Adam And The Angst…
“Do you feel it? The sheer, awful agony…? For, uncanny your sacred mission… unearthly your weirdling powers… And, beholding them, men shall call you Warlock!” – The High Evolutionary.
How difficult can it be these days to actually complete and Publish a single Blog Post?! Very, as it turned out.
The latest comics round-up is proving to be an arduous task; perhaps a movie review would help, but… of what? Nothing outstanding enough to entice me into the nearest popcorn parlour; and you were treated to a music compilation in my last Post, so – what to do?!
“Why?! Why have the fates so conspired against me?”
No, these are not my words (not like me to despair, by Jove!!) but a quote from that other misunderstood blond hunk: Adam Warlock – a golden-skinned red-clad figure with the most voluminous cloak in comic book history.
Yes, in a higgledy-piggledy roundabout way, my concentration somehow locked onto a cosmic fella borne through the stars… in a cocoon. Weirder things have come to pass on this site (but none come to mind as yet). Adam holds a particular fascination for me, primarily because he is one of the Marvel canon’s more unusual characters.
You probably don’t know anything about him, other than his suggested appearance in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3. This is understandable. From a certain point of view, his obscurity has lent to his status as a cult figure within the Marvel pantheon.
My 200th Post(!) – rapidly approaching! – will feature a Countdown of:
My All-Time Fave Comic Book Characters
so considered it best to practice by compiling a Profile on this enigmatic subject.
Notice (above) the distinctive style of Jack Kirby (what would have been his 100th birthday this past week was honoured by the comics industry and various bloggers) and see what happens when Gil Kane gets hold of this cosmic character (below):
“Don’t be afraid!! I will stay with you! I have known another like you – one who is also powerful… but who needs understanding… and compassion! For the sake of the love I feel for him… I will not desert you!” – Sue Storm.
In the beginning, Adam Warlock was known merely as “HIM,” and treated as a Messianic figure. Just like trying to pinpoint how/where the fascinati0n of this character lies, so attempting to work out those responsible for created him poses a particularly perplexing nitscratcher…
While one source states that the 1st appearance of Him can be seen in Fantastic Four #66 (February 1966 – written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby), another states that his full debut sgould be attributed to The Mighty Thor #165-166 (June–July 1969). However! As soon as Roy Thomas and Gil Kane collaborated on the first issues of Marvel Premiere (culminating in the first issues of The Power of Warlock) then the character received proper development.
The High Evolutionary: “a tormented man-god experimenting in ways so cosmic and radical as to threaten his sanity,” creator of the animal-headed New Men, including Man-Beast – his most unruly progeny (and one of the few vividly-remembered supporting characters from my earliest comic-guzzling days!) finds an extraordinary object – a giant cocoon – picked up within range of his space-scanning Scopitron…
Apart from “ultra-strength, paranormal reflexes and the power of levitation,” Adam’s most potent weapon is the vampire Soul Gem, encrusted in his forehead – that’s right – it’s the one Infinity Stone we are yet to see in the MCU!
The Magus: “You planned all this, didn’t you…? Warlock wiping out my forces… rushing him inyo the time stream before he could truly realize what he’s about to do… it was all planned!
Thanos: “Because you are a creature of chaos and order… purpose… LIFE! So, being a creature of vast power, you may some day oppose that which I worship! For I am a dreamer of tranquillity… non-purpose…
Adam‘s solo series, The Power of Warlock first appeared in (August) 1972 – “devoted to the superhero your letters have proclaimed the most unique in the history of comix!”
#10 (1975) is a mesmerising – albeit difficult to track down – classic (in every sense of this grossly overused label.) Here, Roy Thomas and Gil Kane bring the cosmic man Earth, where he is discovered by a group of teens. While The High Evolutionary named him “Warlock,” so these kids call him “Adam.” It is during this series where both epithets become fused into the name by which he’s thenceforth identified.
The writer/artist with which Adam Warlock is most synonymous happens to be Jim Starlin, who once related how he took this Messianic figure and made him complicated(!) With The Power of Warlock #10 (1975) he created a quite excellent – not to mention distinctive – form of Bronze Age awesomeness. Part 1 of How Strange My Destiny is a brilliant – if not bonkers – cosmic adventure (reviewed here)
#11 (February 1976) sees our hero: “caught between dark insanity and yet darker reality.” Part 2 – only obtained during this past fortnight! – provides an intriguing and inventive continuation of this classic saga. More psychedelic than Doctor Strange (even on his most trippy dimension-bending shenanigans!) this ish is mesmerizingly illustrated.
The archenemy is the Magus: Adam’s future self(!) and there is a thrilling showdown between The Magus and Thanos who maintains that the Magus can only be destroyed by imploring Adam to destroy himself(?!) hence the title of ish #11: The Strange Death of Adam Warlock…
“You’ve proven yourself a true Warlock. I’ve attacked you with agents of earth, water, fire and air. Yet you’ve survived, for you are truly a master of such things, and so a foe to be reckoned with. That alone is reason enough that you should die… Therefore, Warlock, prepare to be… WHAT!? AGAIN HE’S…
– Star Thief.
