Adam Warlock: Who is the Master of Souls?

Move Over, Voldemort

Warlock:He who acts with violence takes the side of those who oppose me! If anyone dares commit such acts on my behalf – I shall see he wishes he were never born!

Warlock #7

Screams echo throughout a city. Several people have gone mad and begun attacking everyone in sight. One of the madmen raises a knife to stab a child. A brilliant light shines as a man descends from the sky. The gold-skinned stranger waves a staff and an unseen force restrains the attackers.

The man sees an otherwise invisible shadowy creature wrapped around the souls of the attackers. It has already killed them and puppeteers their corpses. The man pulls out an orange gem, and the creature screams in fear. The gem absorbs the create and hungrily thrums. He uses it again to send the victims to their final places. Adam Warlock looks regretfully once more at their newly soulless bodies before leaving.

Adam Warlock is one of Marvel’s most introspective characters. He began as a science experiment and has become a cosmic messiah. So who is he? Where did he come from? What is his connection to Marvel’s greatest superweapon? Let’s find out.

Old Soul: Adam Warlock’s Backstory

Warlock:When my followers’ cries wrench my very soul, how can I not but heed them?

Warlock #8

Adam Warlock debuted in Marvel Premiere #1 in 1972. He was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. They were inspired by Jesus Christ Superstar to create a messianic superhero. Warlock was given a lightning bolt symbol as a nod to Shazam.

A group of scientists called The Enclave wanted to create the perfect human. They succeeded, resulting in a golden man called “Him.” He escaped their facility and began exploring the world, fighting Thor and The Fantastic Four over misunderstandings. Him was wounded and created a healing cocoon to recuperate.

The cocoon was discovered by The High Evolutionary, who made contact with Him and came to see the perfect being as a son. High Evolutionary was attacked by one of his creations, the Man-Beast, and freed Him to stop it.

Man-Beast was defeated, but used High Evolutionary’s technology to escape. He traveled to Counter-Earth, a nearly identical planet High Evolutionary had created on the other side of the sun. Him agreed to go to Counter-Earth to stop Man-Beast’s rampage. High Evolutionary gave Him two gifts for the journey, the mysterious Soul Gem and a name: Adam Warlock.

Lost Soul: Adam Warlock’s History

Warlock:Of course, I should have realized. Those creatures were my own inner demons. And The Magus… magus is Latin for wise man… magician… Warlock!

Strange Tales #178

Adam Warlock hunted Man-Beast across Counter-Earth. He found many allies, chief among them Gamora and a hedonistic troll named Pip. Warlock eventually killed Man-Beast and left the planet to find his place in the universe.

He quickly found himself at war with the Church of Universal Truth, genocidal zealots who worshiped The Magus. Adam discovered that The Magus was himself from the future after turning evil. Horrified that he would become a monster, Warlock traveled to the future and stole his own soul. This prevented The Magus from ever existing, but left Adam Warlock marching to the gallows.

The Soul Gem led Adam Warlock to his archnemesis, Thanos. The Mad Titan had discovered that there were six Infinity Gems that could turn him into a god. Adam lost the fight when his past self stole his soul. The Avengers, The Thing, and Spider-Man revived him long enough to stop Thanos from uniting the Infinity Gems.

Split Soul: Adam Warlock’s Modern Stories

Warlock: [wearing the Infinity Gauntlet] “Looks like there’s a new supreme being in the neighborhood. And he will deal with all matters in his own fashion.

Infinity Gauntlet

Adam Warlock was eventually reborn, stronger than ever. His resurrection could not have come at a better time, as Thanos had united the Infinity Gems with the Infinity Gauntlet and become all-powerful.

An army of heroes gathered to fight Thanos while Warlock remotely directed. Their assault failed until Nebula stole the Gauntlet from a distracted Thanos. The strongest heroes and villains fought each other to claim The Gauntlet, but Adam Warlock prevailed through his connection to the Soul Gem. He repaired the damage and disappeared into seclusion.

Fearing what he could do with the Gauntlet’s power, Warlock removed his good and evil sides to become a creature of pure logic. The disembodied good and evil became The Goddess and The Magus, who both wanted the Gauntlet’s power to purify or destroy the universe. After defeating them, Warlock gave five of the Infinity Gems to his allies to keep them safe, dubbing his friends the Infinity Watch. 

Body and Soul: Adam Warlock’s Powers and Personality

Adam Warlock:Emotions seem only to confuse my thinking processes.

Warlock #2 (1998)

Adam Warlock was created to be the perfect human and dang if he doesn’t deliver. He’s super strong, fast, durable, agile, can fly, manipulate energy, and can create a healing cocoon. He also has “quantum magic” allowing him to create wormholes and barriers, sense cosmic disturbances, and become incomprehensible to other cosmic beings.

The Soul Gem is Adam Warlock’s greatest tool. It can manipulate souls, exorcise possessed victims, and transport souls to a paradisiacal pocket dimension. The catch is that it wants to bring as many souls as possible to that dimension and will run rampant if its wielder’s control isn’t strong enough. Long-term exposure has given Adam Warlock weaker versions of the Gem’s powers and made him immortal. 

Adam Warlock is stoic and introspective. He has a reputation for manipulation and keeps his allies at arm’s length until he needs them. Warlock has a close friendship with Thanos, one of the only beings that can understand him. Despite being prickly, he genuinely wants to help others.

The Actors Who Play Adam Warlock

Oliver Becker – Silver Surfer
Dave Boat – The Super Hero Squad Show
Kirk Thorton – The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Eric Bauza – Guardians of the Galaxy
Will Poulter – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Didya Get All That?

Marvel’s Space Jesus.

Image: Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo Jessica Miglio. Copyright Disney.

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