Adam Warlock

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This article is about the character known as Adam Warlock. For the X-Men character called Warlock, see Warlock (New Mutants).
Adam Warlock
Warlock #9 (Oct. 1975).
Cover art by Jim Starlin.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (as "Him") Fantastic Four #66-67 (Sept.–Oct. 1967)
(as "Adam Warlock") Marvel Premiere #1 (April 1972)
Created by (Him)
Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
(Adam Warlock)
Roy Thomas
Gil Kane
In-story information
Alter ego originally Him; changed to Adam Warlock
Team affiliations Guardians of the Galaxy
Infinity Watch
Notable aliases Magus
Abilities Superhuman strength; stamina; agility; endurance; flight;
Energy manipulation

Adam Warlock, originally known as Him, is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Fantastic Four #66 (cover-dated Sept. 1967) (in cocoon form) and #67 (Oct. 1967) (in humanoid form), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, the character has appeared in over four decades of Marvel publications, and starred in the popular titles Marvel Premiere and Strange Tales as well as five self-titled volumes and several related limited series. Adam Warlock has been associated with Marvel merchandise including clothing, toys, trading cards, animated television series, and video games.

Publication history[edit]

1960s to 1970s[edit]

The character debuted in Fantastic Four #66-67 (Sept.-Oct. 1967) in a story written by Stan Lee and pencilled and co-plotted by Jack Kirby.[1] After a second appearance as "Him" in Thor #165-166 (June–July 1969), writer and then Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas and penciler Gil Kane significantly revamped Him as the allegorical Messiah Adam Warlock in Marvel Premiere #1 (April 1972).[2]

In 2009, Thomas explained he had been a fan of the soundtrack to the musical Jesus Christ Superstar and sought to bring the story to comic books in a superhero context: "Yes, I had some trepidation about the Christ parallels, but I hoped there would be little outcry if I handled it tastefully, since I was not really making any serious statement on religion... at least not overtly." [3] Choosing to use a preexisting character while keeping the series locale separate from mainstream Marvel Earth, he created Counter-Earth, a new planet generated from a chunk of Earth and set in orbit on the opposite side of the sun.[4] Thomas and Kane collaborated on the costume, with the red tunic and golden lightning bolt as their homage to Fawcett Comics' 1940s-1950s character Captain Marvel.[4]

The story continued in the series The Power of Warlock, which ran eight issues (Aug. 1972 - Oct. 1973),[5] with some plotlines concluded in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #176-178 (June-Aug. 1974).[6]

In a 2009 retrospective survey of the character, writer Karen Walker said the series

... continued the story of Adam's attempts to drive the [fallen-angel figure the] Man-Beast out of Counter-Earth, but drifted toward standard superhero stories with pseudo-Biblical references injected into them. Warlock spends much of his time trying to convince the High Evolutionary not to destroy the planet, and the rest of his time battling the Man-Beast and his minions. Although the concept of a superhero savior was still present, it often came across as forced, and certainly contradictory to the idea of a pacifistic savior. It's questionable whether the concept could really work in a medium driven by physical conflict.[7]

Marvel Premiere #1 (April 1972). Debut of Him as Adam Warlock. Cover art by Gil Kane and Dan Adkins.

Writer-artist Jim Starlin revived Warlock in Strange Tales #178-181 (Feb.-Aug. 1975).[8] Warlock's adventures became more cosmic in scope as Starlin took the character through an extended storyline referred to as "The Magus Saga."[9]

The reimagined title continued the numbering of The Power of Warlock and began with Warlock #9 (Oct. 1975) and ran seven issues. The bimonthly series was initially written and drawn by Starlin, but was eventually co-penciled and inked by Steve Leialoha. Some plot threads were concluded in Marvel Team-Up #55 (March 1977), Avengers Annual #7 (Nov. 1977) and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (Dec. 1977).[10]

Starlin, in a 2009 interview, recalled,

I had quit [the cosmic superhero series] Captain Marvel over a dispute at that point, but I settled the dispute with Marvel and I was going to come back [to that title]. But [a different team was in place]. So Roy [Thomas] asked me [what character] I wanted to do. So I went home that night and pulled out a bunch of comics. I came across, in the Fantastic Four, Him, and came back the next day and said that's who I wanted to do, and that night I started working on it... I had basically taken Captain Marvel, a warrior, and turned him into sort of a messiah-type character. So when I got to Warlock, I said to myself, 'I got a messiah right here to start off with; where do I go from there?' And I decided a paranoid schizophrenic was the route to take.[11]

