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Quote1 Yes, come to my warm embrace. No pain. No burdens. For I rule within. 'Tis the price I demand for my secrets!... Secrets I knew would one day deliver you to me! For long I have cried to be free of your petty moral restrictions. Cried to quiet the hunger which is me. But no, you've refused me the souls I crave. You know I am not to be stymied. I am power. I am one of the six. My mother was a star. My father was destruction. I am logic and survival... Power that will not be enslaved by emotion or biology. I am by far the stronger of us... So I now claim this vessel which was you as my own. Not it shall be you who are the slave! Now it shall be I who controls our fate, I who determines what this body does. Today begins the reign of the Soul Gem! Quote2
-- Soul Gem src

History

One of six Infinity Gems that grant its user control over reality. According to the most commonly accepted origin story the six gems were once part of an all-powerful being who committed suicide out of loneliness. Its power survived and manifested as six gems.

The Soul Gem was in the possession of the High Evolutionary when he oversaw the rebirth of Adam Warlock. He gifted the gem to Warlock to aid him in his mission to save the world of Counter-Earth.[3] During that time, Warlock primarily used the gem's powers to restore evil New Men to their pre-evolved animal forms.[4]

After leaving Counter-Earth, Warlock started to become more aware of the Soul Gem's hidden dark side. He found it difficult to control its tendency to steal the souls of others.[5] He soon found a way to communicate with the gem's consciousness and learned that it was "one of six".[6] Shortly afterwards, Thanos had gathered the other five and siphoned off the power from Warlock's sixth to create a giant, synthetic Soul Gem. After defeating Thanos and destroying the large gem, Warlock had his own soul absorbed into his Soul Gem by his time-travelling past self, where he lived peacefully within the inner world of the Gem along with his friends Pip, Gamora, and the gem's other stolen souls.[7]

Soul Gem from Thanos Quest Vol 1 1 001

The Soul Gem was left atop Warlock's grave, where it was picked up by the Gardener to replace the gem he earlier discarded. The Gardener went to the subatomic world of K'ai to create a new garden on the devastated planet and refused to let any of its doomed people access it. This brought him into conflict with the visiting Hulk, who snatched the gem and threw it through the ground into the planet's core, where it revitalized life on the surface.[8]

Gardener somehow retrieved the Gem from K'ai's core without affecting life on the world's surface and later joined up with a conclave of other Elders of the Universe in a plot to use the Gems to further their ambitions. While the other Elders worked towards gathering the rest of the Gems, Gardener's connection to plant life enhanced by the Soul Gem was instrumental in detecting and entrapping Mantis[9] and Shalla-Bal[10] for use as hostages against the Silver Surfer, who opposed them and held the final Gem. The Elders' gambit was ultimately successful in gathering all six Gems. They connected them into a space platform aligned with a star system with six desolate planets the Gems could resonate with, setting up a trap for Galactus. Their apparatus would steal planetary energies from Galactus, channeling them into the planets, thus killing Galactus and subsequently Eternity due to the loss of balance that Galactus maintained. The universe would end and be reborn, with only the Elders surviving due to their earlier victory over Death[11] and as such be true Elders of the new universe as Galactus had been in theirs. Though the Elders successfully trapped Galactus, they failed to handle interference from his heralds. While the Silver Surfer blocked the ray from the Gem apparatus, Nova detonated the star at the center of the system, creating a black hole that consumed the Gems and some of the Elders, saving Galactus.[12]

The Elders joined with the In-Betweener in a further scheme to kill Galactus, retrieving the Gems from the black hole. In-Betweener took the Soul Gem, joining with the possessive sentience it contained. Galactus recruited the Silver Surfer, Reed, and Sue Richards to help him by retrieving the Gems, particularly the one Gem with the power to harvest souls, which he needed to remove the Elders he had earlier consumed that were poisoning him. They flew into the black hole and emerged in the realm of Lord Chaos and Master Order, entities whose personalities began to affect Sue and Reed respectively. Sue's Malice persona emerged, making her into a threat that stole the Gems for herself,[13] and in the process of getting them back from her, the In-Betweener possessed Reed via the Soul Gem.[14] The In-Betweener then revealed himself and the Elders in their plot to kill Galactus, leading to an all-out confrontation in Order/Chaos' realm. Master Order and Lord Chaos ultimately got involved to break up the fight and redistributed the Gems among the In-Betweener and the Elders afterwards, with the one that would soon be revealed as the true Soul Gem left with the In-Betweener imprisoned in their realm.[15]

