During it’s early ’90s introduction, the Infinity Gauntlet is presented as a near omnipotent cosmic artifact with no rival. While we certainly won’t debate the destructive power of the large shiny glove, it’s far from the only source of power in the Marvel Universe, and its possession is far from a guarantee of success. Several times in the past years, we’ve seen wielders of the Infinity Gauntlet lose to more powerful opponents. From Jonathan Hickman’s work on Fantastic Four and New Avengers to Brian Michael Bendis on “Heroic Age” Avengers, we have lots of proof that the Infinity Gauntlet can be overpowered.
More specifically, there are a number of extremely powerful Marvel gods and cosmic entities that can go pound for pound with the infinity Gems. Sure, Marvel’s grandest cosmic abstracts can lose to a clever villain harnessing the power of the Gauntlet (we’re looking at you Thanos), but not before a knock down drag out brouhaha nearly takes down the entire Marvel Universe. “Marvel Legacy” promises the return of the infinity stones, and Infinity War has been building to the Gauntlet. The next time Thanos is looking to bend the world to his whim, he may want to ensure he’s taken these 15 power players off the board first.
It says something about the caliber of the powersets on the list that Odin is one of the least fearsome members of the group. Due to frequently taking a backthrone while Thor goes on another adventure, Odin’s actual might is often understated. Old one eye is all too commonly associated with being a tough love dad and taking epic naps.
Nonetheless, the actual Odinforce is an immensely powerful set of abilities that can rival just about everything the Infinity Gauntlet can do. Odin can warp space and time, and is at least partially responsible for the very formation of Midgard reality. Again, just because the Odinforce is in play doesn’t mean the Infinity Gauntlet is doomed — we’re looking at you MCU Thor — as the wielder of the power needs to know how to manage.
Admittedly, Lady Death holds the most sway over the Infinity Gauntlet when it’s wielded by Thanos. The Mad Titan’s unrequited love for Death — the hooded woman who personifies the very concept in the Marvel U, not to be confused with Dream’s sister from Sandman — is his driving motivation for assembling the gauntlet in the first place. Everything Thanos does is to please his mistress Death, going so far as wiping out half the life in the universe to impress her.
When Thanos wields the gems, Death can halt their tremendous power with a mere glance of disinterest or loathing. Inevitably this will send Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet into a terrible rage more destructive than anything the universe has ever known, but hey for a while it totally holds power over the weapon.
13. THE BEYONDER
Few beings in the entire Marvel Universe match the sheer reality altering power and ability of the Beyonder. Since his debut in 1984 to 1985’s Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars, the white jumpsuit wearing ’80s man has exhibited frightening power and near limitless capacity for shaping everything and everyone around him. Whether he’s promising to fulfil all the dreams of his Battleworld contestants or literally birthing himself to see what it’s like (Secret Wars 2 was a strange time for us all), Beyonder can do it all.
The only saving grace to the Beyonder is that he’s essentially a confused child, desperate to experience the elements of humanity one step at a time. Nonetheless, if he could be tricked or talked into fighting on behalf of those heroes combating an Infinity Gauntlet, the Beyonder is exactly the sort of big time player who could hold his own.
Although best known as the cosmic force of nature merging with the Uncanny X-Men’s Jean Grey, the Phoenix Force is an ages old power and one of the most dangerous known entities. While the connection to the X-Men seemingly brings the Phoenix down to the level of earthbound mutant struggles, the reality is the X-Men have never come particularly close to defeating the Phoenix on their own. Typically, the super-team is reliant on Jean Grey (or other inhabited host) imposing their will on the almost symbiotic wave of destruction.
We’ve recently seen the Phoenix imposing its will upon the likes of Thanos and his son Thane, two Marvel players hardly unfamiliar with the powers of the Infinity Gauntlet. Marvel events like Secret Wars have given short shrift to the Phoenix in recent years, leaving the force as a sleeping giant among Marvel powers.
