Real Name: Odin (sort of)
Identity/Class: Non-corporeal entity, the combination of an aspect of the Asgardian god Odin and the infinite power of the abstract being Infinity (who personifies the spatial aspect of the universe)
Occupation: Conqueror (secretly a pawn of Hela)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Hela (creator), the Guardian (servant), Odin (when mind-controlled), the Silent One (both served the same mistress), the Warriors Three (when mind-controlled)
Enemies: Thor, all life (including Brunner and Cosgrove from Earth and aliens)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: The World Beyond
First Appearance: Thor I#184 (January, 1971)
(World Beyond first mentioned): Thor I#182 (November, 1970)
Powers/Abilities: Infinity is a non-corporeal being who was composed of part of the soul of the Earth-god Odin combined with the infinite power of the abstract being Infinity (who personifies the spatial aspect of the universe). Infinity was "split off" from Odin by Hela at a time when Odin was tapping into (or communing with) Infinity.
As the "other self" of Odin, Infinity could presumably do (almost) anything that Odin could. Infinity was able to cause the darkness from the World Beyond to enter into and spread throughout Universe-616, then use that darkness to engulf entire planets and make them part of the World Beyond. Infinity was also able to possess the entire populations of numerous worlds (by stealing their wills so that they obeyed him without question).
Among Infinity's lesser achievements was the ability to strengthen, kill or revive his Guardian at will.
Limitations: Infinity was completely subservient to the will of his creator, Hela, and obeyed her commands without question.
As a being who was partially composed of the soul of Odin, Infinity could be resisted by Odin. If Infinity had managed to physically merge with Odin, that vulnerability would have been eliminated.
Height: Variable (initially 6' 9")
Weight: Not applicable (non-corporeal beings have no mass)
Eyes: White (spirit was colorless)
(Quasar#19 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, under circumstances which have never been revealed, the Earth-god Odin managed to tap a tiny fraction of the unlimited power of Infinity, the abstract cosmic entity who is the personification of the spatial aspect of the universe.
(Thor I#177 - BTS/Thor I#188 (fb)) - While Odin was lying in the Odin-Sleep
inside a capsule in the Sea of Eeternal Night within the Dimension of Death, the Asgardian
death-goddess Hela tried to take advantage of the situation. Knowing that she would be unable
to tamper with Odin's soul, Hela instead attempted to kill his body. However, Odin's power
was so great that only "a portion of his self" was felled. This portion came to serve Hela
and she gave it the name "Infinity." Hela and her new pawn remained out of sight as Balder
the Brave freed and awoke Odin, then Hela brought Infinity to Reality-616 and left him in
deep space to begin his mission to return the world to the nothingness from which it was
(Avengers, Thor & Captain America: Official Index to the Marvel Universe#3: THOR #188: Flashback) - As Odin lay within a capsule in the Sea of Night, Hela drew from his body the sliver of Infinity that he had previously absorbed. She watched as Balder saved Odin, then set the Infinity sliver free to eventually re-merge with and dominate Odin, then conquer the Universe for her.
(Thor I#185 (fb) - BTS) - Infinity made himself the master of the mystic World Beyond which he ruled alone as its lord of life and death. Infinity recruited (or created) a four-armed semi-humanoid warrior to serve as his Guardian and empowered his mace with a force supreme. Infinity also decreed that none who live may speak his name and punished those who violated his decree.
(Thor I#184 (fb) - BTS) - Infinity began to reach out from the World Beyond into Reality-616, his power manifesting as an immense hand (and arm) composed of sheer blackness. As his "hand" reached across the universe, it began, slowly but unceasingly, to engulf any planets (and stars?) that were in its way, leaving behind a giant void in space which looked "as though a giant hand hath torn away the fabric of the universe!"
(Thor I#185) - To casual observers, it seemed as if the planets seized by this hand were destroyed but those who saw more clearly realized that these worlds vanished because they had been swallowed by the darkness within the World Beyond, and their populations had lost their wills and become servants of Infinity.
(Thor I#184 (fb) - BTS) - As this void where no worlds existed grew and the World Beyond was perceived as coming closer and closer to Asgard, the Asgardians became increasingly terrified of this seemingly-unstoppable menace. Another omen involved the Odinsword which began to slowly unsheath itself from its scabbard, forcing Odin (as the only being capable of doing so) to sheath it anew each day so as to avoid the prophecy that the universe would end if the Odinsword were ever drawn. At the same time, Odin became haunted by the word "Infinity" which echoed within his brain day and night for a reason which he did not understand. A concurrent mystery was the stranger (the Silent One) who arrived in Asgard only to stand unmoving and silent within the royal palace. Odin sensed that this visitor held the key to what was happening but even with his power he was unable to force the Silent One to speak. Accordingly, Odin permitted his presence, awaiting the moment when he would speak.
(Thor I#184 (fb)/Thor I#185 (fb) - BTS) - With Thor absent from Asgard, Odin dispatched the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg) on a mission to probe the grim secret of the World Beyond, but once there the trio were possessed by Infinity and did not return to Asgard.
