We’ve been waiting 10 years to see Avengers: Infinity War, and when it all comes down to it, all that wait has been building up to the Infinity Stones. The all-powerful cosmic MacGuffins have been present in the Marvel cinematic universe ever since Captain America: The First Avenger (the Space Stone in the form of the Tesseract) and since then they’ve been present in one form or another as the mysterious objects that power-hungry bad guys crave.
From the Aether in Thor: The Dark World, Loki’s Scepter in Avengers all the way through to the Eye of Agamotto in Doctor Strange, the Infinity Stones have taken on hidden forms throughout the majority of Marvel’s movies, with the exception of the still hidden Soul Stone. There’s no denying that they’re powerful objects in their own right, but Thanos is on his way to Earth to collect them all and become a nigh-omnipotent god, wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet. How do these Infinity Stones compare to the original Infinity Gems from the Marvel comics on which the movies are based? Let us here at CBR guide you, as we run down the definitive ranking of every Infinity Gem and Stone, from the least powerful to the most powerful of them all!
18. HONORABLE MENTION: SOUL STONE
In order to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos must obtain all six of the Infinity Stones. With each one alone granting him unimaginable power, when they are collected together, they enhance each other to a godlike level, making the bearer the most powerful being in all of existence.
While we’ve so far seen five of the Infinity Stones in the MCU, we’re still yet to see the sixth: the Soul Stone. There have been plenty of rumors circulating about just where it is and what form it has taken — has it been in front of us the whole time? Does Thanos already have it? Is it within Tony Stark? — we’ll all have to wait for Avengers: Infinity War to find out exactly where this missing Soul Stone is hiding. As such, we can’t yet rank it on our list.
17. RHYTHM STONE
The Super Hero Squad was a Marvel animated series that ran for 52 episodes from 2009 to 2011. If you don’t remember the show itself then you’re sure to have seen the toys, as the series had a significant merchandising push of its super stylized versions of all your favorite Marvel heroes.
When Thanos invaded the show, his goal was the same as it always is: to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet. The show actually included the seventh Infinity Stone — the Ego Stone — in its continuity, but the Rhythm Stone — a mysterious, pink gem — turned out to be created by Loki, god of mischief, as a deception rather than a new, eighth stone. Not really displaying any powers other than the power to deceive, it was soon revealed to be a fake.
16. BUILD STONE
In true Lego fashion, if an eighth Infinity Stone was to exist in the continuity of its fun-filled take on Marvel heroes, it was destined to be called the Build Stone. Created for the original animated feature Lego Marvel Super Heroes – Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat, the red Build Stone allowed the bearer to build any weapon they desire.
The 22-minute computer animated movie is a lot of fun and features all the major characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy universe in their cute Lego forms. Ronan the Accuser and Nebula have obtained the Build Stone for their master Thanos when it’s stolen from them by Yondu and the Ravagers. The Guardians of the Galaxy step in, compete with the Ravagers for the stone and successfully deliver it to the Avengers for safe-keeping.
15. ULTIMATE UNIVERSE GEMS
We’re counting all of these in one entry, as while they’re similar in name and appearance to the gems in the main 616 Marvel universe, they’re not seen for that much time. When they are, they’re nowhere near as powerful as those from either the main universe comics or their movie counterparts.
The Ultimate Universe (Earth 1610) took a lot of its storyline cues from recognizable moments in Marvel comics history, putting their own spin on things like the Coming of Galactus and the Clone Saga. When The Ultimates are faced with saving the world from the Infinity Gems, it’s not Thanos after the Gauntlet, but the Dark Ultimates, made up of Kang the Conqueror, Reed Richards, Hulk, and Quicksilver. The villains are beaten and the gems are shattered, rendering the Gauntlet useless.
14. DEATH STONE
There have been numerous fake stones created over the years; gems used to manipulate or deceive, but the Death Stone was used in the 2015 limited series Infinity Gauntlet to defeat Thanos once and for all. Not to be confused with the seminal 1991 event of the same name, this Infinity Gauntlet series was a five-issue story set within the Battleworld universe of Secret Wars.
Secret Wars established a reality governed by Emperor Doom, and for a while in 2015, all of Marvel’s output was made of limited series that told various stories based on this patchwork universe. One of those — Infinity Gauntlet — followed a family as they battle Thanos for the fabled Infinity Stones. Newly appointed Nova Anwen Bakian fooled Thanos into assembling a Gauntlet with this Death Stone, which lived up to its name and turned the Mad Titan to dust.
