The Infinity Gauntlet is one of the most powerful objects in all of reality. It’s used to combine the six Infinity Gems, which give the wearer control of the soul, power, time, space, reality and mind. In the Marvel movies, the Infinity Gauntlet has been teased since the very first “Thor” movie, where it was briefly shown in Odin’s treasure room. The end credits of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” revealed that Thanos is also in possession of one and plans to use it to attack the Earth.
In the comics, not just anyone can don this powerful weapon. The power has been known to drive the wearer mad, and the results can be catastrophic. That hasn’t stopped it from being passed around, however. Here are 16 people who have worn the Infinity Gauntlet.
The six Infinity Gems were first brought together by Thanos during the miniseries “Thanos Quest” (1990) by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim. After recently being resurrected, Thanos is still madly in love with Death, the personification of the end of life. In order to impress Death, Thanos plans to help shift the balance of the universe away from life and back towards death. In order to do so, Thanos collects the six powerful gems, which requires him to take on several of the most powerful cosmic entities in the universe.
Once the gems are acquired, Thanos reports back to Death to see if she’ll now accept his love. While Death is impressed, Thanos’ plan backfired, because the power the gems give to him make him omnipotent, and Death now considers herself to be beneath him. The mad titan next appears in “Silver Surfer” #44, also by Starlin and Lim, where he’s now brandishing the gems in the gauntlet and is becoming more and more skilled in the use of the newfound powers it grants him. The events of this book would lead to Starlin’s epic “Infinity Gauntlet” story, where Thanos uses the gauntlet to wipe out half the life in universe.
During the prelude to “Infinity Gauntlet,” Thanos comes across his ‘granddaughter,’ Nebula, and transformed her into a walking corpse, taking pleasure in her constant suffering. Thanos then went on to kill half the life in universe, fights off an attack by the heroes of Earth, and then during “Infinity Gauntlet” #5 (1991), Thanos defeated the remaining cosmic entities, including Eternity. With this, Thanos had become the true master of all reality and abandoned his body, becoming one with the universe.
Thanos had seemingly won, until the zombie like Nebula took advantage of Thanos’ comatose body to steal the Infinity Gauntlet from him, stealing all of Thanos’ new power. She then undid all of Thanos’ actions, restoring all of the lost lives.As Nebula was still evil and mad with omnipotence, her only motivation for doing this was so that she could anger Thanos. Luckily, she had accidentally resurrected the slain cosmic entities, so Adam Warlock led Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer into battle with her, where she lost the gauntlet.
13. ADAM WARLOCK
While Nebula battled with the cosmic entities in “Infinity Gauntlet” #6 (1991) by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim, Adam Warlock transferred himself into the soul gem. There, his power was magnified and he used it to reach out to the other gems, disrupting Nebula’s hold over them. When she lost the Gauntlet, Warlock appeared and took the gauntlet for himself, now granting him the power of omnipotence. He then undid all of the damage that Nebula and Thanos had done.
Like the others, Warlock didn’t hold onto the gauntlet for very long. He was confronted by the Living Tribunal, who claimed that Warlock couldn’t handle the power and forced him to disperse the gems or lose their power completely. In “Warlock and the Infinity Watch” #2 (1992) by Jim Starlin and Angel Medina, he disperses the gems between himself, Gamora, Drax, Pip and Moondragon, forming the titular group of the book. Unfortunately, Warlock’s time with the gauntlet would have lasting repercussions.
When Warlock held the gauntlet, he decided to make himself a being of pure logic. This purged the good and evil parts of his soul, creating two new beings: Goddess, the good half, and Magus, the evil half. Magus uses several cosmic cubes to fight eternity and create evil doppelgangers of Earth’s heroes. During this time period, Eternity also decides to make it so that the Infinity Gems can no longer be used together, rendering the Infinity Gauntlet essentially powerless.
Magus is able to get his hands on the de-powered gauntlet in “Infinity War” #5 (1992) by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim. Galactus, meanwhile, confronts Eternity and has him reactivate the Infinity Gauntlet. Magus seemingly obtains omnipotence, but fortunately, Thanos had replaced the Reality Gem with a fake one, denying Magus full control of the gauntlet. The villain is defeated and placed within the Soul Gem, which unfortunately also leaves Adam Warlock in a coma, although he was soon revived by Eternity.
11. REED RICHARDS
After the events of “The Kree Skrull War,” Iron Man formed the Illuminati. The secret group consisted of himself, Reed Richards, Namor, Professor X, and Black Bolt and their goal was to meet secretly and attempt to prevent major catastrophes before they could occur. In “New Avengers: Illuminati” #2 (2007) Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed and Jim Cheung, Reed Richards decided that the Infinity Gauntlet was an item the group should take care of before it was used to destroy the Earth.
