On its own, the Infinity Gauntlet is little more than a glove with Infinity Gem-sized sockets on it. With all of the Infinity Gems in place, though, the Infinity Gauntlet becomes a god-maker, the most powerful artifact in the Marvel Multiverse.
The Infinity Gauntlet strikes fear in the hearts of superheroes, supervillains, and everybody else who understands what it can do. Whosoever wields the gauntlet gains not only power over space and time, including teleportation and time-trave, but also the ability to manipulate the souls of others, control energy, read minds, and change reality at will. That’s a near-limitless set of superpowers.
As fans of the comics will attest, when a superhero or supervillain wields the gauntlet, the results can be all sorts of shocking. The temptation is strong to use the gauntlet’s powers for selfish aims.
The power to destroy the entire universe is literally at the fingertips of whoever is wearing it. You’d have to be a cosmic being, or something comparable, to stand a chance of winning a fight with somebody in possession of the gauntlet and full set of gems.
This list is by no means set in stone. Will a scene from the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War replace one of the comics or video games on this list? We’ll find out in 2018.
Here are our picks for the 15 Most Insane Uses Of The Infinity Gauntlet.
15. Iron Man Almost Made Some Unexpected Changes To The Universe With It
In Avengers vol 4 #12 by Brian Michael Bendis, Iron Man wields the gauntlet. Given Tony Stark’s history, you’d expect the gauntlet to corrupt him immediately. His past flirtations with fascism make him a prime candidate for the Avenger Most Likely To Be (Further) Corrupted By The Infinity Gauntlet award.
Stark’s initial inclination is to use the gauntlet to undo the damage he has caused and erase embarrassing moments from his past. (Pretty standard fare for a remorseful drunk like Mr. Stark, thus far.) Next, he considers using the gauntlet’s powers to make “a world without war,” “without alcohol or drugs,” “a technological paradise.”
What’s so crazy about these options? Let’s rephrase that question. What do we know about Iron Man? He’s a billionaire playboy and owner of a company that makes and sells state-of-the art weapons.
Creating a technological paradise without war would destroy his business empire. No wonder, in the end, he chooses not to go through with any of his aforementioned pipe dreams. Instead, he sticks to the original plan. Good call.
14. Thanos Wiped Out 50 Percent Of Life In The Universe
In Jim Starlin’s The Infinity Gauntlet, once Thanos has the gauntlet with all the gems, he sets about building a fancy demon-haunted nest to impress his ideal mate, Lady Death.
Again and again, he tries and fails to elicit a response from the mute, expressionless, sometimes skeletal, other times human-looking woman. Finally, at Mephisto’s urging, Thanos uses the gauntlet to destroy half of all life in the universe, along with half of the Marvel roster, to prove his love to Lady Death.
It’s an incredible moment. Imagine being a reader whose favorite Marvel characters are Beast, Wasp, the Invisible Woman, and Hawkeye. You’re accustomed to these heroes surviving their adventures. Now, in one page, all of your favorite heroes vanish and are presumed dead. That’s the definition of shocking.
13. The Gauntlet Drove Silver Surfer Insane
In general, the Surfer’s expressionless mug reflects the cold, inhuman understanding of the Power Cosmic, the source of his superpowers. If the Power Cosmic occasionally cuts the Silver Surfer off from his compassion, would you expect the Infinity Gauntlet to have any other effect?
What If? vol. 2 #49 written by Ron Marz, sets the record straight about that eventuality. In it, the Silver Surfer, rather than Nebula, takes the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos. As expected, he struggles to wield its awesome powers and eventually winds up a head-case.
It’s one of those things that’s completely predictable and still shocking. Faced with madness, the Silver Surfer creates a retirement planet for himself and his wife, transforms himself back to his original Zenn-Lavian form, and when his work is done, he destroys the gauntlet and the gems. Are you shocked? You should be.
12. Reed Richards Discovered The Infinity Gems Are Seemingly Indestructible
In a 2006 story arc from New Avengers: Illuminati, once again written by Brian Michael Bendis, there is an existential threat looming. It’s that of the Infinity Gauntlet falling into the wrong hands.
Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Iron Man, Captain America, Namor, Reed Richards, and Charles Xavier formed the Illuminati as a sort of covert response team in the event of another Kree-Skrull War or some other cataclysm. As a preventative measure, they attempt to destroy the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Gems.
Wielding the gauntlet, Reed Richards wishes the Infinity Gems away, trying with all his will to erase the things completely. No dice. Just as you can’t ask a genie for more wishes, the Infinity Gems cannot be willed into oblivion. They’re stuck with them, which is a scary thought.
11. Captain America Broke it
In New Avengers vol 3 #3 by Jonathan Hickman, Captain America wields the gauntlet in an effort to prevent an incursion– comics jargon for a collision between parallel worlds.
Essentially, an incursion is a narrative conceit that allows characters from different universes to cross paths and entire universes to be obliterated. Incursions are the reason why Battleworld comics are a thing.
