This weekend’s escapist, lighthearted superhero blog post from Balladeer’s Blog will present the 1970s clash between Marvel’s Adam Warlock, who is coming up in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and the Magus, evil head of a thousand-planet empire.
At any rate, The Magus, as we’ll call this multi-part story, transformed Adam Warlock into the cosmic savior he became best known as. It also introduced Gamora, now famous from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
STRANGE TALES #178 (February 1975)
Title: WHO IS ADAM WARLOCK? / ENTER: THE MAGUS
Synopsis: This issue features a prologue titled Who Is Adam Warlock? The purpose of that prologue was to recap the fictional history of Adam Warlock up to this point, since this was Warlock’s first appearance in an attempted relaunch of his solo series. The recap is presented by Sphinxor, who is later revealed to be working for the Beyonders.
Sphinxor released recaps of the following stories:
FANTASTIC FOUR #66-67 (Sept & Oct 1967) – Featuring Warlock’s first appearance, albeit under the name “Him.” The Fantastic 4’s mad scientist foes in the Beehive, later called the Enclave, created Him, an immensely powerful life-form, to serve them in their mad schemes. Him, emerging from his cocoon for the first of what will be many times, refuses to be their pawn. The FF survive the encounter with Him, who slaughters some of the scientists and disappears.
THOR #165-166 (June & July 1969) – Him had been floating in space in his cocoon since leaving the Earth. The cocoon was found by an Earth space probe which brought the cocoon back to a research center on Earth. Him emerged from the cocoon, met and fell in “love” with Thor’s romantic partner Sif and abducted her. Thor furiously fought Him to rescue Sif and defeated Him, who again retreated into his cocoon and floated off into space.
MARVEL PREMIERE #1-2 (Apr & May 1972), WARLOCK #1-8 (Aug 1972 – October 1973), HULK #176-178 (Jun 1974 – Aug 1974) – This time Him’s cocoon was discovered floating in space by the godlike being called the High Evolutionary. This sometimes hero and sometimes villain added to our hero’s already massive powers by endowing him with a Soul Gem, later ret-conned as one of the Infinity Stones. This was its very FIRST appearance.
Our hero renamed himself Adam Warlock and agreed to help the High Evolutionary. That being had created a Counter-Earth on the opposite side of the sun from the real Earth. He had wanted it to be populated by noble, vice-free humanoids but the High Evolutionary’s evil creation the Man-Beast caused the beings of Counter Earth to “fall” and reenact all the ugly events of the first Earth’s history.
The High Evolutionary (at right) planned to destroy Counter-Earth unless Adam could “redeem” its people and thus began one of the most hilariously silly Jesus parallels since Tommy, The Christmas Kid and Greaser’s Palace! Warlock gathered “disciples” about him on 1970s Counter-Earth and his efforts to lead humanity to a higher philosophy were opposed by the Man-Beast and his minions.
When this awkward “Godspell in SPAAAACE” was canceled with Warlock‘s 8th issue the tale had to be wrapped up in three issues of The Incredible Hulk. Keeping the unintentional laughs coming, Hulk (visiting Counter-Earth) became an uncomprehending Judas tricked into betraying Adam into the hands of the Man-Beast, posing as evil President Rex Carpenter ( A name which REALLY mixed the metaphors of this storyline. “Carpenter King” for the bad guy?)
Warlock had even gotten to do a Last Supper with his followers, and encouraged them to hold get-togethers like that in the future, even if he wasn’t around for some reason. (Stop it, dudes! Yer killin’ me!)
After a sham trial Adam was put to death on a super-scientific crucifix-shaped object, with his dying words being (I swear!) “High Evolutionary, why have you abandoned me?” (This absurd story should be Exhibit A regarding why many of us consider most comic book attempts at “depth” to be as enjoyably laughable as bad movies.)
Anyway, upon “dying” Warlock reverted to his cocoon form, just like Jesus (I’m kidding!). Soon he resurrected himself/ emerged yet again from his chrysalis, more powerful than ever and defeated the Man-Beast for good. He then bid farewell to his disciples and left Counter-Earth to pursue his future in deep space.
