Avengers: Infinity War: What Do The Infinity Stones Do?
Avengers: Infinity War is almost upon us, so now is a good time to start digging into the nitty gritty of the most famous MacGuffins in comics: the Infinity Stones. Six stones, six colors, six specialized power sets. The Infinity Stones have been haunting the Marvel comics universe in one form or another since the '70s, and the MCU since 2011. They've changed colors more than once, been given power upgrades, even different names, but at the end of the day, they still represent the biggest, scariest, and most destructive force Marvel superheroes can face.
But what makes each stone different from the next? What does it matter that one stone is for "Mind" and another is for "Time?" Aren't "Space" and "Reality" the same thing? What does "Soul" even mean? Well, we're so glad you asked. Click through to find out what the Infinity Stones do, both in the comics and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When you're finished here, we have plenty more Infinity War primers:
Bright green in color, the Time Stone gives its wielder the power to--you guessed it--travel through time. However, it's not quite as simple as popping in and out of the past and future like Doc and Marty. Instead, the Time Stone provides the chance to peer into the time stream itself, giving whoever is able to use it the ability to change or modify the past, present, and future by literally adjusting the way time flows in any given moment.
Think of it less like a Delorean or a Tardis and more like a never ending, perpetually unspooling look into all the potential timestreams within the Marvel Universe. It can be used to trap people in time loops, calculate possible outcomes of events, and change the trajectory of history.
Currently, the Time Stone is in the possession of the Super Skrull.
The cinematic Time Stone is housed within the Eye of Agamotto, currently held by Doctor Strange. As far as we can tell, this version of the Time Stone has a paired down (but still quite powerful) version of it's comics counterparts power set. In Doctor Strange, Stephen used the stone to reverse the flow of time to save Hong Kong and later forced Dormammu into a time loop within the Dark Dimension.
Since then, we haven't really had a chance to see Strange use the Eye or really test its powers-- although, after his most recent cameo in Thor: Ragnarok it's probably a safe bet that he's been doing his best to explore the potential of the Stone, and keep an eye out for any encroaching threats that might be after its power.
The currently yellow Mind Stone has powers revolving around telepathy and telekinesis. Typically entrusted to powerful psychics like Professor Xavier, the Mind Stone typically augments and enhances the pre-existing metal prowess of whoever wields it, though it certainly can empower someone who has never shown any sign of mind-based superpowers if it has to.
In its most powerful form, the Mind Stone can form a sort of universal hivemind, linking the brains of every sentient thing in the galaxy and bending them to the will of one central intelligence.
As of right now, the Mind Stone is in the possession of Turk Barrett, otherwise known as Stilt-Man, the D-List Daredevil gag villain. No, really.
Formerly contained within the blue crystal at the end of Loki's Chitauri scepter in the first Avengers movie, the cinematic Mind Stone was unearthed (and turned yellow) in the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Instead of falling into any one person's hands, however, the Mind Stone was almost immediately absorbed into an artificial android body, where it combined with Tony Stark's AI butler, Jarvis, and brought the Vision to life.
Since then, the Mind Stone has lived in Vision's forehead. We've gotten some small glimpses as just what it can do (beyond, you know, granting inorganic objects sentience) via Vision's array of superpowers, but beyond shooting energy beams and allowing him to fly and become intangible, the Mind Stone's abilities are still pretty mysterious.
It is, however, likely the one thing that is keeping Vision alive in his current form--so it's probably a safe bet that removing it from him would be pretty bad. Lethal, even.
Maybe one of the most esoteric of the bunch, the red Reality Stone has the power to literally manipulate and change reality itself. This means it can actually bend (or break) the laws that govern the way the world works. If the wielder of the Reality Stone wanted, for instance, up to be down and the sun to be the moon, the Reality Stone has the power to make that happen.
In its most powerful form, the Reality Stone can actually make entirely new realities all together from scratch. It is currently in the hands of Captain Marvel.