In this particular story arc, an impending incursion threatens life on Earth and so the Illuminati decide to use the Infinity Gauntlet to stop it. They elect Captain America to the role of gauntlet-wielder, on account of his strong– and not at all secretly Hydra– moral character.
True to form, Captain America resists the temptation to use the gems for evil, prevents the incursion, and saves the day. In the process, the gauntlet and all of the gems but the Time Gem break, shocking literally everyone familiar with the Infinity Gems’ history of apparent indestructibility.
10. Thanos’ Gauntlet Attacked In Marvel Super Heroes
A forgotten masterpiece, Marvel Super Heroes for the Sega Saturn wowed Marvel fans when it was released just before Halloween in 1995. The pixel-art is surprisingly true to the pencil-and-ink comics, and the powerup-enhanced combat is fast-paced, well-balanced, and unique.
As it turns out, that same fast-paced, well-balanced gameplay may have come at the cost of adherence to the source material. By rights, Thanos should be borderline impossible to beat since he’s wearing the gauntlet and using its powers against you.
(In fact, the gems twinkle just before certain devastating attacks, telling you to get out of the way, so he’s definitely using them.) The guy is wearing a glove that controls time, space, reality, and more.
He’s already an alien god, and now he’s wearing the most fearsome god-making glove in all the multiverse. This Thanos should be Dark Souls New Game Plus-level difficult, at the very least.
9. Norman Osborn Used It To Murder The Avengers And Asgardians
In general, Marvel fans enjoy thought experiments, the “Nazi Steve Rogers” thought experiment and a few others notwithstanding. What If? comics exist to entertain readers with hypothetical scenarios.
They’re a way to explore potentialities without screwing up the timelines, potentialities such as, “What would happen if Norman Osborn, aka The Green Goblin, got control of the Infinity Gauntlet?”
In What If Infinity – Dark Reign vol 1 #1, Norman Osborn uses the gauntlet to resurrect his father Amberson Osborn. Then, Norman and his Dark Avengers relive a past victory, laying waste to the Avengers and Asgardians. The morbid charade terrifies Amberson. It’s a shocking moment in a good Norman Osborn story.
So, why isn’t this the craziest use of the gauntlet? As Keith Moore of SpiderFan put it in his comprehensive review, “The thing about… ‘good’ Norman Osborn stories [like this one], is that they always boil down to a personal vendetta.”
8. Doctor Doom Met His Doppelgangers & Used The Gauntlet To Set Up The Parliament of Doom
Think of Jonathan Hickman’s FF (aka Future Foundation) as an extended What If? comic focused primarily on Reed Richards. FF is notable for a shockingly awesome use of the Infinity Gauntlet.
In a quirky turn of events, three Infinity Gauntlet-wielding Mr. Fantastics from three parallel worlds call to order a meeting of the Interdimensional Council of Reeds, setting the scene for Doctor Doom’s finest achievement.
Just then, Dr. Victor Von Doom, now in possession of two Infinity Gauntlets from two separate universes, takes a cue from his nemesis and wills into existence his own secret club exclusively for Doctor Dooms– an enclave of Victor Von Dooms; imagine the shocking things they’re capable of.
Doctor Doom calls his organization the Parliament of Doom, no doubt a nod from Hickman to the Parliament of Trees from Alan Moore’s industry-changing run on Swamp Thing.
7. Thanos Used The Gauntlet To Imprison Silver Surfer And Drax Inside The Soul Gem
Just a few frames in length, this happens early on in Jim Starlin’s The Infinity Gauntlet. The Silver Surfer and Drax the Destroyer are briefly locked up inside the trippy world of the Soul Gem. There, they meet Adam Warlock.
The Silver Surfer is no stranger to cosmic head trips, but this metaphysical place is strange even to him. Warlock casts a spell that transports the Silver Surfer out of the Soul Gem to warn Earth of the coming of Thanos.
As he narrates the scene, the Silver Surfer makes a shocking remark, explaining that the encounter was his first time meeting Adam Warlock. Considering their mutual interests in interdimensional adventuring and all things Cosmic in the Bronze Age of Comics (1970-1985), it seems very unlikely that their paths didn’t cross sooner…
6. DC’s Darkseid discovered it’s totally useless in his universe
When Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich invented Thanos for Marvel, they drew inspiration from Jack Kirby’s New Gods, a celebrated DC property.
Specifically, they took cues from two of Kirby’s creations: Metron for Thanos’s powers and floating throne and Darkseid for his imposing purple appearance. Fast-forward to this shocking moment from the DC-Marvel JLA-Avengers crossover event.
In what now seems like an inevitable development, Darkseid happens upon the Infinity Gauntlet and dons it. For just a second, you almost get the sense that he’s going to turn into some crazed super-Darkseid—a shocking thought—but no, it’s just an intercompany in-joke between Marvel and DC Comics.
Darkseid is then promptly informed that, despite its incredible powers in the Marvel multiverse, the gauntlet is just an ordinary glove in his world. This shocking turn of events begs the question: but for intercompany licensing issues, why wouldn’t the Infinity Gauntlet maintain its powers between Marvel and DC universes? Might Lex Luthor or Batman get it to work? Or Doomsday?
