WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Infinity Wars #5 by Gerry Duggan, Mike Deodato Jr., Frank Martin and VC's Cory Petit, in stores now.
The Infinity Stones (or Infinity Gems, as Marvel Comics readers knew them to be prior to Secret Wars), have never been shy of mystery. At this point, we all know the power they hold, both individually and collectively, to reshape reality as we know it, something Avengers: Infinity War illustrated to millions of people through the universe-annihilating Mad Titan, Thanos.
They've always been a scary, powerful tool, something the Avengers time and time again have fought to safeguard. In Infinity Wars #5, however, the shroud of mystery surrounding where they come from has finally begun to lift, giving us insight into where exactly these relics originated, and exactly who released items that literally reshape reality into the multiverse.
To recap: The first Infinity Gem, the Soul Gem, debuted in Marvel Premiere #1, when the High Evolutionary gave it to Adam Warlock. As time progressed, and Thanos came hunting for the rest -- Mind, Power, Time, Space and Reality -- we'd learn of their cosmic strengths, but it was always left vague as to how they came into being. Sure, Warlock needed an Infinity Watch to guard them, the Elders of the Universe would warn of the disaster which could occur if one collected them all, and in the wake of Thanos' reshaping half the galaxy, modern stories would see the Illuminati (a secret cabal of Marvel heroes) trying to ensure they didn't fall into the wrong hands, as well.
Still, where they came from remained a mystery, along with who would disperse them throughout space and time. This got even more complex during Infinity Wars when it was revealed every reality in the multiverse has its own set of Infinity Stones. Now, the mystery has been solved (partially, at least) thanks to a glimpse behind this curtain courtesy of the Asgardian god of mischief, Loki.
In the issue, Loki dupes his own version of the Infinity Watch within the Soul World, stealing the six Stones belonging to the main Marvel universe from Gamora, the series' main villain. He does so in order to dive deep into the Quarry of the Gods at the end of time, believing unlimited power awaits him there. But as he enters, everything he -- and we -- knew about the Infinity Stones changes in the blink of an eye.
Once there, the Stones hold no power; they're just ordinary rocks. More so, he sees the area littered with thousands of Stones, confirming that this quarry is where these powerful artifacts are being mined. Loki immediately recognizes the miners as a squad of unique Celestials who are clearly manipulating the fate of the multiverse.
These Celestials have been mining Infinity Stones all along, seeding them out to alternate realities, which means they were always the true architects, and yes, the real gods of the Marvel multiverse. This somewhat aligns with what we saw in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Guardians of the Galaxy, when Benicio del Toro's Collector discussed the singularity that occurred at the beginning of creation. When the Big Bang sparked, its energy gave birth to the six Stones, and audiences saw the Power Stone being wielded by Celestials.
Here, though, they're not just the original owners of the items; these Celestials are the manufacturers! It's an intriguing discovery, one that's fitting to have been discovered by Loki, considering he recently tried to raze the Earth recently with a horde of Dark Celestials. It seems he doesn't know this race as well as he thought, though, and this new batch might pre-date all others. In fact, they may well be the earliest group of Celestials. As it stands, Loki is already demanding answers from them, so we'll simply have to wait as he asks these questions, because he's obviously just as shocked as we are with this discovery.