Marvel Comics Soul Searching: Part One
By Steffi Feldman
Who is Adam Warlock and what does he have to do with the Infinity Stones?
Adam Warlock has returned, once again reborn from another place.
A man shaped and changed by his contact with the enigmatic Soul Stone, the cosmic hero has come back looking for answers; his long and difficult history with the Stone now leads him to investigate just how the Infinity relic has transformed him throughout the years. On February 7, witness Adam Warlock’s quest in writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Allred’s INFINITY COUNTDOWN: ADAM WARLOCK #1!
Adam has gone by many different identities over the years, and his journey has included time loops, alternate universes, and an archenemy that he sees whenever he looks into a mirror. It all adds up to quite a complex history for the hero, so before we see how he impacts the future of the Marvel Universe, here’s part one of our look back at the history of Adam Warlock.
The first name Adam Warlock went by—“Him”—was bestowed on the being soon after his creation. The research organization that brought him to life, called the Beehive, sought to forge a perfect human being…and they nearly succeeded. Their intentions, however, proved to be nefarious, and it didn’t take long for the newly awakened “Him” to rebel against his creators and escape in search of his own destiny.
During this period, the hero was all but feral. He knew nothing about the ways of the galaxy, but the one thing he was aware of was his desire to be a force for good. After an early altercation with Thor, the man retreated to a regenerative cocoon to heal and mull over this new understanding of the sanctity of life. This was the first of many such metamorphoses throughout Warlock’s existence.
The designation “Warlock” came directly from the research-obsessed super being called The High Evolutionary. The High Evolutionary, who found Adam’s opening cocoon and guided the young hero in the ways of existence, gave him direction with the gift of the Soul Stone. Not long after, when traversing the Earth, “Warlock” crossed paths with some teenagers who decided that he needed a first name as well: “Adam.” On his first real heroic mission, the newly dubbed Adam Warlock saved Counter-Earth from a rampaging The Man-Beast and realized that helping people was his true purpose.
Some time passed before Adam Warlock first encountered the “Magus,” a malicious future version of himself and the leader of the Universal Church of Truth. The Magus was a terrifying herald of things to come for Adam; insane and corrupt with his great power—Magus left Adam wondering whether or not it was futile to challenge a dark fate already seemingly written for him.
Despite these fears, Warlock chose righteousness above all else and was able to destroy the Magus’ timeline, vowing to let the experience serve as a warning and a reminder to always fight for the powers of good.
Journey Inside the Stone
The relationship between Adam and the Soul Stone, which served as the source of his fantastic powers, was explored when the hero ventured inside the Stone for the first time. The Stone tried to enslave him there before relenting when Adam threatened to abandon its power by killing himself.
Warlock and the Soul Stone soon found equilibrium once again, though the previously steadfast trust between the two would never be the same after this episode.
Leader of the Infinity Watch
After Adam Warlock sacrificed his life to deny Thanos’ first attempt to destroy the Universe on behalf of Mistress Death, the hero’s soul lived peacefully inside the Soul Stone’s own bubble dimension. When Thanos became a threat again, however, Warlock projected his soul into a newly deceased human, using the might of the Stone to reshape it into a more powerful version of his own lost body.
Adam Warlock briefly took control of the Infinity Gauntlet, but ultimately decided that such immense power was too dangerous in the hands of a single person, so he split the Stones evenly between a number of heroes to create a new team: the Infinity Watch. The group dissolved after their Infinity Stones were stolen by a threat from another universe, and caused Adam to lose all sight of who he once was. Reeling from the loss, Warlock set off to regain the Stone and his place in the universe.
Read part two of this retrospective tomorrow on Marvel.com! And on February 7, continue Adam Warlock’s journey in writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Allred’s INFINITY COUNTDOWN: ADAM WARLOCK #1!