Artist Alan Weiss recalled in a 2006 interview there was a "lost" Adam Warlock story, which if completed would have been reminiscent of the Jonathan Swift novel Gulliver's Travels.[12] Portions of it were printed in the second volume of Marvel Masterworks: Warlock. The remainder of the artwork was lost in a New York City taxicab in 1976.[13]

Warlock's adventures were reprinted, with new Starlin covers, in the six-issue limited series Special Edition Warlock (Dec. 1982 - May 1983).[14] This reprint series was itself reprinted, with yet another set of new Starlin covers, as Warlock vol. 2 (May-Oct. 1992).[15]

Although regarded as deceased at the time, Warlock made a brief appearance in Marvel Two-in-One #63 (May 1980).[16]


1990s revival[edit]

Eleven years later, Starlin revived the character and two members of his supporting cast in the miniseries Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (July-Dec. 1991).[17][18] This plot development was a continuation of a larger storyline that began with the resurrection of Thanos in Silver Surfer vol. 3, #34 (Feb. 1990).

Following the events of the The Infinity Gauntlet, Warlock and several compatriots starred in the series Warlock and the Infinity Watch. Initially written by Starlin and drawn by Angel Medina, it ran 42 issues (Feb. 1992 - Aug. 1995). Its plots tied directly into the limited series Infinity War (June-Nov. 1992) and Infinity Crusade (June-Dec. 1993).

Warlock starred in several limited series, including Silver Surfer/Warlock: Resurrection #1-4 (March–June 1993); The Warlock Chronicles #1-8 (July 1993 - Feb.1994); and Warlock vol. 3, #1-4 (Nov. 1998 - Feb. 1999), by writer-penciler Tom Lyle.[19] The character was featured in the intercompany crossovers between Marvel Comics and the Malibu Comics "Ultraverse" in the one-shot Rune / Silver Surfer (April 1995 in indicia, June 1995 on cover); Rune vol. 2, #1-7 (Sept. 1995 - April 1996), and the two-issue Ultraverse Unlimited (June and Sept. 1996).

Following the unrelated, 1999-2000 series Warlock vol. 4, featuring the alien cybernetic character Warlock of the New Mutants team,[20] Adam Warlock co-starred with Thanos in the limited series The Infinity Abyss #1-6 (Aug.-Oct. 2002); Marvel Universe: The End #1-6 (May-Aug. 2003; first four issues biweekly); and Thanos #1-6 (Dec. 2003 - April 2004). A version of the character starred in the four-issue limited series Warlock vol. 5 (Nov. 2004 - Feb. 2005), by writer Greg Pak and artist Charles Adlard. After appearances in Annihilation Conquest: Quasar #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 2007) and Annihilation Conquest # 1-6 (Nov. 2007 - April 2008), he was a key character in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, #1-25 (July 2008 - April 2010), The Thanos Imperative #1 (June 2010) and the Ignition one-shot (May 2010)

The character appeared in the original graphic novel Thanos: Infinity Revelation, released August 5, 2014, written by Jim Starlin.[21][22]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Creation, metamorphosis, and death[edit]

Scientists calling themselves the Enclave created an artificial, perfect human, who initially calls himself "Him".[23] After rebelling against his creators,[24] and having a conflict with Thor, he decides to leave Earth and travels into space.[25]

He encounters the High Evolutionary, who gives him the name "Warlock." The High Evolutionary requests Warlock's help in saving the artificially created Counter-Earth from the evil Man Beast[26] and gives Warlock the green Soul Gem (also referred to as the "Soul Jewel"), which allows Warlock to capture souls of other beings. When he arrives on Counter-Earth,[27] Warlock is given the name Adam by four teenagers who befriend him. After the Man Beast's defeat, Warlock leaves Counter-Earth to find a new purpose.[28]

In his travels through space, Warlock encounters the Universal Church of Truth, an intergalactic religious organization led by the corrupt Magus.[29] Warlock allies with Pip the Troll,[30] the assassin Gamora,[31] and Gamora's employer and adoptive father, Thanos of Titan to oppose the Magus. Eventually, Warlock discovers that the Magus is a future version of himself who traveled back in time after being driven insane by the use of his Soul Gem.[32] Warlock chooses to alter his timeline by visiting himself a few months into the future and steals his own soul to prevent the Magus from ever existing.[33] Warlock then continues his journeys, knowing he has seen his own death but not knowing exactly when it will happen.

