If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, chances are you’ve been introduced to the concept of Infinity Stones.
There’s the Space Stone (the Tesseract from Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers), the Reality Stone (the Aether from Thor: The Dark World), the Power Stone (the Orb from Guardians of the Galaxy), the Mind Stone (Loki’s scepter from The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron), and the Time Stone (the Eye of Agamotto from Doctor Strange).
However, these stones (referred to as gems in the comics), and the Infinity Gauntlet have an incredibly rich history in the comic book side of the Marvel Universe. So, in case you’re not yet familiar, here are 7 things you didn’t know about the Infinity Gauntlet:
The Gauntlet Has No Power On Its Own
To say that the Infinity Gauntlet is one of the most powerful items in all of the Marvel Universe is a bit misleading. The fact is, the gauntlet itself would be nothing but a fancy accessory if not for the all-powerful Infinity Gems. As for the gauntlet, it’s merely a device to contain the power of said gems in one location. Once combined, the Infinity Gauntlet has the power to turn the user into a God, capable of doing anything they can possibly imagine. Most notably, the Mad Titan Thanos has used the gauntlet to kill half of the universe with a mere snap of his fingers.
The Infinity Gems used to power the Infinity Gauntlet include the following:
Time Gem: Total control over all aspects of time including time travel, stopping time, slowing down or speeding up the flow of time, and accelerating or decelerating aging.
Space Gem: Limitless manipulation of space, allowing for teleportation, dimensional manipulation, the creation of wormholes, etc.
Soul Gem: Limitless manipulation of souls both alive and dead; also has been shown to be able to evolve or devolve beings physical selves, as well as their mental capacities.
Reality Gem: Locally or universally alters the natural laws of the universe to the wielder's will.
Power Gem: Controls all of the power in the universe. It can be used to augment or inhibit any force.
Mind Gem: Taps the user into the universal consciousness, allowing for unlimited manipulation of psionic powers, including telepathy and telekinesis.Advertisement
Tony Stark Was The First Human To Use The Infinity Gauntlet
The Infinity Gauntlet has been worn by some of the most prolific names in all of the Marvel Universe. However, one name stands above the rest, and that name is Tony Stark.
Indeed, Stark was the first mortal man to ever wield the gauntlet and utilize its awesome power. After he and his fellow Avengers defeated The Hood, who had been gathering the Infinity Gems, Iron Man used the gauntlet to transport him back to prison and subsequently willed the gauntlet out of existence. At least that’s what he told the other Avengers. In reality, Iron Man transported the gauntlet to the gathering place of the Illuminati, where he would secretly divide the six gems amongst his teammates for safe keeping.
Who Else Has Wielded The Infinity Gauntlet?
As I mentioned previously, numerous heavy hitters in the Marvel Universe (and even one from DC) have wielded the Infinity Gauntlet in the past. Aside from the aforementioned Iron Man, others who have worn the gauntlet include:
The Infinity Gauntlet Was Once Destroyed By Captain America
Prior to Secret Wars, the heroes of the main Marvel Universe (Earth-616) were desperately seeking a way to put an end to Universal Incursions – an event in which two worlds literally collide, causing the destruction of both.
The Illuminati decided to try and use the Infinity Gauntlet to “push” the other Earth away from their own, but wanted to ensure whoever stepped up to the task wouldn’t be corrupted by the gauntlet’s tantalizing power. Naturally, then, the team turned to the incorruptible, iron-willed Captain America.
The good news was that the plan succeeded. Cap was able to use the gauntlet to push the other Earth away, thus saving both universes from an untimely demise. The bad news, however, was that the act resulted in the destruction of the gauntlet itself, as well as five of the six Infinity Gems. The only gem to survive was the Time Gem, but it immediately disappeared before the Illuminati could retrieve it.Advertisement
There Are Other Versions Of The Infinity Gauntlet
What’s scarier than the idea of a gauntlet that can grant its wearer God-like abilities? How about the fact that there are other versions in existence?
On Earth-1610, formerly known as the Ultimate Universe, there are actually eight Infinity Gems instead of six. However, the additional stones meant some modifications were needed. That being said, two Infinity Gauntlets were created, each built to contain four of the eight gems.
Another universe able to boast two Infinity Gauntlets is Earth-199999, otherwise known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first gauntlet was seen in Odin’s Vault in Thor, and it was guarded by The Destroyer. It’s been noted that the Infinity Gems (Infinity Stones in the MCU) that are shown in the gauntlet are merely replicas, though.
The second gauntlet in the MCU is the one seen in the end-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron. While it’s unclear where this gauntlet was being held, we see none other than the Mad Titan himself, Thanos, take it into his possession before remarking, “Fine, I'll do it myself,” presumably referring to retrieving the Infinity Stones.
The Infinity Gauntlet Has A Major Limitation
Every weapon needs a safety switch, and the Infinity Gauntlet is no exception. However, when you increase the scale of the weapon to one that can wipe out an entire universe, how do you incorporate a fail-safe that can possibly handle the daunting task of nullifying the ultimate tool of destruction?
Well, with the Infinity Gauntlet, while it can destroy an entire universe, the catch is that it can only destroy its own universe. In fact, the Infinity Gauntlet won’t even work in a universe other than the one it actually came from.
This means the dual gauntlets of Earth-1610 are merely expensive hand-warmers on Earth-616. This was actually a key plot point in Secret Wars, where Earth-616 and Earth-1610 were merged into a patchwork planet called Battleworld. The Infinity Gauntlet on Battleworld would only work in one domain because each of the fragments that it consisted of were essentially other universes.
As far as fail-safes go, it’s not exactly the safest, especially considering there’s really only one main Marvel Universe now. Still, it’s nice to know someone was thinking proactively when they created one of the deadliest items in existence.
The Infinity Gauntlet Was Created Out Of Love
Love can drive people to do crazy things. Some spend money they don’t have on gifts to shower their sweetheart with. Others tattoo that special someone’s name on their arm as a sign of their affection. Few, however, would think to create an all-powerful weapon of incalculable proportions in the name of love. That is, of course, unless your name is Thanos.
As I mentioned earlier, the Mad Titan once used the Infinity Gauntlet to erase half the sentient life in the universe from existence with the snap of his fingers. As ruthless and psychotic as Thanos is, though, this wasn’t done for his mere amusement. It was done as an act of desperation to try and win the affections of the living embodiment of the eternal sleep, Death.
In The Thanos Quest, the Mad Titan is resurrected by Death and tasked with correcting a so-called “cosmic imbalance.” With more sentient beings alive than had ever died, Death believed the only way to correct the imbalance would be to eliminate half of said beings (think population control on a galactic scale).
Thanos, who had fallen in love with Death, sought out the six Infinity Gems to aid him in his quest. Upon apprehending all six gems, he mounted them on his left glove, which he dubbed the Infinity Gauntlet, and fulfilled his mission as a sick “gift of love” for Death.
The deaths of half the universe, including Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and many of the X-Men, would later be undone (because comics). Still, when it comes to gifts to your loved ones, it’s the thought that counts… right?Advertisement