In the Guardians of the Galaxy movie it is stressed that a mortal human cannot wield the Infinity Stones. In the comics, however, several humans appear to have wielded one or more Infinity Gems including The Hood, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Beast, and Charles Xavier. I don't know the details of most of these, however, as I learned of some of them via Wikipedia...

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In Thor: The Dark World I can only imagine that Natalie Portman’s character somewhat wielded the red gem, though she definitely did not appear to be in control of it.

I would suggest that the human-destroying nature of the purple stone in Guardians could be exclusive to that one stone, but Power and Reality (the gems that seem to fit the appearance of the purple stone) were both wielded in the comics by The Hood.

So my question/s: is the idea that a simple human cannot wield the gem exclusive to the MCU/Earth 199999? Do human characters in Earth 616 (or others) have some way to more safely wield them?

  • The purple stone has been confirmed to be the Power Stone.
    – user1027
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 20:32
  • @Keen Ah, thank you. Does that mean Red is reality or is that yet to be confirmed? Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 20:34
  • The Aether from Thor: The Dark World? That one we don't have confirmation on.
    – user1027
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 20:41
  • Yes that is what I meant: the Tesseract if blue and Aether red. I believed Aether to be reality as it literally means "a (fictional) state of matter which permiates all that exists" but this is a little off topic. Thanks for the update. Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 20:50
  • As to the Illuminati they merely posses the Stones, they don't ever actually use them (at least I don't remember them explicitly using them) and I believe the Hood was somewhat possessed by Dormmamu which could allow for him to utilize them.
    – Monty129
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 22:05

5 Answers 5


The premise that a normal human could not effectively wield an Infinity Gem is not unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • While the MCU shows the gems having catastrophic effects on anyone unfamiliar with the gem, it was possible for beings of immense power such as, Ronan the Accuser, to use the power of the purple Infinity Gem without dying.

Could a normal human do the same thing? Unknown. I can think of no instance where an ordinary human ever came to be in the possession of any of the Infinity Gems for any length of time. I would consider it unlikely, however.

When we see the Infinity Gems in the canon Marvel Universe, they never showed up in the hands of people who don't already possess superhuman power. It is almost a requirement to have superhuman abilities to find them or use them.

  • It can be said the gems possess a kind of sentience as well and allow their use if it suits their purposes. The Soul Gem and Adam Warlock had a symbiotic relationship where the sentience of the gem was not in doubt. The other Infinity gems are likely as capable of determining who uses them and who does not.

From Strange Tales #179 (1975): Adam Warlock is fighting against the Black Knight, Autolycus and the Soul Gem breaks away from Adam's control and kills Autolycus by taking his soul.

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It's the... Soul Gem... it fights me... it's trying to... break free from my control... again! I can feel it... it wants to suck in... the Souls... of these fallen Knights... just like it did... to Autolycus... I can't allow this... to happen... not again! I did it! I've got it under control again! But it was so... so hard! I feared it might come to this! The Soul Gem is steadily growing stronger and shedding the Subconscious control I've had over it the last three Years! It seeks to be free to satisfy its unholy Hunger for fresh Souls to suck them out of living Beings! I wear a Fiend upon my Forehead... a Monster I now realize... I must destroy!

  • When we first learn of them, the Soul Gem was held by the High Evolutionary, a Human whose mental capacities had been evolved thousands of years beyond the Human norm, making him a god-like being with the capacity to fight against beings such as Galactus.

  • The High Evolutionary gives the Soul Gem to Adam Warlock, a genetically engineered human with the ability to manipulate cosmic energies and could control the soul gem (to a limited extent) using it to create energy fields, project energy beams and if necessary, absorb the souls of living beings taking them into an internal paradise realm.

  • When Thanos learns of the Infinity Gems, he tracks them down and each of them was to be found being used by the Elders of the Universe, last survivors of long-dead races, each with powers and technologies far beyond Human norms.

  • Suffice it to say, most of the time when we see the Infinity Gems, they are in the possession of beings of immense power, creatures capable of controlling and manipulating energies of their own already, and simply adding a more powerful weapon to their arsenal.

  • In the case of The Hood using the gems, he was possessed by a demon, which made it possible for him to understand how to interact with the gems and in a limited way use their powers.