(Thor I#184) - After Thor returned to Asgard, Odin informed him that the threat was a power from the World Beyond that was coming ever closer. Using the enchanted Coals of the Cosmos, Odin showed Thor an image of the universe with a huge area of blackness where worlds no longer existed which looked like a giant hand had torn away the fabric of the universe. Odin revealed that planets had been vanishing, slowly but unceasingly, and that the World Beyond was coming closer and closer. Thor realized that, if left unchecked, it would mean the end of all life and of the universe itself. Odin then revealed the loss of the Warriors Three, admitted that there were none known to him who could be responsible, and stated that the unknown menace must be hidden deep within the World Beyond. After showing Thor the Odin-Sword trying to unsheath itself, revealing that he was being haunted by the word "Infinity" echoing in his brain, and introducing Thor to the Silent One, Odin stated that it was now time for him to go forth and probe the World Beyond. Odin then left Asgard for the World Beyond, allowing the Silent One to accompany him.
(Thor I#184 - BTS) - From within the World Beyond, Odin projected (an image of) his spirit to Thor in Asgard in order to warn his son that the World Beyond was coming ever closer and then, threatened by some unseen foe who demanded his attention, Odin told his son "Remember well -- INFINITY!"
(Thor I#185 (fb) - BTS) - Within the World Beyond, Odin was confronted by the four-armed Guardian and they struggled until Odin was "claimed by" the Guardian's master, Infinity.
(Thor I#185) - Odin continued to battle against Infinity who remained hidden within the darkness of the World Beyond while his "hand" keep reaching across the cosmos and engulfing worlds.
Meanwhile, in Asgard, the Odin-Sword once again began to slowly leave its scabbard. Since only the absent Odin had the power to sheath it anew, the end of the world and Ragnarok loomed.
By this time, Thor had entered the World Beyond and was battling the Guardian whom he learned served a master whose name was not to be spoken. Their battle ended when Thor asked his foe if his master's name was "Infinity" and Infinity's disembodied voice demanded, "WHO MOUTHED MY NAME?" Infinity then (remotely) punished the Guardian for his failure by putting him into the "sleep beyond all sleep" until he was needed. As Thor challenged him, Infinity responded by showing the Odinson his "hand" reaching out to seize a planet and leaving nothing but lifeless space behind. However, the Silent One later showed Thor that the planets "destroyed" in this manner were actually being swallowed by the darkness within the World Beyond and their inhabitants were becoming will-less servants of Infinity.
Immediately after receiving this revelation, Thor was attacked by the Warriors Three whom he swiftly realized were being controlled by Infinity. Refusing to lift his hand against his entranced comrades, Thor instead used his hammer Mjolnir to transport them onto the Rainbow Bridge near Asgard.
Throughout all this, Infinity's battle with Odin had continued, causing planets to crumble and storm clouds to deluge Earth with rain. Also, astronomers on Earth could now observe a cataclysm in the outermost reaches of space that was so unimaginably powerful that it could destroy the Earth.
Noticing that Thor, having been without his hammer for more than 60 seconds, had transformed into the mortal Dr. Don Blake, Infinity sent a blast from above that struck the bog where the Guardian lay and revived him so that he could slay Blake.
(Thor I#186) - In the World Beyond, Infinity continued to battle Odin who was unable to prevent his threat from coming ever closer. Despite this, Odin was able to delay the Guardian long enough for Mjolnir to return to Blake and transform him back into Thor. In their battle, Thor was twice able to fell the Guardian only to have Infinity send bolts from above that revived and strengthened him. After overcoming the Guardian for the third time, Thor used Mjolnir to create a sphere of force which shielded his foe from Infinity's power, thereby preventing any further revivals. Thor attempted to join his father in battling Infinity but instead ending up following the Silent One away from the battle.
Meanwhile, the situation on Earth continued to worsen, with floods and earthquakes causing widespread destruction and loss of life.
Meanwhile, in Asgard the Odin-Sword continued to slip further from its sheath and the Warriors Three, who had been docile since Thor had returned them from the World Beyond, suddenly became active and tried to forcefully unsheath the Odin-Sword until stopped by force of numbers. Afterwards, both the Rainbow Bridge and Asgard itself began to shudder and sway.
The battle between Odin and Infinity ended as Infinity finally came close enough for Odin to gaze upon his face and know whose power equalled his own. As Infinity asked, "Lord of Asgard - - Did you not suspect?" Odin cried out, "NAY! I say thee - - Nay! It cannot be thee! NOT THEE! NOT THEE!" In that moment of shock, Infinity was able to possess Odin, turning the All-Father into another of his servants.
(Thor I#187) - Having been possessed by Infinity, Odin sought to kill Thor (since he was an enemy of his master) but Thor was able to avoid the entranced Odin and later escape from the World Beyond.
Meanwhile, no longer being delayed by battling Odin, Infinity began moving faster and faster in Universe-616, seizing planets at will, while on Earth the human population panicked, convinced that the end of the world was upon them.
In Asgard, desperate attempts to resheath the Odin-Sword met with failure, but the combined power of Karnilla the Norn Queen and Loki was able to free the Warriors Three from their possession by Infinity. Thor then returned to Asgard and sought answers about their foe. Reasoning that a mortal might be beneath the notice of Infinity, Thor transformed into Don Blake and had the Vizier show him the past via the magic of the Odinscreen. This tactic enabled Thor to see Infinity without being entranced but, in solving the mystery of the World Beyond, Thor revealed that he at last knew the reason why INFINITY MUST TRIUMPH!