When the Stranger attempts to steal Warlock's Soul Gem, Warlock learns about five other related gems.[34] Thanos gains possession of these gems with the intention of destroying Earth's sun. When Thanos causes mortal harm to Pip and Gamora, Warlock takes their souls to end their suffering. Warlock then enlists the aid of the Avengers, Captain Marvel, and Moondragon to stop Thanos. During the battle, Warlock's younger self appears and takes the older Warlock's soul. Inside the gem, Adam is reunited with Pip, Gamora and others in a utopia known as Soul World.[35] Warlock's soul is temporarily freed from the Soul Gem, allowing him to turn Thanos to stone and save Earth.[36]

Rebirth[edit]

The modern version of Adam Warlock: Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, #17 (Oct. 2009). Cover art by Mike Perkins.

After being resurrected, Thanos once again collects the Infinity Gems, forming them into the Infinity Gauntlet.[37] When the Silver Surfer and Drax the Destroyer oppose Thanos, he captures them in the Soul Gem.[38] In the world of the Soul Gem, the Surfer meets Adam Warlock and convinces him that his help is needed again to defeat Thanos.[39][40] Warlock agrees and Pip and Gamora decided to accompany him. Warlock transmits himself and his two friends into new bodies and leads a group of Earth's superheroes, defeating Thanos.[41]

Warlock obtains the Gauntlet, becoming a near-supreme being of the universe.[42] The cosmic Living Tribunal, whose power and authority exceeds Warlock's, decides that Warlock cannot be trusted to keep the Infinity Gauntlet and instructs him to divide the gems among other beings of Warlock's choosing.[43] Warlock keeps the soul gem for himself and gives one gem each to Pip, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Moondragon, and a reformed Thanos. Warlock dubs the group the Infinity Watch.[44][45]

During Warlock's temporary possession of the Gauntlet, he purged good and evil from his being, leaving him entirely a creature of logic. His good and evil aspects take on lives as two new physical beings — the evil half becomes a new incarnation of the Magus, while the good half is a woman calling herself the Goddess. When they threaten the universe, Warlock defeats them with the aid of the Watch and other superheroes, absorbing them into the Soul Gem.[46][47]

The Infinity Watch disbands when the infinity gems are stolen by Rune, a vampire from a parallel universe.[48][49] Warlock pursues Rune,[50] recovering the gems and returning to his native universe.[51][52]

Warlock plays a role in protecting the universe several more times, including threats from clones of Thanos,[53] the Heart of the Universe,[54] and the interdimensional being Hunger.[55]

Annihilation: Conquest[edit]

Moondragon and Phyla-Vell later seek Warlock's help to free the alien Kree from the invading Phalanx.[56] Once the Phalanx is defeated,[57] Warlock then joins the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy.[58] While with the Guardians, Warlock attempts to repair damage to the Spacetime continuum, which causes him to become the Magus.[59] Once again leading the Universal Church of Truth,[59] the Magus allies himself with Lord Mar-Vell, but is killed when he fails a mission.[60] The Universal Church of Truth resurrects the Magus as a child, but he is quickly captured and imprisoned by the Annihilators.[60] His cocoon remains under the watch of the Annihilators.[61]

While on a new quest, Thanos encounters Warlock's soul in Death's domain. It follows Thanos back to the living world, where it regains human form. Warlock accompanies Thanos on a journey as their universe merges with another one. Due to the convergence, Warlock is retroactively replaced by his counterpart from the other universe.[62]

Powers and abilities[edit]

As Him, the character possessed superhuman strength; speed; durability; stamina; agility and the ability to manipulate cosmic energy for energy projection, flight and recuperation (e.g. creating a cocoon for self-preservation and regeneration). However, Him sacrificed the majority of these powers by prematurely emerging from his cocoon in order to defend the High Evolutionary from an assault by the Man-Beast. In compensation, the High Evolutionary gave Him the Soul Gem.[26] The Gem possesses a consciousness of its own and demonstrates a vampiric hunger for the life energies of organic beings. It contains an idyllic pocket universe that hosts all the souls the Gem has ever taken. The latest version of Warlock uses "Quantum magic" and can manipulate energy; create force fields; teleport; travel faster than light and detect or produce wormholes and other irregularities in space on a cosmic scale.

He has the power to devolve the followers of Man-Beast into the animals from which they evolved,[63] as well as revert the Brute into Counter-Earth Reed Richards.[64] This power comes from his soul gem.[65]

Other versions[edit]

The Magus[edit]

The Magus, from Strange Tales #181 (Aug. 1975). Art by Jim Starlin.

There have been three incarnations of the Magus.