Eternity (the literal cosmic embodiment of actual eternity, but walking around like a man with planets in his body) is a heavy-hitter even among Marvel’s cosmic hierarchy. More often than not, Eternity has stood as the last line of defense preventing the likes of Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet from unraveling the fabric of all that is.
Recent Marvel cosmic books like Al Ewing and Kenneth Rocafort’s Ultimates have revealed that there is a true multiversal Eternity, containing all multiverse’s Eternity within itself. Sure, this mega Eternity was bound in chains by an even more powerful cosmic jailer, but this only goes to show the might of cosmic aspects in Marvel Comics extends well beyond the reach (no pun intended) of the potent Infinity Gauntlet.
10. GORR THE GOD BUTCHER
The most controversial pick to take on the Infinity Gauntlet single-handed, it’s likely not even Gorr the God Butcher realizes the full depths of his power. Gorr, the god of anti-gods, debuted in Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder. During that arc, we see Gorr not only make mincemeat of three eras of Thor, but assassinate and enslave gods across the multiverse. Gorr asserts his dominance as more powerful than nearly any living god.
Gorr’s manipulations and creations of weapons like All-Black the Necrosword and his God-Bomb give him destructive capabilities rivaling the Infinity Gauntlet. Gorr’s ability to control the Necrosword is particularly telling, as both Galactus and Ego the Living Planet are consumed by the sword’s dark manifestations in future possible timelines.
It stands to reason that of all the cosmic aspects, the one who actually embodies the all-powerful gauntlet’s namesake might stand the best chance of beating it back down. So it goes that Infinity, the sister to Eternity, is ready in waiting to take on the Infinity Gauntlet. If only creators would give Infinity more to do!
For the most part, Infinity has been treated as something of an afterthought among the Marvel pantheon of gods and cosmic entities. Infinity is constantly taking a backseat to her brother Eternity, and while Eternity’s history in Marvel Comics dates back all the way to his amazing introduction by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee in Strange Tales, it’s past time Infinity was given the same spotlight as her brother.
The Celestials are one of the more mysterious and all-powerful classes of being in the Marvel Universe. While the most well-known Celestial might actually be the severed head of one serving as the Guardians of the Galaxy’s space base, Knowhere, these beings are not to be trifled with.
Most recently, Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s Marvel Legacy #1 featured the Stone Age Avengers (Odin, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, etc) discovering an enormous Celestial inhabiting Earth. In the present day, Loki takes on a quest to track down the entombed remains of this Celestial, likely to use the power for his own ends. The potential power of the Celestial is so great that Loki is not even concerned when his Frost Giants lose the infinity gem they set out to capture (to Wolverine in a beer truck no less).
7. THE SHAPER OF WORLDS
The Shaper of Worlds is another great example of near limitless power but no idea how to use it. In “The Last Days of the Silver Surfer,” Dr. Silver Who and Dawn Greenwood are taken from their reality by the Shaper of Worlds as Secret Wars collapses the multiverse around them. Despite Secret Wars representing the end of everything (after all, everything dies), somehow the Shaper of Worlds stands outside the chaos, offering the Surfer and Dawn a chance to start anew.
In the end, the Shaper is betrayed by his herald, Glorian, and the Shaper now exists in Ultimates 2 as a shell of his former self. Indeed the Shaper is reduced to mere cosmic cube fragment power status! The potential to rival even the Infinity Gauntlet remains, though.
Although it sometimes feels like there are 74,000 beings who were the “first” to reign in the Marvel U, Nemesis achieves that rare distinction canonically in Thanos Quest #2. Hey, if you were here before the Infinity Gauntlet was but a gleaming accessory in the cosmic tailor’s eye, you probably have power enough to fight said weapon.
In Nemesis’s case, that’s a severe understatement. Nemesis actually formed the six infinity gems from within her own essence (alongside most of the Marvel Universe just for kicks). Nemesis has primarily stayed out of the spotlight since this time – unless we’re diving deep into that Avengers Ultraverse crossover and the 7th Infinity Gem it revealed, and we most certainly are not — leaving a legacy of ultra powerful infinity gems in her wake.
