Iron Man Grew An Infinity Stone Inside His Brain (in Comics)

Iron Man is easily one of the smartest people in any Marvel Universe, but his Ultimate Universe version realized the impossible when he grew an Infinity Stone inside his brain. In the MCU, it was Tony Stark’s genius that allowed the Avengers to travel to alternate timelines and collect Infinity Stones, enabling them to construct their own Infinity Gauntlet and undo Thanos’ mass slaughter. However, in other universes, Tony Stark acquires Infinity Stones in different ways.

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In Marvel’s alternate Ultimate Universe, Infinity Stones (or “Infinity Gems” as they’re called there) have a completely different origin and purpose than they do in the mainstream comics or the MCU. In the original comics, the Infinity Gems originated from Nemesis, a supreme being that existed in the original universe. In the MCU, the Infinity Stones are “singularities” that came about at the beginning of the universe. In the Ultimate Universe, however, the Infinity Gems are more like white blood cells – objects of great power that manifest in times of great calamity to help save the universe from destruction. Stark himself likened them to “the universe’s scabs,” although they were still incredibly powerful items that could manipulate the very laws of physics. And as luck would have it, Stark had been growing one of these “scabs” in his head since the Ultimate Universe was first introduced!



Ultimate Iron Man Had A Unique Infinity Stone

The Maker takes an Infinity Gem from Iron Man's brain

Back in the early days of Marvel’s Ultimate Comics, the Ultimate version of Iron Man was established as a genius weapons designer who had an inoperable brain tumor (the equivalent of the MCU and mainstream Tony’s heart condition). Determined to make the most of whatever time he had left, Stark used his genius to develop a biotech treatment that could extend his life. He also developed his Iron Man suits and joined the Ultimates (his universe’s version of the Avengers), hoping to do some good. As it turned out, the tumor evolved into something very strange. First, it developed a consciousness of its own. Next, it began speaking to Tony through hallucinations, manifesting in the form of a young boy. Tony ended up calling his tumor “Anthony” and treated him as a partner, as Anthony the Tumor was basically an organic parallel processor who could connect with and control technology, making him the perfect sidekick for Iron Man.

Iron Man Found the Grossest Infinity Stone – In His Brain

Ultimate Iron man talks with his brain tumor

Later, in Ultimate Comics Ultimates #27, Anthony the Tumor went through another major change when the Maker, the evil Reed Richards of this world, revealed that what Tony had thought was a tumor was in fact an Infinity Gem. Reed – who’d basically gone insane at this point – conducted a grotesque form of brain surgery on Tony, essentially ripping the stone from his head as brutally as Thanos tore the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead in Avengers: Infinity War. The process basically killed “Anthony,” depriving Ultimate Iron Man of what was his version of JARVIS, making the Vision connection even stronger. The process also essentially killed Stark – but Tony wasn’t out of the game yet. Having been exposed to his personal Infinity Gem for years, Tony’s brain was basically – as he put it – “plug and play.” As his body failed, he simply uploaded his mind into a suit of Iron Man armor and continued that way, even downloading his consciousness into multiple machines to help the other Ultimates.

In the end, Ultimate Tony Stark even got to execute a move similar to his MCU counterparts when he collected all the Infinity Gems and used them to resurrect his own body. Unlike MCU Tony’s “snap,” however, Ultimate Iron Man found his efforts couldn’t just immediately defeat Reed Richards as the gems just shattered, leaving the Ultimate Universe open to the threat of its Galactus. It’s a weird ending to a reimagined Infinity Gauntlet story, but one that shows the Infinity Stones can be birthed in the weirdest places. Including Tony Stark’s brain.

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