Who can wield the Infinity Gauntlet without dying?
We Now Know Why Hulk Was Injured By The Infinity Gauntlet
Hulk’s sizzled right arm has finally received the Avengers: Endgame post-release lore treatment.
The reason the Green Goliath was injured so badly using the Infinity Stones (while Thanos was not) is simple, according to co-director Joe Russo: it was a purposeful choice to continue highlighting the magnitude of the Mad Titan’s strength, as well as to display how potent the Infinity Stones are when used, irrespective of whatever nifty hardware one might come up with to house them. (via ComicBook.com)
In the film, well-adjusted and emotionally stable Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), a merging of the brains and mild temperament of Bruce Banner with the green, super-strong physique of the Hulk, wielded the Infinity Stones to bring back the lives lost in Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, his act of service didn’t come without a heavy penalty: Hulk experienced substantial cosmic charring up his entire right arm and part of his neck, and the arm was rendered pretty much useless.
Since he’s presented as one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it came as a surprise to the audience (and even his fellow Avengers) that Hulk took such a substantial hit using the Infinity Stones — especially since he was deemed most likely to survive the impact of using Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) Infinity Gauntlet 2.0 to channel their power.
Fans will recall that in Infinity War, Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the stones to snap half of all life in the universe out of existence, with relatively little injury to himself — though his Infinity Gauntlet was heavily damaged in that first usage. It was only when he used the Stones again (to destroy them) that it really took a toll, as he emerged from the experience with a noticeable hobble and some pretty bad damage to his Gauntlet arm.
The Hulk is incredible, but he’s still no Thanos
Russo explained that it was important for the filmmakers to revisit how the Hulk, for all his incredible power, paled compared to Thanos.
«We know how powerful Thanos is by his quick defeat of the Hulk in Infinity War, so this is an incredibly painful experience, to put on the gauntlet that controls the universe,» Russo said. «It permanently damages the most powerful beings and some of the most powerful creatures in these movies, and very few people can actually put that on and survive.»
Marvel Studios’ head of visual development Ryan Meinerding also explained that in earlier development, they considered giving Hulk a more substantial injury in the form of physically shrivelling his arm, but ultimately abandoned the idea due to technical problems presented in later fight sequences.
«When Hulk brings everybody back with a snap using the Stark gauntlet, they wanted Hulk to have paid a severe price for doing it,» Meinerding explained. «The idea of his arm being shriveled and messed up was where they were going with it initially, and. I pitched that basically when his arm gets shriveled, he just rips his sleeve off and turns it into a sling to allow him to fight later on in the film and not have that asymmetry be something that was too odd. In the end, they worked it out fine in the movie without that concept.»
Endgame’s high stakes required tough consequences
Endgame makes a big deal of exacting cost; it’s fair to say that Thor and Hulk are diametrically opposed examples of the best and worst ways to cope with the fallout of Infinity War, so in lending gravity to Hulk’s decision to use the Stark gauntlet, it would have made no sense to have him make angst-ridden soliloquies like Thor. Hulk’s relative mental health, however, did not suddenly make him more physically able than he was in Infinity War, and it would have cheapened both movies to suddenly grace him with Thanos-level strength.
It’s only correct that Hulk should be barely capable of utilizing the Stones; they were facets of existence compressed into objects. Destroying them (or, technically, reducing them to atoms) would likely have released energy akin to the Big Bang that created them, and that is what it took to severely injure — not even to kill, just to hurt — Thanos.
One of the main themes of Avengers: Endgame is sacrifice, and the film demonstrates over and over again that the only way to be victorious over the «inevitable» (as Thanos so fatefully described himself) is cooperative combined might, and actions that exact terrible tolls. The Avengers’ strategy for reversing the Snap was an incredibly complex one, and everything had a consequence to be accounted for — it just so happened that some of those consequences were more painful than others.
Limits in superhero films come from relativity between characters rather than external universal constants, and the Russos understood that truth very well. Endgame‘s doling out of terrible prices for each small victory was poetic and effective, because it illustrated that even for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, reversing an action as drastic as the Snap would truly require (say it with us) whatever it took. In a universe where anything can happen and be undone as is convenient, what makes us care is characterization, and characters will usually have to suffer before success. In a film with stakes as high as Endgame, that suffering will come swift and hard — even if you’re the Incredible Hulk.
So … If X-Men’s Rogue Touched Thanos, Would She Absorb Gauntlet Powers?
This question was posed on the Mary Sue staff Slack: If Rogue had touched Thanos while he held the Infinity Gauntlet, would she have gained his powers and those of the gauntlet? Well, let’s discuss.
The X-Men character Rogue has the ability to absorb—and, sometimes, fully remove—the memories, physical strength, and superpowers of anyone she touches. It used to be something she couldn’t control at all, but in recent comics, she has mastered the ability, which has made smooching Gambit easier, I’m sure. Now, most notably, she once permanently absorbed Ms. Marvel’s psyche and Kree powers, which gave her the powers of both flight and super strength.
As far as I’m aware of it, Rogue would not be able to absorb the power of the Infinity Stones through Thanos, because the stones give Thanos power, but it is only through contact with the stones. Rogue was able to take Carol’s powers because Carol had perfectly merged human/Kree physiology. Therefore, Rogue was actually taking Carol’s biological abilities. If Rogue touched Wolverine, she wouldn’t gain his claws; she would gain his healing factor, because the claws are a surgical addition, not an inherited part of his mutation.
However, in the fight against Thanos, there is no denying that Rogue would have been fairly useful, regardless of having access to Ms. Marvel’s abilities. Through her touch alone, especially to a Thanos who hadn’t completed the gauntlet, she would have been able to weaken him, which would have allowed the gauntlet keep-away to last a bit longer.
There’s always the off chance that Thanos’s strength could have overwhelmed Rogue and that his emotions and personality could have actually made Rogue even more of a threat than Thanos himself, which also sounds pretty interesting.
While this conversation amongst ourselves just worked to make me wish we’d gotten more of Rogue being … well, Rogue in the X-Men films, it also reminded me of how much potential has been wasted when it comes to a lot of these characters outside of animation. Now that Disney has the X-Men and nearly unlimited resources when it comes to who they can cast and fund, I do hope that the future of the X-Men puts the female characters front and center. They are absolutely some of the strongest characters in canon, and I want to see them used better. It is literally all there for the taking, so don’t mess this up!
But I want to turn the question over to y’all. What do you think would have happened in Infinity War and Endgame if the X-Men were included, and would it have made a huge difference? Who are some of the players from the original comics run that you wished could have been included in the adaptation? My vote is for Silver Surfer, if only because I think it would look pretty cool to see him and all the space-Tony Hawk jokes.
(image: Marvel Comics)
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Comic Book / The Infinity Gauntlet
«There can be no denying it. You are supreme. Anything you wish to be, you are. Anything you wish, is. Nothing in the universe dares challenge that claim. There can only be one word to describe you.
The Infinity Gauntlet is a six-issue limited series published by Marvel Comics in 1991, a Crisis Crossover set in the shared Marvel Universe. The core series was written by Jim Starlin and pencilled by George Pérez (#1�4) and Ron Lim (#4�6). Its success, both critical and financial, cemented the reputations of everyone who worked on it.
Following the events of The Thanos Quest, Thanos, the Mad Titan, has collected the Infinity Gems—six cosmic MacGuffins that grant their wielder great power over a different part of the universe (Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Power, and Reality). When Thanos puts them all on his glove, they create the Infinity Gauntlet, which gives him power over basically everything. Thanos had long been in love with the incarnation of Death after having been resurrected; The Infinity Gauntlet is literally about Thanos trying to use his godly power to court Death. When Death refuses to even acknowledge Thanos’s newfound power, the Titan steps up his game by erasing half the population of the entire universe with a mere thought. Entire worlds and civilizations are torn asunder by Thanos’s power—including Earth, which faces assumed annihilation as a result of power unleashed by the Infinity Gems.
Earth’s remaining heroes (and a few villains) soon come together to plan an attack against Thanos, hoping to catch him off-guard and stop him before he destroys all existence. Aiding Earth’s attack force is Adam Warlock, who had been trapped inside one of the Gems and knows Thanos better than anyone save Thanos himself. (Warlock’s plan is more of a distraction than an actual attempt to stop Thanos; he knows the heroes are doomed to fail.) Across the universe, other cosmic beings—including Galactus—prepare their own coordinated attack on the mad Titan.