ENTER: THE MAGUS – With new readers now up to date on Adam Warlock’s past activities the second half of this issue started the story proper. In the months since he left Counter-Earth, Adam has apparently gained a reputation for helping assorted advanced civilizations, because a never-named humanoid woman in a space-suit finds him deep in thought on an uninhabited planet. She says she’s been searching for him and that countless worlds need his aid.
Before the woman can elaborate, a trio of alien figures announcing themselves as Inquisitors arrive and kill the woman with their ray-guns. Warlock attacks them and as the battle plays out one of the alien Inquisitors is revealed to be a Roclite named B’rja. This would mean he is of the same race as the Blood Brothers, super-powered servitors of the presumed-dead THANOS.
(Two years back I covered the Blood Brothers, the seeming death of Thanos plus the origin of the High Evolutionary when I examined Marvel’s Celestial Madonna Saga of 1973-1975 in the pages of The Avengers. Iron Man, the Thing and Drax fought the Blood Brothers.)
Adam drives off the trio of Inquisitors and then, while the dead woman’s soul still lingers, he uses his Soul Gem to reanimate her briefly so that she can tell him why she sought him out. The woman tells Warlock about the Magus, a self-proclaimed god who fell from space 5,000 years ago and who rules the Universal Church of Truth.
This Magus and his Church have conquered countless worlds, imposing a mad theocratic dictatorship everywhere they go. The Magus’ rule is absolute and he brings nothing but war, death, suffering and tyranny to each planet that falls to him. A cunning and Machiavellian woman called the Matriarch is the worldly ruler of the Church and oversees day to day affairs as well as the torture of “non-believers.”
Before Adam can question the undead woman further the Magus, apparently detecting Adam’s efforts, remotely attacks our hero. The Magus’ power seems far greater than Warlock’s but he is obviously reluctant to kill Adam. Presently, after some prodding from the Magus, Warlock realizes why.
The Magus resembles him a bit, but his skin is colored as green as the Soul Gem instead of being golden like Adam’s. Even the title “Magus” is a variation on Wise Man … Wizard … Magician … Warlock. Somehow this Magus IS Adam himself.
Warlock demands to know how this can be, but the Magus tauntingly refuses to tell him. As his other self cuts off the long-distance communication Adam vows to find him, free the suffering subject planets of his Universal Church of Truth, destroy that Church and then kill the Magus. Even if that means he himself will die as well.
As Adam Warlock flies off through space to begin his quest, this first chapter comes to a close. Rest assured the Magus/Adam Warlock mystery will be addressed as the story moves along. +++
Strange Tales #179 (April 1975)
Title: DEATH SHIP
Synopsis: After his clash with Warlock last time around the Magus has alerted his empire’s starships to be on the lookout for any sign of our hero. The first vessel to come across Adam is the spaceship called The Great Divide, commanded by the blue-skinned Captain Autolycus of the Black Knights of the Church (more on them shortly).
Warlock can tell the ship is a Church craft because of the insignia on its hull: the main church symbol (the high-tech cross-ankh that Adam was crucified on back on Counter-Earth) as well as cocoons, lightning bolts and assorted bee-hives. All of them connected to Warlock’s strange existence thus far and therefore tantalizing reminders that he and the Magus are one and the same being somehow.
Adam is powerful enough to single-handedly take on an entire starship and the battle is on. Unfortunately our hero loses the dogfight, is knocked out by blasts from the spacecraft and is hauled in as a prisoner.
For obvious reasons the Magus has ordered Church vessels to take Warlock alive, and just as obviously he would know exactly what level of power their ship’s weaponry would need to use to knock him out without killing him. Adam comes to in a high-tech harness that nullifies his power.
Our protagonist meets Captain Autolycus (at right), who contemptuously points out to Adam’s fellow prisoners how superior Warlock is to them. Autloycus and Adam will have one of those bromance-type enmities full of oft-spoken respect for each other’s powers and abilities.
