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Monday, August 22, 2016

Infinity Gems Key Issues

Alright, I'm taking a stab here at an Infinity Gems key issues list, which is no easy task. There's little information about the Infinity Gems in general, especially when it comes to 1st appearance.

Often times, the info conflicts with other sources. This took me literally four days of research, in which I had to read a ton of these issues and other issues in-between to be somewhat as accurate as possible and to get a better grasp of the evolution of these Gems.

It's easy to get confused and it is confusing as you'll see what I mean when getting into this.

Marvel Premiere #1 Adam Warlock cover
Origin of Adam Warlock
First appearance as Warlock
1st appearance of Soul Gem
1st issue of comic series
1st appearance of Counter-Earth

I've talked about and mentioned this beast a few times already. Right now the official key issue status of this comic is the origin of Adam Warlock.

However, there's an argument in the comic community about how this comic should be the first appearance of Adam Warlock. I'm not with that party, but I do believe this should be the first appearance as Warlock. 

In this issue, he is simply given the name of Warlock. In Marvel Premiere #2, he is Christened with the 1st name of Adam. 1st appearance as Warlock sounds about right. 

Then again, that just may be pushing some more nonsense key notations. However, it is the first time he is given the name Warlock, obviously since it's on the cover.

But I'm going to get into more specifics concerning this character and this issue. So after HIM's rebirth, the High Evolutionary renames him Warlock and also gives him the Soul Gem...not really named, but it first appears in this issue.

High Evolutionary starts off as a guide and mentor of sorts to the newly reborn Godling. With a sense of purpose and direction supplied by the High Evolutionary, Warlock arrives on Counter-Earth.

This place is an experiment of the High Evolutionary that was to be a Utopian society until it was contaminated by the Man-Beast. This Man-Beast is also another creation of the High Evolutionary gone wrong.

So we have the first appearance of Counter-Earth in this issue, the 1st appearance of the Soul Gem, origin of Adam Warlock part 1, and 1st issue to the Marvel Premiere comic series. Not a bad list of key issue goodness. 

Marvel Premiere #1 has the cover date of April, 1972.

Marvel Premiere 2 Adam Warlock
2nd issue
2nd appearance as Adam Warlock
2nd appearance of Soul Gem

2nd issue to Marvel Premiere and features the 2nd appearance of the character as Adam Warlock. Not as HIM or just Warlock, but Adam Warlock.

In terms of the Infinity Gems, this issue obviously has the 2nd appearance of the Soul Gem. As stated before, he is given the 1st name of Adam in this issue.


Industry has yet to officially recognize either the 2nd appearance as Adam Warlock or the 2nd appearance of the Soul Gem, but we shall further see how that develops.

Marvel Premiere #2 has the cover date of May, 1972.

1st time Warlock's gem is called Soul-Jewel

I might as well say this is the first time "Soul" is connected or referred to Adam Warlock's gem. I wrote a lot about this in the Collector & Elders of the Universe Key Issues recently done, but the sources I obtained them from were wrong.

Some sources indicated that issue #3 was when the word soul was connected to jewel. After reading all the issues leading up to this one, this issue supposedly is the first time Warlock's Gem actually is called a Soul-Jewel.

So recapping here a bit: Warlock's Gem was first called an emerald in it's first appearances. Then, at least by issue #1, it was referred to as a jewel.
Anyway, this issue has a good chance of the Gem being called a Soul-Jewel for the 1st time. It was called a jewel in issue #1, but the soul was left out.

From this issue on until Jim Starlin comes on board the character of Warlock, the Gem is referred to as a Soul-Jewel. Pic below is from Warlock #2.

So there you have it. Big deal? Maybe, it is an evolutionary step for Warlock's Soul Gem to be called such in later comics. It is the 4th appearance of the character as Warlock also if you want to get technical.

The Power of Warlock #2 has the cover date of October, 1972.

