The Infinity Gems are a number of artifacts that feature in Marvel Comics.
They were extremely powerful gems containing the ability to control Time (orange), Space (purple), Reality (yellow), Mind (blue), Power (red), and the Soul (green). They were apparently once part of a being of infinite power, known as Nemesis, that lived before existence- but lived alone. It supposedly destroyed itself from loneliness, leaving the Gems- and all realities- as its remains. Its sentience remained as the Ego Gem- which was separated from the others for a time. The other Gems were originally scattered across the universe. The mad Titanian Thanos gathered the Infinity Gems together once into a weapon, with which he planned to destroy the universe- he was stopped by Adam Warlock, at the cost of Warlock's- and Thanos'- lives.
The Gems were given to five of the Elders of the Universe- the Time Gem to the Gardener, the Space Gem to the Runner, the Reality Gem to the Collector, and the Mind Gem to the Grandmaster. The Soul Gem was an exception, granted to the In-Betweener. Thanos, resurrected from the dead by Mistress Death, confronted these guardians and gathered the Infinity Gems once more, forming them into the Infinity Gauntlet.
With absolute power over all existence, Thanos slew half of the universe's population to please his mistress. A force of superheroes attacked Thanos, but he defeated them all- this was followed by a force of cosmic beings, including Eternity himself. Thanos barely defeated them, becoming one with the universe- but leaving his physical body vulnerable, allowing Nebula to take the Gauntlet for herself. Less experienced in its power, Nebula was attacked by the remaining heroes and cosmic beings, while the resurrected Adam Warlock used his connection to the Soul Gem to disrupt the Gauntlet from within, taking it for himself.
Eventually, Eternity petitioned the Living Tribunal to prevent the Gems from being used in unison again, and Warlock eventually agreed to this decision. He formed the Infinity Watch, giving the Gems to Gamora (Time), Pip the Troll (Space), Moondragon (Mind), and Drax the Destroyer (Power). He kept the Soul Gem for himself, and entrusted the Reality Gem (secretly) to none other than Thanos. The Gems were reunited briefly by the Magus, when the Tribunal's edict was temporarily lifted, but the Reality Gem was not part of the equation and the Magus was defeated through that deficiency. The Infinity Gems were given back to their owners again.
Sometime later, the entity known as Rune, who hailed from another reality, took the Gems from the Watch and attempted to use them together himself. The Living Tribunal detected this, and sent the Silver Surfer to battle Rune. The creature, unused to the infinite, was defeated, but the Gems were scattered across Rune's home universe. Warlock disbanded the Infinity Watch and went into Rune's reality to retrieve the Infinity Gems.
The Gems temporarily merged with the Ego Gem to reform Nemesis, which temporarily created the Sketch World (a pocket dimension combining elements of Rune's "Ultraverse" with Earth-616). Nemesis was destroyed by the combined forces of Ultraforce and the Avengers, shattering the link between the gems. They split into individual beings, and the Reality and Time Gems worked together to stabilize- if not undo- the warping effects Nemesis' power had on the Ultraverse.
Whilst at the Raft, the Hood came to learn of the existence of the Infinity Gems from an Inhuman prisoner. He managed to secure his escape from the prison and went on a quest to claim their power. (Avengers v4 #9) This saw him travelling first to the Himalayas to the former site of Attilan where he took the Reality Gem from the underground catacombs. (Avengers v4 #1) With its power, he managed to enter into a pocket dimension Reed Richards maintained to hold the Power Gem which he tested against the Red Hulk. (Avengers v4 #2) The claiming of the gems attracted the attention of the Illuminati and the Avengers who moved to try to secure the remaining gems. (Avengers v4 #9) This saw a battle between the heroes against the Hood in trying to claim the last of the gems. Ultimately, Iron Man managed to gain the majority of the gems which called on their compatriots with the Hood and formed the Infinity Gauntlet. With its power, he sent the Hood back to his prison cell and seemingly willed the destruction of the stones. However, in reality, he had sent them away secretly where he distributed the gems for safekeeping to the members of the Illuminati with Steve Rogers joining their ranks to hold onto one of the gems. This was done so because he feared that the gems destruction would cause some unknown effect and the best approach was to make the world believe they were destroyed with this act being hidden in an effort to better protect the stones. (Avengers v4 #12)
Strange then called a meeting of the Infinity Watch in order to protect them as he feared that Thanos would come to claim them once again. A fight erupted at the meeting on Earth which was when Requiem who was revealed to be Gamora that was gathering the stones for herself. (Infinity Wars v1 #1)
With Devondra defeated, the heroes sought to restore the universe yet keep Warp World and its inhabitants still alive. Thus, they copied Warp World and its inhabitants who were placed inside a facet of the Soul Stone. They then departed as Devondra’s world collapsed and was destroyed as the universe was restored. Adam Warlock later imbued the stone with a souls alongside the other gems in an effort to stop conflict from spiralling over ownership of the cosmic relics. Each of the stones departed as they made their own choices on their respective destinies with Warlock intending to keep the Soul Stone as he had a special relationship with it. However, the gem like its compatriots decided to also depart into deep space. (Infinity Wars v1 #6)