Featured in the often derided Thor: The Dark World, the MCU's Reality Stone was introduced as a sort of glowing red dust or liquid known as Aether--but the extent and real nature of its powers are still largely mysterious. In The Dark World, the Aether is shown to be able to turn regular matter into "dark matter" when its bound to a "host."
Unfortunately, the host is also slowly consumed by the Aether's energy, so it must be wielded by someone strong enough to not succumb to it completely. While in use, the Aether is apparently almost limitless in size, consuming whole buildings, threatening whole planets with "infinite destruction" (whatever that means.)
By the end of The Dark World, the Aether has been contained in a small box and handled to The Collector, who presumably still has it.
The orange Soul Stone stands apart from its six siblings by being the only "sentient" Infinity Stone. It has the innate, conscious desire to "collect" souls, which it does by pulling them from their mortal bodies and imprisoning them within itself in an alternate dimension.
It can keep the souls it harvests trapped inside indefinitely, giving whoever is actually weidling the stone unlimited access to the thoughts and memories of its prisoners. The Soul Stone can also use what is known as the "cold light of truth" to extract information out of people or "revert" them back to their most basic forms (think less forcing things to de-evolve and more changing people so that their physical body matches who they actually are.)
The Soul Stone is currently held by Ultron who is physically and mentally fused to Hank Pym. Ultron's first contact with the Soul Stone immediately pulled Pym's soul into its prison; however, so despite Ultron still physically looking like his creator, the genocidal robot is firmly in the driver's seat.
The only Infinity Stone yet to be revealed, the MCU's Soul Stone remains a complete mystery. However, according to the Infinity War prelude tie-in comics, the live-action Soul Stone is one of the most powerful and dangerous of the bunch--but where it is, what it does, and how it can be stopped still remain to be seen.
The purple Power Stone is all about energy. Its abilities revolve around granting its wielder access to all the energy (i.e. all the power) that has ever or will ever exist in the universe--sometimes that power manifest internally, a boost in stamina or strength, etc, sometimes it manifests externally, an infinite power source for a machine, a super strong battery--you get the idea.
As long as its energy-related, the Power Stone can mix things up. Also, unsurprisingly, the Power Stone can be used to amplify the effects and abilities of its fellow Infinity Stones, making them all the more dangerous when combined.
The Power Stone currently sits with Drax the Destroyer.
Introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Power Stone was originally contained within a dull looking grey orb that eventually broke open to showcase a glowing purple gem. Similar to the Aether, the Power Stone's abilities are rather nondescript.
In its raw form, the Power Stone is incredibly dangerous--even fatal--to handle. It has the ability to create giant explosive bursts of energy, empower those strong enough to hold it with enhanced durability, strength, and stamina. It can even, if used correctly, destroy whole planets.
The Power Stone is currently being kept by the Nova Corps.
The blue Space Stone's primary and most obvious power is its ability to teleport its user wherever they want, regardless of distance. If it's somewhere the holder can picture in their mind, the Space Stone can take them there.
It can also bend the laws of space to allow its wielder to appear in multiple places at once, seemingly without any real limitations, meaning the Space Stone in the correct hands at full power could effectively create as many duplications of that person as needed.
Right now, the Space Stone is being kept by a recently resurrected Wolverine.
First shown as an artifact known as the "Tesseract" the Space Stone was introduced as the prize of the Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger. It was used to power various Hydra experimental weapons with an extremely volatile blue energy that seemingly vaporized anyone it came in contact with instantaneously.
Whether or not the Tesseract's victims are actually killed or if they're somehow just teleported (or perhaps atomized and then teleported) away is still up for debate. Similar to the Power Stone, it seems to be impossible, even fatal, for humans to touch unprotected.
Since World War 2, the Tesseract has changed hands a few times, traveling all the way to Asgard where it was kept in safety in Odin's Vault for a while, before it was ultimately stolen by Loki at the end of Thor: Ragnarok.
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