1st appearance of Magus
1st time Gem is called Soul Gem
Jim Starlin Adam Warlock begins

The Power of Warlock comic series was briefly cancelled with issue #8 and the character would be a guest star here and there in comics. After issue #8 of the Warlock series, Warlock would have a cameo in Avengers #118 and then guest star in the Incredible Hulk series with issues #176 through #178 when Hulk arrives on Counter-Earth. 

In the Incredible Hulk issues, the Gem is still referred to as Soul-Jewel. It wasn't until this issue where Warlock became a featured character once again.

This issue marks Jim Starlin's run on the character, which would eventually carry over into the revived Warlock comic series starting with issue #9. This issue here has a good chance of being or is Jim Starlin's 1st Adam Warlock work.

Starlin writes, pencils, inks, and colors this issue, and this issue is the 1st time Adam Warlock's Gem is called a Soul Gem.

July, 1975 is the cover date for Strange Tales #178, and this issue does see Magus but it's only of his face in this comic. His face is shown several times though.

1st time Soul Gem takes a soul
1st appearance of Pip the Troll

Some might say this isn't really an important comic, but if we're talking about differentiating the actual Infinity Gems, this comic did take a step in that direction. As you'll soon see, writers that tackled the concept of the Soul Gems did not differentiate them.

They were slightly hinted at doing different things in later comic issues, but none were given different names or blatantly explained to do different things. This issue does reveal that Adam Warlock's Soul Gem is vampiric and has an urge to steal souls.

The 1st soul this gem claims is Autolycus in this issue. So, this issue does hint as this Gem having some kind of ability, but none of the other Infinity Gems are introduced by the time this comic came out.

To further the confusion of Soul Gems abilities during the early years of Soul Gems in comics, the Gardner would take Adam Warlock's Soul Gem from atop his grave and use it to plant another garden on the world of K'al in the pages of the Incredible Hulk #248. The panel below explains how he came to acquire Warlock's Soul Gem after the events of Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2. 

Panels from Incredible Hulk #248

So, apparently Warlock's Soul Gem can steal souls and grow gardens as well. This would change in comics and each Gem would receive it's own name and individual powers.

Strange Tales #149 has the cover date of April, 1975. Magus appears briefly in flashback retelling the events of him in Strange Tales #148.

1st appearance of Mind Gem (cameo)

This took me a bit of digging, but the Mind Gem does first show up in this issue. The issue doesn't exactly make it clear either which Gem it is, but luckily it is hinted at in a certain issue that I'll get to.

So here's the panels in this issue that references a Gem "pulsing". 

Panels from Captain Marvel #41

Now, that really doesn't say much, but in Avengers Annual #7, Thanos recounts that he did find a Gem on Deneb IV. That panel, which I've shown before on this site, will be shown again when we get to Avengers Annual #7.

In the meantime, here's the panels when Captain Marvel finally reaches Deneb IV in Captain Marvel #44.

Panels from Captain Marvel #44
Homeboy meets these weird creatures who have a Gem and keep talking about minds and the merging of minds and mental this and mental that, even though it's huge and red. Here's the panels of it in Captain Marvel #45.

Panels from Captain Marvel #45
Once again, the story in Captain Marvel #45 refers back to this issue of Captain Marvel #41 with the panels shown below. Yes, it's seen as a different color.

Panels from Captain Marvel #45
To make a long story short, the Captain Marvel entry in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update # 4 (2007) identifies this Gem as the Mind Gem, so this issue of Captain Marvel #41 has the 1st cameo appearance of the Mind Gem.

However, as said before, the Gems were not named or differentiated. They were all referred to as Soul Gems. This, obviously, would change in later comics.

Writer Steve Englehart would take the Soul Gem concept further by referencing six in this issue. November, 1975 is the cover date for Captain Marvel #41, and Captain Marvel #45 should be noted as the 1st full appearance of the Mind Gem if CGC or Overstreet or anyone even cares to consider that.

1st full appearance of Mind Gem?
1st reference to 6 Soul Gems

Heck I might as feature this one, but since I talked about it a lot in the Captain Marvel #41 listing above, there's no reason to yap about it a lot.