Individually, each gem possessed an awesome power but together they could achieve all the desires of their wielder. (Avengers Annual v1 #7) The Infinity Stones were described as being a kind of computer code for universe with them being the source code that allowed the user to rewrite reality around them or even transverse different realities. (All-New Guardians of the Galaxy v1 #10) Within them, the stones possessed strange small worlds that had curious terrains. (Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker v1 #2)
There were multiple stones that included the:
- Soul Gem :
- Power Gem : It possessed its own pocket world within it that was known as the Arena that was a realm of eternal contests and champions with only those of great power being able to endure there. (Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker v1 #2)
- Time Gem : It possessed its own pocket world within it that was known as the Ellipsis that caused individuals to go through existence from various points in their timeline from their birth to old age. (Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker v1 #3)
- Reality Gem : It possessed its own pocket world within it that was known as the World Pool that looked at various realities within the Multiverse and was home to female cosmic being Archivus who served as a chronicler. (Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker v1 #3)
- Space Gem : It possessed its own pocket world within it that was known as the Vast that was an endless emptiness of space. (Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker v1 #3)
- Mind Gem :
The stones were said to operate as a kind of infinity circuit and had to be navigated in order if one wanted to travel to a specific realm within a gem. (Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker v1 #3)
- The Infinity Gems was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane where they made their first appearance in Marvel Premiere v1 #1 (April, 1972).
In other media
- In Avengers Assemble, the Infinity Stones appeared in the setting of the animated television series where they featured in the second season. Within the continuity of the show, there were only five stones with the Soul Stone not present in this setting.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Infinity Stones made multiple appearances in the shared continuity setting:
- In Avengers: Infinity War, the Infinity Stones featured heavily in the setting of the live-action film as Thanos began to claim their power with him constructing the Infinity Gauntlet to wield them all.
- In Avengers: Endgame, the Infinity Stones returned in the live-action film where Thanos after purging half the universe of life then used the stones to destroy themselves. This was to ensure no one could undo his wish though the act left him badly wounded and crippled with the vengeful Avengers killing him. Afterwards, the Avengers sought to use the Quantum Realm to travel into the past to claim the stones in order to restore everyone to life.
- In Marvel: Contest of Champions, the Infinity Stones appeared in the setting of the mobile video game. They were gathered by Thanos only for them to be shattered from his gauntlet causing them to be scattered across the Battlerealm. New stones were created in the setting of the game with these being the black gem Death Stone which was a copy of reality but dead and soulless, the Chaos Stone, the Evolution Stone, the Genesis Stone and the War Stone.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the Infinity Stones feature in the story of the fighting video game and featured as a gameplay mechanic where they could be equipped to enhance a characters particular abilities. During the story mode, it was revealed that Death and Jedah Dohma created a pact between themselves to balance the scales between life and death in their respective universes with them requiring the Infinity Stones. The stones were given to select individuals to achieve this goal. However, Ultron and Sigma decided to turn on their allies and formed their own pact where they merged to become Ultron Sigma who unleashed the Sigma Virus to eliminate all organic life as the two universes began to merge with one another.
- In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, the Infinity Stones featured in the setting of the Wii video game. It was said that they were created in an area known as the Heart of Infinity where the six stones could rewrite reality itself. The users could also use them to summon the Infinity Armor though wearing it was a curse on the user with Thanos only ever manifesting a part of it which was the Infinity Gauntlet. The Stones were recovered by the Kree who alongside Nebula intended to hide them from Thanos. The Guardians of the Galaxy unwittingly discovered them and in an attempt to protect them they transported themselves along with the gems to Earth. Once there, they were scattered on the planet with the Guardians working alongside the Avengers and other heroes to recover the stones before Thanos claimed them.
- Marvel Premiere v1:
- New Avengers v1:
- Avengers v4:
- All-New Guardians of the Galaxy v1:
- Guardians of the Galaxy:
- Infinity Countdown v1:
- Infinity Wars v1: