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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]

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.[23]

Infinity Countdown

Following the destruction of the entire Multiverse and its eventual restoration, the destroyed Infinity Gems were recreated and scattered across the universe.[24] 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,[25] 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 a Soul World monster, deluding himself on thinking the Avengers had contacted him and had escaped.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28] With the gem in his possession, Warlock discovered that Soul World was being progressively corrupted by mysterious force.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31]

Properties

  • The Soul Gem is sentient; it has a desire to collect souls.[citation needed]
  • The gem can attack another's soul in various ways.[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • The gem's wielder can access the memories and skills of those imprisoned within Soul World.[citation needed]
  • The gem can revert beings to their natural state.[citation needed]
  • The gem gives control over any and all life be it sentient or not.[8]
  • The gem protects its wielder from soul-based attacks.[citation needed]
  • The gem's power can circulate life and death forces on a planetary scale.[32]
  • 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]

Alternate Reality Versions

Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999)

In this reality, the Soul Stone resided on the planet Vormir for untold periods of time, with the Red Skull acting as its Stonekeeper for over seventy years. When Thanos arrived with Gamora to retrieve the Soul Stone, the Stonekeeper revealed that to obtain the stone, one must sacrifice someone they love. Gamora scoffed at this claim because Thanos supposedly never loved anyone, but the Stonekeeper clarified that Thanos did love someone- Gamora. Thanos tearfully sacrificed Gamora, 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.[33]

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. Warlock #2
  5. Strange Tales #178
  6. Warlock #15
  7. 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. New Avengers Vol 3 #3
  24. All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #10
  25. Infinity Countdown Prime #1
  26. Infinity Countdown #5
  27. Infinity Countdown #2
  28. Infinity Countdown #4
  29. Infinity Wars Prime #1
  30. Infinity Wars #1
  31. Infinity Wars #2
  32. Incredible Hulk #249
  33. Avengers: Infinity War