The Infinity Gauntlet has already made a brief appearance or two in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but the cosmic item is about to gain a lot more exposure on May 4, 2018 when it’s expected to be the main driving force of the third Avengers movie, "Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War."
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On the surface, the Infinity Gauntlet appears to be a simple device for holding the powerful Infinity Stones, but there’s a lot more to this oversized golden glove than first appears. In fact, some of its secrets may even change the way Marvel fans see it and the Infinity Stones in both the comics and films. Here are 15 facts about the Infinity Gauntlet that only the biggest Marvel fans will know.
SPOILER WARNING: The following list contains spoilers for “The Infinity Gauntlet” and “Avengers/Ultraforce” miniseries.
15 IRON MAN WORE IT
During "The Avengers" Volume 4, Issue 12, by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr., Iron Man became the first human to wield the Infinity Gauntlet and all six Infinity Gems. This milestone happened during a story arc which featured a character called the Hood, who was attempting to collect all of the Infinity Gems. After several issues of gem-tracking, which took the Avengers from one corner of the Earth to the other and incorporated characters from other Marvel franchises such as the X-Men, events culminated in a showdown between the Hood, Red Hulk and Iron Man, who, with some sleight of hand, managed to obtain not just all six gems but the Infinity Gauntlet itself.
With the power of the universe at his command, Tony Stark considered using the Infinity Gauntlet to make the world a better place or even resurrect his father and Wasp (who was believed dead at the time), but instead he teleported the Hood to prison and appears to will the gauntlet and the gems out of existence. In reality, though, Iron Man simply moved the Infinity Gauntlet and divvied up the Infinity Gems among the members of the Illuminati.
14 THERE ARE TWO (IN THE MCU)
Most viewers would have seen the mad titan, Thanos, obtain an Infinity Gauntlet during the mid-credits scene at the end of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but eagle-eyed fans would have also glimpsed another Infinity Gauntlet way back in the third MCU film, "Thor." This second Infinity Gauntlet can be seen in the background in Odin’s vault and it appears to contain six Infinity Stones.
Many fans initially assumed that this gauntlet was just an Easter egg and not an authentic Infinity Gauntlet, and of course, this could well be the case, especially since a replica of Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamoto can also be seen in the vault. There is a good argument for Odin’s gauntlet being real however. Odin’s Infinity Gauntlet is right handed and Thanos’ is left handed. The two Infinity Gauntlets could in fact be a pair. The Infinity Stones seen in Odin’s vault though are likely fake and are simply being used for display.
13 IT IS POWERLESS
For all the hubbub made about the Infinity Gauntlet, it may come as a surprise to many to learn that it’s essentially powerless and is little more than a golden glove created to easily hold the Infinity Stones. Any time a character has gotten their hands on the Infinity Gauntlet without any stones in their possession, they’ve found that it actually serves no function whatsoever. Likewise, many heroes and villains have found that it’s a much smarter strategy to hunt down the Infinity Stones themselves than go looking for the Infinity Gauntlet. That glove isn’t going to help anyone, unless their left hand is especially cold.
That’s not to say it isn’t useful, though. Even if someone had hands as large as Thanos’, anyone would find it difficult to keep a hold of six small stones, let alone six small stones containing some of the strongest powers in the universe. Placing them on the back of a hand via an Infinity Gauntlet frees up the hands for everyday tasks, be it for making coffee in the morning or fighting Captain America and the Avengers for control of the universe.
12 NEBULA WORE IT
Nebula first appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and despite being brilliantly portrayed by Karen Gillan (of "Doctor Who" fame) and providing some minor personal drama for Zoe Saldana’s Gamora, viewers could be forgiven for thinking the character is nothing more than a lackey for Thanos. Longtime Marvel Comics readers, however, will know that Nebula is meant for much more, especially with a big screen adaption of "The Infinity Gauntlet" miniseries on the way in 2018’s "Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War."
In "Infinity Gauntlet," by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim, Nebula (who’s Thanos’ granddaughter in the comics and not his daughter as seen in the MCU movies) plays a significant role throughout. She’s captured by Thanos early on and, through the powers of the Infinity Gems, is punished for her lack of loyalty by being placed in a perpetual state of pain between life and death. During the climax of "The Infinity Gauntlet," Nebula gets her revenge on Thanos by stealing the Infinity Gauntlet from him, an action that eventually leads to the saving of the entire universe.
11 INFINITE NAMES
As many would have guessed by now, the Infinity Stones have a variety of different names. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Infinity Stones are referred to as, well, Infinity Stones. In the Marvel comic books, however, they were originally called Soul Gems before being renamed as Infinity Gems, which remains one of their most-used titles to this date. This name change was likely due to the fact that each gem was given its own specific name and purpose, one of which was the Soul Gem.