“Your abduction of a portion of my soul caused me great pain, Warlock… Now you shall share that suffering!” – Fire Giant.
Paid double what is usually doled out for these mags, but Warlock #14 (August 1976) Homecoming (Why is every other morsel of mighty Marvel mayhem called Homecoming…?!) is well worth every satang.
Adam must confront an entity known as Star Thief (the astral projection of an incurable invalid on Earth). In the depths of space, Adam fends off whatever psychic force Star Thief conjures against him, whether it be a flock of club-wielding winged demons, a Fire Giant and even a shark – By The Great Nebula! – a great white shark chases Adam across the stars!
This far-out adventure does look very familiar…
These later ishs of The Power of Warlock were reprinted in (of all things!) Marvel UK’s Star Wars Weekly (1978); this MAY be the source of my discovery of this character (although they would not have entered my air(head)space until 1979 or 1980…)
Whatever caused this title’s premature demise – cancelled after only fifteen ishs – The Power of Warlock has (deservedly) attained cult status; fortunately, four of them – against seemingly high odds (and almost astronomical prices) – have reached my collection.
“I have come for the emerald gem that throbs at your brow, golden one. Men call me The Stranger! Though I alteady have acquired one such gem, I covet them all!” – The Stranger.
“Listen, Goldy, you seem pretty handy with the Star Trek bit! How’s about a lift back to Earth? I don’t have any change in my tights, but I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday…” – Spider-Man.
Since the far-too-premature carcellation of his own title, Adam Warlock managed to make some unlikely cameos in other series. This most extraordinary cosmic character could not be any further diametrically opposed to your friendly, neighbourhood wallcrawler, and yet, incredibly, Marvel Team-Up #55 (March 1977) saw them (what else?) team up…
Adam Warlock, pencilled by the great John Byrne, seemed like an irresistible treat. And it most certainly is! Finding himself marooned on the Blue Area of the Moon, Spidey must do battle with The Stranger – a formidable cosmic villain, who made several threatening appearances during the Bronze Age.
A particularly bizzare prevalence during tke ’90s involved resurrecting classic comic characters. Adam Warlock was lumped into this category.
Out of curiosity, #2 (March 1992) of Warlock And The Infinity Watch made its way into my shopping trolley. My fascination with comics soon wore off in the early 90s as most mainstream titles became more moronic, and this ish is no exception. Almost miraculously, Jim Starlin returned to manage the script, but he is let down by the cartoonish style of Angel Medina’s pencils – nope, not heard of him either…
Reappearances by Gamora and Pip fail against the derisory treatment of Drax, and Moondragon’s cameo is wasted.
“I think I will call him Adam” – Ayesha.
Now, despite being dropped from Guardians Vol. 2, we can see Adam’s cocoon in The Collector’s Trophy Room during Vol. 1.
Just when we can gladly expect the golden fella to grace Vol. 3, news that he is NOT expected to debut in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War is nothing short of BEWILDERING. Infinity War, Infinity Watch – you name it, Adam has played major roles in these comics to this end. Heck, to my knowledge, he’s the ONLY being powerful enough – other than Thanos – to have actually wielded the Infinity Gauntlet!
And – as you have learnt – Adam possesses the Soul Gem, so he has GOT to play an integral part… surely?! Yours truly loves the MCU as much as you, but its liberties with story-lines are beginning to annoy me…
Once upon a time, it would have seemed really cool to watch my fave comic characters on the big screen, but now…
With knowledge that Adam will become part of th MCU, this news only instils unease within me; primarily, who will play him?
Who can play him…?
Personally, it would be really groovy to see him portrayed by Kevin Bacon (tying in neatly with that snazzy ref to the legend that is Footloose in the first movie), but it will most likely be some-pop-singer-or-equally-cretinous-pop-nerk… and besides, NOBODY gives a fudge what Brad thinks anyway…
Of course, this has been just an Overview of Adam Warlock – a more extensive expedition must set out to discover some of those obscure Strange Tales back ishs and that significant plotline from The Mighty Thor #165-166 (June–July 1969) and other Kane/Starlin classics from the Power of Warlock series, leading to a more concise character study prior to the release of Vol. 3.
Once again, APOLOGIES for such a delayyyyed Post, but – trust me – the other stuff frantically battered out this past fortnight has fallen waaaay short of my usual mega standards.
Perhaps Brad needs an extended break from blogging…?
In one ish, Adam Warlock himself voiced my own thoughts so eloquently:
“My period as this reality’s Supreme Being has been a shattering experience. I fared poorly as a divine entity. I am in dire need of solitude in order to regenerate my spirit and strength.
“This is how it must be. I am sorry.
“Farewell until we meet again…”
Pip The Troll: “What say we go on down to Mama Alpha’s? I’ll buy you a mug of Ambrosian Wine... and treat myself to a Stinger and a reversed bowl of grud!”
Adam Warlock: “Let’s go have that drink, Pip! I could use it!”