(Thor I#188) - As Infinity and Odin, acting together, continued to consume
world after world, Thor revealed that when Odin had last slept the Odin-Sleep (within the
dread Dimension of Death), Hela had come to him. Hela's attempt to kill Odin's body had failed
but she had managed to fell a portion of his self which came to serve her. Hela had named
Odin's other self "Infinity" and she had taken him out into space where she had left him to
begin his mission of returning the world to the nothingness from which it was born. His
resolve strengthened, Thor used Mjolnir to clear away the mists of night that they might
see how Odin was faring. Those in Asgard were then able to see that Infinity was standing
behind Odin, seeking to merge with and take possession of his body and thus become supreme.
Karnilla attempted to awaken Odin with a spell but it failed so then she and Loki worked
together to cast another spell to strengthen Odin but it only managed to hurl Infinity back
and delay his possession of Odin's body. However, Thor then called upon Karnilla to weave
a spell that combined the power of himself, Sif, Balder, Heimdall and the Warriors Three,
and then imbued that power in Mjolnir which he then hurled at Odin, striking and awakening
the All-Father at the last moment before he and Infinity merged. Now fully aware of who and
what his foe was, Odin was able to uncreate Infinity and once again become the one and only
(Avengers, Thor & Captain America: Official Index to the Marvel Universe#3: THOR #188: Synopsis) - Thor had Karnilla merge his power with Sif, Balder, the Warriors Three and Heimdall and place it within Mjolnir. Thor tossed his hammer and it struck and wakened Odin, preventing the merging. With his newfound self-awareness, Odin drove Infinity off and reclaimed his power.
(Thor I#188) - After returning to Asgard from the World Beyond, Odin then used his power scepter to "undo that which hath been done!" By his power, Odin restored all lands and worlds which had suffered damage due to Infinity's actions to their prior state, and removed all memories of these events from the minds of mortals. And then he pushed the nearly-unsheathed Odin-Sword back into its scabbard, preventing Ragnarok from falling that day.
(Quasar#19 (fb)) - Many cycles later, a Deviant/Inhuman hybrid (Maelstrom) who had been hyper-enlarged to an immaterial state encountered Kronos of Titan, a first-generation Terran Eternal whose body's molecules had been scattered by an explosion of cosmic energy millennia earlier. Kronos revealed that he now spent his time searching for the face of Infinity ever since he had once glimpsed her hand when a tiny fraction of her power was being tapped by the Earth-god Odin. Kronos then revealed to his visitor that Infinity was one of the abstract beings of the universe and that Infinity was the biggest of them all.
(Quasar#25 - BTS) - Three years later, Kronos was overjoyed that he had at last, for a few fleeting moments, gazed upon the countenance of Infinity and felt the grace of all existence shine upon him.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee, John Buscema, and Bill Everett and Joe
Connected to the abstract entity Infinity by Mark Gruenwald.
Temporal distortions times two
In the course of this storyline there were two cases of temporal distortion. The first case manifested within Thor I#185. On pages 14-15, Thor uses Mjolnir to create a vortex that transports the entranced Warriors Three back to the Rainbow Bridge outside Asgard. From there, the story jumps back to Odin continuing to battle Infinity, and then to Earth where astronomers have just detected a catastrophe that could destroy Earth. The scene then shifts to a torrential downpour in city streets where one police officer says that "it's like the end of the world." Finally, on page 19, the Omniscient Narrative states, "Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, the deluge grows stronger on the tiny planet Earth -- But, at the edge of the universe -- where time itself can have no meaning -- the World Beyond still seethes and swells -- for none have yet contained it." The scene then cuts to where Thor is standing, still waiting for Mjolnir to return, and just realizing that "the journey hath taken too long." As the last of the sixty seconds that he can exist without contact with the hammer passes, Thor is transformed into Dr. Don Blake. Since these six pages cover barely sixty seconds in Thor's life but minutes in Asgard and days on Earth, it seems pretty clear that time is passing faster on Asgard and MUCH faster on Earth than it is for Thor in the World Beyond. I wonder how much time passed in the rest of Reality-616, where all those planets were swallowed by the darkness. Judging from the storyline in Thor I#184-188, everything that happens from when Thor arrives to when Odin states that a wrathful Hela will be coming for Thor seems to occur very quickly over a span of time that can be measured in hours and which I doubt would exceed two days. So, the question is, to any outside observers present, how long did it take the darkness from the World Beyond to spread as far as it did throughout the universe? Was it weeks? Or mere days? And in the end, when Odin restored everything and wiped everyone's memories, did those who were not in Asgard suddenly find themselves with a days-long period of time for which they could not account? Or did Odin, when he restored those worlds, reset them to where they were when they disappeared so that, to their inhabitants, no time had passed? I wonder also what the Watchers and other Cosmic Beings remember about this whole Infinity Saga. From their perspective, was time effectively turned back for much of the universe?
