Since Avengers: Infinity War was released last week, I guess it’s safe to assume that everyone knows what the Infinity Stones are by now.
The six Stones are powerful artefacts that were supposedly created from the fragments of one of the earliest beings from the time of the universe’s creation. Each individual gem is named after and allows the owner power over a particular facet – namely Soul, Power, Reality, Time, Mind and Space.
While each gem holds immeasurable power on its own, together, they can give the wielder the infinite powers of a god, powerful enough to change or destroy the universe with a mere snap of fingers, which Thanos actually does in the classic Infinity Gauntlet mini-series in 1991.
The first appearance of an Infinity Gem was in 1972’s Marvel Premiere #1, in which the High Evolutionary gives the Soul Gem to Adam Warlock. Later, the “Soul Gems” (as they were known at the time) ended up in the possession of the group of cosmic beings called the Elders of the Universe (the Collector, the Grandmaster, the Runner, the Gardener, the In-Betweener, and the Champion Of the Universe).
Thanos then acquired and renamed them Infinity Gems in The Thanos Quest, which led to the events of Infinity Gauntlet. After his defeat in that story, Adam Warlock took over the Infinity Gauntlet, and since then the gems have exchanged hands several times – the Illuminati each had one gem at one point, and even Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers got to use them.
In the current Marvel universe, things are a little complicated when it comes to the Infinity Gems. After the Marvel universe was destroyed and rebuilt in 2016’s Secret Wars, the Infinity Gems were also restored, but were scattered across the universe.
Apart from the renaming of the Infinity Gems to Infinity Stones, another major change to them now is that their colours have also been switched to correspond with the ones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
So where are the Infinity Stones now, and who has them? Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s happened so far in the run-in to the upcoming Infinity War event (which has nothing to do with the movie or 1992 mini-series of the same name).
For once, it seems like it won’t be Thanos who is looking to collect all the Infinity Stones, but another villain altogether – Ultron! In February’s Infinity Countdown Prime, the Soul Stone is initially found on the surface of Ego the Living Planet by Magus, Adam Warlock’s evil doppelgänger. His triumph is short-lived, though, as he is stabbed in the back by the Ultron/Hank Pym hybrid (long story, don’t ask), who claims the Soul Stone and promptly announces his quest to collect all six Infinity Stones.
There’s a bit of a subplot to this Stone, though: apparently a soul fragment of Gamora (the adopted daughter of Thanos) is trapped in it, and Gamora is hell-bent on getting it out. When Ultron/Hank Pym claims the Soul Stone, Hank’s soul is also absorbed into it, where he meets an elderly Gamora.
The first indication we got that the Infinity Stones were back was in 2017’s Marvel Legacy #1, where we saw a very-much-alive Wolverine take out a frost giant sent by Loki to hijack a S.H.I.E.L.D armoured truck that was actually carrying the Space Stone.
After claiming and keeping it safe for a while, Wolverine is ambushed by a bunch of Ultron goons (Infinity Countdown Prime), and encounters Loki, who tries to convince him to give him the Space Stone.
In issue #1 of the currently ongoing Infinity Countdown series, however, the Stone changes owners again. The recently resurrected Black Widow follows a dead drop signal to a safe house in Madripoor where she discovers the Space Stone hidden in a toilet, with a note from Logan telling her to “take care of this”.
More like Power Mountain, to be honest. A giant-sized version of the Power Stone is discovered on a desert planet called Xitaung and is initially kept a secret by a small faction of the Nova Corps, led by a heavily-pregnant Commander Eve Bakian.
After the Guardians of the Galaxy discover the secret, Star-Lord assigns Drax the Destroyer to help Eve protect the Stone.
The secret doesn’t stay hidden for long, though, and in Infinity Countdown, two factions – the Chitauri and the Raptors – attack Xitaung to capture the Stone. As of now, the Power Stone remains in its gargantuan state on Xitaung, with the Guardians and the Nova Corps defending it.
Update: In the recently released Infinity Countdown #3, the Power Stone has since been shrunk down and is now in the possession of the Guardians Of the Galaxy.
In the recent Return To Planet Hulk story in The Incredible Hulk (#709-#713), Amadeus Cho’s Hulk ends up on the so-called “Planet Hulk” Sakaar, which had been mysteriously restored. At the end of the story, it is revealed that the planet was actually resurrected by the Time Stone, which is now in the possession of Kl’rt the Super-Skrull, who plans to use it to restore the Skrull Empire to its former glory.
The Reality Stone allows its owner access to the multiverse, so it makes sense that it would actually be in another reality altogether. In the recently concluded Mighty Captain Marvel story Dark Origins, Carol Danvers is transported to a mirror universe where she is actually a supervillain, and where she discovers the Reality Stone, which she then uses to return to her own universe.
This one really baffles the mind a little. The Stone that grants the owner unlimited psychic and psionic abilities is currently in the hands of Turk Barrett, a small-time Daredevil foe who first appeared in Daredevil #69 (1970). Other than that bit of information in Infinity Countdown Prime, nothing else has been revealed about how Turk got the Mind Stone, or what he is doing with it.