Today I’m here with a new guide for all Patrons of CK that has been secretly part of another guide for close to a decade! Of course, it’s not really helpful to new readers to have a whole character’s guide stealthily tucked away somewhere they might never look. That’s why I just went on a deep dive through the 56 year comic history of a major Marvel character who at first was only known by his pronouns. Now his golden skin is about to hit the silver screen. That’s right, I’m talking about “Him,” whose comic history is covered under his better-known name in my Guide to Adam Warlock!
I’d hazard a guess that the vast majority of CK readers have no idea that every Adam Warlock appearance from his 1967 debut through 2017 is summarized in my Guide to Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guess what? I had totally forgotten about that, too! I truly thought the Guardians guide only covered the movie team as individuals. Imagine my surprise when I checked a collection on it recently to discover that it also encompassed Adam Warlock, since he was one of the initial cast members of the now-classic Abnett & Lanning 2008 run that set the stage for the team to appear in the MCU.
All of that Warlock material still exists for public perusal in the Guardians Guide. However, aside from the obscurity of knowing where to find that information on the site, I also saw an opportunity to explain things in a much clearer way in a dedicated Guide to Adam Warlock.
Adam Warlock has several distinct eras, some of which split up his own titles into multiple parts.
That’s true in his first ongoing, Warlock (1972). It initially has a lead-in by Roy Thomas from Marvel Premiere (1972) #1-2. Then it is cancelled at issue #8, with its story resolved in Incredible Hulk. Then, Warlock is rebooted by Jim Starlin in Strange Tales (1958) #178-181, after which he returns from cancellation with Gamora and Thanos joining his cast in Warlock (1972) #9 … only to be cancelled again at issue #15. But, his plot is then resolved by Starlin in Avengers (1963) Annual 7 & Marvel Two-in-One (1974) Annual 2 (but not before an appearance in Marvel Team-Up (1972) #55, often skipped by collected editions).
And that’s just his first series! The Warlock and the Infinity Watch (1992) series is similarly carved into pieces by the chapters of the early-90s Infinity Trilogy. And, Warlock dies, returns, goes to live in a pocket dimension, returns, dies, and returns again afterward.
All of that nuance is hard to explain in a multi-character guide page. Looking at that Guardians Guide now, it’s more like my X-Men Reading Order – and, there’s a reason I stick to appearances in that reading order and leave the collection linking to other pages.
I’ve read a fair amount of Adam Warlock’s appearances in the past, but as I re-read them for the guide I was reminded that his story is one of human nature. Adam’s stories have always been allegories about how absolute power can corrupt absolutely – even before he held the Infinity Stones. When granted that kind of power, even the very best of us exists on a knife edge where one wrong decision can see their power be used for ill intent.
Adam Warlock is not the best of us. He is a blank slate, a golden paragon created by supremacists to re-shape the Earth in their image. That’s why Adam Warlock’s title is very rarely a solo affair. Whether it’s his Counter-Earth hippy squad, Pip The Troll & Gamora, Silver Surfer, the Guardians of the Galaxy, or even sometimes Thanos himself, Warlock almost always has a second voice to help steer his conscience. He is only ever a handful of decisions away from slipping irretrievably into his potential incarnation as the evil Magus.
Of course, Adam Warlock isn’t the only solo character currently crammed into the Guide to Guardians of the Galaxy. Gee, I wonder if we’ll be seeing any more Guardians-adjacent guides pop up in this month prior to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
All Patrons of Crushing Krisis can enjoy the Guide to Adam Warlock right now, a part of Crushing Comics Guide to Reading & Collecting to Marvel Comic Books. For as little as $1 a month or $10.20 a year, Patrons currently have access to…
Exclusives for Crushing Cadets ($1/month): 30 Guides!
DC Guides (6): Batman – Index of Ongoing Titles, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: Hal Jordan, Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner, Omega Men
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Indie & Licensed Comics: None right now (ask again in March 😉 )
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