So, this comic here just may be the 1st full appearance of the Mind Gem, and as the panels shown in the listing before this issue, it is revealed that there are 6 Soul Gems in this issue right here. This issue is under the radar like Captain Marvel #41.

July, 1976 is the cover date for Captain Marvel #45.

Last issue
Soul Gem reveals it is sentient

As copied from the Adam Warlock key issues list done at the beginning of this year, key is somewhat important concerning the Soul Gem. Aside from this being the last issue to Adam Warlock's first solo and headlining comic series, Warlock #15 has the Soul Gem speak to Adam for the first time.

This issue also has the Soul Gem reveal to our hero that it is just one of six. Dun-Dun-Dun! It was revealed to Captain Marvel before this issue though as noted above, but I don't think Warlock was aware. 

So may not be a huge deal, or maybe it might be. Dunno, so I'll let you all decide for yourselves. Warlock #15 has the cover date of November, 1976.

1st appearance of the Gardener 
1st appearance of the Power Gem?
1st appearance of Time Gem

When it comes to sources online, there's a lot of confusion about where the Infinity Gems first appeared. Even in the comics, it's still confusing because the Infinity Gems just didn't pop up in a single comic.

The whole gem mess actually evolved, and even colors of the gems were all over the place in comics.

The first time this item is actually called the Soul Gem is when Starlin puts his stamp on the world of Adam Warlock, and that issue is Strange Tales #178. Even the 1st appearances of the other gems are referred to as Soul Gems though.

The above panel is from Marvel Team-Up #55 and sees the first appearance of another Soul Gem. Sources say that the Stranger has the Power Gem and the Gardner has the Time Gem, though the colors are off in this issue.

So the colors of the Power and Time Gems were later switched in comics and they are identified in the
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry on the Infinity Gems, in which the Stranger's yellow gem is actually the Power Gem and Gardener's red gem is the Time Gem.

This issue is definitely the 1st appearance of the Time Gem, but questionable concerning the Power Gem. I will explain in the next listing.

Marvel Team Up #55 has the cover date of March, 1977.

2nd appearance of Power Gem?

Despite having the same cover date, some sources say that the events in this issue chronologically follows after the events of Marvel Team-Up #55 where the Stranger is 1st seen with the Power Gem and tries to take Adam Warlock's Soul Gem.

Marvel wiki says that in this issue the Stranger explains that "He came to earth sensing the Null-Life Bomb's re-arming and got distracted trying to acquire more Soul Gems along the way." So, if true, this would be the 2nd appearance of the Power Gem and would come after Marvel Team-Up #55 in Marvel continuity. 

However, Mike's Amazing World has this comic's on sale date a few days before Marvel Team-Up #55, so not sure if this should be the 1st appearance of the Power Gem or go by continuity and have this the 2nd appearance.

Currently CGC and Overstreet aren't noting either issue concerning Infinity Gems, though CGC does note the 1st appearance of the Gardner in Marvel Team-Up #55. CBCS notes Marvel Team-Up #55 as the 1st appearance of Power Gem also

Will have to see how this one develops. March, 1977 is the cover date for Champions #12.

1st appearance of Space Gem
1st appearance of Reality Gem
1st time all Infinity Gems appear
Origin of Thanos

This comic is noted for many things, but in terms of the Soul Gems (Infinity Gems), it is the 1st time all are seen in a comic. In comics prior to this issue, I don't think the Space or Reality Gem show up and this is the 1st time we see the Reality and Space Gem though it is not clear which one is which.

Actually, it shows up when Adam Warlock recaps where Thanos found all the six Gems as shown below, and I have shown this picture before and not that long ago.

So we know Deneb IV is where the Mind Gem 1st pops up in comics. We also know the Stranger had the Power Gem and the Gardner the Time Gem in Marvel Team-Up #55. 

