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When We First Met – The Infinity Stones

by  in Comic News Comment

In this feature we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ’em out!

The end of Thor: The Dark World has made it clear that the Infinity Gems (called the Infinity Stones in the film) are going to play a major role in the future of the Marvel cinematic universe, so I figured we should take a refresher course on the history of the infinity gems (I posted most of these last Summer, but I figured it made more sense to post it now). I already detailed the history of the mystery man we saw with the Infinity Stones in the film here.

The soul gem was first introduced in Marvel Premiere #1, when Roy Thomas and Gil Kane first gave us Warlock. The High Evolutionary just gives it to him…



The jewel is not named, though, until Warlock had his two issues of Marvel Premiere and then two more issues of his own solo title. In the third issue, now written by Mike Friedrich (taking over from Thomas), Friedrich first refers to it as a “soul-jewel”…


The next issue is the first one to refer to it as a “gem”…


When Jim Starlin took the character nearly two years later in Strange Tales #178, Starlin referred to the gem as a “soul gem”…


In Warlock #15, we discover that the soul gem is just one of many similar gems…




Oddly enough, Steve Englehart (thanks to Luis Dantas for the head’s up) had actually made the same revelation in an issue of Captain Marvel (#45) earlier that year…


I don’t know if it was a case of Starlin responding to Englehart’s introduction of the concept, Englehart hearing about Starlin’s plans (they were friendly at the time) and beating Starlin to the punch or what, but whatever the case may be, Englehart’s issue appears to be an aberration, as obviously that gem did not appear to be a soul gem.

However, when Bill Mantlo, John Byrne and Dave Hunt did an issue of Marvel Team-Up (#55) there we seemed to truly see the other soul gems…



The Gardener makes his intro…




Soon after, Starlin used the soul gems in the pages of Warlock’s classic last (initial) storyline, the two-parter in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (with Joe Rubinstein as his co-artist). Here, from Avengers Annual #7…



Here are the Avengers destroying Thanos’ gem..


Fast forward to the return of Thanos in the early 1990s by Starlin. Here, in Thanos Quest (the prelude to the Infinity Gauntlet, with art by Ron Lim and John Beatty), Thanos goes to collect the soul gems…


After getting the Champion’s soul gem, Thanos notes that calling them ALL “soul gems” is probably inaccurate, since only the first gem really has to do with the soul. So he decided to give them a new name…


By the way, to get back to the Englehart-introduced Mind Gem, here is the Mind Gem from Thanos Quest (and every story featuring the gems since)…


So again, I think we can treat that story as an error by the people who controlled the Mind Gem in that story. They believed it to be a Mind Gem but they were mistaken.

In any event, the gems have been the infinity gems ever since. Most notably in the Infinity Gauntlet…


But now as the Infinity Stones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.