The second temporal distortion involves the astronomers from Earth who appear in issues #185-187. All of them agree that they are observing something that is happening in the outermost reaches of the univese, and those in issues #186-187 realize that what they are observing is occurring even as they observe it. Some of them point out that this is impossible because, due to the speed of light, events that astronomers on Earth can observe happening millions of light-years away must have actually taken place those same number of millions of years prior to when the observations were made on Earth. Brunner describes the cataclysm as being "so unimaginably powerful that it has pierced the veil of time and space" and his near-lookalike in issue #187 points out that the fact that those strange cosmic disturbances will be able to affect Earth "violates every natural law of science." No further explanation is provided and, with their memories later wiped by Odin, none of the astronomers remember these impossible observations.
Where exactly is the World Beyond located?
As mentioned below in its sub-profile, the original storyline is a bit ambiguous as to the exact location of the World Beyond, with Odin describing it (or, more specifically, the darkness from it) as being "at the outermost end of the universe" while the Omniscient Narrative describes Thor's journey to it as being "towards the edge of the infinite -- towards the void beyond the furthest reaches of thought itself." On the other hand, the fact that Thor, upon arriving in the World Beyond, states that he has "breached the veil" suggests that he had to pass through some sort of barrier to reach his destination, possibly referring to a barrier between dimensions. Years later, the Official Index's description of it as a "fog-like dimension" certainly endorsed the idea that the World Beyond was not part of Reality-616.
Personally, I favour a compromise solution: The World Beyond was a pocket dimension that was not part of Universe-616 but which had begun to flow into it via a breach created by Infinity, with the Universe-616 side of that breach being located far away from Earth and Asgard. As I see it, the World Beyond and Universse-616 were, respectively, like a plastic bag full of ink that was floating on the surface of the water that filled a large swimming pool. These two realities (the liquids in each container) remained separate until Infinity tore a hole in the bag (opened a breach between dimensions) that allowed ink from the bag (darkness from the World Beyond) to flow into and spread throughout the swimming pool (Reality-616). To those within the swimming pool, even though it originated in the bag, the ink would actually be part of the liquid within the pool. Anyway, this is just my take on the situation.
Advisory: The following idea is fanfic. It is mere conjecture which cannot be proven but neither is there anything to disprove it. It is presented as an interesting bit of speculation for entertainment purposes only.
While working on this profile I noticed that the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition's profile on the conceptual being Infinity stated that its force had been "perceived by Odin and inadvertently tapped, creating (an) Odin-like Infinity-manifestation." As I thought about it, I began to wonder if it might not have been "inadvertent" after all. Consider the following: This Infinity came into being when Hela attacked Odin while he was in his Odinsleep, a deep mystical sleep by which Odin is able to preserve his immortality and restore his godly powers (Odinforce) to their full strength. And the abstract being Infinity is connected to the Quantum Zone, an infinite realm of potential energy which exists tangentially to the universe and is believed to contain all of the potential energy in the universe. Was it just a coincidence that the Odinsleep and the Quantum Zone both involve large amounts of energy? The more I thought about it, the more likely it seemed to me that, if Odin had ever learned about the Qunatum Zone, then he could have realized that he could tap into its infinite power whenever he needed to restore his godly powers. In short, maybe it wasn't inadvertent that Odin tapped into Infinity's force during his Odinsleep, maybe it was what he always did.
Of course, if Odin did regularly tap into Infinity's power, then why was it only this time that an Odin-like Infinity-manifestation was created? The obvious answer would be Hela'a attempt to kill Odin's body was responsible. Maybe Odin's standard operating procedure in tapping the Quantum Zone requires him to be in the Odinsleep so that he can properly regulate the energy flow and shut down the tap at the right time. However, due to Hela's interference, that tap wasn't completely closed down and so Infinity's power continued to flow into the "other self" of Odin who became Hela's Infinity. Only after Odin had confronted this Odinized Infinity (and absorbed him?) was the tap into the Quantum Zone's energies finally closed.
If the above turned out to be true, the first history entry would be: At some time in the past, the Norse god Odin learned of the Quantum Zone, an infinite realm of potential energy which exists tangentially to the universe and is believed to contain all of the potential energy in the universe. Odin conceived of a means by which he could tap into the limitless energy of the Quantum Zone in order to restore his personal energies (the Odin Force) to its full strength. Odin was able to tap into the Quantum Zone by entering a deep sleep known as the Odinsleep. Odin may never have been aware of the fact that the Quantum Zone and its infinite energies were actually aspects of the astract being Infinity and her power.
This whole Infinity Saga wasn't bad but any story that ends with Odin magically restoring everything to the way it had been tends to not be too memorable. Oddly enough, the most interesting thing about this character is the changes that were made to him after his death. Here's a list of those retcons:
Stage One: The Original Story
In the beginning, Infinity was simply Odin's "other self" who had somehow been split off from Odin when Hela tried to kill him while he was Odinsleeping. Once Odin was finally made aware of Infinity's true nature, he was able to easily defeat Infinity who then dwindled away to nothingness as Odin regained his full power. The thing that bothered me about this story is how extremely powerful Odin must be if a being who was no more than half as powerful as him could cause so much devastation across the universe and then Odin was able to reverse it instantly with only three waves of his Power Scepter. To paraphrase a scene from the "Spaceballs" movie, Odin's not just hyper-powerful or ridiculously powerful, he's LUDICROUSLY POWERFUL! Basically, if this was his normal power level, then there should have been no force in the universe strong enough to pose any sort of a challenge him, and he should be able to single-handedly defeat every Celestial (plus Galactus) with one (metaphysical) hand tied behind his back.