The only two stories that weren't in comics prior or referenced before this one is the prison satellite and the creature of Xiambor. We all know that Adam Warlock has the Soul Gem, so the other two have to be the Reality and Space Gem.

Marvel wiki says that Thanos slew the creature Xiambor and got the Space Gem off him. Doesn't really matter since the only two that are left are the Space and Reality Gems. They don't pop up in a comic before or at least one I could find, so their 1st appearance is most likely in this issue.

1977 is the cover date but Mike's Amazing World has the release date of August, 1977 for Avengers Annual #7.

1st time Soul Gems called Infinity Gems
1st time Power Gem & Time Gem named
1st time Space Gem & Reality Gem named
1st time Mind Gem is named

With all the hype of the Infinity Gems in the Marvel movies and with the knowledge that Thanos will be hunting for the Infinity Gems, these two comics were extremely hot. I have no real idea why.

Some on forums and other sites were claiming that issue #2 had the 1st appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet, but that's not true. Thanos is seen with all six Infinity Gems but there is never any gauntlet nor does he put the Gems in one in this comic series.

Still, this does not mean, these issues aren't important concerning the Infinity Gems. Issue #1, does see the first time Thanos calls the Soul Gems Infinity Gems.

He also reveals their secret by looking into the Infinity Well. I believe this comic series actually defines each individual Infinity Gems and names them accordingly. 

So in issue #1, Thanos lifts the Soul Gem off the In-Betweener and describes it's uniqueness or capabilities.

He then hunts down the Champion (another Elder) and lifts the Power Gem off him also. He doesn't describe it's awesomeness after getting it but he does reference them as Infinity Gems for the 1st time. Also, the first time the Power Gem is named.

The third Gem he obtains in this issue is from the Gardner and it is the Time Gem, and after he gets them he explains the abilities of both the Time and Power Gems.

So, we finally get some absolutes here that make each of the Soul Gems unique, though that was hinted at in Captain Marvel #45 and a few other issues as well. Anyway, the Gardner's Time Gem is the last one taken in issue #1.

Issue #2 of Thanos Quest carries on the mission of obtaining all six Infinity Gems. In issue #2, he encounters the Runner and uses the Time Gem on him in order to turn the Elder into an infant. 

Of course, he is able to easily secure the Space Gem and 1st calls it such in issue #2 and then somewhat explains what it truly does.

Thanos then goes to the Collector and trades the infant Runner to secure the Reality Gem. The Collector thinks this is just worthless polished glass.

That there seems kind odd that the Collector thought the Soul Gem was worthless. Back in 1987 and prior to this book, all the Elders of the Universe came together to plot in destroying Galactus beginning in Silver Surfer #4 volume 3.

They were going to use the Infinity Gems to do so, and the Collector was among the bunch. The Gems were still referred to as Soul Gems in that story line, and the Elders revealed how they were going to destroy Galactus in issue #7 of that comic series.

So, a bit strange that the Collector completely underestimated his Infinity Gem in Thanos Quest #2, but it is what it is. The last Gem Thanos gets is the Mind Gem from the Grandmaster, and it is 1st called such although it 1st appeared in Captain Marvel #41 and in #45.

So important key comic concerning the Infinity Gems. Both issues have continually been up and down in value this year at least for CGC 9.8s. 

Thanos Quest 1 and 2 have the cover dates of September and October, 1990. 

1st appearance of Infinity Gauntlet

I personally know that this comic was a hot one in 2015. Once, people started touting this as the first appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet, I dug up my Silver Surfer #44 and #45 and slung them back into the market.

Both were raw copies and not in that great of shape, most likely a low FN. Still, both sold decently. Hey, I'm a Ron Lim and Thanos fan, but I can recognize a hype or trend comic.

I've had both in my collection since the 90s, and both were pretty much bargain bin buys until hype about Thanos and Infinity Wars movies plopped into the web-o-sphere. Despite my decision to let this one go, this comic has definitely heated up since and it's still a pretty hot comic in 2016.

