"What have you been smoking, kid? Old tennis shoes?"
- The Thing, to Spider-Man, in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2, written by Jim Starlin
The 1970s story of Adam Warlock is split into two very clear halves, neither of which begin or end in the titular Warlock
comic series, and it's a real testament to whoever's putting together Marvel's Essential editions that every little bit of the two (wildly different) stories is here. Along with all 15 issues of Warlock
, this volume also collects a few issues of Marvel Premiere
, Strange Tales
, Marvel Team-Up
, Marvel Two-in-One
, and The Incredible Hulk
, all in service of putting together a complete version of a very strange, and often silly, life story.
Because this is an Essential book, it is in black and white, which does beautifully highlight some of the art, but if you know anything about the psychedelic insanity Jim Starlin is capable of
, you also know that you're missing a little bit there.
But, contrary to what I thought going in, this book isn't all Jim Starlin's psycho-religious death-obsessed crazytime -- Starlin's iconic work on the book made such an impact that it can be easy to forget that he didn't actually invent the character. The first half of this volume covers the pre-Starlin Warlock in all of his strange glory, so before we get to the famous stuff, I'll tell you about Roy Thomas' bizarre take on the character.
Actualy, for all intents and purposes, Roy Thomas really should count as the creator of Warlock. The character technically has his roots in a Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four
issue from the 60s, but as far as I can tell everything we associate with Adam Warlock -- his gem, his messiah complex, his name
-- are introduced in a really fucking weird story in Marvel Premiere
That story is where the High Evolutionary creates Counter-Earth, which is infected by evil through the plots of the Man-Beast, and Adam Warlock pops by in a floating space cocoon. It's nuts in that way that only early 1970s Marvel could be.[Read the rest of my review here, where I get into the cosmic second half of Warlock's story, and a panel wherein Adam Warlock fucks the sun.]