Stage Two: The First Retcon
The first retroactive change to Infinity's nature came in Quasar#19 (February, 1991) when writer Mark Gruenwald had the molecularly-dispersed Eternal Kronos reveal that he had once glimpsed the hand of an abstract being named Infinity at a time "when a tiny fraction of her power was being tapped by the Earth-god Odin" and a footnote indicated that this occurred in Thor #185. This new abstract entity of the MU was created by Mr. Gruenwald and introduced during the "Cosmos In Collision" storyline in Quasar as the personification of the spatial aspect of the universe and the sister/counterpart of Eternity. I believe that Mr. Gruenwald wrote that scene with Kronos for two reasons. First, to make it absolutely clear that his "new" Infinity, although having a connection to the previous Infinity, was actually a very different and much more important character. Second, the revelation that the Odin/Infinity who appeared in Thor #185-188 was only as powerful as it was because Odin had been tapping a tiny fraction of Infinity's power made it clear that Odin's personal power level was far lower than how LUDICROUSLY OMNIPOTENT he had seemed to be in that past storyline and that he was actually about as powerful as his brother sky-gods from Earth. Personally, I really appreciated both the clarification and the depowerment of Odin.
Stage Three: The Official (Handbook) Story
Later that year, the first recognition of this retcon came in the pages of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition. First there was Odin's profile (in issue #10) which listed "Infinity" among his former aliases and his bibliography which listed one of his significant issues as: THOR #188 (defeated "Infinity," his evil self brought to life by Hela)
Later, in 1992, came Infinity's profile (in issue #25) which listed her first appearance "as force tapped by Odin" as THOR #184 while her "manifestation" was QUASAR #24, and her bibliography which listed the following significant issues: THOR #184-188 (Infinity's force perceived by Odin and inadvertently tapped, creating an astronomical manifestation extinguishing stars in Asgard dimension; Odin went to World Beyond to investigate it, became mentally unhinged while contemplating power, combined mystical might of Asgard directed by Thor prevented a permanent merging with Odin-like Infinity-manifestation)
The difference between how these two profiles describe the previous Infinity demonstrates that the "official" view of who and what he was had changed, and that the Quasar retcon was canon.
Fourteen years later, in 2006, a second profile of Infinity appeared in All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z#5. This character's first appearance in Thor #184 (1971) was now described as a "cameo" and the history of the interaction between the cosmic entity and Odin was summarized by the following two sentences: Long ago the Asgardian all-father Odin added a tiny sliver of Infinity's powers to his own powers, which were later stolen and corrupted by the Asgardian death-goddess Hela. Christened Infinity, the sliver threatened to destroy the universe until stopped by Thor.
So, with this profile, the Infinity from Thor I#184-188 was now considered to be (and always have been) a separate entity from Odin. The fate of this "sliver of Infinity" is not revealed beyond the fact that it was "stopped" by Thor. It is perhaps significant that there is no mention of exactly how Odin added that "tiny sliver" of Infinity's powers to his own powers and the adverb "inadvertently" is no longer mentioned.
Stage Four: The Official (Index) Story
Four years later, in 2010, Avengers, Thor & Captain America: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #3 covered all of the issues of Thor that featured Infinity. Although most of the information is summarized from the stories, these entries do provide some new interpretations.
So, what new interpretations can be gleaned
from these bits of data?
1. The World Beyond is another (fog-like) dimension and therefore not part of Universe-616. The original storyline was actually a bit ambiguous about the location of The World Beyond, with some references indicating that Thor had to travel at great speed THROUGH the universe to reach it while others implied that Thor and the Asgardians could see into it from Asgard.
2. When Infinity's hand reached out across the universe, it eliminated stars. This is new. While the images from the original storyline did show only blackness where Infinity's hand had reached, Odin and Thor (and the omniscient narrative) only spoke of planets which had disappeared from the universe, with no mention of stars also vanishing.
3. Odin drove Infinity off and reclaimed his power. In the actual images, as presented above, it looks to me like Infinity, after being struck by Odin's power-bolt, melted away into nothingness (like the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz after Dorothy threw water on her) while Odin became singular again.
4. The idea that what Hela drew out of Odin was not any part of him but a sliver of Infinity that he had previously absorbed is reaffirmed. This doesn't explain why "Infinity" looked like Odin or why he obeyed Hela.
5. The Infinity who threatened the universe on Hela's behalf is, essentially, the same entity as the cosmic being who empowered Quasar and the Official Index lists him/her/it as next appearing (bts) in Quasar #19 and then in Quasar #24. This reinforces the idea that this Infinity was never really Odin after all and that it continued to exist after Odin defeated it. This reinterpretation is something with which I don't entirely agree.
From my point of view, if the cosmic entity Infinity was like a human being, then Odin would be like a dust mite who had consumed a dead skin cell that flaked off from Infinity. In this scenario, the Odin-mite consumed an Infinity skin cell and then, after it went to sleep and was digesting its meal, the Hela-mite had come along and used her powers to create the Infinity-mite, a sort of zombie double of the Odin-mite. Eventually, the Odin-mite confronted the Infinity-mite and undid all of the latter's actions, in the process expending all of the excess energy it had obtained from the Infinity cell. By the time it was over, the Infinity cell had been completely digested by the Odin-mite and its components returned to the wider universe, the Odin-mite was back to its original (normal) power level, and the Infinity-mite no longer existed, either as an independant entity or as part of the cosmic entity from which it had originated.