5. Thanos’ Gauntlet-Based Powers
Let’s set the comics aside for a moment and talk video games. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes is a classic 3-on-3 2D fighter which, like its predecessor, sought to answer questions very few people were asking at the time, such as: “Who would win in a fight, Ryu or Wolverine?” or “Chun Li versus Thanos, who wins?”
As a game, it’s fast, furious, addictive, and corrects some of the original’s flaws. Unfortunately, in between the first game and the second, Thanos’s move-set took a serious hit, making his once capable Gauntlet-based special attacks weaker still.
4. With Its Powers, Nebula Defied Thanos
In The Infinity Gauntlet, Nebula tells Thanos that she is his granddaughter. He “[takes] her at her word,” only to turn her into a gaunt zombie, frozen in time yet withering away. She becomes like “walking death,” a tribute to Thanos’ unrequited love, Lady Death. Thanos’ betrayal of Nebula will have shocking consequences.
For much of The Infinity Gauntlet‘s action, Nebula is the Marvel cosmic equivalent of Chekhov’s gun, lurching dangerously in the background, her “charred flesh, spurred by hatred.”
With Thanos micromanaging his evil works as usual, Nebula fetches the gauntlet for herself. As Thor puts it to Adam Warlock, “Sudden omnipotence would be a crushing load to even the finest mind.”
3. Goddess, Who Owes Her Existence To The Gauntlet, Tried To Destroy The Universe
Goddess is the good side of Adam Warlock personified as a woman. Goddess exists as a separate being thanks to the Infinity Gauntlet and Adam Warlock. Goddess owes her freedom and individual identity to the Infinity Gauntlet. With that said, technically, her power arises not from the Infinity Gauntlet but, rather, from the Cosmic Egg, comprised of 30 Cosmic Cubes.
During Jim Starlin’s Infinity War and Infinity Crusade, sequels to Infinity Gauntlet, Warlock uses the Infinity Gauntlet to split himself into two diametrically opposed entities, the (good) Goddess and the (evil) Magus.This leads to all sorts of horrors.
If Adam Warlock had never possessed the Infinity Gauntlet, then Goddess would’ve remained simply an aspect of Warlock’s identity. Like Warlock, her sense of empathy towards human beings is severely stunted. Her intentions may be essentially good– to eliminate evil from the universe– but her methods are terrifying.
Goddess’s noble-intentioned villainy makes her a formidable foe. She is a shockingly merciless religious zealot, willing to use any means necessary in her crusade against evil, including kidnapping, deception, brainwashing, and universe-ending violence. And to think, her shocking reign of terror wouldn’t even be possible if not for the Infinity Gauntlet.
2. Norman Osborn Made Spider-Man Watch The Death Of Gwen Stacy Over And Over
The Night Gwen Stacy Died is a harrowing story and a very big deal in the collective memory of Marvel readers. Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker’s first major love interest. It took gall to kill her off.
Not only was Gwen Stacy thrown from the Brooklyn Bridge to her death by the Green Goblin but a horrific SNAP! sound effect indicates to readers that the rigidity of Spider-Man’s web may have contributed to her demise.
In other words, it’s partly Peter Parker’s fault that she’s dead. As researcher Sean Howe put it in Marvel: The Untold Story, “The readership started hyperventilating as soon as the issue hit stands.” Nothing in Marvel comics, before or after, is as shocking– except maybe the following moment from What If? – Dark Reign vol 1 #1 .
Using the Infinity Gauntlet’s powers, Norman Osborn forces Peter Parker to watch Gwen’s death over and over and over. While other uses of the gauntlet may have rational explanations– if a character is ruthless with it then they’re ruthless for a reason– this is a far different, darker, and shocking way to use the object.
1. Dark Ultimate Hulk’s Shockingly Bad One-liner
There are two Ultimate Infinity Gauntlets and eight Ultimate Infinity Gems in the Ultimate universe. In Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #25 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Carmine Di Giandomenico, Dark Ultimate Hulk gets the gauntlets and most but not all of the gems in his clutches.
Somehow, the incomplete set of gems activates. At this point, Dark Hulk utters a shockingly bad, out-of-character line: “You guys are so %&$%ing screwed.” This corny one-liner is even more shocking than Ultimate Iron Man’s brain tumor robot subplot.
This line isn’t disturbing because it’s profane, instead, it’s disturbing because it’s out-of-character for the Hulk —Green, Gray, Red, any Hulk.
One of the things that makes Hulk Hulk is the mysterious nature of his rage. Hulk is destructive anger personified and yet, at the same time, he’s also a big, blustery ole teddy bear who doesn’t understand his emotions.
His go-to four-letter word is his name Hulk– Hulk angry, Hulk smash, and so on. When you take that away from Hulk, what does Hulk have left?
Can you think of any other crazy or shocking uses of the Infinity Gauntlet? Let us know in the comment section!
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