So this issue has the 1st appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet, not Thanos Quest #2, but it is not named "Infinity Gauntlet". The next issue of Silver Surfer #45 has the 2nd appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet and it is the 1st time it's called the Infinity Gauntlet by Mephisto.

Silver Surfer #44 volume 3 has the cover date of December, 1990.

First issue to cross over limited series
Classic story involving Infinity Gauntlet

Copied from prior posting: An extremely popular and fan favorite cross-over series, The Infinity Gauntlet sees the use of Thanos at his best in this limited series. Quite a lot in the comic community are speculating that future Avengers films will eventually borrow a great deal from this storyline since the Infinity Gauntlet has already appeared in Odin's trophy room in the first Thor movie.

Who knows if that's true or not. We may find out more in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie soon coming to theaters or at SDCC.

Infinity Gauntlet #1 has the cover date of July, 1991.

There was a few inter-company crossovers that involved the Infinity Gems. JLA/Avengers was one, but the Marvel/Ultraverse crossover Ultraforce/Avengers came before it and was published in the 90s.

This is an alternate universe obviously and from the Ultraverse continuity and comics published by Malibu. I'll throw it in here just for the hell of it even though it might not necessarily be considered part of Marvel mainstream continuity.

So in the Ultraverse, the Ego Gem is the main consciousness of the Infinity Gems, and when all came together, they became an entity called Nemesis. Not sure if this Gem ever appeared again in comics, but I believe Malibu owns the rights to the Ego Gem and Nemesis.

Some sources say that Ultraforce/Avengers #1 Prelude has the 1st appearance of Nemesis. Others say Ultraforce/Avengers #1 has 1st appearance of Ego Gem. Not entirely 100% sure, but it's either of those two comics.

As for most of the other comics featured in this list, they aren't really recognized by Overstreet or CGC except for the 1st appearance of Soul Gem in Marvel Premiere #1 and 1st appearance of Infinity Gauntlet in Silver Surfer #44. Avengers Annual #7 still has no mention of the 1st time all six Infinity Gems appear together or the origin of Thanos in that issue also.

1st Mind Gem is obviously not noted yet either, and flying under the radar. I believe that is the Mind Gem because that story in Captain Marvel #45 is all about a mind and mental war between Rick Jones and Captain Marvel when they enter the Gem. Plus the Official Handbooks of the Marvel Universe points to that Gem. 

So, this is my attempt at an Infinity Gems key issues list. The problem with many of these key issues is that many of them are not hard finds over-all in the secondary market at least currently. Super high grades may be a different story though.

Many are over-looked as well so the CGC Census data will most likely be low as most who don't know about Infinity Gem keys won't see them worth submitting. Marvel Premiere #1 is an exception and so far does have a low census over-all and especially for 9.8s and 9.6s. 

Like mentioned before, I'm not sure if a lot of speculators, comic investors or even collectors know much about the Infinity Gems, and information about keys relating to them is pretty scarce or not all that informative. Sometimes, they're conflicting as well, so I had to read a lot of the actual issues to find either the same conclusion or an inaccurate one.

For instance, wikipedia states that an issue in Silver Surfer volume is when the all the Gems are called Soul Gems for the first time, which is inaccurate since Avengers Annual #7 has Warlock refer to them as Soul Gems. Captain Marvel #41 before Avengers Annual #7 even refers to the Gems as Soul Gems.  

Another source stated that The Power of Warlock #3 is when the Gem is first referred to as "Soul Jewel", but issue #2 of the comic series does as well. I could not find any other appearances of Warlock's Gem that called it "Soul-Jewel" prior.

It happens and not that I'm always 100% accurate either. Just took me a bit longer to dig around and read a lot of comics.

I am pretty certain that the Thanos Quest comic series is the first time each individual Gem is named for the 1st time excluding Warlock's Soul Gem. The Elders obviously had very little knowledge of the Gems in that two issue series, and even in the Silver Surfer story line that saw them gather the Gems to destroy Galactus, offer no real information about what the individual Gems can actually do except the Soul Gem and that together they're immensely powerful.

