Avengers: Infinity War is hitting theaters any minute now, and it is in many ways the culmination of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been putting up for over a decade. Massive purple baddie Thanos is really on a tear to receive his hands to the cryptic glowing crystals that have functioned since the McGuffins of several Avengers-adjacent films since Captain America: The First Avenger. However, what the hell are those "Infinity Stones" anyways? Come with us on a deep dive into continuity as we investigate these powerful artifacts of Marvel's cosmic mythology.
When you consider Marvel Comics, one of the things that stand Outside is the fact that the world supports both street-level heroes such as Daredevil and Spider-Man and more cosmic tales. The master of the second type of narrative is Jim Starlin that reached the company in the early 1970s on Iron Man. In just three issues on this publication, Starlin introduced among the business's most iconic villains -- Thanos, the Mad Titan, also a potent immortal obsessed with passing.
From there, Starlin moved on to titles like Captain Marvel along with Warlock. In that second Book, the titular character was given a gift by the mysterious High Evolutionary -- a green bauble affixed to his forehead known as the Soul Gem that gave him a wide variety of abilities. This was the first time we'd see an Infinity Stone, but far from the last.
Warlock would Wind up sucked inside their Soul Gem following a struggle With the evil Magus, but Thanos needed his desire moist by them and shortly constructed all six for the first time. He uses them to power a large crystal that will negate every celebrity in the universe before being stopped by the Avengers and other personalities. The gems were scattered into the winds for over a decade before Starlin came back to the company and also used them to establish a crossover that could change everything.
For much of the 1970s and 1980s, the Infinity Stones were in the Ownership of the Elders of the Universe, a motley crew of immortals who have been knocking on the Marvel cosmos since their races went extinct. Each person has their own thing -- the Collector collects, the Gardener gardens, the Grandmaster likes to make people struggle -- and they used their jewels to heighten their innate abilities.
The Elders appeared piecemeal in Marvel novels throughout the decade but came together as part of a plot to murder the planet-devouring Galactus, one of the few things which may go toe-to-toe together. After being consumed by the big G, the Elders can give him a case of"cosmic perspiration" and nearly end his danger to the cosmos.
The five Elders who bore Infinity Stones -- Champion, Collector, Gardener, Grandmaster, and Runner -- were hunted down by Thanos from the pages of Silver Surfer, where he humbled each subsequently and built the rocks under his command for the very first time.
Next time the Stones came together in 1 area was in 1991 limited Series The Infinity Gauntlet that attracted Jim Starlin in to pen a large crossover where Thanos would eventually get what he desired. Inside, the Mad Titan seizes the six Stones in their mounts and holders them at a shimmering golden glove, obtaining the ability of a god. He uses it to kill half the living beings in the universe immediately, but if even that does not win Death's heart, he causes all sorts of chaos before Adam Warlock separates the Stone and allocates them to six unique beings called the Infinity Watch.
It is not long until the Stone have been brought together again by Warlock's bad future self Magus. After he's thwarted, inanimate thing Eternity decrees they might never be used in conjunction still, and various other things occur to the magical stones till they return to Earth and so are taken custody of by the Illuminati, a secret group of heroes including Reed Richards, Charles Xavier, and Namor.
After the events of Secret Wars, in which the Marvel world was rebooted, the Stones now look a good deal closer with their cinematic counterparts, making this a fantastic spot to segue into their appearances in other media.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Infinity Stones have been Doled out slowly. We first see the Tesseract at a post-credits scene in Thor. It's a significant role in Captain America: The First Avenger, in which the Red Skull uses it to power his high tech Nazi weaponry. The blue color of the one disagrees with the Space Stone, making sense as Loki uses it The Avengers to start the portal for its Chitauri invasion of Earth.
Next up, the yellow Mind Stone looks in Many Different facets -- First at a team given to Loki that allows him to command the thoughts of mortals, then used by Ultron to make the Vision. Among the biggest mysteries here is the reason Thanos would enable this one from his ownership and provide it to Loki in the first place.
Thor: The Dark Planet saw possibly the strangest Iteration of an Infinity Gem yet -- the red Reality Gem is seen as a giant cloud of energy known as the Aether that may destroy anything it touches. It's given to the Collector at the end of that film, which will probably turn out to have been a terrible idea.
Ronan, the Accuser, hunts down the Power Stone for Thanos at Guardians of the Galaxy but Is prevented from using it to destroy Xandar from Star-Lord, and it's entrusted to the Nova Corps. I am sure they will do an excellent job of keeping it safe.
Back to Doctor Strange, The Master of the Mystic Arts employs the Time Stone to snare Dormammu into a repeating loop until he agrees to knock off back into the Dark Dimension and leave Earth alone. The green stone is hidden off at Kamar-Taj.
The sole gem we have not seen in the MCU is the One Which started it All -- the Soul Stone, that has now been colored orange. The Conclusion of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 watched the Sovereign folks constructing an artificial humanoid in a gold cocoon much like Warlock -- as well as naming him Adam -- therefore it's likely he'll come in the fray wielding it.
We've also seen the Stones in a few videos games, most notably Capcom's fighters who utilize them to let combatants access special abilities and buffs. Since their introduction, they have been one of Marvel's go-to artifacts Of massive power, near the Cube and the Ultimate Nullifier. Together with the Movie coming out, they are publishing Infinity Countdown, a mini-series that rustles up a few of the line's greatest Heroes and puts them on a quest to prevent Hank Pym -- now merged with Ultron -- From putting the band back together and also judgment the universe.