gem: Power

The Red Gem is much more straightforward than it’s eerie green counterpart. The Power Gem simply enhances the strength, durability, and energy manipulation abilities of its wielder. It also increases the wielder’s superpower; so, if the Hulk got a hold of the Power Gem, he would become considerably stronger.

In the 1992 series WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH, Adam Warlock splits up the gems and gives them to those who he believes can handle their immense power. In issue #2, Warlock gives the Power Gem to Drax the Destroyer. Instead of using the gem, Drax mistakes it for a jellybean and eats it.

As of the latest issue of INFINITY COUNTDOWN, Ultron/Hank Pym owns the Power Gem (which is now purple).

infinity gauntlet
NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI (2007) #2 / Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Orange Gem: Time

The Orange Gem is all about time travel. Whether you want to speed up time, slow it down, or stop it altogether, the Time Gem has got it covered. The Time Gem also allows its wielder to see into the past and the future. While still not as creepy as the Soul Gem, the Time Gem does possess the ability to rapidly accelerate the aging process…which is a little unsettling.

In the 1995 one-shot RUNE/SILVER SURFER, the demonic character Rune uses the Orange Gem to freeze his enemies and make a speedy escape. This issue also includes in-depth descriptions of each of the gems, if you’re looking for even more information.

According to INFINITY COUNTDOWN #1, the now green Time Gem is currently in the hands of Super Skrull.

The Yellow Gem: Reality

The Yellow Gem is (arguably) the most powerful of the six gems since it has the power to alter reality. The laws of physics and logic are meaningless in the face of the Reality Gem. The gem can raise the dead, create new realities (or alter the existing ones), and when combined with the other gems, can alter reality on a universal scale. Anything you want to make a reality, the Yellow Gem can do it. Tired of the Avengers upsetting every evil plan you make? The Reality Gem can handle that. Want to wipe out half of living beings in the universe? No problem, Thanos easily does that with this power in INFINITY GAUNTLET #1.

In CAPTAIN MARVEL #129, Carol Danvers becomes the new wielder of the Reality Gem. The Reality Gem in current comics is red instead of yellow.

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The Purple Gem: Space

The Space Gem is a little boring when compared to the other gems but it still has some interesting properties. It allows its wielder to travel through space using teleportation. It can also interrupt the motion of other objects. On a larger scale, this means the Purple Gem can change the movement of the planets. It also grants its wielder omnipresence (when combined with the other stones). This means the wielder of the gem can be everywhere at once.

In NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI, Mr. Fantastic gives Black Bolt the Space Gem, which is later destroyed in NEW AVENGERS #3 (2013). In MARVEL LEGACY #1, Wolverine is seen holding the Space Gem (which in modern comics is now blue).

Infinity Gauntlet
THE AVENGERS Annual #7 / Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Blue Gem: Mind

The Blue Gem gives its possessor incredible mental powers, including telepathy and telekinesis. If the wielder already has those powers, the Mind Gem increases them exponentially. At its most powerful, the gem allows its wielder to tap into every mind in the universe. Think of the X-Men’s Cerebro, but about a million times more powerful.

Professor X of the X-Men comes to possess the Blue Gem during the NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI series. The members of the Illuminati give Xavier the Blue Gem because his telepathic skills are capable of (somewhat) controlling the gem’s immense power.

Turk Barrett (a frequent Daredevil villain) currently owns the Mind Gem, as seen in INFINITY COUNTDOWN #1.

What’s the Infinity Gauntlet?

Until Thanos came along, no one had thought to put all of the Infinity Gems together. Thanos, who’s considered a Titan in the Marvel universe, sees the capabilities of the individual gems and decides to take them from those who currently possess them (see: THANOS QUEST #1 & 2). To hold his prizes, he creates the Infinity Gauntlet (first seen in SILVER SURFER #44), which is really just a nice glove that combines all of the gems’ powers.

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Thanos has tried to use the Infinity Gauntlet to destroy the universe numerous times, but he’s never succeeded. Every time, he fails, and the gems are split up and given to people who are believed to be immune to the gems’ abilities.

Others who have wielded the powerful Infinity Gauntlet (or all of the Infinity Gems) include: Reed Richards (in NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #2-3), Captain America (in NEW AVENGERS #3), Nebula (in INFINITY GAUNTLET #6), Adam Warlock (in WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH #1), Iron Man (in AVENGERS #12), and Black Panther (in SECRET WARS #6-9).

infinity gauntlet
INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991) #1 / Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Infinity Gauntlet Reading List

Marvel’s decision to make a movie about the Infinity Gauntlet is a wise one since they have a lot of material to use. The gauntlet has starred in numerous miniseries that further detail the powers and dangers associated with the Infinity Gems. If you’d like to learn more about Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet before seeing the movie, check out these series:

  • MARVEL PREMIERE #1-2
  • SILVER SURFER (1987) #34-50
  • THE THANOS QUEST (1990)
  • INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991)
  • THE NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI (2007)
  • AVENGERS & THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)
  • THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2015)
  • INFINITY COUNTDOWN (2018)

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