Still, the only three Gems that are actually hinted at being different from each other in comics prior to Thanos Quest is the Soul Gem (stealing souls), the Mind Gem in Captain Marvel #45, and the Gardner's Time Gem in Marvel Team-Up #55 which he used to grow gardens with. The Thanos Quest comics are definitely the base point of when each individual Infinity Gem starts to be fleshed out or more clearly defined.

Alright, that's all for now. I'm seriously tired of this subject for the moment. 

You guys have a good one and happy hunting or selling out there. Hope this has been informative enough.


  1. Really like some of the mentioned books (A.A. 7, Thanos Quest, Silver Surfer 44). Got the complete Infinity Gauntlet saga in a bargain pack but used em up while doing some canvas art. So stupid...!!! The complete set would have gone for 50 easily. Recently found about a Warlock 1 90s book with gold cover. Is this one to get? Anything important happenin' in that storyline?

    Max Rebo

  2. Not a big thing, just wanted to say that I was entertained by the Totally Awesome Hulk 1 in a good way. Nice artwork and a well crafted story. Thumbs up.


  3. Got most of these comics when Marvel announced there movie line up several years back. Will probably sell them before Infinity War film. Some are great investment books. Just waiting for Warlock to show up in the films.

  4. Since we are on the subject of Thanos and the Infinity Gems. I wanted to talk about Death and the conflicting info as to when Death first appeared in Marvel continuity. Most people including me say that Death first appears in Captain Marvel 26. Now I have this comic and Death does appear and is even named by Thanos. Now others are trying to say that Death first appeared in War is Hell 9 which was published a year and a half after Captain Marvel 26. Not understanding this at all. This is bad when people are speculating on books. What is your take on this Mayhem.

    1. The character of Death as a skeleton in a dark hooded robe has been around long before comics. We all know this. However, concerning Death in Marvel Comics.

      That character has been around since the Golden Age, but that's the pre Modern version of the character. The Modern version of Death in Marvel Comics first debuted in Captain Marvel #26.

      This is the Death that's very much tied to Thanos, Infinity Gems, Captain Marvel and how we see the character today. Creative credit goes to Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich for this version of the character. Plain and simple.

      The only thing I can think of is Death does not show up often enough in Captain Marvel 26 (3 panels or technically 2 panels and 1 full page). However, Death does show up in the next issue in 10 panels on 3 pages which should constitute as a 1st full appearance.

      Have no idea where War is Hell #9 comes into play as a 1st appearance or even why that's a debate concerning Captain Marvel #26 or #27. Ka-ra-z

    2. Hey Mayhem. Thanks for responding. I think the Overstreet Guide is part of the problem. It notes War is Hell 9 as Intro Death. Not sure why.
      My latest great snags for my collection is a raw NM copy of Batman Adventures: Mad Love Prestige Format 1st print for $20. Also got a VF/NM copy of Marvel Team-Up 65 for $10 as well.

  5. Hey Mayhem,

    thank god I didn' t fell for the War is hell hype. People were asking like 50 bucks for that comic (ungraded). Got another mystery which made me think which is the key book. The first appearance of Kyle Rayner is supposed to be in G. L. 48 - however, I think that he only appears on one panel on the last page, so I would call it a cameo. What' s your take on this, Mayhem. I got the whole Twilight story saga (48 - 50) but I am not sure which one is the key book to hold onto. Nr. 50 has Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern for the first time, so it' s not bad either.

    Speculation Jones

    1. In all actuality, you are correct. Kyle shows up at the end of the story on the last page, a cameo basically. He doesn't show up in #49. He does show up fully in Green Lantern #50 and becomes a Green Lantern on the very last full page. #50 should be considered Kyle's 1st full appearance and 1st appearance as Green Lantern.

  6. Hey, thanks for the research. I guess I' ll have to keep the whole run then. Nr. 50 might have a high print run, but it' s still an important issue.

    Speculation Jones