The original Magus is an older, evil Adam Warlock who has traveled to the past and rules a religious empire called the Universal Church of Truth. To ensure his own creation, he guides his younger self through a series of actions that will result in him becoming the Magus.[29][30][31][66] With the aid of Thanos, Warlock alters his future and destroys the Magus's timeline, erasing him from existence.[33]

When Warlock acquires the Infinity Gauntlet,[42] he expels good and evil from his soul, unintentionally giving them corporeal forms. The evil half names himself the Magus and attempts to gain the Infinity Gauntlet for himself. He fails, and Warlock traps him in the Soul Gem. Since he is only part of a soul, he cannot interact with the other inhabitants of Soul World and exists only as a phantom.[46] The Magus escapes the Soul Gem in an immaterial form, absorbing the life energies of others to regain tangibility. He is defeated by Genis-Vell and reverts to an ethereal entity.[67][68][69] The Magus retaliates by wounding Genis' friend Moondragon and claiming she is destined to become his slave.[70]

Warlock becomes the third Magus when he repairs a damage to the spacetime continuum. This Magus works for the evil Lord Mar-Vell, and is killed when he fails a mission.[71] The Universal Church of Truth resurrects him as a child,[72] who is then imprisoned by the Annihilators.[61]

The Goddess[edit]

The Goddess is the embodiment of Adam Warlock's goodness, created when he uses the Infinity Gauntlet to remove the quality from himself.[42][73] She appears as a central figure in the 1993 limited series Infinity Crusade. She assembles a collection of cosmic cubes and forges them into a Cosmic Egg. Using its power, she recreates Counter-Earth, dubbing it Paradise Omega.[74] Embarking on a crusade to eliminate sin, the Goddess uses telepathy to control spiritual beings across the universe, recruiting them to her cause. When Warlock and Earth's other heroes learn she plans to destroy all sin by destroying anything capable of sin, they rally against her. She is defeated when her followers learn her true goal, and is absorbed into the soul gem.[75]

Earth X[edit]

In the Earth X limited series, Mar-Vell is reincarnated as the child of the synthetic Adam Warlock/Him and Kismet/Her.[76]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

  • Adam Warlock appears as a non-playable character in Marvel Heroes.

Toys[edit]

Adam Warlock has appeared as part of Marvel's OverPower collectible card game, Upper Deck's Marvel Vs. collectible card game and HeroClix collectible miniatures game, a Target exclusive Marvel Legends action figure, and a Marvel Universe 3 3/4" figure. He was the 90th issue in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.

The Magus was a playable character in the Galactic Guardians set of Marvel Heroclix.[83]

Collected editions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1960s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 124. ISBN 978-0756641238. "Adam Warlock was an artificial being created by scientists to be the first of an invincible army. Simply referred to as "Him' in his early appearances, Warlock later rebelled sgainst his creators in Fantastic Four #66." 
  2. ^ Sanderson, Peter "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 155: "Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane allowed 'Him' to meet another Lee-Kirby character, the godlike High Evolutionary."
  3. ^ Walker, Karen (June 2009). "The Life and Death (and Life and Death) of Adam Warlock". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (34): 3. 
  4. ^ a b Walker, p. 4
  5. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 156: "Adam Warlock received his own bimonthly comic book in August [1972], written by Roy Thomas and pencilled by Gil Kane."
  6. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 166: "Adam Warlock rose from the dead to defeat Man-Beast and his New Men on Counter-Earth in issue #178 of Incredible Hulk."
  7. ^ Walker, p. 5
  8. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 168: "Adam Warlock returned in a new series, taking over Strange Tales for four issues...The original Warlock comic book would return with issue #9 in October [1975]."
  9. ^ Kingman, Jim (September 16, 2004). "Warlock: The Magus Saga". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1970s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. Dorling Kindersley. p. 97. ISBN 978-0756692360. "The spirit of the recently deceased Adam Warlock...reduced Thanos to a statue of hardened granite." 
  11. ^ Walker, p. 6
  12. ^ Best, Daniel (2007). "The Legendary 'Lost' Warlock". Adelaide Comics and Books. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Manner, Jim (February 2011). "Whatever Happened to Warlock Number 16?". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (46): 8–12. 
  14. ^ Warlock Special Edition (1982-1983) at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators. Note: The Grand Comics Database uses the title Warlock which is at odds with subsequent UHMCC volume numbers (Warlock at the Grand Comics Database
  15. ^ Warlock (II) (1992) at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
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  17. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 254: "With the help of Dr. Strange, Warlock amassed a small army of heroes in order to confront Thanos head-on at his headquarters."
  18. ^ Cowsill, Alan "1990s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 192: "Marvel's cosmic heroes joined forces with Spider-Man, Adam Warlock, and a host of earth-based heroes to retrieve the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos."
  19. ^ Warlock (III) (1998-1999) at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
  20. ^ Warlock(IV) (Mutant Alien) (1999-2000) at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
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