When Earth’s assault begins, Thanos uses all the powers of the Gems to lay waste to his attackers. In the midst of battle, he is convinced to turn off most of the gems just to prove he can still do a lot of damage with just one. After he defeats the last of Earth’s forces, the cosmic entities try to have their way with him—but Thanos outpowers them all and soon takes the place of Eternity.
Infinity Gauntlet spawned an ongoing series, Infinity Watch, and two more miniseries that ultimately created a trilogy, and another miniseries with the same name that tied into Secret Wars (2015); A young girl named Anwen Bakian discovers one of the Infinity Gems on Battleworld. She soon ends up embroiled in a conflict involving Thanos and Star-Lord, and becomes a member of the defunct Nova Corps.
It also received an adaptation for Marvel’s all-ages line, written by Brian Clevinger.
Infinity Gauntlet was loosely adapted into two video games by Capcom. The first, Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, is a Beat ’em Up/Platform Game for the SNES. The second, Marvel Super Heroes, is an arcade Fighting Game; it followed X-Men: Children of the Atom and paved the way for the Capcom vs. series.
The Infinity Gauntlet storyline — along with others similar to it — also serve as the underlying basis for Marvel’s 2018 movie Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 sequel Avengers: Endgame.
Infinity Gauntlet provide examples of:
- Abstract Apotheosis: Thanos was defeated when he abandoned his body and became/replaced Eternity at the head of the Cosmic Beings. and failed to realize that the Gauntlet itself, which sustained his new existence, was still on his lifeless body’s hand and within easy reach of vengeful relatives.
- Achilles’ Heel: Gauntlet established that Thanos’s weakness is chronic self-defeatism.
- All There in the Manual: The Infinity Gauntlet miniseries begins with Thanos already having acquired all the Infinity Gems. If you want to know how he got them, you need to read the Thanos Quest two-part comic. Also, Thanos’ resurrection and the motivation for his deeds in The Infinity Gauntlet were first explored in issues of Silver Surfer that preceded this series. The Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus thankfully includes all of these comics, but the regular trade paperback only collects the miniseries.
- Notably, Thanos’ motive in killing off half the universe is not to impress Death, despite that being the popular conception. He did it because she specifically ordered him to, because she felt the universe was overpopulated and headed for mass extinction. Further, she doesn’t give him the cold shoulder because she’s uninterested, but because he betrayed her trust in going after the gems rather than using the gifts she gave him to accomplish his task. All of this can only be found by reading Silver Surfer and Thanos Quest, with the Infinity Gauntlet limited series only covering the fallout of his betrayal.
Thanos: Let there be cosmic warfare! Let the blood and entrails of my opponents scrub away my pain and sorrow.
- He reprises doing this in Infinity War, though it�s a bit different there as that was his end goal.
Come and get me!
- In the initial Silver Surfer arc that set the stage for The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos showed the Surfer a crowded subway station in Tokyo, using this as an example of how grossly overpopulated the universe had become. In Infinity Gauntlet, we find out Thanos sank the entire country of Japan.
- Thanos kills She-Hulk and Namor by infecting them with a fast-growing fungus that engulfs their bodies. The same fungus had previously appeared in the Thanos Quest mini-series, where the Grandmaster tried to use it to double cross Thanos.
Captain America: As long as one man stands against you, Thanos, you’ll never be able to claim victory.
Thanos: Noble sentiments from one who is about to die.
Captain America: I’ve lived my life by those sentiments. They’re well worth dying for.
- On a lesser scale, this is when Wolverine and the Hulk pretty much bury the hatchet after a number of messy run-ins.
- Earth’s heroes with Thanos at the end of Gauntlet, War, and Crusade.
- The eponymous artifact grants the wielder omnipotence when worn. More omnipotence than even, say, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the universe itself or all of the other Cosmic Beings of the setting combined. This becomes a plot point, because Thanos, the wielder of the gauntlet, is tricked into thinking that the only way to effectively dominate the universe is turn himself into the universe. But the second he does, someone else takes the gauntlet from his now-abandoned body and becomes the new big kahuna.
- The Cosmic Entities themselves go to tremendous, never-before-seen lengths to engage Thanos, such as trying to smash him with populated worlds, or discarding their physical form to attack him as beings of Pure Energy.