Stage Five: Fanfic Speculation
As mentioned above, while I was writing this profile I noticed that Infinity and the Odinsleep were both associated with enormous power. The Quantum Zone, an other-dimensional realm which contains limitless energy, is somehow connected to the abstract being named Infinity and the Odinsleep is the method by which Odin periodically recharges his godly energies (aka the Odinforce). So, since the vast amounts of energy that Odin needs to recharge the Odinforce must come from somewhere and Odin's body contained a "sliver" of the abstract being Infinity, maybe Odin obtained both that sliver and his Odinsleep energies by tapping into the same source: Infinity's realm, the Quantum Zone? Although speculative, this theory does provide a possible method by which that "tiny sliver of Infinity's power" might have been obtained by Odin, something which the official texts have so far not explained. Of course, considering his nature, if Odin had discovered a source of limitless energy, then he certainly would have kept it a secret so that he and he alone could exploit it.
There's another speculative theory that I would like to mention at this time. Consider the following: If the Odin-like Infinity of this profile is a sliver of the abstract entity Infinity, then that means that he is also (at least partly) a conceptual being (like Eternity). Furthermore, this Infinity was a non-corporeal being based in the World Beyond who was able to send "stygian darkness" from the World Beyond (in the form of immense "hands") into Reality-616. Taken together, could this data indicate that, just as Eternity is the personification of all that exists in Reality-616, this (lesser) Infinity had become the personification of all that existed in the World Beyond? True, there's nothing in the original story that specifically supports this idea but there's nothing (except for the now-abandoned idea that Inifnity was merely Odin's "other self") that disproves it, so it's at least possible that Infinity could have "become one with "the World Beyond.
Stage Six: Recent Developments
Back in June, Loki: Agent of Asgard#14 went on sale. It began with Odin having a dream in which he found himself on a desolate plain "outside all realities" facing Those Who Sit Above In Shadow, "gods above gods" who had been thought dead ever since Thor ended the Great Cycle of Ragnarok without which they could not exist. Their leader told Odin that now that reality was ending (due to the Incursions) they were returning and he made an offer to Odin, telling him to "SLAY YOUR ENEMIES AND ALL YOU DESIRE SHALL BE YOURS!" I accepted this scene at face value but another reader read more into it and posted his theory (presented below) on the Thor message board:
Odin had a vision of the Shadow Gods. One of them -- who looked like
himself / Infinity -- is shown grasping a star ala the original INFINITY SAGA. The Shadow
God then speaks the words of the Beyonder during SECRET WARS -- that if Odin slays his
enemies, his desires will come true.
Finally, Infinity came from the World Beyond... and my reading of the scene is that the Beyonders, Infinity, and the Shadow Gods are manifestations of the same being(s).
Well, I have finally read Loki: Agent of Asgard #17 and it turns out that my concerns were unfounded. The story, set after the Multiverse has come to an end, is about how Loki, confronted by Those Who Sit Above In Shadow, managed to tell a story that made them fear for their existence and leave. Once they were gone, Loki revealed to Verity Willis that he was bluffing and he then speculated as to what "They" actually were, with one possibility being that they were Beyonders who had "(taken) forms to escape their Doom." And that's the only connection to the Beyonders that appears in this story. There's not even a suggestion that TWSAIS might have always been Beyonders, and there's no mention at all of Infinity or the World Beyond. So, aside from this single paragraph, my profile doesn't need to be updated. HURRAH!!
Profile by Donald Campbell.
This Infinity seems to be a partial manifestation of
This Infinity has no known connections to
The Guardian (of the World Beyond) has no known connections to
Beginning at "the outermost end of the universe" from Asgard, planets began to vanish, slowly but unceasingly, one by one, leaving in their place a blackness where no worlds existed. And as these planets vanished, the World Beyond came closer and closer to Asgard.
After Thor had journeyed to the World Beyond, Infinity demonstrated his vast power by having his "hand" reach out to seize a planet and seemingly crush it is his grasp, leaving nothing but lifeless space. However, the Silent One soon showed Thor that the planets seized by Infinity were not actually destroyed. Instead, these planets were fading from sight because they were being swallowed by the stygian darkness within the World Beyond.
The planet and its inhabitants depicted in this sub-profile are those which the Silent One used to show Thor the truth. However, the planet's name and location has never been revealed. Similarly, the only things which have been revealed about its population are those facts which can be ascertained from the image to the right. Aside from their typical "human" arrangement of facial features (two eyes above a nose with a mouth below), these aliens had pointed ears, two ridges on the upper sides of their heads (running from front to back), and a variety of skin colors (including purple, pink, green, yellow and orange). Aside from the fact that they moved in an upright position, absolutely nothing else is known about this alien species.