13. EGO GEM
The ’90s were a rough time for comics. There were some outstanding success stories — such as the birth of Image comics, as well as original characters being created like Deadpool and Cable — but the speculator boom and bust saw many changes in the comics landscape.
Malibu comics, a smaller publisher similar to Valiant, was purchased in 1994 by Marvel, which then proceeded to cancel the entire line of comics, relaunching some of the more popular ones as crossovers with Marvel heroes. This is where the Ego Gem came from, a mysterious seventh Gem that contained the essence of the being known as Nemesis. She first appeared in Avengers/Ultraverse #1, and it was claimed that her cosmic form was cast into the seven Infinity Gems eons ago. The Ego Gem, once united with the other gems, caused Nemesis to be reborn.
12. SPACE STONE
Otherwise known as the Tesseract, the Space Stone was the first of the six Infinity Stones revealed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unknown to moviegoers at the time, the Red Skull’s Cosmic Cube — aka the MacGuffin of Captain America: The First Avenger — has become a constant presence in the MCU, being used in 2012’s Avengers and spotted near the end of Thor: Ragnarok.
It was the first time we were introduced to the idea of Infinity Stones hiding within items of exceptional power, something that would become a staple of the MCU moving forward. Aside from being used by Johann Schmidt during WWII to power unspeakable weapons that formed the origin of Hydra, the Tesseract was used by Loki to open a portal above New York City, allowing the Chitauri invasion of Earth to begin, and later by Odin to rebuild the Rainbow Bridge.
11. WISHING GEMS
Before the patchwork planet of Battleworld in Secret Wars, there was the years-long epic storyline involving the incursion of infinite universes, multiple Earths colliding into each other as the multiverse collapsed in on itself. The Illuminati — a hidden cabal of heroes — faced unimaginable choices as they decided to destroy universe after universe in order to save their own.
One such universe housed The Great Society — a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of DC’s Justice League — who took over the protection of their world when their Avengers died in a previous cataclysm. In this universe, all of the gems are square planes, six units of power that come together to form a version of the Cosmic Cube known as the Wishing Cube. It wasn’t enough to save them, though, as their universe succumbed to the incursions that destroyed countless universes.
10. POWER STONE
Capable of annihilating entire planets and civilizations, the Power Stone first emerged in the cinematic universe as an orb in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Hidden away on the planet Morag, where it was safely stored in a tomb, it was later found and stolen by the Legendary Star-lord.
Already coveted by Thanos, the Orb was being hunted by the Mad Titan’s Kree warrior, Ronan the Accuser, who stole it and was planning on using it to wipe out the planet Xandar, home of the galactic space police known as the Nova Corps. If the stone touched the surface of the planet, it would wipe out the largest peacekeeping force in the galaxy. To stop Ronan, it took the combined power of the Guardians of the Galaxy, who all joined hands to stop the Power Stone’s corrosive force from obliterating them completely.
9. MIND STONE
The second Infinity Stone to be revealed in the MCU, the Mind Stone was used by Loki in Avengers to control the will of individuals like Doctor Martin Selvig and Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye. Housed in a golden scepter, Loki used the Mind Stone to enact his plan of unleashing the forces of the Chitauri onto Earth, part of a bargain he made with Thanos the Mad Titan.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, it was revealed that the scepter had fallen into the hands of Hydra, who used it to induce superhuman powers in the Maximoff twins, Wanda and Pietro. Later, the scepter was broken by Ultron, who released the Mind Stone within and used it to bring life to his artificially intelligent creation Vision, who went on to betray his creator and become a powerful and prominent member of the Avengers.
8. MIND GEM
One of the all-powerful Infinity Gems from Marvel comics history, the Mind Gem was first introduced in Captain Marvel #41 from 1975. Similar to its MCU counterpart, the Mind Gem grants the user Telepathy, Telekinesis and enhanced mental abilities all across the board, as well as enhancing those already notable skills in the bearer.
Uncovered by the Kree Supreme Intelligence on Deneb IV, the Mind Gem is not only able to absorb the minds of individuals but to project emotion and mind-controlling intent across an entire planet if not further. It was used by the resistance fighters of Deneb IV to enhance the violent rage in its fighters, causing the bloody war on their planet to intensify. The gem’s powers were thwarted by Captain Marvel and Rick Jones, and the gem was lost under the planet’s surface until it was successful retrieval by Thanos.
7. POWER GEM
The red Power Gem was first introduced in Marvel Team-Up #55 from 1977 and was in the possession of The Stranger, an ancient cosmic being who had discovered that the Power Gem was part of a set, and went on a mission to track down the rest. He chased down Adam Warlock and attempted to steal the Soul Gem from him, until he was defeated by, among other people, Spider-Man.
