MCU Vs Comics: The True Origins Of The MCU Infinity Stones
From Page To Screen, The Stones Underwent Many Changes
There are few objects in Marvel comics more powerful than the infinity stones. These six gems are each imbued with the energies of separate fundamental forces of the universe: space, time, mind, soul, reality, and power. On their own they are extremely dangerous, but when assembled they effectively grant the wielder unlimited power. Many would-be despots have sought this lofty goal, the most famous among them being the mad titan; Thanos, who sought to use these stones to wipe out half of all life in the universe.
When the time came for Thanos to make his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his quest remained the same, but his targets had changed. In an effort to streamline his search in the MCU, many of the stones served as substitutes for other mystical items from the pages of comics. This is true for all of the stones except the Power and Soul stones, which were added to the franchise as infinity stones from the start. The other items that would go on to serve as infinity stones, each come with their own unique properties and backstories, with some even more powerful than their stone counterparts.
The Cosmic Cube and the Space Stone
Though we didn’t know it at the time, the first stone appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger. In this film it was contained in the object known as the Tesseract, a prize sought after by the film’s antagonist, The Red Skull. This origin slightly mirrors the comics, The Red Skull did often seek out the Tesseract to achieve his ends, but in the comics the original artifact is far more powerful. Known as The Cosmic Cube, this item was able to bend the very fabric of reality to suit its wielder’s needs. It's powers were nearly limitless and were often dubbed “wish granting” due to its ability to grant the user whatever they wanted.
The origins of the cosmic cube are even more fantastical than it's abilities. A cosmic cube is not a single object like an infinity stone but is instead a vessel for extra dimensional energies channeled from the realm of the Beyonders, all powerful beings with abilities similar to the cube itself. The process was fraught with danger but could be done by any being with sufficient power and strength of will. Beings such as Thanos often tried to harness it's power in the absence of the infinity stones.
The Solar Gem and the Mind Stone
When we first encounter this stone in the MCU, it serves as the power source for Loki’s Chitauri scepter in the first Avengers film. This weapon was capable of firing potent blasts of magical energy, but even more impressive was its ability to influence people’s wills. It wasn’t until Age of Ultron that we learned it’s true origins as the mind stone. As JARVIS stated, the stone was comparable to an extremely advanced supercomputer and would later be used as a basis for artificial intelligence. By the end of the film, it served as the conduit for JARVIS to occupy the android known as Vision. Essentially allowing the AI to live as a human would.
Infinity stones non-withstanding, in the comics Vision draws his strength from another powerful stone known as The Solar Gem. This stone, as the name implies, harnessed its energy from the solar radiation of the sun. In a similar fashion to the film, it also served as a processing unit several times more efficient than the human brain. In addition to providing Vision with a conscience, this gem also allowed him to focus his solar energy into a variety of laser based attacks.
The Eye of Agamoto and The Time Stone
One of the first artifacts actually referred to as an infinity stone, this necklace made its debut in Doctor Strange as one of the relics under the protection of a society of sorcerers. Housed in the amulet known as The Eye of Agamoto, this necklace imbued its wielder with control over the fundamental forces of time. In the films, Doctor Strange utilizes its power in a variety of different and creative ways. From traveling through time to reversing certain events, in Infinity War he is even able to use the stone to view alternate futures in a bid to beat Thanos.
In the comics, the Eye of Agamoto has nothing to do with infinity stones or control over time. It instead serves as a conduit to the otherworldly Vishanti known as Agamoto. The Vishanti are a trio of extra dimensional beings that serve as guardians of earth and act as patrons for the current Sorcerer Supreme. Agamoto bequeathed the eye to Doctor Strange to help him combat Dormammu with its magics. Most of which focused on the mind and granted powers like telepathy in addition to strengthening Strange’s astral form.
The Aether and the Reality Stone
In a rather unusual twist, at least in this context, the final stone in question had no direct inspiration from the comics but would go on to influence a future one. In the films this stone began its life as the Aether, a dark energy source from the beginning of time. In Thor: The Dark World this energy was sought after by Malekith in an effort to bring darkness to all of the Nine Realms. It was certainly one of the more bizarre additions to the lore, and like its debut film, it wasn’t exactly warmly received. But the Aether seems to have received a new lease on life.
In his run of the comic Valkyrie, famed writer Jason Aaron has introduced readers to the Rokkva. A sort of anti-lifeforce that takes the form of an all-consuming darkness. The entity has the power to wipe out anything it comes in contact with and is seemingly unstoppable. It can even bond with the body of a host but doing so has the potential to destroy their soul. It certainly sounds familiar to the Aether and given its connection to Thor it may have very well been inspired by it.
Written by Micah Mitchells
Syndicated from Culture Slate