During the lead up to the massive 2015 “Secret Wars” comic book event, "The New Avengers" series heavily featured alternate universes and gave glimpses at some different versions of the Infinity Gems. On Earth-4290001 ("The New Avengers" Volume 3 Issue 19), the gems were represented as six square panes of glass called, Forever Glass, which could form a powerful object named the Wishing Cube. On Earth-1365, the gems were called, Inu Abanayyartu, which translates as The Stones. These appeared similar to the Infinity Gems in the main 616 universe, so in the words of Shakespeare, "a rose by any other name..."
10 ULTIMATE MARVEL: 2 GAUNTLETS, 8 STONES
In the fan-favorite "Ultimate Comics" line of comic books, which were set in an alternate dimension, there were actually two Infinity Gauntlets and eight Infinity Gems. Each gauntlet was used to contain four Infinity Gems each and, while six of the cosmic objects were identical to the ones most fans knew from the regular Marvel comics (i.e. Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Time, and Soul), the two addition Infinity Gems remain unnamed to this day.
Unlike the Infinity Gems in the main Marvel Universe, which were objects created on an epic cosmic scale, the eight Infinity Gems in the "Ultimate Comics" universe were created on Earth. This made their discovery slightly more believable as the odds of finding a series of powerful gems that had been scattered throughout the entire universe is rather small when considering just how big the universe is. The Marvel movies appear to be going for the cosmic origins for their Infinity Stones, yet it’s possible their inspiration for having two Infinity Gauntlets could have come from the "Ultimate Comics" interpretation. This wouldn’t be the first time the MCU was inspired by "Ultimate Comics," of course.
9 IT HAS ITS LIMITS
The Infinity Gauntlet may be considered one of the more powerful objects in comics, but it has one major limitation; it can only be used in the universe in which it was created. This means that the Infinity Gauntlet and its Infinity Gems from the main Marvel Universe cannot be used in the "Ultimate Comics" universe and visa versa. This limitation does make some sort of logical sense, as the Infinity Gems are often (but not always) associated with the creation of universes or at least are heavily tied to the cosmic powers and beings which have been around since they were created.
There are probably subtle differences between the cosmic makeup of each universe, which prevents the gems from working in a different environment. Kind of like how humans may have trouble breathing in an environment designed for other lifeforms, so too is it impossible to expect the powers of one to work in the atmosphere of another. The gauntlet’s weakness has been a frustration for Marvel’s superheroes on occasion, but it has also proven to be a blessing, like when a certain DC Comics villain got his hands on it. Speaking of which...
8 DC'S DARKSEID WORE IT
The Infinity Gauntlet may be a purely Marvel creation, but that doesn’t mean that characters from other companies haven’t gotten their hands on the cosmic glove. DC Comics’ Darkseid actually got his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet during the 2003 "JLA/Avengers" comic book miniseries, which was produced by both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and written by Kurt Busiek with art from George Perez. In it, the JLA had to collect six powerful objects from both the DC and Marvel universes, one of which was the Infinity Gauntlet.
The Infinity Gauntlet is discovered by Darkseid when it appears on his planet of Apokolips, but he throws it away once he realizes that it is essentially powerless in the DC Universe. The Flash manages to retrieve it soon afterwards, though, and fortunately hands it over to the other heroes. Darkseid obtaining the Infinity Gauntlet is rather ironic as the character is often credited as being the inspiration for Marvel’s Thanos. In fact, Thanos’ creator, Jim Starlin, has made no secret of the fact that the idea of Thanos came from DC’s Darkseid and the other New Gods characters.
7 NO GLOVE, NO LOVE? NOT QUITE
The Infinity Gauntlet may be useful for containing all of the Infinity Stones, but all of them can be used without it in both the comic books and movies. In fact, long before the Gauntlet was conceived, the stones themselves were used as weapons; a tradition that has continued from comics to film. For example, Loki can be seen using the Space and Mind Stones in "Avengers," Malakith activates the Reality Stone in "Thor: The Dark World" and Ronan the Accuser weaponized the Power Stone in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Doctor Strange discovers the Time Stone and uses it to reverse time and create time loops in his first solo film, while the Mind Stone was instrumental in giving Vision consciousness in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." The Mind Stone, which is definitely the most-used Infinity Stone in the MCU so far, was also the source of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s superpowers, though it’s unclear if the stone itself granted them their abilities or if Hydra’s experiments mutated their DNA after the discoveries they made while studying the stone. Regardless of that little mystery, it's clear that each stone can be used individually... but when they're brought together, stand back!
6 IT ISN'T ALL-POWERFUL
The Infinity Gauntlet (while holding the Infinity Stones) may be one of many powerful objects in the universe but it’s not the most powerful. The Infinity Gauntlet couldn’t prevent the colliding of different universes in the lead-up to "Secret Wars," for example, and the newly created Infinity Gauntlet by Doctor Strange still wasn’t powerful enough to defeat Doom and return the multiverse to normal soon afterwards.
