Who is Adam Warlock and what would be his role in the MCU?
by Kevin Tanza
(Image by Marvel Comics)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a grand success in the film industry for the last eleven years and an era has recently ended with its latest film, Avengers: Endgame. This film not only settled the Avengers’ fight against Thanos, but also made the whole storyline come full circle, even ending for many characters. But the MCU is going to carry on, introducing many important characters from the comic books and very few are as important and significant in the cosmic scale of the Marvel universe than Adam Warlock. But who is Adam and what could be his role in this new era of the MCU? We are going to explain it for you here.
Who is he?
Adam Warlock’s story is somewhat convoluted. He first appeared in the Fantastic Four issue #66-67 in 1967, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In the story itself he was created by a group of scientists on Earth called the Enclave, who were striving to create the perfect representation of the human being, named as Him in the story and rebelling against his creators. After a series of events, including a battle against Thor in his own series from issue #164 to #166 in 1969, Warlock, still without his signature name, decides to wander in the universe to understand more about life.
(Image by Marvel Comics)
It would be in the 70's where the character would be developed through writers Roy Thomas and Jim Starling, with the latter becoming synonymous with the character and his best stories. Thomas created the story in Marvel Premiere #1 from 1972 where a being called the High Evolutionary grants him the Soul Gem and the name Adam Warlock, requesting him in the process to save the planet called Counter-Earth from a tyrant called Man-Beast. This was the setting for the series The Power of Warlock from the early 70's, where Thomas played with the Jesus Christ allegories with Adam and that have become standard with the character throughout the years, despite the series only lasting a few issues.
It would be Jim Starlin who would define the character the most by adding a much more cosmic scope to his adventures and developing Adam’s role as the galaxy’s messiah of sorts, introducing the concept of the Magus, a version of Warlock that was corrupted throughout the years and created a religious, tyrannical cult called the Universal Church of Truth. The Magus would travel back in time to put several events in motion that would result in Warlock becoming that evil version of himself.
It would be during this run where many of Warlock’s most recurring allies would be introduced, such as Pip the Troll or Gamora, who first appeared to kill him and later befriend him. Thanos would also play a big role in Adam’s story, often being rivals but also working side by side at times, just like when the Mad Titan helped him to stop the Magus. Warlock would travel to the future, just a few months later, to take the soul of his future self and that way erasing the Magus’ timeline in the process, affecting him by knowing that he has virtually killed himself.
(Image by Marvel Comics)
In the late 70's, it would be through Warlock that the existence of the five other Gems would be revealed and Thanos would seek them to gain universal power. Adam gathered Captain Marvel and the Avengers to defeat him at last, with him, Pip and Gamora resting in the world that exists in the Soul Gem, not appearing in Marvel comics during the whole decade of the 80's.
It would be in the 90's where Adam’s influence would reach an all-time high. Thanos would be resurrected in the Silver Surfer issue #34 of 1990 and would gain the Infinity Gauntlet with the Gems, obtaining power beyond belief. The Surfer went to the world of the Soul Gem and requested Warlock’s help, along with Pip and Gamora, to stop Thanos with the remaining Avengers after the latter erased half the universe in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline.
They would succeed and Warlock would gain the Infinity Gauntlet, becoming near omnipotent and raising doubts among the heroes about his mental stability about his possible future as the Magus. Warlock would purge the good and evil from his soul to become an unbiased God, but this would result in the return of the Magus to conquer the universe with the Gems after Adam had relinquished them because he was deemed unworthy to wield it by the universal entity called the Living Tribunal and creating the Infinity Watch with many of his allies. The fight against the Magus would be in the Infinity War series.
There would be a few more stories in the 90's and the character would endure a hiatus until the mid-2000's where he would appear in the cosmic event Annihilation, helping once again to gather and lead the cosmic forces once again, this time against the Fantastic Four villain, Annhilus. The character’s role has diminished in the last decade, but his legacy as one of the most beloved and relevant in the Marvel cosmic scale still endures.
Adam Warlock’s character is methodical, intelligent and a leader that has been able to gather different fronts to face some of the universe’s biggest menaces, even becoming capable of being an omnipotent force for a time. There is also a certain cynical nature to his personality, even being able to use the Earth’s heroes as bait against Thanos in Infinity Gauntlet without telling them to have a moment to take the gauntlet away from him. It is this trait, along with the appearances of the Magus, that has given him a somewhat dark veil to his story.
(Image by Marvel Comics)
Powers and special abilities.
Warlock has a few consistent powers and special abilities, such as super strength, agility and the capacity to manipulate cosmic energy, but throughout his several reincarnations and storylines he has been able to have other abilities, such as been to regenerate himself in a cocoon in the early issues of his character.
Throughout the years he became more powerful, gaining the ability to teleport, to travel at light speed, to manipulate quantum magic, perform exorcisms, create force fields and other cosmic beings of the highest order cannot further comprehend what his following actions can be due to his nature as an “astral outsider”. This is why Warlock cannot die by growing too old; he can kill himself or be killed by others, but he cannot die naturally because he has no soul to be taken away by Death due to the way he was born (experiments).
How is he going to be introduced in the MCU?
Adam Warlock was already teased in the post-credit scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, resting inside his iconic cocoon, and the Sovereign declared that he was created to destroy the Guardians, but as of yet he hasn’t appeared and there are have been statements by several figures of the MCU stating him that they wanted him to appear in many movies and yet they have postponed his first actual appearance. So how can we introduce the character in this new era of the MCU?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 seems like the best scenario for Adam’s introduction, considering that he was created with the purpose of destroying them. He's also had a relationship with the Guardians in the comics. This also links to Starlord’s quest to figure out how to revive Gamora, who was sacrificed by Thanos to obtain the Soul Stone. Many elements and characters are strongly related to Adam and this could set the plot in motion for him to gain the Soul Stone.
The most likely scenario would be of Adam Warlock facing the Guardians, now with Thor in the team, but having a moral conundrum and rebelling against his masters, much like he did in the comics with the Enclave. He would probably start as a threat for the team, but by the end of the movie he could end up switching sides, much like in an early version of the character where he tried to understand the universe and life as a whole, sparing the Guardians’ lives and perhaps even gaining their friendship in the process.
The Infinity Gauntlet story-line was the template for Thanos in the MCU and Warlock was not part of it, despite the fact that he played a big role in the comic book version of this story. Having said that, the possibility of introducing the Magus further down the line, when Adam is more established and developed as a character, can be a strong possibility if the people in charge of the MCU want another strong and convincing overarching plot for the following phases.
What do you think of Adam Warlock? Are you excited to see him on the big screen of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What are your theories, and how would you like to see Adam Warlock introduced? We’ll be reading your comments!
Kevin Tanza is a Venezuelan writer who fell in love with stories, music and soccer/football when he was a child and since then, he hasn’t stopped writing about them. He has been published in multiple websites in both Spanish and English. You'll find his work at MusikHolics, Good Comis to Read, Gemr, The Busby Babe, Chiesa di Totti, La Soledad del Nueve, Sail Away, Colgados por el Fútbol, Genre, United’s Red Rain, Mariskal Rock, Sugati Fashion, Indie Artists Go and Music Existence. He has also published a series of short stories. Feel free to use the links provided below to follow Kevin on social media. For business inquiries, please contact him via email.