Galactus is arguably the most well-known cosmic heavy-hitter, with a history connected to Earth’s heroes well before it was ever connected to the vast landscape of Marvel’s cosmos. After all, in “The Coming of Galactus,” the big G did try to eat Earth before the Fantastic Four (and the Watcher) bluffed their way out of it by threatening to destroy everything that ever was. In the years that follow, we’ve gotten a better sense of Galactus’ connection to the cosmic architecture, operating as a necessary force of destruction in the balance of life and death.
Recently with the help of the Ultimates, Galactus has been transformed into the Lifebringer, a reversal of his feared and devastating purpose. There are those like Logos who fear this change in design, but so far it seems possible that Galactus the Lifebringer may be even more powerful than he was as the Devourer.
4. THE ONE ABOVE ALL
A new cosmic power was added to the Marvel Pantheon by Jim Starlin and Alan Davis in Starlin’s new Infinity trilogy (running through Relativity, Entity, and Finale). After Adam Warlock accidentally destroys the universe (classic Warlock), Warlock attempts to contact the One Above All (at the recommendation of Thanos) to restore the universe to what it was. A completely on-the-nose representation of “God” as understood by many religions, the One Above All is understood to be without limit.
In the end, the One Above All agrees to restore the Marvel Universe on the condition that Adam Warlock become the Living Tribunal. Given the Tribunal’s brutal execution at the hands of Logos in Ultimates 2, it’s a wildly confusing bit of continuity that we’re still puzzling out.
3. QUEEN OF NEVERS
The Queen of Nevers, aka the Neverqueen, debuted in Dan Slott and Michael Allred’s excellent Silver Surfer #1 and immediately became one of the most imposing presences in the vast cosmic hierarchy. The Queen of Nevers represents all possible future outcomes, and has been in a relationship with Eternity!
Although the Queen of Nevers didn’t survive the universal collapse of Secret Wars, Dawn Greenwood did will the entity back to life. She has since been seen playing foil to Logos in Ultimates 2, using her vast might to save Marvel’s Celestials from extinction. Any being operating on this scale and dealing with threats this size is a force to be reckoned with, and could easily be the being to overshadow a wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet.
This slot was all set to go to Marvel’s Living Tribunal, the three-headed god of justice we first meet in Doctor Strange’s Strange Tales, but it occurs to us the Tribunal has died more times in the last couple years than the Great Lakes Avengers’ Immortal Man. Since the Tribunal was assassinated in Al Ewing and Travel Foreman’s Ultimates 2 by Lord Chaos and Master Order, it’s only fitting that the newly formed Logos achieve recognition for their cosmic might. Sure, they got here through a cosmic mob hit, but power’s power.
Logos takes advantage of the disruption in realities started by 2015’s Secret Wars, and seeks to reassert themselves as a new cosmic power. Once bit players in the grand design, Chaos and Order absorb the In-Betweener to become the new immensely powerful Logos.
1. EMPEROR GOD DOOM
Emperor God Doom standing up to an Infinity Gauntlet assault isn’t mere conjecture; we’ve seen it play out directly on the page. In Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s 2015 Secret Wars, Doctor Doom saves the Marvel multiverse by essentially becoming god. This being supervillain Doom, he is of course a flawed god, but he is nearly all-powerful nonetheless.
Emperor God Doom stands up to a number of fierce powers, including making mincemeat of Thanos. Black Panther and Namor also confront Doom with an assembled infinity gauntlet, and while this puts Emperor God Doom on his heels, alone it is not enough to stop the reign of Doom. Given the impending closure of a Fox and Disney arrangement that would return Marvel characters to the MCU, an Emperor God Doom vs Infinity Gauntlet rematch may not be as far off as we would have thought.
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