Adam Warlock is a character originally created by Jack Kirby but brought to my attention by artist/writer Jim Starlin. He’s a character with a troubled past created by insane, but clever, science guys to help them takeover the world Warlock eventually left Earth for the secret depths of deep dark space here he encountered the High Evolutionary received his Soul Gem and played at messiah.
When Jim Starlin begins his tales of the troubled one Adam Warlock has decided to spend, and end, his days in seclusion but he’s sought out by a female humanoid who in desperation hopes the messianic like Warlock can save the universe from a cosmic threat. This hopeful humanoid ends up in a tragic situation murdered by Grand Inquisitors of the Universal Church of Truth, an insane religious cult that has managed to subjugate much of the known universe, bent it to the will of the one who rules the Church the dread Magus.
Adam Warlock discovers that he and the Magus are one, though he figures the Magus is in fact his own soul split in two. With this idea in mind Adam Warlock flies out into the larger universe intent on finding the Magus and putting an end to his reign of terror.
Here within the adventures of Adam Warlock we’re not presented with your regular fighting crime type superhero we’re presented with a truly cosmic super being, a champion of life, he’s part traditional superhero in the way he looks but in the way he behaves and emotes it’s like reading the adventures of Michael Moorcock’s Elric but in space.
Once Adam Warlock sets off on his mission to tear down the Universal Church of Truth he’s immediately captured by forces from the Church and discovers how truly evil and demented the Church is, locked inside a dark dank room with mostly hopeless alien beings all with stories of tragedy and woe Adam Warlock determines to save everyone but by doing things his way, alone no longer will he be responsible for the lives and deaths of others.
Having inadvertently picked up a companion, Pip the degenerate Troll, Adam Warlock continues on his quest to end a part of himself and with the Soul Gem a vampiric curse resting upon his worried brow the Warlock knows his quest won’t be one pure of heart, a simple battle between good and evil, life and death.
Adam Warlock experiences psychedelic adventures, he’s a drug induced hero trapped in a drug induced nightmare, the series of adventures he’s traumatically forced to experience would break the hardiest of regular superheroes for not only are his experiences and adventures out of this world he’s suffering a lot of soul searching, an incredible amount of angst, and like the already mentioned Elric, and to a lesser extent Gollum, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, he’s being tortured by the marvellous gem that sits upon his worried brow. When this greedy Infinity Gem leaps into service Adam Warlock experiences for himself all the thoughts, all the happiness and misery, all the love and loss of those the Soul Gem is consuming, imagine the kind of emotional pain a person would experience if they were able to feel what victims of their power feel. Imagine the inner turmoil we’d go through if we could truly feel what other people feel, I figure if we as a species we’re truly empathic we’d all be vegans, and crime, terrorism and war just wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately we’re not empathic it’s just an idea or lie we use to make ourselves feel a little bit better about ourselves while we watch something horrendous unfolding on a daily twenty four news channel.
Very quickly, because comic books move quickly, stories don’t breathe they thunder along at a breakneck pace and therefore Adam Warlock quickly confronts the mortal head of the Universal Church of Truth, the Matriarch, and she’s been conspiring against it’s supernatural leader, the god of the Church The Magus, her plans are to capture Adam Warlock subjugate his will and therefore become the supreme power in the universe especially when she reveals to Adam Warlock that The Magus is a future version of himself, this revelation shocks him to his very core unable to believe he could ever become an evil being.
In truth there’s no such thing as good and evil they’re just concepts created by powerful wealthy people to keep the idiot masses under control when humanity moved from being a close knit community to a sprawling unyielding mob of city folk. Sure a person can do a good deed, help the helpless, and a person can do something evil, like kill an innocent, but we’re far too complex to be merely good all the time or evil all the time. If people capable of evil acts were evil all the time they’d stand out in a crowd, and if people were good all the time life would beat them to the ground instead of good and evil there’s a middle ground where we are good sometimes, when it suits, and capable of evil if the need arises. For example, here and now I can rightly claim I’d never kick a dog or punch a baby but if the dog was attacking me I’d would have to kick it to prevent injury and if the baby had zombiefied and was trying to eat my face off I’d punch the little frakker, circumstances can dictate how good or evil our actions turn out to be. I don’t know if you, dear reader, watch horror movies but if there’s an evil baby, or older child, in a horror movie they’re far scarier and evil than an evil adult, well they are to me, Jason Voorhees in a hockey mask, pfft, evil little baby crawling along a ceiling, sneak attack from behind furniture and it’s brown underpants time.
Through a test of madness Adam Warlock reveals that the Magus is akin to the Wizard of Oz instead of an almighty powerful god able to see all the Magus is just a slightly off colour Adam Warlock but with an afro hairstyle, here in The Now the Magus’ choice of hair-do looks quite ridiculous but I suppose in the 1970’s a decade of anything goes it was perfectly acceptable. When the Magus made a later appearance in Infinity War his afro hair-do had been replaced with long hair and pony tail, again probably acceptable in the 1990’s but here in The Now plainly ridiculous, it’s best when creating comic book characters especially those of a cosmic nature to leave out the height of social fashion in later decades the characters look stupid instead of having a menacing presence. Though the Magus is a great character, almost as great as our hero Adam Warlock, his choice of hair-do lets him down, it would have been better if he’d been bald, maybe with an impressive looking tattoo upon his dome like noggin but I suppose in decades yet to be being bald and tattoo’s will look completely stupid and everyone from The Now without hair and adorned with tattoo’s will require some kind of cosmetic surgery to try and fit in with the times they find themselves lost within or tattoo’s will be the social norm and people will be tattooed shortly after birth and by the time they reach adulthood every inch of skin will be inked, it sounds horrendous to me, the only person in my hometown without a tattoo (I’m not sure if I’m the only person in town without a tattoo it just seems like it most of the time).
Via the machinations and manipulations by the dark lord Thanos, the Mad Titan, Adam Warlock finds a way to defeat himself but leaves the universe at the mercy of Thanos, the dark god knowing that he could never defeat The Magus only Warlock could and with The Magus out of the way Thanos surmises it will be a simple matter to end the life of the beleaguered, mentally challenged Adam Warlock and so it is Adam Warlock dies on the cold metal floor of Thanos’ command vessel but like all good, and bad, comic book characters death is not the end for Adam Warlock and many, many years later he would return to thwart Thanos’ subjugation of the universe via the Infinity Gauntlet but that’s a story for another time, or better yet not at all.