For long-time Marvel fans, Thor offered many treats and surprises, helping weave together the larger Marvel Movie universe and laying a potential foundation for many films beyond The Avengers. The greatest example of this Easter egg-laying is that of Odin’s vault, a treasure room loaded with relics and mystic artifacts, items that mean nothing to your average moviegoer.
In Thor, this room is important as it stores the Casket of Ancient Winters, the source of power of the Frost Giants, which, as we see in the film’s introduction, was stolen by Odin (Anthony Hopkins). That item represents a key plot device in the Thor movie, but we know about that so let’s look at the other items we see in this room – the ones you may not be aware of that hint at the larger Marvel Universe.
The official Marvel site posted close-up photos of five items found in Odin’s vault: The Eternal Flame, The Infinity Gauntlet, The Warlock’s Eye, The Orb of Agamatto and the Tablet of Life .We’ll go through each one, explaining what they are and their significance to the Marvel Universe.
First Appearance: Thor #349 (1984)
Also known as the Eternal Flame of Destruction, this mystical flame was stolen from Surtur by Odin and his brothers to prevent the demon and enemy of Asgard from lighting his sword and starting a war that would end the Norse Gods of Asgard.
In the Thor film, we met the Frost Giant army. Think of Surtur as a fiery version of them with his fire demons. This is what he looks like (screenshot from Thor movie tie-in game). You can also learn more about Surtur and his flaming sword in the Thor tie-in animated feature, Thor: Tales of Asgard.
First Appearance: Avengers Annual #7 (1977)
A more prominent item in Marvel Comics history is that of The Infinity Gauntlet. It’s formed when all six “Infinity Gems” are placed into Thanos’ gauntlet, granting its wearer – in basic terms – god-like powers and control of the universe. The first appearance of one of these gems came in The Power of Warlock #1 (1972) but the first time all six appeared together under the “Infinity” moniker came in 1977 with Avengers Annual #7 when the villain Thanos collected all six gems.
The Infinity Gauntlet got its own self-titled six-issue series in the early 90s, which followed Thanos placing the gems in his glove to create the Infinity Gauntlet and using it to destroy half of the universe. In Marvel Comics fashion, however, things get fixed in the end so Thanos didn’t win.
We saw the item on display at Comic-Con in 2010 and its appearance in Thor hints at the greater cosmic universe yet to be explored in these films. Here’s Thanos sporting the Infinity Gauntlet:
First Appearance: Tales of Asgard backup story in Thor #131 (1966)
While I first thought this item was The Eye of Agamotto (described below), it turns out it’s The Warlock’s eye, a mystical weapon in the comics stolen by Thor and the Warrior’s Three from Harokin, an Asgardian enemy of Thor.
The Eye of Agamotto (Not this, unfortunately)
First Appearance: Strange Tales #115 (1963)
Created by Marvel comic artist Steve Ditko, The Eye of Agamotto is based off of the real-world item known as “The All Seeing Eye of the Buddha,” a symbol from Nepal which offers the powers of good luck, fortune and protection to its owner.
In Marvel Comics, this mystical item is one of Doctor Strange’s amulets and is named after Agamatto, a previous Sorcerer Supreme.
In the Marvel movie universe, this item is yet another easter egg, potentially leading to a tie-in with the Dr. Strange movie currently in development.
Orb of Agamotto [Unconfirmed]
First Appearance: Strange Tales #118 (1963)
Like The Eye of Agamotto, this Orb is another item in possession of Dr. Strange in the comics. He stores it in the Chamber of Shadows, a room in his Sanctum Sanctorum (his mansion and base of the New Avengers).
The Orb of Agamatto offers Dr. Strange clairvoyance since it can locate where magic is being used, or dangers to the world. It can be, however, blocked by other powerful magic users (i.e. Asgardian sorceress Enchantress – a potential Thor 2 villain?) to keep their location secret.
Tablet of Life [Unconfirmed]
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #68 (1969)
The text written on the Tablet of Life is actually a chemical formula, the “Lifeline Formula,” which augments its user into a superior being, the best of their species. It and its more evil counterpart (Tablet of Death and Entropy) have played a prominent role in Spider-Man comics for years. Another tablet, the Tablet of Order and Chaos represented the plot device for last year’s successful Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension video game.
If you’re into Marvel history, The Amazing Spider-Man series reveals that the Tablet of Death and Entropy originates from from Lemuria and the Tablet of Life and Time from Atlantis. Atlantis, later home to Namor the Sub-Mariner and the Homo mermanus race, were enemies to the Deviants, the people of Lemuria whose continent was sunk by the Atlanteans 21,000 years ago.
That’s it for this Marvel history lesson and now you know how in addition to acting as a prequel to The Avengers, Thor connects to Spider-Man, Namor, Dr. Strange, Thanos and more!
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