Although most people associate Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, the glove that adorns the six omnipotent Infinity Gems, the Mad Titan isn’t the only person to wear the iconic glove and wield its awesome power over the years. Since Marvel Comics Infinity Gauntlet (1990) where Thanos wield nigh infinite power and then lost it, the Infinity Gems were separated to prevent such moments from reoccurring but select individuals have found circumstances where they wield power that most mortal beings weren’t meant to fathom much less control. So in the spirit of the fully powered Infinity gauntlet’s debut on Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), lets look at the six other people from the Marvel Comics Universe who assembled and then used the gloves terrifying power for their individual purposes. Don’t worry there are no spoilers here…..I think.
1. Adam Warlock: An artificial, perfect human created on Earth who later called himself Adam Warlock was not only one of the earliest introductions of the Infinity Gems but his temporary alliance with an early version of Thanos was what introduced the Mad Titan to the Infinity Gems and their power. During the Infinity Gauntlet, he would witness Thanos’ resurrection and acquisition of the Infinity Gems. He helped gather the Earth’s heroes in response to fight him and eventually he would claim the Infinity Gauntlet. However, his new status as a near-supreme being alarmed the Living Tribunal, a cosmic three headed entity whose power and authority exceeds Adam’s. It believed Warlock could not be trusted with the Infinity Gauntlet and commands him to divide the gems amongst beings of Adam’s choosing. Adam divides the gems between himself and other cosmic allies including a “reformed” Thanos and dubs the group The Infinity Watch. At one time, Adam’s power allowed him to purge the good and evil from his body so while he remained a creature of logic, his good side manifested as a woman called the Goddess and his evil side Magus reincarnated. When both manifestations threatened the universe, Adam defeated them with the help of the Infinity Watch and absorbed both entities into the Soul Gem in his possession. Adam Warlock would have repeated encounters with both the Infinity Gems and Thanos in the years to come.
2. Reed Richards: Reed Richards is a member of the famous Fantastic Four and is considered one of the most brilliant minds in the Marvel Universe. He is also a member of the clandestine Illuminati, a gathering of some of the most powerful and influential people on Earth who weigh in and occasionally influence major Marvel events. In New Avengers: Illuminati #2 (2007), Reed Richards reveals to the group which includes Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Professor X, Namor, and Black Bolt that he has been collecting the Infinity Gems and requires their help to gather them all. Despite a group reluctance to assemble the weapon again, they succeed in acquiring all six of them. With the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet at his disposal, Reed tries to simply use their power to will them out of existence but is unable to do so. This failure plus a rare appearance from Uatu the Watcher to chastises him and the group for their efforts results in Reed inadvertently following in Adam Warlock’s footsteps. He decides to give each Illuminati member one gem each, so the gems would not only be prevented from being assembled but they would be in the possession of known people they could trust.
3. The Hood: At one time, Parker Robbins was the Hood, the leader of a group of super criminals who had gained some prominence in the Marvel underworld. But after losing power from the dread Dormmamu and Loki alike, he was just another jailed ex-super criminal in the Raft. In the Avengers (2009) #9-12 (2011), he learned about the hidden Infinity Gem in the Inhuman city Attilan from an incarcerated Inhuman. After his escape and acquisition of the second Gem at the Baxter Building, his search alerted both the Avengers and the Illuminati. Although the Illuminati’s adventures eventually revealed their existence to three separate Avengers teams, they attempted to keep the remaining Infinity Gems from the Hood. Although his shift in power from the Infinity Gems managed to defeat many of the Avengers and granted an appearance from Thanos (who proved to be an illusion), Robbins opportunity to wield the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet was robbed by the Avengers. Depowered once again, he was teleported back to the Raft.
4. Iron Man: Avenger and Illuminati member Tony Stark aka Iron Man saw the Avengers battle with Parker Robbins aka The Hood swaying more and more towards the Hood gaining the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet. When the battle started to end, a clever illusion stole the opportunity from The Hood and the power remained with Iron Man who became the first human to ever wield the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers #12 (2011). He used its power to will the Gauntlet out of existence to the satisfaction of all heroes who participated in the battle to protect it from falling into wrong hands. But as the readers would know such an action is impossible (as Illuminati member Reed Richards failed to do so in the past), the Illuminati would retrieve the Infinity Gauntlet later and divide the Infinity Gems amongst its members who now included Captain America. They were once again tasked with finding new hiding places to prevent the Gems from falling into the wrong hands.
5. Captain America: Avenger and Illuminati member Captain America saw a gathering of the Illuminati over the news of Black Panther’s first-hand account of an incursion in the New Avengers #1 (2015). After capturing and learning information about the universe colliding events from the enigmatic Black Swan, Captain America argued against the idea of destroying another universe for the sake of saving their own. The covert group gathered their Infinity Gems and activated the Infinity Gauntlet to prevent an incursion. Wielded by Captain America himself, Steve Rogers was able to push back the other Earth but at the expense of the Infinity Gems. The Gauntlet itself broke and the gems shattered, something new and unheard of in the gems history. Despite the setback, Captain America remained steadfast against the idea of creating weapons meant to destroy other planets. The other Illuminati members crossed a line they would regret by removing Captain America from the group and wiping his memory of everything Illuminati related in New Avengers #3 (2015).
6. Black Panther: Longtime Avenger and former Illuminati member Black Panther found himself one of the few sole survivors of the ultimate incursion: the destruction of Earth 616 (the main Marvel Universe) in the Marvel Event Secret Wars (2015) Searching with his enemy and fellow Illuminati member Namor, they explore the strange Battleworld ruled by the omnipotent Doctor Doom. As Doom attempts to cover up the truth about the world’s true existence with a slew of bodies, Namor and T’Challa arrive at the Isle of Agamotto in Secret Wars #6 (2015). Using the key Strange gave them before he was killed by Doom, they come across an armory full of powerful and awesome weapons including an Infinity Gauntlet. Apparently the good Sheriff Stephen Strange’s intuition about Doom was enough to insist on the location of Doom’s castle to be a precise spot, this location being the only place where the Infinity Gauntlet would be effective. T’Challa and Namore face Doom armed and ready for battle with an army of the dead on their heels. During the battle, Doom holds his ground but realizes the attack is nothing but a distraction for Reed Richards to confront the Molecule Man and thus begin the final battle which would determine the fate of the Marvel Universe forever.
Honorable Mention: Santa Claus
In Marvel Holiday Spectacular 2009 #1, the Illuminati has to stop Santa Claus who has a negative reaction to wearing the Infinity Gauntlet and goes 100% evil. Not only do they need to stop Jolly ol’ St. Nick from going full Grinch but they also have to save Christmas as well. Absolutely ridiculous but still funny.
Until we see the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet, enjoy this scene from The Wizard (1989) which I can’t stop imagining Thanos saying.