Eventually Autolycus drags himself away from our hero, taunting him about the unsavory nature of his fellow prisoners. Those fellows now surround Warlock, who, despite his usual compassionate nature, is taken aback at how monstrously ugly and malformed all of them are. (All of them are new alien races in the Marvel universe, too. No Kree, Skrulls, Badoon, nor any other recognizable species. We are in Deep Space.)
The space-ship full of prisoners are revealed to be intelligent and they try to communicate with our captive hero. He’s unable to understand any of their languages until he uses the Soul-Gem worn on his forehead. That gem (later retconned into one of the Infinity Stones) permits him to understand and converse in all of their tongues.
These hapless prisoners explain their plight to Adam, elaborating on some of the information given to him by the “blaspheming” woman killed by the Roclite Inquisitor and his two colleagues last issue. That unnamed woman told Warlock that the Magus conquers some worlds but wipes out others and now our hero learns why.
The Magus has decreed that only bi-pedal humanoids deserve to live, since that god himself purports to have once walked on two legs. All other non-humanoid races – like the captives on The Great Divide – are deemed not to have been created “in the Magus’ image” and are therefore hellspawn to be enslaved or slain at will.
Many of the prisoners are therefore among the last few surviving intelligent life-forms from their respective planets of origin. Since they are all rebels who refuse to work unto death as slaves for the Church they are being transported to the nearest Church facility for disposal.
The Magus and the Matriarch, his sultry High Priestess, consider any form of waste a horrible sin, therefore even “hideous”, otherwise unusable beings like the prisoners are killed then broken down for their base chemicals to be recycled for Church use.
In rare cases, even some humanoid species are considered “beyond salvation” by the Universal Church of Truth. A representative of such a race is also a prisoner on The Great Divide: Pip the Troll. This is Warlock’s first ever encounter with this debauched, amoral yet oddly likable figure who will become his sidekick.
The cunning yet cigar-smoking Troll has been biding his time, planning to escape if an opportunity arose. He now hopes that Adam’s arrival means they might be able to strike a noticeable blow against the Church by seizing an entire spaceship and escaping.
Meanwhile, Captain Autolycus is in touch with the aforementioned Matriarch via sub-space communication (presumably similar to Kree Omni-Wave Projectors for you Marvel fanatics). In this issue that Matriarch wears her hair in what would, a few years later, become associated with Princess Leia in Star Wars! I’m not saying the movie imitated the Matriarch’s “side-buns” hair style, I’m only mentioning it because some reviews of the Magus storyline foolishly claim the Matriarch’s hairdo was an imitation of Leia’s despite Star Wars not having come out yet.
Anyway, typical of power politics in any empire, the Matriarch is delighted that Autolycus has captured Adam Warlock but, aware that he is the Magus’ own other self, she orders the Captain to slay him in spite of the initial command to bring him in alive. The Matriarch hopes that killing Adam will simultaneously kill the Magus, leaving her to run the thousand-world Church empire herself, in the Magus’ name.
While the Matriarch (at right) relishes the exquisite risk she is taking we cut back to The Great Divide. Autolycus hates the thought of outrightly murdering the captive Warlock but as a Black Knight of the Church sworn to obey the Church hierarchy, duty dictates that he must. His sneaking admiration for our hero is also weighing on his mind.
Back with the prisoners, Adam’s fellow captives plead with him to lead their attempt to take over the ship. Rather than give them a straightforward answer our main character responds by way of a parable. (Man, he must have REALLY gotten into his Cult Leader shtick back on Counter-Earth.)
That parable is about an ancient caveman named Grak who set himself up as the leader of his tribe. Power corrupts of course and Grak became a tyrant, inspiring a rebellion led by Bak, another caveman. Bak killed Grak, became the leader and soon became a tyrant himself.
NOTE: None of that is very deep or unique, of course, and is just a dumbed-down version of themes from Animal Farm, Woody Allen’s Bananas & Sleeper plus many others. However, like I mentioned when examining Panther’s Rage (A Black Panther story from the 1970s) if you’re the parent of a precocious youngster this Marvel Comics product might be a good way to stimulate ideas.
