A six-issue limited series by Marvel Comics
, published in 1991, written by Jim Starlin, pencilled by George Pérez and inked by Ron Lim.Thanos
, the mad Titan, collected the Infinity Gems before the story started. The gems are cosmic MacGuffins
that each granting their wielder great power over an aspect of the universe. There are six gems: Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Power and Reality. When Thanos puts them all on his glove, they form the Infinity Gauntlet, granting him power over basically everything
. Thanos had long been in love with the incarnation of Death and this miniseries is about him trying to use his ultimate power to woo her. He starts by killing half the population of the universe in a second
. The heroes of Earth (and, eventually, basically everywhere else) come for him, led by Captain America and Adam Warlock
. In the ensuing battle, he turns off most of the gems just to prove that he can still do a lot of damage with just one
In the end, the good guys win
and manage to fix the damage Thanos did
, but this 1991 miniseries spawned an ongoing series, two more miniseries that make up a trilogy with this, and cemented the reputation of everyone who worked on it. It was also adapted into two video games by Capcom—an arcade fighting game which serves as a prologue of sorts to the Capcom vs. Whatever
series, and a more traditional platformer with some fighting elements on the SNES. Descriptions of the sequels follow:
The sequel of the Infinity Gauntlet
saga. During Adam Warlock's brief period of power, he subconsciously expelled both good and evil from himself
to be ruled by logic alone. His evil side becomes a new incarnation of Warlock's evil persona, the Magus, who creates evil doppelgangers of Earth's superheroes and, like Thanos before him, tried to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet. While the Infinity Gauntlet
began with Thanos assembling the gauntlet and was all about how he used it, this series was about the Magus's quest to assemble it. He never succeeded, although for a while he and the reader were tricked into thinking that he had
The antagonist of this miniseries was the Goddess, the good part of Warlock, created at the same time as the Magus. She tries to use the power of Cosmic Cubes and Cultlike More than Mind Control
to subvert Earth's more idealistic heroes to serve her against the rest to establish a Utopia by any means necessary
. Defeating her required the help of Mephisto
See also Marvel Super Heroes
, the Capcom Fighting Game
based loosely on the Infinity Gauntlet storyline.
Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War and Infinity Crusade provide examples of:
- Achilles Heel: Gauntlet established that Thanos's weakness is chronic self-defeatism.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Infinity Gauntlet.
- Badass Finger Snap: How Thanos (at the very peak of his godlike powers) kills off half the Universe's population in Gauntlet.
- In some of the supplement comics, snapping his fingers is the most common way that he uses the Infinity Gauntlet also.
- Batman Gambit: The mother of all Gambits happens in the first series, where Adam Warlock manipulates most of earths most powerful heroes, a whole host of universal entities, and sacrifices nearly all of them just to get Thanos to raise his hand at a specific moment. It doesn't work, forcing Warlock to employ a second gambit against the Gauntlet's new owner, Nebula.
- Beyond the Impossible: Thanos' battle with the heroes of Earth is one of the few times Captain America's shield has been broken, something normally impossible. The ending sets it right again.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The heroes who serve under the control of the Goddess in Crusade.
- Breakout Character: Out of all of the evil hero clones created during Infinity War, Spider-Man's Doppelganger went on to become part of Carnage's. He's still around as of 2012.
- Chromatic Arrangement: Power is red, Time is orange, Reality is Yellow, Soul is Green, Mind is Blue and Space is purple.
- Crisis Crossover
- Deal with the Devil: Thanos makes one with Mephisto in order to stop the goddess in Crusade. But see the spoiler below.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: The Magus' Batman Gambit in Infinity War involved the manipulation of some of the Marvel Universe's most powerful cosmic beings, from Galactus up to Eternity and even the Living Tribunal. And the Magus himself was outmaneuvered by Adam Warlock and Thanos.
- Speaking of Thanos, he literally scammed Mephisto at the end of Infinity Crusade. "You wanted a cosmic cube but didn't specify it had to be functioning..."
- This leads to a Badass Boast from Thanos: "Even devils must be careful when making a deal with Thanos of Titan."
- Distaff Counterpart: Believe it or not, Thanos uses the Infinity Gauntlet to create an Amazonian Beauty female version of himself in the form of Terraxia the Terrible in an attempt to replace Death as his consort. She apparently has all of his (non-Infinity Gauntlet) powers as well, in that she is easily able to slay Iron Man and Spider-Man.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Gauntlet. Complicating matters is the fact that the Gems want to be together, and possessing two or three makes the others much easier to find.
- Enemy Mine: Doctor Doom helps the heroes against Thanos.
- Enemy Without: Magus in War and goddess in Crusade (the latter being a rare example of a good-aligned version of the trope).
- Evil Knockoff: The many doppelgangers of Earth's heroes created by Magus in War. Some of them even managed to defeat their good counterparts.
