As it gets set to be used in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, interest in the famed Infinity Gauntlet has reached an all-time high. However, despite all of the attention that has been paid to the notable cosmic artifact over the years, its origin is surprisingly murky.
The Infinity Gauntlet has been part of a number of storylines since it was first introduced, from Infinity War to both Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman’s runs on Avengers and New Avengers. In each of those stories, there is a physical gauntlet that is then used to hold the various Infinity Stones (typically referred to as Infinity Gems in the comics before recently taking on the name used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is the Infinity Stones). Therefore, the glove has become an important and established part of the Marvel Universe. With that in mind, though, can you even recall the glove existing before the Infinity Gauntlet crossover in 1991? Where did the Infinity Gauntlet come from, exactly?
We first learned about the Infinity Gems when the High Evolutionary gave Adam Warlock the soul gem with the mission of taking down the evil Man-Beast on the alternate Earth called (appropriately enough) Counter-Earth, in Marvel Premiere #1 (by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane). (This is also when Warlock gained the name Adam Warlock to begin with – as before this point he was just sort of aimlessly going through the galaxy known as simply “Him.”)
Adam Warlock eventually graduated from Marvel Premiere into his own ongoing series, Warlock, but it ended after just eight issues in 1973. Two years later, Jim Starlin (who had just done an impressive run on Captain Marvel, in which Starlin heavily featured a cosmic villain, Thanos, who Starlin had introduced in a fill-in issue of Iron Man, as Captain Marvel’s chief rival) was given the chance to revive Warlock’s adventures, first in the pages of Strange Tales and then, once more, in his own ongoing series.
However, despite the critical acclaim that Starlin’s stories earned, the book continued to sell poorly and it was canceled after 15 issues were released. In the final issue of the series, Warlock discovered that his soul gem was actually one of a group of soul gems.
A few years after the series ended, Starlin was wooed back to Marvel to come up with a conclusion to his Warlock adventures. Starlin agreed, and in a two-part adventure in the pages of the Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, Starlin brought the whole thing to a close, including killing off Warlock, Thanos and the other supporting cast members that Starlin had introduced, Pip the Troll and Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the galaxy.
That final storyline saw someone try to bring all of the Soul Gems together for the first time, as Thanos created a giant sort of Cosmic Egg that would be powered by the six Soul Gems…
As noted, the story ended with pretty much everyone dead, but this being comics, you know that that was not the end of it all. A decade later, Jim Starlin returned to comics and he soon introduced the Infinity Gauntlet to the world…
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