WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War Prelude #2, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
Contrary to widespread expectations, Marvel's Black Panther didn't reveal the location of the sixth Infinity Stone, the Soul Stone. However, this week we learned a little more about the nature of the mysterious cosmic artifact, which is not only the object of Thanos' desire but potentially the greatest threat to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The revelation arrives this week in Marvel Comics' Avengers: Infinity War Prelude #2, by Will Corona Pilgrim and Jorge Fornes, which, as the title suggests, serves as a lead-in to Marvel Studios' highly anticipated ensemble film. While the first issue brought fans up to date on the whereabouts of the key players, this one serves as a primer to the Infinity Stones, as Wong attempts to "enlighten" Doctor Strange about the attributes and whereabouts of each object. (The Time Stone is contained within Strange's Eye of Agamatto, so there's one down).
What follows is effectively a recap of the pertinent MCU films, from 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger to 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron to 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, leaving the Sorcerer Supreme -- and, of course, readers -- with a solid account of where the five previously introduced Infinity Stones now stand. However, it's not merely a walk down cinematic memory lane, as Wong ends his little history lesson on an ominous note, acknowledging, "Little is known about the sixth and final stone -- the Soul Stone -- but if what is known turns out to be true, it could prove to be the biggest threat of them all."
Less ominous is Strange's naive response: "Okay, so, end of the day, as long as no one finds all these stones and puts them together, we're in the clear." That probably won't instill comfort in anyone relying on Marvel's Master of the Mystic Arts to protect this dimension from otherworldly threats -- from Thanos or anyone else, for that matter -- but, hey, at least Wong seems to know the score.
Although the Soul Stone may yet turn up in Wakanda, it wasn't even referenced in director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, which left that particular MCU mystery for May's Infinity War.
“I love the Infinity Stones as much as any comic book fan, it’s just Wakanda already has its thing, which is Vibranium," the filmmaker recently said, explaining the absence of the Soul Stone. "For us, that was special enough, so to throw in something like another special thing didn’t feel right. It felt like we should stick with our one MacGuffin for the country and explore that, let that be the important thing because, frankly we didn’t need to have another piece like that. [Marvel Studios] never really was interested in putting a stone in there, either.”
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie. The film opens May 4.