In 1975, Marvel gave Jim Starlin full control over Adam Warlock—and gave the character his own comic for the first time. Adam Warlock is known as the Champion of Life for the Universal Church of Truth, and he has a soul gem on his forehead. That’s the abridged version of who he is. Yeah, Jim Starlin has a wild imagination.
In the first issue (#9, as the numbering continued from 1973’s “Power of Warlock” comic, which had been written by Mike Friedrich, a frequent collaborator of Starlin’s), Warlock is struggling against his dark twin Magus. Gamora attempts to assassinate Magus during the struggle, but fails. On the last page we get the big reveal: Gamora is working for Thanos. In case you still don’t know who Thanos is, Warlock #10 offers this history….
The story gets incredibly complicated from there. Thanos convinces Adam Warlock that they should be friends and allies against Magus’ Black Knight Death Squad, but their alliance doesn’t last long (since Warlock is Life’s champion, and Thanos loves death).
See? Cosmic characters are always so tragic!
The Warlock series was cancelled in six issues, and #15 wraps it up. Warlock meets “The Humble Thinker” who tells Warlock that it is his destiny to kill Thanos and then kill himself. But what we really learn is that Warlock’s soul gem is one of six.
This is the introduction of the “Infinity Gems” concept.
Warlock then disappears from Marvel continuity for two years, next appearing in M arvel Team Up #55—by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne—where the soul gems concept is advanced and the storyline continues.
Next: Avengers Annual #7!