Back to the story, Warlock’s fellow prisoners – except for Pip – misunderstand and think Adam is refusing to help, when in fact the parable simply meant he would not LEAD them. This is a sitcom-level misunderstanding because as the other prisoners filed away in disgust to launch their attempted takeover without Adam he COULD have just said “Hey, wait, I’ll still help. I just won’t lead.”
At any rate when the malformed non-humanoid prisoners are all gone, Pip offers to help Warlock escape the high-tech harness he’s bound by. Adam shows he needs no help by freeing himself, then sets out to defeat the crew of The Great Divide before they can wipe out the prisoners with their blasters.
Our protagonist wages a one-man guerilla war against the crew, defeating all of them before the rebelling prisoners even have to fight them. The captives realize it’s Adam doing all of this on their behalf.
Eventually the only antagonist still conscious is Autolycus. Warlock confronts him and after some more exchanges of mutual admiration they lock in combat. We learn that the Black Knights of the Church are all super-powered beings, making them a forerunner of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard over at the X-Men.
Autolycus has strength and speed to rival Adam Warlock’s as well as a power-charged staff/ baton and high-powered gun to help match our hero’s energy-projecting abilities. Warlock’s admiration for Autolycus (Oh, get a room already!) makes him hesitate at a crucial point in the battle, permitting the Black Knight of the Church to gain the upper hand.
Adam is about to have his head crushed in by Autolycus’ power-charged staff/ baton. The absolute certainty of that impending death prompts his Soul Gem to at last reveal its own dark nature by activating itself and literally absorbing the soul of Autolycus. NOTE: This shocking development is the very first use of the Soul Gem’s ability to feed upon souls.
Warlock is overwhelmed by the flood of Autolycus’ mind, soul, memories and emotions rushing into his mind. (And remember, this came years before Rogue’s absorption of Carol Danvers’ mind) Our hero loses consciousness from the traumatic experience.
When Adam comes to he reflects on what just happened and how he never realized the Soul Gem had an intelligence of its own. He becomes convinced that the gem somehow caused the Magus to be created. (Last issue I mentioned that the Magus’ skin color matched the Soul Gem’s hue.) This might explain how the Magus started his religion 5,000 years ago even though Adam Warlock is nowhere near that old.
The other prisoners arrive to thank Adam for liberating them. He encourages them to use the commandeered spacecraft to find a world and dwell in peace and freedom. He sets off in a shuttle craft from The Great Divide, with Pip insisting on tagging along.
Warlock warns Pip about his Soul Gem and tells what little he knows about the Magus, including the fact that they are somehow one and the same being. Pip observes that if Adam goes through with his plan to kill the Magus he will also be killing himself. Warlock grimly agrees and the duo set off for the planet where the Universal Church of Truth began, now the capital planet of its empire. +++
Strange Tales #180 (June, 1975)
Title: THE TRIAL OF ADAM WARLOCK
Synopsis: Adam Warlock, seeker of truth, slayer of false gods and wearer of tight red hot-pants, has at last arrived on the home world of the Universal Church of Truth. This is the capital planet of the thousand worlds enslaved by the Church and its self-proclaimed deity the Magus. Adam seeks to destroy the Church, free its victims and kill the Magus, even though that means he himself will die since, for still unexplained reasons, Warlock and the Magus are one and the same being.
Adam is in a new outfit and at his side is Pip the Troll, with whom he spear-headed a prisoner revolt on the Church’s starship The Great Divide in the previous chapter. Pip’s familiarity with this most important city on the Church’s home planet has been crucial thus far.
Warlock reflects that Pip’s knowledge of the crowded, bustling streets of this night-darkened city exceeds even the memories of the Black Knight of the Church named Autolycus. Those memories now reside in Adam’s own mind since the Soul Gem he wears on his forehead acted on its own to absorb Autolycus’ soul last time around. (NOTE: Adam’s Soul Gem was later retconned into being one of the Infinity Stones.)
Adam needs all the help he can get since this domain ruled by the Magus is roughly 12 galaxies away from the Milky Way so our hero is in very unfamiliar surroundings with life-forms no other Marvel Character had yet encountered.
Trouble arises when, despite their keeping to the sleazier, run-down portions of the metropolis, Warlock and Pip run into another Black Knight of the Church.
The Universal Church of Truth considers Trolls to be too decadent and degenerate to be allowed to live, so the Black Knight focuses on Pip and prepares to use his blaster to kill him. Adam blasts the knight’s gun AND the knight himself with energy blasts from his Soul Gem.
Pip warns Warlock that four more Black Knights have come up behind him, and as we know from last time around each Black Knight is a super-powered being, making them forerunners of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard over in the pages of The X-Men. Adam cut his teeth against the Fantastic Four and then Thor in his first adventures back in 1967 and 1969, so even a quartet of super-powered Black Knights are no match for him.
After our hero defeats them he must resist his Soul Gem, which rebelliously tries to feed on the souls of these knights like it did with Autolycus. After losing his temper with Pip’s typical levity, Warlock succeeds in getting the independently intelligent gem under control. Not wanting to face such a struggle again – and already half-suspecting the Soul Gem of having spawned the Magus since his skin tone matches the color of the gem itself – our hero resolves to destroy the vampiric jewel for good.
Elsewhere in the city, at the Church’s Sacred Palace, we find the sultry Matriarch – the worldly leader of the Universal Church of Truth. It’s her third appearance in our tale and her third hair-do, too. She is informed by one of the gargoyle-like aliens who serve her that Adam has been sighted in the city, not far from the Sacred Palace.
The Matriarch acknowledges the warning and reflects on her previous plan to have Warlock killed by Autolycus. She had hoped that by killing Adam the Magus would also die and she could then rule the Church’s thousand-world empire alone.
She now feels she acted too hastily last time. Until she can better understand the dual nature of Warlock and the Magus she should keep the former alive, lest his death unleash forces she can’t control. In the meantime she intends to turn him into her unquestioning slave, either through her feminine wiles or through drugs or technology or some combination of all three.
Back to our heroes, Adam and Pip, who have found as deserted a back alley as they can to ensure no innocent bystanders will be hurt by what Warlock plans to try. He warns Pip one last time to flee, to avoid having the Soul Gem try feeding on his soul. Pip refuses, saying the vampiric jewel would choke on his sin-blackened soul if it tried to devour it.
Adam removes the Soul Gem from his forehead, planning to then crush it. No sooner has the gem been detached from Warlock’s forehead, however, than he drops it to the ground and spasmodically collapses beside it. He babbles about all he is, all his happiness, all sadness, all pain, etc. being gone now.
As he continues gibbering in an almost mindless manner Pip realizes he should put the Soul Gem back on Adam’s forehead. Once he does, Warlock returns to normal. Our protagonist explains to Pip that the malevolent intelligence in the jewel is far more shrewd than he could have dreamt.
Ever since Adam began wearing the Soul Gem affixed to his forehead years ago when the High Evolutionary presented it to him the gem must have been slowly, imperceptibly nibbling away at his soul, rather than put Adam on his guard by trying to absorb it all at once.
By now the vampiric Soul Gem has siphoned away nearly every last shred of his soul, so if he removes it now, he becomes an inanimate husk, barely even alive. He recoils with horror at the thought that he is doomed to wear the Soul Gem indefinitely or become a virtual vegetable.
The Matriarch has been observing all this through one of her viewscreens hidden throughout the city. She now turns on the speaker and taunts Warlock about how he has finally discovered what a menace he wears upon his brow.
Pip taunts back at the Matriarch, calling her “Ol’ Slink herself” – with Slink obviously an insulting nickname for her designed to undercut her regal airs. While Adam and the Matriarch carry on a conversation the Troll puts his thumbs in his ears and makes faces at her. If this was in Heavy Metal magazine he’d likely be flipping her the bird instead. (Heavy Metal didn’t start its U.S. run until 1977.)
At length the villainess teases Warlock that if he wants to know how she knew his Soul Gem would go rogue before he did he must come to the Sacred Palace where she’ll tell him in person. While Pip blusters about what an obvious trap this is, Adam slips away from him to infiltrate the Sacred Palace alone.
Our hero went solo because he doesn’t want Pip to suffer any potential harm. Warlock considers it his own responsibility to stop his other self from fulfilling his insane desire to conquer or destroy every inhabited planet and become worshipped as the only god.
Reaching the palace, the tallest building in the entire city, Adam uses his various powers to slip by all electronic surveillance, the Palace Guard and the lobotomized domestic servants. Just as the Matriarch is being informed by a majordomo that Warlock may be approaching the palace Adam knocks out the majordomo and confronts the Matriarch in her living quarters.
Our hero demands to know the origin of the Magus, only to have the Matriarch mock him for not knowing it himself. Adam replies that he suspects his Soul Gem of creating the Magus and also demands to know how the Matriarch knew his gem had begun rebelling against him before he did.
Answering the second question first, the vamping and voguing Matriarch tells Adam she knew because the Magus told her about it himself … long ago. She further explains that the Magus isn’t merely a renegade “part” of Warlock, nor even “another” self. The Magus really IS Adam Warlock. The Adam Warlock of the future.
The two adversaries continue the discussion, reflecting on Adam’s overly passionate nature and adherence to simplistic dualism. Gradually the subject moves on to the possibility of Warlock changing his fate, with the Matriarch pointing out that that’s the last thing she wants.
Obviously, if she helps Adam or tampers too much, not only might the Magus never come into being, but neither might his 5,000 year-old religion nor the empire the villainess has enjoyed co-ruling. She bluntly tells Warlock she needs to contain him until he sees things her way.
The Matriarch springs her trap and Adam winds up in a bizarre courtroom staffed by several heretofore unknown alien life-forms. Presiding over the court is a Grand Inquisitor introduced as Kray-Tor. Yep, it’s a Judge Crater joke which must have already seemed ancient back in 1975.
At any rate Kray-Tor is the four-armed alien shown on the cover of this issue with Adam. Also present are figures referred to as:
Bailiffs – A trio of gleaming, faceless figures whose humanoid bodies seem covered in a substance similar to the one encasing the Silver Surfer.
The Prosecutor – A monstrous alien who is, appropriately enough, almost all mouth.
The Jury – Faceless automatons who are just torsos in jury seats.
The Defense Attorney – To emphasize, R. Crumb style, what a sham the Magus’ courts are, this alien being is a large eye-thing with no mouth with which to make objections or even offer guidance to the defendant, Adam.
The trial proceeds, with the seemingly Norrin Radd-level Bailiffs capable of restraining Warlock. The first witness called is Yon-Lok, a rebel and criminal hoping for a pardon if he testifies against our hero. Yon-Lok departs from the script, refusing to condemn Adam and instead accusing Kray-Tor and the Church of heinous crimes.
The Bailiffs use energy blasts from their hands to obliterate Yon-Lok, and Kray-Tor advises the jury to disregard his testimony. The trial now unfolds the way the Grand Inquisitor desires, as a long line of “witnesses” accuse Warlock of false crimes, his eye-being Defense Attorney starts to drift off to sleep and Kray-Tor basically admits that a guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion.
It’s just a comic book but as I always point out with these vintage Marvel Comics stories, if you have a precocious youngster who likes to read you could do far worse than buy the collected volumes for them. This blatantly rigged “trial” will introduce them to themes that they’ll later encounter in much greater works by actual writers like Lewis Carroll, Franz Kafka, Eugene Ionesco, Aristophanes and others.
This story’s twist on the concept seems to be that the Magus has used his courts of law to combine the purposes of religious services with the dispensation of “justice” which really just means punishment in the Church’s courts. It becomes clear that NO ONE brought to trial is ever exonerated.
Every “trial” which takes place every day across the thousand-plus worlds of the Magus’ empire is conducted solely to reaffirm the Church’s power, to reaffirm that all “justice” flows from the Church and its god and to underline the steep penalties for defying same.
Every defendant therefore plays the role of the sacrificial victim in a psychodrama with the same ritualistic conclusion every time. So, again, this comic book level look at this familiar concept might serve as a gateway for young readers who will encounter this concept in far more profound terms as their reading tastes mature.
Back to the story, the jury does indeed find Warlock guilty. We now cut to Pip the Troll at a sleazy drinking establishment frequented by in-port space pilots. The joint is filled with a menagerie of odd and dangerous-looking aliens.
NOTE: Ignore reviews that claim this scene is intended to rip off the Cantina Scene in Star Wars. As I mentioned last issue regarding the Matriarch’s “Princess Leia” hair-do, this story was published two years BEFORE Star Wars came out. Besides, seedy taverns/ cantinas with a myriad of alien life-forms were already a trope of Space Operas since the days of the Pulps.
Pip starts slamming down booze, planning to get drunk and then desecrate one of the Church’s temples while he’s in town (Ya gotta love this guy). GAMORA (above right), in her original costume, approaches Pip and makes it clear she recognizes him from Church all-points alerts.
Assuming Gamora wants to turn him in for the reward, Pip clearly plans to shoot first by slipping his hands to his weapon but our home-girl Gamora is shrewder than Greedo and orders the Troll to keep his hands where she can see them. (I’m not joking, either, this is how the scene plays out.)
Brandishing her original weapon, the God Slayer Knife, she questions Pip about his friend Adam Warlock. Pip tells Gamora about their parting and how he figures Adam invaded the Sacred Palace single-handed.
After answering all of the green lass’s questions our Troll wants to know why she’s looking for Warlock. Gamora replies that she wants to see if Adam really does stand a chance of defeating the Magus. If he does, she plans to help him. If not, she plans to kill Adam herself.
Back to Warlock in the courtroom. Our hero naturally resists a sentence condemning him to a Church-run indoctrination center so Kray-Tor changes the sentence to Death.
Adam at last fights back, taking on and defeating the three Bailiffs, knocking over the Prosecutor and destroying the android “jury.” Like a super-powered Al Pacino in the future movie And Justice For All he passionately condemns the travesty of justice displayed in the courtroom and chews out Kray-Tor.
Kray-Tor uses his own powers on Warlock and is overcoming our hero, causing him to sink and “drown” in the molecules of the floor. Furious, Adam gives in to the Soul Gem, which, for the first time, gets “dialogue” as it telepathically pleads with our hero to unleash it on Kray-Tor.
The Soul Gem feeds on the Judge’s soul like it did Autolycus’ before him, and Warlock is once again overcome by all of the victim’s (Kray-Tor’s) thoughts and memories as his soul is absorbed. He passes out again from the trauma, but with his last thoughts he realizes that Kray-Tor wasn’t intentionally perverting justice. He was a True Believer in the Magus and actually thought he was doing his god’s work.
As Warlock collapses at the feet of the approaching Matriarch, she completes the thought for him, reminding him of the old truism that “we’re all heroes in our own minds.” (For a youngster reading this it might be the first time they encounter this notion.)
Next the Matriarch reveals that she expected Adam to sic his Soul Gem on Kray-Tor and knew that the trauma would once again knock him out, thus rendering him helpless without killing him. She has cloaked figures toss Warlock into a Pit and promises to continue the conversation when the unseen crew in the Pit are through with him. +++
I WILL EXAMINE THE FINAL FOUR CHAPTERS NEXT WEEKEND.
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 13-PART BLACK PANTHER STORY PANTHER’S RAGE CLICK HERE
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3 responses to “ADAM WARLOCK VS THE MAGUS (1975-1976)”
I’m semi-familiar with all this from reading background material in other comics and the old Marvel RPG, but the only real Adam Warlock stuff I read was The Infinity Gauntlet mini-series. I was a little disappointed when the MCU didn’t trot him out for their Infinity War movies, but I guess they were already well overstuffed with characters. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to watch Will Poulter as Warlock without thinking of “We’re the Millers” the whole time, but I guess we’ll see …
I agree. They teased Warlock with his cocoon being among the Collector’s items in the Guardians of the Galaxy, but failed to bring Adam in. And yes, Will Poulter will be a little tough to fully accept as Warlock.
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