How Did Thanos Obtain The Infinity Gems In The Comics?

As we get closer and closer to the release date of Avengers: Infinity War, fans get more and more hyped about the contents of the movie. Honestly, if I was given the choice in between starting my life all over again and watching Infinity War right now, it would be obvious to nerd what I will choose. The reason why Infinity War is so anticipated is that it is the culmination of ten years of movie making by a comic publication that nearly went bankrupt.

The Marvel cinematic universe is not a decade of movies. It’s seventy years of comic history getting the attention that it so rightly deserves. The shared Cinematic universe that Marvel has created will forever go down in the history of filmmaking as the first franchise to cater to the nerd fandom in its raw authenticity.

Let’s talk Infinity War now and not contend how excited the nerd fandom is for this movie. You seem Infinity War was the arc in Marvel comics that snaked the very foundations of the 616 universes. The primary universe of the Marvel comic continuity was threatened by the enraged Thanos when he was given a quest by his love.

That is it!? The nerd community is going crazy over some love quest? How disappointing. Well hold on readers because it is the mad Titan we are talking about, even his love is not someone you could consider a pushover. Thanos was introduced in the comics as the ruler of the dark quadrant. A merciless tyrant who ruled with an iron hand. That is the character description of Thanos. His primary reign of terror ended when the elder of the universe and a handful of heroes decided to put him down for good. It was a hard fought battle but the good guys eventually won and Thanos died.

It was only after his death that Thanos fell in love. He fell in love with the personification of death. The cosmic entity that is comprehended by sentient beings as ‘Death’. This being told Thanos that she needs his help. Thanos acts like a smitten puppy and does Death’s bidding. And why won’t he, Death is all powerful and she is exactly who Thanos perceives as his partner? Someone just as cruel and powerful as he is.

Death is of the opinion that the universe is out of balance. She tells Thanos that the balance of life and death must be restored and to accomplish this purpose the Mad Titan is resurrected by Lady Death to obliterate half of all life in the universe.

Thanos obeys without question, at first he goes about it the traditional way, destroying planet after planet, civilization after civilization. Choking the life out of the race after race. But it’s not enough, it’s never enough, there are too many creatures to kill, even for the all-powerful Mad Titan and life always finds a way.

In his quest, Thanos ultimately lands at the infinity well. The well provides Thanos with the knowledge that he has been looking for. The well shows him the soul gems. Six relics of immense power scattered throughout the universe, in possession of the elders of the universe. Thanos dubs these as the infinity gems and is told by the infinity well how these gems can be used together to accomplish his goals. So this is exactly what Thanos does.

In the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Thanos goes on this quest of collecting the infinity gems from all over the universe, taking on elders and creating all kinds of havoc. This is how Thanos steals every infinity gem in the comics:-

Soul Gem

Unlike the Marvel Cinematic universe which is yet to reveal the location of the soul gem, this was the first infinity gem that Thanos acquired in the comics. The soul stone was in possession of a cosmic entity known as the in-betweener, named for the condition he was stuck in. You see the in-betweener rested between life and death and was subservient to his masters, Lord Chaos and Master Order. He was imprisoned by his masters on account of his conflict with Mistress death.

The soul stone rested on his forehead and the in-betweener thought it a useless possession. Thanos arrived at his prison offering freedom for the soul stone. Although the in-betweener initially agreed to Thanos’ bargain, in reality, he intended to betray the Mad Titan as soon as he was free. That is where things get interesting because once the in-betweener is freed and Thanos obtains the soul gem, the entity is automatically recaptured by the cosmic magic guarding his prison and Thanos moves on.

Power Gem

Originally the power gem was possessed by an elder of the universe known as the “Champion of the universe”. He trained alone on a far-off planet, trying to accomplish wonder, unaware of the fact that the power gem had been enhancing his abilities all this while. The war-torn planet of Tamatara is the location of the confrontation between Thanos and the Champion.

The unawareness of the Champion is his undoing, the Mad Titan uses the champion’s augmented strength to destroy the planet they stand on. This leaves the elder adrift in space to his demise. The. Mad Titan then offers the Champion a passage to another planet for the power stone. The Champion readily agrees.

Time Stone

The time gem was in the possession of an elder of the universe simply known as the gardener. The gardener only purpose to life was to raise and take care of a beautiful garden that he grew himself. He was not a fighter and he did not care for fighting, he was a quite old man who only wanted to tend to his land and yet he faces Thanos on his doorstep.

The gardener and Thanos actually have a very civil conversation before things go to shit, the gardener admits that he does not conceive a possibility where he wins but the elder must try anyway. So the fight begins and the gardener uses the time gem of envelope Thanos in fast-growing vines which are ripped apart by Thanos. Following which the Mad Titan uses the power gem to turn the vines against the gardener himself, the elder dies with vines growing out of his body.

Space Gem

The space gem has always been a matter of great conflict in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being the center of attention for several movies, everywhere Loki leading the charge to obtain the Tesseract and the space stone that resides within. In the comics, however, the space gem was in the possession of an elder of the universe named “The runner”.

Unlike most of his brethren, the runner was aware of Thanos’ arrival. The runner had the ability teleport to anywhere in the, a power he believed was unique to him. What the runner did not know was that he power stemmed from the space gem in his possession.

Now, when the confrontation begins, the runner has the upper hand but Thanos soon turns the tables in his favor by using the power of the time stone and turning the runner first, into a frail old man and then into an infant, claiming the space stone as his own.

Reality Gem

The Reality gem resided in the same place in the comics where it resides in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, within the stockpile of the collector. Thanos reached the collection with the infant runner on his arm. He offered a clear bargain to the collector. The reality gem for the infant runner. A unique addition to his collection in exchange for a piece of cosmic debris(reality stone) that the collector has no idea how to use.

The collector readily agrees and performs the trade. However, soon after Thanos leaves the runner grows back to full size and strength and he is not particularly happy with his fellow elder.

Mind Gem

thanos comics infinity gems

The final stop on Thanos’s journey is the arena of The Grandmaster. Thanos could have stolen the gem off of the grandmaster any number of ways but the elder proposes a virtual game with the prize being the mind gem. Both combatants enter a virtual reality and start their game.

While the Mad Titan and the grandmaster battle, the elder initializes a process to lobotomize Thanos as he battles in the virtual reality. But the Mad Titan was two steps ahead all this time. He had sent an android in his place and then the real Thanos arrives and attains the final infinity gem to completely assemble the infinity gauntlet.

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