- When the battle Cosmic Entities is well underway, reality itself fracturing at ground zero, Death herself goes out of her way to save Eros and Nebula’s lives . The former muses that «[the entity’s] hatred for Thanos must reach unfathomable depths» to act so out of character.
- The Skyfathers, similarly, all gather in Asgard to plan their response to Thanos’s new omnipotence, but his very first assault cuts them off from the universe and they’re left powerless to intervene.
- Likewise, this is Eros’s reaction when Thanos turns Thor into glass when the latter was a fraction of a second from smashing the villain’s head and ending the battle.
- The Gauntlet works better when all its gems are present. Justified, as it’s mentioned that the Power Gem especially takes the abilities of the others and backs them with its infinite power.
- This is revealed to be inverted by Infinity War, as a result of the Living Tribunal’s declaration in the first issue of Warlock and the Infinity Watch right after the first miniseries: possession of all six gems by a single individual renders all of them inert. Reversing this judgement is what drives the villains’ plot in the sequel series, Infinity War.
- In the issue #2, there’s an officer of the Kree Starfleet who wonders what happened to half of the Kree population. Said officer is the Captain Dea Sea, whose name sounds likeDC. It’s likely a reference to the fact that DC has its own Captain Marvel.
- While Pip waits for Warlock emerge from his coccoon, he watches ALF on television.
Hulk: You fight someone, you get to know them pretty well.
Hulk: And I’ve come to the conclusion I like you, shorty.
Wolverine: Why’s that?
Hulk: Because in our own ways, we’re both monsters, pal.
- When Nebula wields the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos becomes this to the heroes (and Warlock) in their attempt to wrest it from her control.
- Adam Warlock is forced to disperse the six Infinity Gems amongst a team to safeguard each one. He chooses one for himself, four for his friends. and he hands the Reality Gem to Thanos, although this isn’t revealed until Crusade.
- During the events of Infinity Gauntlet, the entirety of Japan sinks to the ocean. Of course, like most of the disasters during the story, it gets a Reset Button at the end. It also seems that the US was supposed to follow in its path, as parts of the West Coast started sinking as well.
- When the battle escalates to Cosmic Entity proportions, the shockwaves from the assault reach so far out into the Universe that Earth is simultaneously thrown out of orbit and rubbed against dimensional distortions, opening portals into the Negative Zone. With Warlock and the Surfer fighting just to survive, the Cosmics embroiled in much bigger issues, and the Watcher narrating the disaster as a sidenote, it was only Nebula unwittingly undoing this with her universal Reset Button that prevented a dead Earth’s conquest by Annihilus from becoming a small footnote in cosmic history.
- Just before seeking out the Infinity Gems, Thanos gives orders to the captain of the Sanctuary to spread word of his return to every criminal, cultist, and space pirate in the galaxy. After acquiring the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos returns and is pleased to find that the captain has recruited and assembled a huge space armada that could take on most powers in the galaxy. Thanos states that the fleet will make a good royal guard now that he is a god. After this issue, neither the fleet nor the Sanctuary are mentioned again. Thanos didn’t make use of them during his reign as supreme being, and didn’t use them for any other purpose in any issue after the Infinity Gauntlet.
- In Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos sends Firelord and Drax through time, shrinks and presumably squashes the Hulk, and turns Thor into glass, then shatters him. All of these characters pop up toward the end, summoned by Dr. Strange as the characters wrestle for the gauntlet. One would have to read some of the crossover issues to learn how Strange located those heroes.
- Even more egregious is the fifth member of the people found by Strange, Dr. Doom. Doom attempts to steal the Gauntlet and is violently repulsed, but still combat capable. He takes another shot at Thanos a few pages later, proclaiming only death will stop him. Thanos promises him that death, then we cut to Adam and the Surfer, and when we cut back Thanos is battling Cyclops and the Scarlet Witch with no sign of Doom. Doom then appears in the background of one panel several pages later (without lines and with his cloak having somehow grown back from being destroyed), and then he vanishes completely until he turns up with Strange, with no idea of what his actual fate was, considering the last man standing is Captain America. Doom’s fate is only revealed in tie-in issue Dr Strange #34 and is explained that Thanos fused Doom’s armor together and rendered him comatose, requiring Strange to seek out the monks that helped Doom construct his armor so that they can free him.