In the case of the other Illuminati, they were meant to be caretakers, not users of the Infinity Gem in their possession. But none of them could be called ordinary in any case. In the end, it is the Illuminati's use which lead to the dissolution and possible destruction of the Infinity Gems in the end.

  • So everyone who have directly used the gems are either immortals (or semimortals) or humans who have been supernaturally modified by some means. While the humans I mentioned are exceptional, they are all by themselves mortals. The fact that they only possessed the gems and not used them, therefore, makes alot of sense. Thank you. Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 14:25
  • Though the OP mentions Iron Man who didn't have any powers himself, and I can't imagine the suit doing anything against the stones?
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 15:21
  • 2
    Iron Man didn't USE his. But it would not surprise me if he could have created an interface to use the power of his gem in some fashion. He is quite capable in that regard. Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 20:57
  • Pip the Troll had the Space gem for a while, and used it (in Warlock and the Infinity Watch which followed the original Infinity Gauntlet miniseries). Aside from the fact that he isn't human, I'd be hard-pressed to consider him a being of immense power.
    – RDFozz
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 17:13
  • Also, we have no evidence that any gem other than the Soul Gem interacts with the user in this way. And, of course, when Adam was initially using the Soul Gem, it was a unique item; it didn't become part of a set for at least a year or two (Thanos stole power from 6 different gems to power a mighty weapon in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, from 1977; the other five gems weren't really discussed again until Thanos Quest, a two-issue series that immediately preceded the original Infinity Gauntlet mini-series in the early 1990s)
    – RDFozz
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 21:17

The original holders of the infinity gems were all super powered - the Gardner, Grandmaster and Champions were elders, the Runner and In-Betweener cosmic beings. When Captain America used the Infinity Gauntlet to move a planet the strain caused the gems to shatter. The others who have held the Infinity Gauntlet - Thanos, Nebula and Adam Warlock were all super powered and able to use it without destroying the gems.

Avengers #5 Captain America Breaks Infinity Gauntlet 001 Avengers #5 Captain America Breaks Infinity Gauntlet 002 Avengers #5 Captain America Breaks Infinity Gauntlet 003

When Captain America tried to use a single gem, the time gem, again it shattered.

Captain America Breaks The Time Gem Captain America Breaks The Time Gem Captain America Breaks The Time Gem

So in answer to the question mortal humans can hold and use the gems but only if they are super powered. Captain America is in peak physical condition and as athletic and strong as a human can possibly be without having super powers. Intelligence isn't really a factor in using the gems as Champion for example was dim witted. Nebula has above average intelligence and able to wield the Infinity Gauntly and use it to restore half the Universe her grandfather (Thanos) destroyed.

  • Which comics show the Infinity Gem shattering?
    – user931
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 7:36
  • @InfinityWar - Avengers (2013) #30, I believe.
    – RDFozz
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 17:05
  • 1
    Note that the Time Gem shattering happens after the rest of the gems were destroyed (when Cap used the Gauntlet to stop an incursion). (And yes, I know after is a bit vague, since this is the time gem). I read this as the after-effect of the destruction of the rest of the gems, not as a sign that Cap was unable to wield the gem.
    – RDFozz
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 17:13
  • 1
    Also - Cap wasn't just moving a planet; he was preventing two different realities from colliding. We've been told the 616 Gauntlet (and, presumably, the individual gems) doesn't work outside the 616 Universe; I would think that the destruction of the Gauntlet was caused by the interaction with another reality, rather than by who was using it - I don't think the result would have been different if it had been Namor, Thor, or Thanos himself using the Gauntlet that way. (I know it wouldn't, because the writer needed it to not be a solution resolving a 2 year storyline, but anyway).
    – RDFozz
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 17:19

Doctor strange used one in the newish movie and he's just a human who has unlocked capabilities all humans technically could have making him a normal human. He definitely can wield it well since he fought a God dormomu with it


Whether or not normal humans can wield the stones changes at times. You have instances like about where captain america could not wield the time stone, yet also normal human Becca Rodriguez, regular high school student could wield the reality stone. Specifics rules may change based on writers or to fit certain story lines


Black Panther used the Infinity Gauntlet once in Secret Wars against God Doom. If that gauntlet has the same properties as the Infinity Gauntlet in other appearances, then a super human should be able to use it to an extent.

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