This particular planet and its inhabitants were not the first to have been stolen and enslaved by Infinity nor were they the last. However, once Odin had defeated Infinity, he used his Power Scepter to "undo that which hath been done!" According to Odin, "On every world - - where carnage hath occurred...all shall be restored!" Odin also decreed that "Men" (presumably meaning all mortals) would retain no memory of what had just befallen.
--Thor I#185 (others BTS in Thor I#184-188)
Drs. Brunner and Cosgrove
Dr. Brunner, Cosgrove and a colleague whose name has never been revealed were three astronomers who worked together at an observatory somewhere on Earth, and who were the first humans to become aware of an impending catastrophe.
One night, as Cosgrove (the red-haired man) was using the telescope, he saw something happening in the heavens that caused him to call to Dr. Brunner. The brown-haired astronomer with the glasses asked if he was being frivolous since something was always happening "out there" but Brunner (the bald man with the black beard and mustache) saw how alarmed Cosgrove looked and he had the image projected on the viewscreen. As they discussed what the image from "past the outermost reaches" could represent, Cosgrove felt that it meant catastrophe as there were lights where no lights had ever been and areas of darkness where faint quasars had once pulsed. The brown-haired astronomer said that meant worlds were being born and dying, and then Brunner added that it meant "a mad, monstrous, mind-boggling cataclysm - - so unimaginably powerful that it has pierced the veil of time and space!" Brunner then said, "But to us - - it will ever be a mystery - - until perhaps, too late!" When asked what he meant, Brunner replied, "Any force so shattering --- though it's further away than our minds can imagine ---" but he was interrupted by Cosgrove, who finished, "Such a force can DESTROY THE EARTH!"
Later, after Infinity had been defeated by Odin, these astronomers were among the mortals who, by the will and power of the All-Father, no longer retained any memory of what had just befallen.
Note: Although Avengers, Thor & Captain America: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #3 states that Dr. Brunner and Cosgrove also appeared in Thor I#186-188, that's actually inaccurate. Aside from the fact that the telescope in issue #186 is of a different design than the one in issue #185, Dr. Brunner is clearly shown as being bald (except for his facial hair) while the black-bearded astronomer in issues #186-187 is bald on the top of his head but still has black hair on the sides. Plus, Brunner's beard is noticeably fuller. Also, the astronomers in issue #186 are shown confirming reports from other observatories while Brunner's team was shown actually discovering the catastrophe.
--Thor I#185 (Thor I#186-188 - BTS)
The Guardian is a four-armed semi-humanoid warrior who served Infinity, the being who ruled the World Beyond. Nothing has been revealed about the Guardian's origin. He could have been an alien from another planet or dimension who was recruited/enslaved by Infinity. Or he could have actually been created by Infinity, perhaps out of the very matter of the World Beyond.
The Guardian's purpose was to protect the World Beyond and kill anyone who entered without being summoned by his master. When Thor arrived in the World Beyond, he found himself completely lost within its swirling mists, but the Guardian was able to find and confront him almost immediately. After the Guardian revealed his purpose and identified himself, Thor stated that he cared not for his "empty threats" and that he sought the Guardian's master. The Guardian responded by telling the "doomed one" to be silent because such was his master's power, "that none who live may speak his name!" The Guardian then struck at Thor but the thunder god evaded him and retaliated with a blow from Mjolnir that knocked him off his feet. To Thor's surprise, the Guardian rose easily, claiming that he could not fall or die because his master protected him and gave him life anew. The Guardian then used his mace (which his master had powered with "a force supreme") to project that force at Thor to sap his strength and "turn (his) blood to water!" This time it was Thor who fell but, he evaded the Guardian's mace and rose again quickly. Surprised, the Guardian protested that it could not be because his foe was "merely flesh and blood" while he was--the Guardian! As the two warriors grappled with each other, the Guardian mentioned that never had he known such power "save for the white-bearded one--whom the master (had) claimed for his own!" Thor instantly realized that his foe was speaking of Odin and threw the Guardian into a bog while demanding that he be led to his father. The Guardian refused, and the duo continued to wrestle in the bog until Thor demanded to know if his master's name was Infinity? The Guardian reacted with fear, demanding that Thor "choke back the words" but it was too late. Infinity's disembodied voice rang out, causing the heavens to tremble and the ground to shake as he asked, "WHO MOUTHED MY NAME?" Terrified that his master had heard, the Guardian stated that now they were truly lost. He begged his master for mercy but was told that he had failed and so must pay the price. As those words were spoken, the Guardian fell forward into the bog. When Thor remarked on how his foe had grown stiff and lifeless without a blow having been struck, Infinity commanded the Guardian to "sleep the sleep beyond all sleep" until he was summoned again.
The Guardian remained face down in the bog as Thor was then attacked by the Warriors Three who were now being controlled by Infinity. To avoid harming his friends, Thor used Mjolnir to create a vortex that transported them to the Rainbow Bridge but the enchanted hammer took too long to return and Thor transformed into the mortal Don Blake. From above, where he continued to struggle with Odin, Infinity observed what had happened and sent a bolt that restored the Guardian to life. Proclaiming that Infinity had need for him anew and that there was another who must be his victim, the Guardian advanced on the helpless Blake. However, Odin had also noticed his son's predicament and, although unable to turn away from his battle with Infinity, the All-Father sent a blast of cosmic energy that drove the Guardian back long enough for Mjolnir to return to Blake and transform him back into Thor. Now even more determined to reach his father, Thor was able to fell the Guardian with a single mighty blow but, before he could proceed, Infinity sent another bolt from above that "breathed new strength" into the Guardian. Thor struck him down again but another bolt struck, causing the Guardian to rise yet again, stating that "Never can I fall for Infinity revives me!" Defiant, Thor struck the Guardian down for a third time but he then used Mjolnir to form a sphere of force around the Guardian that shielded him from the power of Infinity, preventing any further revivals.