Infinity Gauntlet

Thanos learned of the Gems' true nature as Infinity Gems from the Infinity Well and set out to gather them once more in a quest to become a god worthy of being Death's consort. He first went to Chaos and Order's prison at the Nexus of Reality and tricked the In-Betweener into believing he was there to free him. After combining their powers to break open the cosmic bubble that caged the In-Betweener, Thanos betrayed him once he was out in an environment where his powers were nullified, taking his Soul Gem and abandoning him to Chaos and Order's mercies. He remarked that the green Gem, once belonging to Adam Warlock, was the only one of the six truly attributed to the power of the soul.[16]

Soul Gem from New Avengers Vol 3 3 001

When Thanos assembled all six Gems into his Infinity Gauntlet, he had the power and knowledge to achieve anything he desired, except he found he still didn't know what it would take for Death to return his affection. While contemplating his next move, he was confronted by the Silver Surfer and a reborn Drax the Destroyer, who were unprepared for how powerful he had become. Thanos dispatched them simply by absorbing them into the Soul Gem.[17] Inside the world of the Soul Gem, they met with Adam Warlock and the other souls held within and with Warlock's help, Drax and the Surfer were able to escape back into reality.[18] Warlock also used his connection to the Soul Gem to reincarnate himself, Gamora, and Pip into the bodies of recently dead humans so they could join the fight against Thanos in the land of the living. By then, Thanos had moved on to use the Gems to create a great shrine to Death and fulfill his promise to her to kill half the population of the universe, removing them from existence with a snap of his fingers.[19] No matter what he did, Death continued to regard him with silent disdain. He became increasingly unstable in his frustration and when a coalition of surviving heroes came to confront him, he was compelled to attempt to entertain Death by limiting his own abilities and giving his enemies a minute chance of victory. He swore off the use of all the Gems except Power in the ensuing battle, though he defeated many of his opponents through manipulations of time, space, and reality regardless.[20] After neutralizing them all, Thanos reclaimed full control of the Gems just in time to face an alliance of Cosmic Beings. When Death stood with the other Abstracts against him, Thanos lost his last vestige of patience and subdued them all, imprisoning them in an energy field. Upon defeating Eternity, he took their place as an abstract being one with the universe. This meant abandoning his physical body, which was still wearing the Gauntlet. Nebula, who up to that point was a helpless bystander being tortured by her grandfather for his amusement, seized the opportunity and stole the Gauntlet. She quickly used the Gauntlet to reset the timeline by 24 hours, more so to spite Thanos' accomplishments than to set things right. She lacked the experience or understanding to make full effective use of the Gems while Warlock had formed more of a connection through his time within the Soul Gem. He was able to hide from her senses while the allies he recruited faced her directly, and when the Silver Surfer was at risk, Warlock took himself and the Surfer's soul back into Soulworld to regroup. From there, Warlock was able to become one with Soulworld and influence the other Gems, separating Nebula from the Gauntlet to claim it for himself. Pledging to be a more worthy supreme being, Warlock ended the conflict and sent everyone on their way.[21]

Infinity Watch

Warlock did not hold the Infinity Gauntlet for long before Eternity brought his case to the Living Tribunal that the young god was no more suited to hold omnipotence than Thanos. The Tribunal ruled that Warlock disperse the Gems so that no individual could misuse their combined might. Warlock decided to split the Gems among friends and allies he knew would not or could not abuse their potential. While he relinquished the other five, he saved the Soul Gem for himself as he had forged too strong a connection with it over the years to trust it with anyone else.[22]

He then joined with Gamora, Pip, Drax, and Moondragon, his chosen holders of the Time, Space, Power, and Mind Gems, to form a team known as the Infinity Watch.[23] Warlock led the team, skillfully employing his Gem's abilities in and out of battle, defeating opponents with its Karmic Blast and uncovering truths through its empathic powers.[24]

When the Magus returned with a threat to collide the universe with his doppelganger dimension, Warlock devised a plan to defeat Magus by appearing to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet while Galactus took Gamora to meet with Eternity and the Living Tribunal to reverse the ruling on using the Gems in unison.[25] Magus stole the Gauntlet to achieve godhood just as the ruling was reversed, but he didn't realize the Reality Gem included was a fake. Without it, Magus was vulnerable to Warlock's counterattack, who wrested the supreme power with the assistance of Eternity and Infinity who represented the reality Magus lacked control over. Warlock trapped Magus in Soulworld, but since Magus wasn't a complete soul by himself, he found he was invisible and intangible to the world's other inhabitants, leaving him to suffer in helpless solitude. The other Infinity Gems were returned to the Infinity Watch and the ban on the Gems' combination was reinstated.[26]

Warlock's other counterpart, the Goddess then appeared using an egg-shaped conglomeration of Cosmic Containment Units to bring about universal peace by driving the self-destruction of sentient life. Warlock devised an intricate plan to defeat the Goddess using the Soul Gem which would act largely autonomously according to his will. First, he gave the Soul Gem to Thanos just before it absorbed Warlock's own soul while mentally making Thanos aware of the plan.[27] During his visit to Soulworld, Warlock was able to confront Magus in attempt to force his evil half to join with him, but Magus refused to help even under threat of annihilation. Warlock instead beat Magus into submission and left confident that he had the ability to confront his other shade alone.[28] On Warlock's signal, Thanos then used the Soul Gem to send Warlock's essence into the Goddess' subconscious.[29] From there, Warlock was able to influence the Goddess' apocalyptic wish on the Cosmic Egg, making the widespread destruction occur only in illusion. When the Goddess became aware of the deception, she fought Warlock's soul with her own. With the help of a psychic distraction, Warlock managed to wrest complete control of the Cosmic Egg, leaving Goddess vulnerable to the Soul Gem's ability to absorb her. She ended up in Soulworld in the same state as Magus, and while the two of them found that they could at least see each other, they still couldn't touch. The Soul Gem's preprogrammed actions then wrapped up by returning Warlock's soul to his body and returning itself to him.[30]

Despite the Living Tribunal's ruling preventing the Infinity Gems' working in concert, it was apparently still possible for individual Gem holders to combine the effects of a subset to accomplish particular tasks. Notably, Drax, Warlock, and Moondragon combined the Power, Soul, and Mind Gems to enhance a psychic probe to surpass the memory blocks in Maxam's subconscious.[31]

Count Abyss, the all-powerful ruler of another dimension coveted the Soul Gem to grant him the one thing he lacked -- a soul. He was unable to use his powers outside his own universe, but he put a plan in motion to draw the Infinity Watch into his domain where he could overpower them easily.[32] Abyss took the Soul Gem and drunkenly basked in its abundance of souls without actually fully possessing any of them, his actions having disastrous effects on the otherwise peaceful Soulworld. Warlock took advantage of Abyss' distracted state to get the Gem back and then used it to give the dark ruler what he thought he wanted, possession of one of the souls of Soulworld, Kray-Tor. The soul made Abyss torturously aware of his own atrocities for the first time and also left him unable to access his unlimited powers since it was his own soul he sold in the first place to earn them. Unable to defend himself, Abyss was exiled to another universe just as Warlock took Kray-Tor's soul back. Though the battle was won, Kray-Tor was left traumatized by the experience and the paradise of Soulworld was a little less blissful.[33]

Strange attacked the Infinity Watch in an attempt to steal the Infinity Gems and succeeded in taking the other four, but Warlock used the Soul Gem's light of truth to stop him just before he could take his. The sorceror's shade gave up and returned the Gems upon realizing they couldn't work together.[34] Shortly after that, Warlock briefly housed the displaced spirit of Firelord in Soulworld while the Watch set out to retrieve his body's stolen life force.[35]

At a time when the Infinity Watch was facing internal turmoil over Moondragon's injuries, Gamora's departure, Maxam's betrayal, and their island base's destruction by tropical storm, all the Infinity Gems suddenly vanished from the universe without explanation. The team broke up, but Warlock was determined to find where the Gems had gone.[36]

Ultraverse

While details are inconsistent, the cause of the Gems' disappearance was Rune of the Ultraverse, who had just been accidentally transported to Earth-616 and quickly became obsessed with the Infinity Gems upon sensing their power. He somehow first stole the Time Gem and used it to freeze time, then proceeded to take the other five Gems from their owners in the space between instants. When attempting to take the Soul Gem, Rune was drawn into Soulworld where Warlock's soul could confront him despite the stopped time outside. Warlock's efforts to defend his hold over the Soul Gem were crushed by the betrayal of the Soul Gem itself, which identified Rune as one it had been waiting for due to his vampiric nature. The Soul Gem abandoned Warlock's forehead for Rune's and its will quickly began to take over. The Living Tribunal, unaffected by time manipulation and sensing the imminent violation of his decree against the union of the Gems, brought the Silver Surfer into the frozen time and charged him with preventing it at all costs. The Surfer soon found Rune being directed by the Soul Gem to open a rift to his home dimension. At that point, the Surfer attacked Rune, with a blast of the Power Cosmic to his hand dispersing the five Gems on it into the vortex, causing them and Rune to scatter throughout the Ultraverse and restarting the normal flow of time in Earth-616.[37]

Rune landed back on his own Earth with the Soul Gem still bonded to him. He soon realized the Gem was bypassing his vampiric abilities, taking all the energy from his feedings for itself.[38] The Gem demanded that its host submit to it in exchange for life energy, but the prideful Rune refused to comply. He began to waste away until he found an opportunity to trick his adversary, Gemini into believing the Gem was actually beneficial to him. When Gemini ripped the Soul Gem from Rune, it bonded to him instead and Rune was able to recover.[39] Planning to reacquire the other five Gems, Rune intended to control the Soul Gem through Gemini, believing the weaker vampire would become a compliant husk under its influence. Gemini's two halves, Noel and Erik, found themselves face-to-face in Soulworld, which had been transformed into a nightmarish environment to psychologically torture them. The Soul Gem agitated the more aggressive Erik until he lashed out and seemingly killed Noel, then turned the outward form of the now fully Erik Gemini against its previous host. To Rune's disbelief, the Gem-empowered Gemini quickly overpowered him, nearly killing him. The Gem wanted Gemini to finish Rune off by feeding on him to absorb his power, but at the last moment Gemini regained enough control to instead throw Rune through a portal to the Negative Zone. With Noel's persona recovered, he was able to reject the Soul Gem's influence entirely, throwing it into the sea. The Gem did no sink very far before it was recovered by Loki, who had detected the Gems' arrival in the Ultraverse and was collecting them for himself.[40]


Illuminati

When the Illuminati attempted to use the Infinity Gauntlet to push away another universe that was colliding with Earth-616, the Soul Gem shattered.[41]

Infinity Wars

Following the destruction of the entire Multiverse and its eventual restoration, the destroyed Infinity Gems were recreated and scattered across the universe.[42] The Soul Gem (now colored orange) was found on Ego the Living Planet by Magus after he cleaved the Comtemplator's head off his body and made him reveal the gem's location. The Comtemplator, however, had taken the precaution of letting others know where the Soul Gem was, and consequently caused the Magus' death at the hands of Ultron / Hank Pym. Unbeknownst to Ultron, a fragment of Pym's soul became trapped within the Soul Gem's pocket-dimension when he took hold of it, and there he was greeted by a fragment of Gamora's soul,[43] who had been contacting her "complete" self in the hopes of being freed from the Soul World.[2] Hank Pym's soul fragment was ultimately devoured by Devondra.[44]

Ultron (Earth-616) and Henry Pym (Earth-616) from Infinity Countdown Prime Vol 1 1 001

Ultron wielding the Soul Gem

Ultron used the combined power of the gem and the Ultron Virus to transform the planet of Saiph to his image, and set his sights on infecting the entire galaxy.[45] His plan was thwarted by Adam Warlock, the Silver Surfer and Galactus. As Galactus destroyed Saiph, Ultron attempted to escape, but Adam severed their hand and took the gem.[46] With the gem in his possession, Warlock discovered that Soul World was being progressively corrupted by mysterious force.[47]

Warlock attended a parley convened by Doctor Strange to form a new Infinity Watch, but the meeting was disrupted by the arrival of Gamora. She had already claimed the Power Stone as part of her plan to collect all Infinity Stones and reunite with a part of herself trapped within the Soul Gem.[48] During the subsequent battle, Gamora used her sword to decapitate Warlock and take the Soul Gem. Gamora opened a portal into Soulworld and reunited with the portion of herself that was trapped inside, becoming whole again. Having obtained all the Infinity Stones, Gamora set out to rebalance the Soul Gem.[49]

Gamora folded the universe in half and merged the two halves together, sending the new universe into a pocket universe called Warp World inside the Soul Gem so the merged souls would become prey to the monstrous Devondra that was responsible for the Soul Gem's hunger for souls. While waiting for Warp World's destruction, Gamora traveled to the God Quarry to investigate what laid beneath it.[50] Inside Warp World, Loki rallied a group of heroes called the Cosmic Avengers to stop Gamora, and they escaped from the Soul Gem using copies of the Infinity Stones found within Warp World which Gamora had unwittingly brought into existence when she created Warp World. Loki argued that his multiple deaths and rebirths and the fact that he thrived in multiple realities earned him the replicate Soul Gem.

The Cosmic Avengers confronted Gamora and took the Power, Reality and Space Stones from her. Loki in turn took these stones for himself in addition to the copies of the Soul, Time and Mind Stones, thus assembling a complete set of Infinity Stones. He used the stones to send Gamora to Warp World before transporting himself to the unknown realm that existed beneath the Quarry of Creation, where he found a group of Celestials guarding a deposit of countless Infinity Stones.[51]

Loki returned from beneath the Quarry of Creation, and used his Infinity Stones to render the surplus gems inert. He handed over his set to the Cosmic Avengers so they could repair the universe. After returning to Soul World and defeating Devondra, the Cosmic Avengers joined forces with Adam Warlock to restore the universe while keeping Warp World intact within the Soul Gem. Adam Warlock then used the Soul Gem to flee Soul World with the Cosmic Avengers and his allies while Drax the Destroyer sacrificed himself to keep the portal leading to the real universe open. After sending Gamora someplace to set her on a path of redemption, Adam Warlock decided to give the Infinity Stones sentience and let them decide their destinies in order to stop the conflicts over their power. Warlock expected the Soul Gem to remain by his side due to their shared history, but to his surprise, it left as well.[52]

Properties

The Soul Gem is sentient; it has a desire to collect souls.[53] Somebody in possession of the Soul Gem can use it to attack another's soul in various ways: The gem can reveal information by peering into another's soul or using the 'Cold Light of Truth.'[citation needed] The gem can trap souls inside itself in an idyllic world named Soul World,[7] also allowing its user to access the memories and skills of those imprisoned there.[citation needed] The gem's power can circulate life and death forces on a planetary scale,[54] revert beings to their natural state[4] and give its user control over any and all life be it sentient or not.[8] Additionally, the Soul Gem protects its wielder from soul-based attacks.[citation needed] The gem can disrupt the anima of a soul with a karmic blast rendering the target temporarily unconscious. Certain beings are immune to this attack.[citation needed]