- Gambit Pileup: The plot of Infinity War. The Magus' plan to get the Gauntlet sets off alarm bells everywhere. The heroes of Earth and various cosmic entities have their own diverging opinions about how the gems should be used or protected. Doom and Kang form a temporary alliance to beat him to it. It eventually turns out that the Magus' plan is ridiculously complicated, depending on all the above Unwitting Pawns. And yet it would have worked if the Warlock and Thanos hadn't anticipated it and kept one Gem hidden.
- The middle of Infinity Gauntlet also reaches this point.
- A God Am I: Controlling all of the Infinity Gems grants the wielder omnipotence. In fact, Infinity Gauntlet begins with Mephisto explaining to Thanos just how this trope applies to him.
- Godzilla Threshold: The heroes cross it in War when they decide the only way to stop the Magus is to break out the Gauntlet again. This was the Magus's plan all along; force them to cross the threshold, then steal the Gauntlet from them.
- In the original mini, Adam Warlock's recruiting drive includes Galactus... and he's at the low end of the recruits, which grow to include Lord Chaos and Master Order, the embodiments of Love and Hate, a couple Celestials, the Watcher, the Living Tribunal, and Eternity. The latter is the personification of the universe itself.
- Heel Face Turn: Thanos
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Thanos gets so much power with the Gauntlet that he takes Eternity's place as the incarnation of the universe, but that also means his physical body becomes an empty husk that can be easily separated from the Gauntlet.
- Knight Templar: Goddess, who is more than willing to destroy all of existence so that she can remake it without evil.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Much of the action in Crusade was hero-on-hero. In part because, thanks to mind control, many of the world's villains have surrendered to heroes and are awaiting trial peacefully.
- Light Is Not Good: Despite being decked out in light and wanting to eliminate all evil in existence, the Goddess? Yep. Definitely not good.
- Mr. Seahorse: Adam Warlock goes through a Journey to the Center of the Mind Vision Quest in which he is turned female, culminating with her giving birth.
- No Man Should Have This Power: The ending.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Thanos.
- Out-of-Character Moment: In Infinity War, we all knew that Doctor Doom and Kang would betray each other, but since Doom Will Not Tell a Lie, one would expect a Loophole Abuse moment from him. Instead, he just betrays Kang the old way.
- Doom and Kang both teamed up together to get the Cosmic Cubes. Doom made no arrangement with Kang over the newly-discovered Infinity Gauntlet, which none of them knew about until they snuck in and saw Magnus wearing it. All bets were off after that.
- Red Skies Crossover: During The Infinity War, some Marvel series included brief appearances of the heroes' doppelgangers, but nothing else related to the main plot.
- Set Bonus: The Gauntlet. Justified, as it's mentioned that the Power Gem especially takes the abilities of the others and backs them with its infinite power.
- The Starscream: Thanos' doppelganger to the Magus.
- Mephisto, to Thanos, in Gauntlet.
- Status Quo Is God: At the end of Infinity Gauntlet, all damage is undone. Even the living beings who were wiped out return.
- Also done with similar Hand Waves in the other two parts.
- Sort of. Infinity Gauntlet ended with the formation of a team, the Infinity Watch, intended to guard the Infinity Gems and police cosmic threats of that caliber, and Infinity War left behind at least one doppelganger who lingered as an ongoing villain for a while. In addition, the character of longtime Marvel villain Thanos developed over the course of the trilogy from an Omnicidal Maniac to, almost, Cincinnatus, as he got a taste of ultimate power and realized he didn't really need it. Each miniseries included huge changes that were reset at the end, and Thanos' personality reverted at least partially, but the status quo was hardly preserved.
- Token Evil Teammate: Adam Warlock is forced to disperse the six Infinity Gems amongst a team to safeguard each one. He chooses one one for himself, four for his friends... and he hands off the Reality Gem to Thanos, although this isn't revealed until Crusade.
- Throw-Away Country: During the Infinity Gauntlet, the entire island of Japan sinks to the ocean. Of course, like most of the disasters during the story, it got a Reset Button at the end. It also seems that the US was supposed to follow in its path, as parts of the West Coast started sinking as well.
- The entire planet Earth got hit by a massive shockwave that, it was eventually revealed, derailed the planet from its very orbit, causing it to start drifting away from the sun and the possibility of a new Ice Age starting up being quite large. Japan being covered over by the ocean around it could almost be considered lucky, with what was happening to everyone else afterwards.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Just before seeking out the Infinity Gems, Thanos gives orders to the captain of the Sanctuary to spread word of his return to every criminal, cultist, and space pirate in the galaxy. After acquiring the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos returns and is pleased to find that the captain has recruited and assembled a huge space armada that could take on most powers in the galaxy. Thanos states that the fleet will make a good royal guard now that he is a god. After this issue, neither the fleet nor the Sanctuary are mentioned again. Thanos didn't make use of them during his reign as supreme being, and didn't use them for any other purpose in any issue after the Infinity Gauntlet.