There are also several cosmic beings in the Marvel comic books that have been proven to be more powerful than the Infinity Gauntlet. The Living Tribunal is one such being, who not only is more powerful than the Infinity Stones but has actually changed how they function on at least one occasion, like when he prevented them from being used in unison. In "Warlock and the Infinity Watch" #1, he also counteracted its effects with a snap of his fingers. The Living Tribunal was eventually killed by The Beyonders for trying to prevent the incursions from happening before "Secret Wars," which suggests that they were more powerful than both him and The Infinity Gauntlet. There’s also the Marvel cosmic being referred to as The One Above All who is essentially God and master of the entire multiverse.
5 IT'S ALIVE!
The six main Infinity Stones may be used as powerful weapons, but one of them -- the Soul Stone -- is actually sentient and has a mind of its own. The Soul Stone (or Soul Gem) was the first Infinity Stone to appear in the comics and is one of the more mysterious objects in the Marvel Universe. It’s first seen attached to Adam Warlock’s forehead and has the power to manipulate living and dead souls, and can change a person’s physical being.
It can even possess people, as it did to the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Woman in "Silver Surfer" Volume 3 Issue 15, by Steve Englehart and Ron Lim. The Soul Gem can also be used to trap beings inside itself, as was done when Adam Warlock imprisoned Magus during the classic “Infinity War” comic book miniseries. Being the final Infinity Stone to be revealed in the MCU, it’s unknown if the big screen Soul Stone will also have a mind of its own or simply be another powerful object to collect. Time will tell.
4 IT CANNOT DESTROY ITSELF
For all of their power, the Infinity Stones are unable to destroy themselves no matter how hard the owner tries. This revelation was made relatively recently in "The New Avengers: Illuminati" Volume 2 issue 2, by Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed and Jim Cheung. In it, the Fantastic Four’s Mr Fantastic attempted to use the stones to remove them from reality. This didn’t work and the Watcher, Uatu, soon appeared and confirmed that this couldn’t be done as the Infinity Stones are part of the overall cosmic balance. Apparently, destroying them would throw the universe into disarray.
The only solution to preventing others from getting their hands on the Infinity Stones was to hide them in separate locations, which is of course something that has been attempted numerous times in the comics over the years. The same strategy appears to be in play in the MCU as well, with Volstagg stating at the end of "Thor: The Dark World" that, "It’s not wise to keep two Infinity Stones so close together."
3 THE ANIMATED VERSION HAS 5 GEMS
On Earth 12041, the alternate reality where the four animated series, "Ultimate Spider-Man," "Avengers Assemble," "Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H." and "Guardians of the Galaxy" are set, there are only five Infinity Stones. The missing stone is the Soul Stone and it’s unclear why it wasn’t included along with the others, though a possible reason could have something to do with the spirituality associated with it and its powers over living and dead souls. That may be something that Marvel might have wanted to avoid dealing with in these animated shows, which are largely targeted towards young children.
The Infinity Stones first appeared in the season two premiere of “Avengers Assemble” during a battle between the Red Skull and the Avengers, and remained a major driving force of the first half of the season. Their powers were eventually drained by Ultron in the 13th episode, though, and they made little lasting impact on the series going forward.
2 THEY USED TO BE A COSMIC BEING
It would be easy to assume that the Infinity Stones are just powerful cosmic forces that have existed since the time the universe was created, but before they were stones, they were actually a sentient cosmic being. The true origin of the Infinity Stones (or Infinity Gems as they’re called in the comics) is first hinted at in the "Thanos Quest" miniseries by Starlin and Lim, which launched in 1990. In it, Thanos reveals that he learned about the original being in a conversation with an Elder of the Universe called the Runner. Thanos, however, doesn’t mention the being’s name; only that it committed suicide out of loneliness and that its death created the Infinity Gems.
It wasn’t until the "Avengers/Ultraforce" crossover miniseries, written in 1995 by Warren Ellis and George Perez, that the being would be revealed as the female cosmic force, Nemesis, who had partially survived all of these years in the alternate Earth where the Ultraforce characters were located. She attempted to merge with the Infinity Gems to regain her original form, but was eventually defeated and the gems were returned to normal.
1 THERE IS A 7th GEM
In the main Marvel Universe continuity, there is officially a seventh Infinity Gem. Named, the Ego Gem, this orange gem contained the remaining essence of the original cosmic being which created the other six gems, Nemesis. The Ego Gem was discovered by Loki in the "Avengers/Ultraforce" crossover miniseries during his time in the Ultraverse, an alternate Earth which was used to tell stories under the Malibu Comics imprint.
This Ego Gem successfully merged with the Space, Soul, Mind, Power, Reality, and Time Gems to become Nemesis once again, but the powerful cosmic being was defeated in a battle against numerous alternate versions of the Avengers and Ultraforce, and the six main gems returned to normal while the Ego gem appeared to be destroyed. It’s unclear if the Marvel Cinematic Universe will incorporate Nemesis and the Ego Gem into the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity War" film, or if they’ll stick to some ambiguous cosmic origins.
Did any of these facts surprise you and do you know any other bits of interesting Infinity Gauntlet trivia that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War is due for release on May 4th 2018.