Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS, PART SIX

magus on throneBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin. (The overrated and over-praised Alan Moore only writes, doesn’t draw.) 

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus 6PART SIX

Warlock #10 (December 1975)

Title: THE REDEMPTION PRINCIPLE

NOTE: This installment of The Magus features what the late Stan Lee might have called “the senses-shattering ORIGIN of GAMORA!!!”

Synopsis: We are rapidly approaching the final installment of Jim Starlin’s masterful hybrid of Young Adult Science Fiction and superhero story. Recapping last issue’s mind-boggling developments regarding Adam Warlock and his vile future self the Magus would require several hundred words, thus blocking the dramatic flow, so I will simply pepper in relevant details as needed.

Adam WarlockWe pick up right where we left off last time: Room #7, Sub-Level 2 of the Sacred Palace, headquarters of the Magus’ galaxy-spanning Universal Church of Truth. The Magus, that Church’s self-proclaimed god, not only defeated Warlock and Pip the Troll but also thwarted Gamora’s attempt to kill him with her God-Slayer Knife.

Gamora’s mysterious (to 1975 readers) master turned out to be Thanos, not as dead as the Avengers thought he was at the end of the Thanos War in July of 1974. Thanos teleported himself to Gamora’s side to continue trying to prevent the Magus (a potential rival) from ever existing (see the previous installment).

GamoraThe Magus had left Room #7, Sub-Level 2 after defeating Adam, Gamora and Pip, and thus is not aware that Thanos is involved. With Gamora’s interference having already altered the Magus’ past as he remembered experiencing it as Adam Warlock, the mad “deity” sent a legion of his Black Knights of the Church to attack the survivors in Room #7, Sub-Level 2 to prevent any further significant changes. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS, PART FIVE

Adam WarlockBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin. (The overrated and over-praised Alan Moore only writes, doesn’t draw.) 

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus 5PART FIVE

Warlock #9 (October, 1975)

Title: THE INFINITY EFFECT

NOTE: The first four installments of The Magus were successful enough for Marvel Comics to re-launch Adam Warlock’s solo series. The previous chapters were published at Strange Tales and this 5th part resumed the Warlock comic book beginning with number 9. The first run of Adam’s solo series ended with number 8 back in October 1973 during his Counter-Earth adventures.  

Infinity EffectSynopsis: We pick up immediately where we left off. Adam Warlock, Gamora and Pip the Troll have at last come face to face with the REAL form of Adam’s future self, the Magus, instead of the misleading “green like the Soul Gem” disguise he had been hiding behind.

Confusion is still in the air, because though the Magus is Warlock’s future self, his Universal Church of Truth was formed to worship him as its god 5,000 years ago. The explanation for that is at last forthcoming in this Timey Wimey chapter.

Pip comments on the way the Magus in his real form looks just like Adam except for being purplish-gray and having “an electro hair-do” as the Troll calls the Magus’ White Guy Afro. The Magus dismisses Pip as a fleabag, rises from his throne and says that the difference is far more profound than that. He is what “this golden butterfly” (Adam) will become.

Tom Fleming WarlockThe villain further states that he is what the forces of Chaos and Order have decreed that Warlock will become. NOTE: This carries over Jim Starlin’s use (in Captain Marvel’s comic book) of Chaos and Order as his William Blake-styled personifications of cosmic forces beyond human understanding. Starlin had Chaos and Order and their subordinate entities “upgrade” the Kree Captain Mar-Vell to help him against Thanos in the original 1970s Thanos War, covered in 2017 here at Balladeer’s Blog.  

Adam calls the Magus a cancer for the way his tyrannical  Universal Church of Truth has enslaved or obliterated countless planets, all just to further the Magus’ desire to become the only god worshipped anywhere. The Magus taunts Warlock and in response Adam attacks his future self. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS, PART FOUR

GamoraBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin. (The overrated and over-praised Alan Moore only writes, doesn’t draw.) 

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus fourPART FOUR

Strange Tales #181 (August 1975)

Title: 1,000 CLOWNS

NOTE: Jim Starlin dedicated this issue to Steve Ditko, “Who gave us all a different reality” and it’s drawn largely in the style of Ditko’s early Doctor Strange stories.

Get ready for “Adam Warlock Meets The Prisoner.” The title 1,000 Clowns is obviously a reference to the Herb Gardner play (and later movie) A Thousand Clowns. Gardner’s play dealt with a happy non-conformist forced to try to fit in with “normal”, conventional society for family reasons. 

The title and the theme of nonconformity may come from Gardner’s play but Jim Starlin writes this installment of The Magus almost as if it’s an episode of the 1967 Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner (previously examined here at Balladeer’s Blog). Adam’s resistance to conditioning by the Universal Church of Truth puts one in mind of the Prisoner’s resistance to the Villagekeepers. The surreal, off-kilter presentation is also reminiscent of that program.   

Adam WarlockSynopsis: Adam Warlock has come to after his lapse into unconsciousness caused by the trauma of his Soul Gem’s theft of Kray-Tor’s soul at the end of last issue. He has awakened into a bizarre alternate reality with walkways and small islands of matter floating in an endless sky. Bizarre symbols and designs ornament the skyscape like imagery from an acid trip. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS, PART THREE

Adam Warlock# FIRST EVER APPEARANCE OF GAMORA. Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin.  

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus part threePART THREE

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. 

Gamora

GAMORA’S DEBUT

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.     Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS PART TWO

Adam WarlockWith the superhero movie season already upon us Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin.

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus Part TwoPART TWO

Strange Tales #179 (April 1975)

Title: DEATH SHIP

Synopsis: The previous chapter ended with Adam Warlock being smacked around by the superior power of the Magus, the god worshipped by the interstellar Universal Church of Truth. It developed that the Magus could not kill Adam because, somehow, Warlock and the Magus were actually one and the same being. Killing Warlock would be the same as killing himself. 

Adam (powerful enough to fly through space under his own power at faster than light speeds) set off for the faraway galaxy that is the seat of power of the thousand worlds ruled by the Universal Church of Truth. That lies roughly 12 galaxies away from the Milky Way so this long, long journey is taking Warlock into parts of space never before depicted in the Marvel Comics universe of the time. 

Our hero is determined to free the worlds enslaved by the Magus, destroy his “Church” and slay the Magus himself … even if it means that he (Adam) will die as well. 

AutolycusAfter 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.   Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK, THANOS, GAMORA AND DRAX

Magus 1Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at the turning point story for Adam Warlock, a Marvel Comics character … and therefore probably destined to become a pop culture demi-god like almost every other Marvel figure thrown at the screen. (He was already an Easter Egg in their Cinematic Universe)

Marvel Comics characters, their film rights spread across multiple studios, have been at the center of seemingly countless movies in recent decades as well as plenty of television shows, both broadcast and cable. Flops like Howard the Duck and Ben Affleck’s Daredevil are cultural touchstones for cinematic failure. Marvel’s vampire slayer Blade, introduced in the 1970s, succeeded in three motion pictures AND a television series long before the Black Panther was adapted for the screen.

The X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and others have appeared in multiple films. Even less popular Marvel figures like the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man have been money-makers. Hell, even Groot, originally introduced as a rampaging monster in NINETEEN SIXTY has become nearly iconic despite having the most limited vocabulary this side of “Hulk will smash!”

(Yes, Groot – like Fin Fang Foom, Patsy Walker and the zombie Simon Garth – came even before the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man!).  

All of which is my roundabout way of getting back to ADAM WARLOCK, another lesser-known Marvel character who will probably become a household name before you know it. Adam had the very FIRST encounter with GAMORA. He fought THANOS in multiple storylines dating back to the 1970s, sometimes alongside DRAX and THE AVENGERS. Continue reading

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BLACK PANTHER: PANTHER’S RAGE

 

Black PantherHere’s Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of Don McGregor’s 1973-1975 Black Panther story Panther’s Rage. I’m no comic book expert but in my opinion Panther’s Rage surpasses much of the work done by the overrated and overpraised Alan Moore.

As always, since I’m neither a liberal nor a conservative I was surprised by some of the intense political reactions to my reviewing this Black Panther story. Many people who call themselves conservatives seem to think this Marvel Comics character has some connection to the hate group called the Black Panthers.

Actually this figure came BEFORE the Black Panthers. In fact Marvel flirted with changing the character’s name a few times – once to just simply “the Panther” and once to “the Black Leopard” – to keep their character separated from the racist hate group.

Erik Killmonger

“Memes … memes, everywhere.”

On the other side many people who call themselves liberals huffed and puffed indignantly that I was covering a 13-part story written by (GASP) a white guy about a black character! Hey, a white guy even CREATED the character. I wonder if that invalidates the Black Panther entirely in their narrow minds.   

Anyway, here are chapter by chapter links to my review –

ONE: PANTHER’S RAGE – Prince T’Challa, the Black Panther, returns to his isolated African kingdom of Wakanda to try to put down a violent rebellion led by a Wakandan calling himself Erik Killmonger. CLICK HERE 

TWO: DEATH REGIMENTS BENEATH WAKANDA – The Black Panther battles Venomm, the supervillain in charge of Killmonger’s operation tunneling toward Wakanda City while simultaneously mining and stealing the nation’s vibranium reserves. CLICK HERE 

THREE: MALICE BY CRIMSON MOONLIGHT – Killmonger sends a super-powered woman called Malice to help Venomm escape from the Royal Palace’s prison on the same night that T’Challa is undergoing his renewal of the Panther Herb ritual. CLICK HERE   Continue reading

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