Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Classics - Warlock #11

   It's difficult to explain what a revelation Jim Starlin's Adam Warlock comic was.

   It was a cosmic, trippy story unlike anything seen before in mainstream comics.

   Warlock's history goes back to an issue of Fantastic Four in the 1960s, as an artificial human known only as Him was created by a secret cabal of scientists.

   After a few crossover appearances, he was given his own comic, sent to an alternate Earth on the opposite side of the sun, and had several adventures. Then his comic was canceled.

   But in 1975, he returned to action under the guidance of writer and artist Jim Starlin. Now a galactic adventurer, he was given an Elric-inspired burden in the form of the Soul Gem, a mysterious gem that captured the soul of his opponents.

   As he came into conflict with the powerful and mysterious Magus, Warlock also picked up some unexpected allies, including the lethal Gamora, the degenerate Pip the Troll and the Mad Titan Thanos.

   After numerous adventures, which examined such cosmic ideas as the benefits of madness, the dubious concept of justice and the true nature of reality, the story wrapped up (sorta kinda) in this issue, as the final confrontation with the Magus results in a cosmic journey for Adam - and as promised on the cover, the death of Warlock!

   Even more disturbing, the series only lasted four more issues, and readers had to wait two more years to see the storyline resolved in a two-part story crossing between a Marvel Two-in-One Annual and an Avengers Annual.

   And let me tell you... having lived through it, those were two long, agonizing years!

   By breaking new ground and taking comics even further into the territory of mind-bending cosmic concepts, Starlin opened new frontiers for comics and set a standard that has been rarely (if ever) equalled.

   (By the way, did everyone caught that glimpse of Warlock in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie? Since every other comic character is getting a movie, let's hope there's room for Starlin's Warlock one of these days. Might be more than two years, though.)

Grade: A+


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