The Power Gem is said to grant the bearer access to all of the power and energy that has ever or will ever exist in the universe. Like the other Gems, the Power Gem combines with and enhances every other Gem it comes into contact with, boosting their power immensely. It grants the user unlimited stamina and strength and can duplicate the powers of any other individual or machine.
6. REALITY STONE
Another Infinity Stone hidden in a different form, the Reality Stone was revealed to be laying dormant as a viscous liquid in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. Known in this state as the Aether, the Reality Stone was taken by Malekith, the evil leader of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim as part of his plan to cover the Nine Realms in darkness.
The Aether is symbiotic in nature, meaning it can be absorbed by a host and used to warp reality to their will. Malekith was granted immense power, strength, and durability by the Aether, and his plan to bring about the end of the Nine Realms was only thwarted by Thor and Jane Foster. The Aether was last seen in the possession of the Collector on the Space Station known as Knowhere, gifted to him for safe-keeping by the Asgardians following Malekith’s defeat.
5. SOUL GEM
Similar in a way to the Mind Stone from MCU continuity, the Soul Gem was used by a powerful entity to create life in another. In this case, the Soul Gem was used by the High Evolutionary to grant a renewed life to Adam Warlock. It was first introduced in Marvel Premiere #1 from 1972, and it wasn’t until later that Adam Warlock discovered it had a dark side.
The Soul Gem is the only sentient Gem, and Warlock soon found that it was becoming harder and harder to retrain the Gem from its true purpose: the harvesting of souls. As such, the gem can absorb and trap souls within itself, it can unveil the hidden truths of any soul, and possess, attack and imprison any soul that it comes into contact with.
4. SPACE GEM
First stolen by Thanos in Avengers Annual #7 from 1977, the purple Space Gem, when combined in the Gauntlet, is able to grant the user omnipresence, aka the ability to be everywhere at all times. On its own, the Space Gem is still incredibly powerful. It grants the bearer control over all of space, which means that the user can transport themselves or others to anywhere in the universe.
It can warp the distance between two points contrary to any natural laws of physics, and also give its bearer near-unlimited speed and control over the natural existence of objects relative to each other. Following the rebirth of the Marvel Universe after Secret Wars, the newly reformed Space Gem was somehow in the possession of the recently resurrected Wolverine, before he bequeathed it more recently to Black Widow.
3. TIME STONE
The latest Infinity Stone to be discovered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Time Stone was revealed in 2016’s Doctor Strange to be hidden inside the Eye of Agamotto. An ancient artifact that has been associated with Doctor Strange in the comics for decades, in the MCU, the Eye houses the Time Stone and grants immeasurable power over the flow of time.
In the movie, the Time Stone is seen to have the ability to reverse the natural flow of time, to advance time forward to reveal as-yet-unrevealed futures, and trap events or beings within a time loop, presumably for eternity. Its usage is contrary to the natural laws of the universe, and as such was housed in the Eye by the first Sorcerer Supreme, Agamotto, and stored in Kamar-Taj until used by Doctor Strange to save the world.
2. REALITY GEM
Unlike its significantly weaker MCU counterpart, the Reality Gem of the Marvel Comics was able to grant the bearer the ability to rewrite the natural laws of universal reality, making the impossible possible and making such constants as physics, logic, and relativity entirely impotent.
When combined with the other gems, the user can rewrite reality on a universal scale. On its own, however, the Reality Gem can still contravene the laws governing life and death or even to create whole new realities and alternate universes. It was first introduced in Avengers Annual #7 from 1977, where it was revealed that Thanos had wrestled the Reality and Space gems from their storage on a prison planet. The theft of these two gems gave Thanos control of all six, and what followed was the Mad Titan’s first attempt at wielding the mighty Infinity Gauntlet.
1. TIME GEM
Similar to the Time Stone from Doctor Strange, this far more powerful Time Gem gives those who wield it unlimited control over the past, present and every possible future. When combined with the other Infinity Gems, the Time Gem allows the bearer to exist at all points of time simultaneously.
The first known wielder of the Time Gem was the cosmic being known as the Gardener, who used it to create idyllic gardens in inhospitable places like the blue area of the Moon. After he was forced to use its destructive capabilities to defend himself, the Gardener cast it aside until its reclamation by Thanos. More recently, the Time Gem reappeared to drag the Avengers forward through time, showing them multiple possible futures that resulted in their survival following the Incursions. Once it returned them to the present, it shattered, being destroyed until the remaking of the universe following Secret Wars.
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