The Guardian's fate after his master was defeated by Odin has not yet been revealed. Of course, the Mjolnir-created force sphere would have soon faded once it was no longer needed but it isn't known if the Guardian could revive without Infinity's power.
Note: In Thor I#185, the Guardian is depicted as having orange skin but in Thor I#186 he has the same pink (Caucasian) skin color as Thor. No explanation is provided so it's probably an artistic error.
--Thor I#185 (186)
The World Beyond
The World Beyond is a mystic world which seemed to exist "at the outermost end of the universe" from Asgard and to be a "void beyond the furthest reach of thought itself." Some texts identify it as a "fog-like dimension," implying that it actually existed in a different dimensional reality than that occupied by Earth. It was from the World Beyond that the powerful entity known as Infinity carried out his mission to destroy or conquer the universe for his creator, the death-goddess Hela.
To outside observers, the World Beyond appeared as a "void" of blackness at the edge of the universe. As Infinity's "hands" reached into the cosmos to engulf the targeted planets, the darkness from the World Beyond seemed to flow into the universe with them, thereby coming closer and closer to Asgard and Earth. Those worlds which were seized and gathered by Infinity's "hands" were not destroyed but were instead "swallowed by the stygian darkness within the World Beyond." Presumably this means that those planets were plucked from their proper locations within Universe-616 and transported into Infinity's realm.
Those who traveled to the World Beyond found it to be "a place of shadows and swirling mists and silence so deep, it doth chill the blood!" Thor observed that it appeared to have no start and no end and thus it was difficult to find anyone within it. The World Beyond had a solid surface made up of rocks and bogs with some gnarled and leafless trees dotting the landscape. Thor fought the Guardian on this solid ground while Odin stood on a rock hovering in the sky above as he battled Infinity.
The World Beyond appeared to generate some sort of time distortion as "day after day" of pounding rain fell on Earth while less than 60 seconds passed for Thor within the World Beyond and for the people of Asgard. This distortion may have been willed to happen by Infinity, possibly to keep Odin occupied within the World Beyond while Infinity's "hands" continued to attack the planets in the outside universe.
The history of the World Beyond is unclear. At some point, the being known as Infinity made himself the master of the World Beyond which he ruled alone as its lord of life and death. Infinity recruited (or created) a four-armed semi-humanoid warrior to serve as its Guardian against uninvited visitors. However, it's not clear if the World Beyond existed before Infinity took it over or if Infinity may have actually created the World Beyond himself.
The fate of the World Beyond following Odin's defeat of Infinity has not been revealed. If it was somehow dependent upon Infinity, then it may have ceased to exist after his defeat. As for the planets which had been swallowed by the World Beyond, Odin, after defeating Infinity, used his power so that "in every land--on every world--where carnage hath occurred ... all shall be restored!" Presumably, all of the planets which had been stolen by Infinity were returned to where they should have been and their inhabitants freed from Infinity's control with all memory of what had happened erased from their minds.
--Thor I#185 (Thor I#182-184 - BTS, Thor I#185-187, Thor I#188 - BTS
images: (without ads)
Thor I#188, page 8, panel 2 (main image)
page 7, panel 2 (Odin's partial spirit goes to Hela)
Thor I#188, page 4, panel 1 (Infinity's hands gathering planet)
page 10, panel 5 (Infinity trying to merge with Odin)
page 17, panels 5-7 (Infinity being uncreated by Odin)
Quasar#19, page 3, panel 1 (how Kronos remembers Infinity's hand)
Quasar#24, page 17, panel 1 (the Abstract Being known as Infinity)
Loki: Agent of Asgard#14, pages 3-4, panel 1 (leader of Those Who Sit Above In Shadow)
Thor I#185, page 11, panel 3 (alien planet being engulfed)
page 11, panel 4 (aliens being enslaved)
page 18, panel 2 (Brunner, Cosgrove and colleague)
page 4, panel 6 (The Guardian)
page 19, panel 3 (The World Beyond from outside)
page 4, panel 4 (within the World Beyond)
Thor I#184 (January, 1971) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), John Buscema (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker)
Thor I#185 (February, 1971) - Stan Lee (story/editor), John Buscema (illustration), Sam Granger (delineation)
Thor I#186 (March, 1971) - Stan Lee (story/editor), John Buscema (illustration), Joe Sinnott (embellishment)
Thor I#187 (April, 1971) - Stan Lee (author/editor), John Buscema (illustrator), Joe Sinnott (embellisher)
Thor I#188 (May, 1971) - Stan Lee (story/editor), John Buscema (art), Jim Mooney (inking)
Quasar#19 (February, 1991) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Greg Capullo (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Howard Mackie (editor)
Last updated: 01/29/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to http://www.g-mart.com/ for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters