Adam Warlock

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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; 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 on 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, Warlock made a brief appearance in a Marvel Two-In-One #63 (May 1980).

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).[16][17] 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.[18] 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,[19] 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)

Fictional character biography[edit]

Creation, Metamorphosis, and Death[edit]

Him is an artificial human created in a facility called the Beehive by scientists calling themselves the Enclave. He is birthed in a cocoon-like structure, created to be the perfect human with enhanced abilities, as part of a scheme for the Enclave to rule the Earth.[20] After meeting Alicia Masters, Him rebels against the Enclave and escapes.[21] Later, the newborn Him decides to take Sif of Asgard as his mate, leading to a battle with her comrade Thor.[22] Following this encounter, Him journeys into outer space, cocooning his form again.

Him's cocoon is recovered by the High Evolutionary, who befriends him and gives him the name "Warlock." The High Evolutionary reveals that he created a version of Earth without evil, calling it Counter-Earth. But another of his creations called the Man Beast introduced corruption into this world and now the Evolutionary wants Warlock's help to save Counter-Earth from the villain's evil.[23] The High Evolutionary gives Warlock the green Soul Gem (also referred to as the "Soul Jewel") to help him in this fight. When he arrives on Counter-Earth,[24] Warlock suffers amnesia and only recalls his name. Four teenagers find him and befriend him. Thinking "Warlock" sounds like a surname, they give him the first name of "Adam." Adam Warlock faces the Man Beast and dies in the process, but then resurrects thanks to forming another regeneration cocoon around himself. After the Man Beast's defeat, Warlock leaves Counter-Earth to find a new purpose.[25]

In his travels through space, Warlock encounters the Universal Church of Truth, an intergalactic religious organization that is building into an empire by controlling different worlds and indoctrinating the populations to their religion. The church is led by a man called the Magus.[26] Warlock opposes the Magus and he soon recruits allies in his fight against the Universal Church of Truth: Pip the Troll,[27] the assassin Gamora,[28] and Gamora's employer and adoptive father, Thanos of Titan. 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 and imprisonment by the cosmic being known as the In-Betweener.[29] Warlock chooses to alter his timeline by visiting himself a few months into the future and stealing his own soul before he is imprisoned, essentially committing suicide to prevent the Magus from ever existing (later stories showed that the Universal Church of Truth still came into being, but less powerful).[30] Warlock then continues his journeys, knowing he has seen his own death but not knowing exactly when it will happen.

While fighting off the Stranger's attempt to steal the Soul Gem, Warlock discovers the existence of five other related gems.[31] Thanos gains possession of these gems (later known as the Infinity Gems) and plans to use them to blow up Earth's sun. Warlock finds that Thanos has destroyed Pip's mind and left Gamora mortally wounded. To end their suffering and give them a chance at continued existence, Warlock takes Pip and Gamora's souls into the world within his Soul Gem. Warlock then enlists the aid of the Avengers, Captain Marvel, and Moondragon to battle Thanos. When Thanos mortally wounds Warlock and leaves him for dead, Warlock's younger self appears and takes the dying version's soul at last. In the Soul World of the gem, Adam is reunited with Pip, Gamora and others.[32] The other gathered heroes continue their fight against Thanos but are losing. The cosmic entities Lord Chaos and Master Order intervene, influencing Spider-Man to temporarily release Warlock's soul from the Soul Gem. Warlock, now a spiritual being of new power, ends the battle by turning Thanos to stone, returning to the Soul Gem immediately afterward. For a while, Warlock finds a peaceful life in the Soul World with Pip, Gamora, and others.[33]

Rebirth[edit]

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

Years after his defeat at Warlock's hands, Thanos is reverted from stone back to living flesh and becomes the consort of Death. Seeking to equal Death in power, he once again collects the Infinity Gems, forming them into the Infinity Gauntlet.[34] When the Silver Surfer contronts Thanos, the villain sends the Surfer into the Soul Gem.[35] In the world of the Soul Gem, the Surfer meets Adam Warlock and convinces him that his help is needed again to defeat Thanos.[36][37] Warlock agrees and Pip and Gamora decided to accompany him. Warlock transmits himself and his two friends into the bodies of three Earth people who recently died in a car accident, then uses his power to rebuild these human bodies into copies of their original forms. To stop Thanos, Warlock leads a group of Earth's superheroes against him.[38]

Thanos is defeated and Warlock obtains the Gauntlet, becoming a near-supreme being of the universe. Warlock allows Earth's heroes to believe that Thanos is dead, but in truth the villain starts a new life of seclusion, deciding he no longer wishes power and will no longer involve himself in the affairs of others.[39] Following this, a hearing attended by the various cosmic beings of the universe such as Eternity and Galactus protest Adam's worthiness and argue that there is still the threat of him eventually becoming the Magus. The cosmic Living Tribunal, whose power and authority exceeds Warlock's, decides that Warlock cannot be trusted to keep the Infinity Gauntlet. The gems will be divided among other beings of Warlock's choosing.[40] 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 and suggests they go their separate ways but eventually they agree to live together as a team, except for Thanos whose identity as a gem-bearer is kept secret from the group for an extended period of time.[41][42]

It is later revealed that 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 life 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. The Magus attempts to become the supreme being in the universe, unleashing an army of dopplegangers against Earth's heroes. He is defeated, partly thanks to the Goddess stealing some of his resources, which she in turn tries to use to eliminate all life in the universe so that it can be cleansed of sin. Warlock, aided by an army of superheroes, eventually defeats each in turn, and absorbs them into the Soul Gem, reuniting good and evil with his soul.[43][44]

Later, the Infinity Watch battles to protect the soul gem from Count Abyss, a powerful entity who has no soul of his own. After finally defeating him, the infinity gems are stolen by Rune, a vampire from a parallel universel.[45] The Infinity Watch disbands[46] and Warlock tracks down Rune.[47] Following the discovery of a seventh gem, Warlock and the gems are returned to the main Marvel Universe.[48][49]

Later, several clones of Thanos go rogue. To defeat them, Thanos works alongside a group of superheroes and Adam Warlock, who is reborn from his cocoon yet again with a slightly altered appearance and nature.[50] Events lead to Thanos obtaining the god-like power of the Heart of the Universe, but Warlock convinces him to relinquish it.[51] Warlock later assists Thanos' in his quest to redeem himself at last.[52]

Annihilation: Conquest[edit]

During the "Annihilation" war, so many beings are killed that Warlock is incapacitated by the backlash of souls. He reforms his cocoon around himself to recover properly. When the threat of the techno-organic Phalanx rises, Moondragon and her partner Quasar awaken Warlock so he can help.[53] Once the Phalanx is defeated,[54] Warlock agrees to join Gamora as part of his newly-formed Guardians of the Galaxy, formed and led by Peter Quill, the hero Star-Lord.[55]

Warlock shares a few adventures with the Guardians. Later, Warlock attempts to repair damage done to the Spacetime continuum by patching in a piece of an alternate, stable timeline. This other timeline he draws from turns out to be the original future where he became the Magus. By "stitching" that event into his own timeline, Warlock immediately transforms into a third incarnation of the Magus.[56] He attempts to gain control of the Universal Church of Truth, leading to a battle against the Guardians of the Galaxy.[56] The Magus then allies himself with Lord Mar-Vell, but is killed when he fails a mission.[57] The Universal Church of Truth resurrects the Magus as a child, but then the Annihilators imprison him inside his cocoon.[57] His cocoon remains under the watch of the Annihilators.[58]

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.[23] 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,[59] as well as revert the Brute into Counter-Earth Reed Richards.[60] This power comes from his soul gem.[61]

Other versions[edit]

The Magus[edit]

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

There have been a few incarnations of the Magus. They are usually a corrupted version of Adam Warlock, though one was a physical avatar of his evil nature, existing independently. The original Magus is Adam Warlock's potential future, evil self who has traveled to the past and rules a religious empire called the Universal Church of Truth. To ensure his own creation, the he guides his younger self Warlock through a series of actions that will result in his becoming the Magus.[26][27][28][62] With the aid of Thanos, Warlock alters his future and destroys the Magus's timeline, erasing him from existence.[30]

Warlock is later resurrected and acquires the Infinity Gauntlet,[39] a powerful artifact that gives one control over nearly every aspect of the universe. Believing he couldn't be swayed by good or evil impulses, Adam unknowingly expels all but logic from his psyche. The evil, corrupt, base desires becomes a physical being who names himself the Magus. The second Magus wages war on Warlock and other superheroes in an attempt to gain the Infinity Gauntlet for himself, but fails when Warlock replaces the Reality Gem with a powerless replica, creating a crucial gap in the Magus's powers that results in him being overwhelmed by Eternity. After the Magus is defeated, he is trapped in the Soul Gem. Since he is only part of a soul himself, the dark half, he cannot interact with the other inhabitants of Soul World and exists only as a phantom.[43]

The Magus later escapes the Soul Gem in an immaterial form, then absorbs the life energies of others to regain tangibility and power. He attempts to usurp the cosmic power of Genis-Vell, but is defeated and revert to an ethereal entity.[63][64][65] The Magus then retaliates against Genis's friends and allies. The Magus wounds Moondragon and then heals her, revealing that she is destined to become his slave.[66]

Warlock attempted to repair a damaged area of the spacetime continuum by "stitching" in part of an alternate, stable timeline. This turned out to be the original timeline where he became the Magus, causing Warlock to immediately transform into a new version of his corrupted self. The Magus is killed,[67] but then resurrected as a child by the Universal Church of Truth,[68] only to then be imprisoned in a new cocoon by the Annihilators.[69]

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.[39][70] 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.[71] 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.[72]

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.[73]

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.[79]

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 (Warlock Marvel, 1982 Series), which is at odds with subsequent UHMCC volume numbers.
  15. ^ Warlock (II) (1992) at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
  16. ^ 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."
  17. ^ 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."
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  19. ^ Warlock(IV) (Mutant Alien) (1999-2000) at The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
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    Starlin, Jim (w), Lim, Ron (p), Beatty, John (i). "Games and Prizes" The Thanos Quest 2 (1990)
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  40. ^ Starlin, Jim (w), Medina, Angel (p), Austin, Terry (i). "Judgment" Warlock and the Infinity Watch 1 (Feb. 1992)
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  42. ^ Starlin, Jim (w), Grindberg, Tom (p), Williams, Keith (i). "True Believers" Warlock and the Infinity Watch 19 (Aug. 1993)
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  44. ^ Starlin, Jim; Lim, Ron (2008). Infinity Crusade. Marvel Comics. p. 248. ISBN 978-0785131274. 
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  47. ^ Ulm, Chris (w), Byrd, Mitch (p), Florimonte, Thomas (i). "Purgatory" The Curse of Rune 4 (Aug. 1995)
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  49. ^ Ellis, Warren (w), Pérez, George (p), Neary, Paul; Thibert, Art; Branch, Ken; Jensen, Dennis; Kesel, Karl; Pérez, George; Riggs, Robin; Statema, John; Vey, Al (i). "Becoming More Like God" Ultraforce/Avengers 1 (Fall 1995)
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