Richards was able to obtain the gauntlet and three of the gems himself, but needed the groups help for the final three. Using various methods, they open a tear in reality, confront the collective consciousness of reality, and create a time flux that granted them the final three gems. Richards dons the Infinity Gauntlet and tries to will the gems out of existence, but is unable to. He almost loses himself to the power, but is saved when the Watcher shows up. Each member of the Illuminati takes a gem for safe keeping, deciding that it’s best to keep them separate.
10. IRON MAN
While in prison, the Hood discovered the location of the Infinity Gem that belonged to Black Bolt of the Inhumans. During this period of time, Black Bolt was dead and none of the other Inhumans were aware of the gem, leaving it essentially unguarded. Once the Hood obtains that Infinity Stone, he attempts to gather the remaining gems. Due to having obtained his powers from the Norn stones that he had access to while working with Loki, he was now desperate for power.
The Avengers chase the Hood while he goes after the other gems. They finally confront him in “Avengers” #12 (2011) by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr. They try to reason with the Hood, but when he refuses, Iron Man is able to get the gems away from him and don the Infinity Gauntlet. He sends Hood back to prison and then pretends to will the gauntlet out of existence. In reality, he had brought it back to the Illuminati where they decided they needed better hiding spots for each gem.
9. CAPTAIN AMERICA
When the Black Panther discovered an alternate Earth that was about to crash into his Earth, he reported his findings to the Illuminati, which now included Captain America as a member. It was discovered that all of reality was slowly condensing, causing incursions between parallel worlds. If two Earths touched, then both realities would be destroyed. The only way to save both realities was to either destroy one of the Earths, or find a way to push the incursion back.
Being heroes, the group decided to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet and use it to close the next incursion. In “New Avengers” #3 (2013) by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting, Captain America was chosen, due to his strength of character. While he was successful in pushing the approaching realities away from each other, Cap pushed the gauntlet too hard and accidentally destroyed it. This meant that from then on, an incursion could only be stopped by destroying the approaching Earth. When Cap refused to go along with even considering this, the Illuminati wiped his mind of any knowledge of the group and of their actions.
8. BLACK PANTHER
The incursions mentioned in the previous entry continued, eventually causing the complete collapse of the multiverse. Before the collapse occurred, however, Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange discovered that the Beyonders were responsible for the incursions and confronted them. Doom was able to steal their powers, and using pieces of each of the different Earths, created one world called Battleworld that he ruled over as a god. Strange, not fully trusting Doom, secretly placed an Infinity Gauntlet within Battleworld. After the surviving members of the Illuminati arrived on Battleworld, Doom killed Dr Strange in a fit of rage.
In “Secret Wars” #6 (2015) by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic, Black Panther and Namor find Strange’s secret island, where they discover the Infinity Gauntlet. Panther uses it to attack Doom during the final battle in “Secret Wars” #9. After Doom is defeated, Panther then uses the gauntlet to transport himself back in time, to when he first discovered the incursions. This time, however, due to Reed Richards beating Doom and reconstructing reality, no incursion occurs.
When Krona is challenged by the Grandmaster to a duel between universes, the worlds of Marvel and DC comics compete against each other in “JLA/Avengers” (2003), by Kurt Busiek and George Perez. Items of importance are taken from each world and hidden across both of them. Each team is given a list of items to find in order to save their universe. For the Avengers, this includes the Wand of Watoomb, the Cosmic Cube, the Evil Eye of Avalon, and of course, the Infinity Gauntlet.
The heroes are horrified to discover that the Infinity Gauntlet is on Apokolips in the hands of Darkseid, the tyrannical ruler of the planet. Given that Darkseid wants to conquer the universe and is one of the most evil characters to ever exist, this seems like the worst possible outcome. Fortunately, it is discovered that the gems have no power in the DC universe, so the gauntlet is essentially just a fancy glove on Apokolips.
6. LOCKJAW AND THE PET AVENGERS
Even the Avengers need pets, and of course their pets would be super powered. In “Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers” #4 (2009) by Chris Eliopoulos and Ig Guara, Lockjaw, the Inhumans’ dog, discovers the mind gem buried in the blue area of the moon, near the Inhumans’ home of Attilan. Coming in contact with it increases his intelligence. Reed Richards just happens to be there at the same time, looking for the Infinity Gems. Scanning him telepathically, Lockjaw learns how the gems work and how important they are. Using his new smarts, Lockjaw decides to recruit other super powered animals, including Throg (a frog with a sliver of Mjolnir that turns him into a frog Thor), Redwing, Lockheed, Zabu and a cat named Hairball to help him in his quest to gather the other Infinity Stones. They travel through time and space and eventually collect all six gems.
Unfortunately, Thanos discovers that they have the gems and attacks the animals, thinking they’ll be easy prey. Throg fashions a makeshift Infinity Gauntlet out of Lockjaw’s collar, however, granting Lockjaw the full power of the gems. They defeat (a probably embarrassed) Thanos and then turn the gems over to a shocked Reed Richards.
5. ULTIMATE HULK
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, there are actually eight Infinity Gems, which means that there are two Infinity Gauntlets. In “Ultimate Comics: Ultimates” #25 (2011) by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Carmine Di Giandomenico, S.H.I.E.L.D. was originally in possession of both gauntlets and five stones, until Kang arrived and released Bruce Banner from his cell underneath their base, the Triskelion. Banner immediately Hulked out and attacked, and the Ultimates found themselves fighting a Hulk armed with two Infinity Gauntlets. Fortunately, there were still a few stones missing, meaning that the gauntlets weren’t fully powered.
Still, the Hulk was powered up and withstood even the fiercest of attacks from the Ultimates. He was seemingly defeated by an armor built by Tony Stark’s sentient tumor (yes, he had one of those), but it turned out to be a trick created by Reed Richards, who had also escaped custody. He brought along Quicksilver and Kang, and along with the Hulk, they made up the Dark Ultimates. Kang, however, is eventually revealed to be a future version of Sue Storm and the Dark Ultimates fail in using the Infinity Gauntlets to remake reality.
As part of Marvel’s all ages line of comics, “Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet” (2010) by Brian Clevinger, Lee Black and Brian Churilla retold the “Infinity Gauntlet” story in a shorter, more humorous and kid friendly way. This time, Thanos only makes half the universe disappear, instead of killing them. A group of Earth’s heroes, comprised of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel and the Hulk head out into space to fight Thanos. Doctor Doom also shows up, but this is ultimately revealed to be a Doom Bot.
During the fight with Thanos, the heroes are easily knocked around by the omnipotent madman. The Doom Bot, not realizing that it’s not the real Doom, separates the gauntlet from Thanos, but is unable to make it work. As Thanos is trying to retrieve it, Spider-Man snatches it with a web line, dons the gauntlet, and then wishes that Thanos had never come into possession of it. Spider-Man then finds himself back on Earth, with none of the other heroes aware of what happened, or that Spider-Man just saved the entire universe. It’s pretty typical Parker luck.
3. DOCTOR DOOM
During a period when Doctor Doom was working with the Fantastic Four and the Future Foundation, Doom seemingly sacrifices his life to hold off a celestial attack for just enough time to allow all of the right reinforcements to show up and save the Earth. Doom disappears at the end of “FF” #14 (2012) by Jonathan Hickman and Juan Bobillo, but reappears in “FF” #16 (2012) by Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting, and Nick Dragotta.
With the Earth saved, Doom wakes up in the rubble of the headquarters of the International Council of Reed, a group of Reed Richards from multiple realities who don’t have the same morality as the mainstream Reed Richards. Doom discovers two Infinity Gauntlets from alternate realities and promptly puts them on. He then discovers a collection of captured Doctor Dooms from multiple realities, and decides to build his own Parliament of Doom with the use of the gauntlet and these other Dooms.
2. DARK SURFER
“The Super Hero Squad” show was a cartoon based on a similarly named toy line aimed at younger audiences. The tone of the show was often lighthearted and comedic, and often times parodied comic book tropes. That didn’t stop it from telling complex, multi-episode stories. In the season one finale, “This Al Dente Earth!” (2010), the Silver Surfer becomes Galactus’ herald again to steer him away from planets with life on them. Iron Man gives the Surfer the Infinity Sword, unaware of the effects it would have on him.
It’s later revealed that the sword corrupted the Surfer, turning him into the Dark Surfer. When Thanos assembled the Infinity Gauntlet in “Fate of Destiny!” (2011), the Dark Surfer betrayed the heroes and stole the gauntlet for himself. He then scattered the heroes across different dimensions and pushed Earth out of its orbit. Eventually, the heroes regroup and defeat the Surfer, return the Earth to its proper orbit, and then purge the evil from the Dark Surfer, returning him to his heroic Silver Surfer identity.
1. SANTA CLAUS
It turns out that in Marvel’s world, Santa Claus is real. Not only is he real, he’s seemingly friends with Tony Stark. In the “Marvel Holiday Spectacular 2009” (2009) by Brian Reed and Val Semeiks, Iron Man calls together the Illuminati, a group of heroes that secretly meets to solve the world’s biggest problems, and reveals to them that all of Santa’s reindeer turned out to be Skrulls. It’s not clear what happened to the original reindeer, but it’s probably best not to ask.
Santa wants to know if he can borrow the Infinity Gauntlet, so that he can use it to deliver all of the toys in one night. This is a device that once murdered half of the universe’s population, so of course the Illuminati agree to let Santa borrow it. Santa then of course goes insane with power and is only stopped when Namor uses his Atlantean might to throw a snowball at Santa, knocking the glove off. Iron Man then gives Santa some robotic reindeer, which begs the question: if those were an option, then why even give Santa the gauntlet to begin with?
What would you do with the Infinity Gauntlet? Tell us in the comments!
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