Following the destruction and rebirth of the Infinity Stones, the artifacts formed a feedback circuit. Because of this, how much of the Soul Gem's potential somebody can tap depends on their mastery over reality, meaning that possession of the Reality Stone allows for a better use of the Soul Gem. In turn, possession of the Soul Gem allows for better control of the Mind Stone.[51]

Alternate Reality Versions

Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999)

In this reality, the Soul Stone resided on the planet Vormir for untold periods of time. During his attempt to use the powers of the Tesseract, the Red Skull was teleported by the Tesseract to Vormir and cursed into being the Soul Stone's guardian for over seventy years. When Thanos arrived with Gamora to retrieve the Soul Stone, the Red Skull explained that to obtain the stone, one must sacrifice someone they love. Gamora scoffed at this claim because Thanos supposedly never loved anyone, but Thanos revealed that he loved her and tearfully sacrificed her, earning the Soul Stone in the process.

When confronting the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy on Titan, Thanos used the Soul Stone to detect the real Doctor Strange among a sea of illusions. After gathering all of the Infinity Stones, Thanos used all six of them, the Soul Stone included, to obliterate half of the universe. This feat was so powerful it sent him into a dream-like reality induced by the Soul Stone, where he conversed with a mirage of a young Gamora about finishing his quest.[55]

Three weeks later, Thanos used the power of the Infinity Stones to destroy them, the Soul Stone included.[56]

Earth-TRN734

In this reality, the Soul Stone shared nearly the exact same history as in Earth-199999 up until 2014. During the Time Heist, Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton travelled to 2014 to retrieve the Soul Stone, they encountered the Red Skull, who explained that they must sacrifice someone they love for the stone. After a brief scuffle, Romanoff sacrificed herself, causing Barton to obtain the Soul Stone before returning to Earth-199999. After the Avengers used the Infinity Stones to resurrect everyone slain by Thanos's snap and defeat the Thanos of the past, Steve Rogers returned the Soul Stone to its resting place.[56]

Notes

  • The Soul Gem went unnamed since its first appearance until Warlock #3, where it was referred to as the "Soul-Jewel." It became known as the "Soul-Gem" in Strange Tales #178.

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. Warlock #3
  2. 2.0 2.1 All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #3
  3. Marvel Premiere #1
  4. 4.0 4.1 Warlock #2
  5. Strange Tales #178
  6. Warlock #15
  7. 7.0 7.1 Avengers Annual #7
  8. 8.0 8.1 Incredible Hulk #248
  9. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #7
  10. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #8
  11. West Coast Avengers Annual #2
  12. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #9
  13. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #15
  14. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #16
  15. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #18
  16. Thanos Quest #1
  17. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #46
  18. Silver Surfer Vol 3 #48
  19. Infinity Gauntlet #1
  20. Infinity Gauntlet #4
  21. Infinity Gauntlet #6
  22. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #2
  23. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #6
  24. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #4
  25. Infinity War #4
  26. Infinity War #6
  27. Warlock Chronicles #3
  28. Warlock Chronicles #4
  29. Infinity Crusade #5
  30. Infinity Crusade #6
  31. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #26
  32. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #32
  33. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #33
  34. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #36
  35. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #37
  36. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #42
  37. Rune/Silver Surfer #1
  38. Curse of Rune #1
  39. Curse of Rune #2
  40. Curse of Rune #3
  41. New Avengers Vol 3 #3
  42. All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #10
  43. Infinity Countdown Prime #1
  44. Infinity Countdown #5
  45. Infinity Countdown #2
  46. Infinity Countdown #4
  47. Infinity Wars Prime #1
  48. Infinity Wars #1
  49. Infinity Wars #2
  50. Infinity Wars #3
  51. 51.0 51.1 Infinity Wars #5
  52. Infinity Wars #6
  53. Strange Tales #179
  54. Incredible Hulk #249
  55. Avengers: Infinity War
  56. 56.0 56.1 Avengers: Endgame
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