The hardest choices require the strongest wills – Thanos
The Marvel Universe is awash with possibility, and every story that it tells has a thousand different possible outcomes.
Sometimes though, those possibilities need to be refined and whittled down, which is probably why, given the nearly endless number of stones that the MCU and for the color world could have used to control all of space, time, and reality, the authors responsible for deciding the outcome, chose to let fate place its faith in six seemingly innocuous little gems.
The origin story of the stones has, like all the best origin stories seem to do, changed a number of times since they were first introduced to four color fans in Marvel Premiere #1 in nineteen seventy-two.
At the moment, the fan-favorite is the MCU origin that traces their history all the way back to the instant before the Big Bang, but that like all of the best Marvel stories will undoubtedly change over time.
From the moment the stones started to appear in the Marvel Universe, comic book fans have been arguing amongst themselves about which of the six was the most powerful, while the House of Ideas hung back, and refused to be drawn into the debate. Until now.
In the recent Infinity Wars saga, Marvel, or more accurately Gerry Duggan the writer responsible for crafting the story finally revealed which of the six stones was the most powerful, and it’s not the stone that you think it is.
At least, it wasn’t the Infinity Stone that we assumed it would be. But before we pull back the curtain on Gerry Duggan’s revelation, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about all six stones, what they are, and what they can do…
The Space Stone
The stone that gives whoever has it the power to bend space and travel anywhere in the universe they want to, just by thinking about it, the Space Stone was the first to appear in the MCU, as it debuted in Captain America: The First Avenger, and was referred to as The Tesseract
If Steve Rogers had known what it could have done before it fell out of the plane and into the ocean (where it was later recovered by Howard Stark), he could have used it to alter the course of his destiny, and that of the Earth by escaping from the wreckage that would ultimately become his ice prison.
The Mind Stone
The stone that’s embedded in Loki’s scepter in The Avengers? The one that allows him to control the minds of everyone it touches, that’s the Mind Stone, and that’s exactly what it does. It allows whoever has it to control the reality of anyone they touch with it.
It went on to wreak havoc in The Age of Ultron before finally finding a home (until Thanos snatches it in Infinity War) in the forehead of Vision.
The Reality Stone
The stone with the power to reshape the world and the universe as the person wielding it sees fit, the reality stone was previously known as the Aether by the Asgardians and lay at the heart of the action in Thor: The Dark World, before made its way from Asgard to the Dark Elves, back to Asgard and then ended up in the hands of the Collector.
It was an easy way to ensure that Thanos could claim it, which helped to create the plot for Infinity War and Endgame and was another way to establish that everything in the MCU is connected.
The Power Stone
Remember the opening credits of Guardians of the Galaxy when Peter “Starlord” Quill dances through a robbery and steals the orb that in two shakes of Rocket’s tale puts all of the members of Quill’s crew on a collision course?
And remember how that stone was later used by Quill to destroy the Accuser and prevent another war between the Kree and the Nova Corps, and how handling it (even with a little help from his new friends) nearly killed him?
That’s the Power Stone, and it can quite literally rip planets in half and shatter moons. It’s just a pity that no one seemed to be interested in listening to Uncle Ben’s perpetual words of wisdom before handling the stone that could tear them apart.
The Time Stone
That funky medallion that Stephen Strange wears around his neck? That isn’t just for effect when he hits the Brooklyn Nightclubs, and it isn’t just there to channel the magic powers of the Sorcerer Supreme, the Eye of Agamotto is actually the time stone and it allows the user to turn back, or skip forward through time.
Remember the time loop that Storage created that eventually defeated Dormammu and how he was able to see the only solution that will allow the Avengers to defeat Thanos in Endgame? The time stone was responsible for both of those things and in the right hands, it’s one of the most powerful Infinity Stones.
The Soul Stone
As all-powerful as the time stone is, it isn’t the most powerful stone. That honor belongs to the stone that first appeared in Infinity War and could only be obtained through great sacrifice. Thanos was, of course, willing to pay the price for the stone, as long as he didn’t have to pay the price for it himself, and gave Gamora’s life for it.
While the MCU was a little ambiguous about what the soul stone could do, Gerry Dugan wasn’t anywhere near as reticent, and in Infinity Wars #4 Requiem, an identity used by a rogue Gamora uses soul stone to half the number of living beings in the universe by combining the souls of two beings in one form.
It reshapes the universe in a similar way to her father’s idea, and he would almost definitely have been proud of his daughter’s idea had she not already killed him.
The Unexpected Power
So, there you go. The most powerful stone can’t control time, space, or reality, but it can, and does rearrange life. Who would have thought the soul stone would end up changing everything?