Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection Paperback – Illustrated, February 18, 2014
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- Grade level : 4 and up
- Item Weight : 1.12 pounds
- ISBN-10 : 9780785188476
- ISBN-13 : 978-0785188476
- Paperback : 328 pages
- Dimensions : 6.63 x 0.63 x 10.25 inches
- ASIN : 0785188479
- Publisher : Marvel; Illustrated edition (February 18, 2014)
- Reading level : 9 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #98,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos
Infinity Gauntlet: Aftermath
Jim Starlin wrote an absolute masterpiece with this one. Adam Warlock has, perhaps, the most profound motivations for a hero in any comic. Warlock must struggle for his soul on whether he can answer the call to heroics when people and the universe need him most.
Starlin makes Adam make the choice as to if he should use his soul gem to steal the souls of his foes. The problem Starlin gives Warlock is that in sucking the soul out of his enemies' bodies, he is trapping their memories in his very mind.
Warlock must face space perils, The Magus, Thanos, and a variety of other cosmic nemesis. Starlin wrote and drew pretty much all of the comic issues collected within. It's gorgeous, smart, and some of the coolest Bronze Age comic book stories ever written.
Adam Warlock is one of the greatest, most intelligent, and fascinating characters in comic book history. His is the struggle for the soul of heroes. His stories and morals are so universal and important to Marvel's history and every story after Warlock.
Starlin is a genius writer and a talented artist. I hope you enjoy this comic book as much as I did.
PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!
A decade later, Starlin resurrected Warlock and Thanos for the Infinity Gauntlet series. Although not quite as good, IG was a worthy sequel (and the basis for the hugely successful Infinity War/Endgame movies). (Unfortunately, Starlin didn't know when to stop with the endless "Infinity" sequels.)
I would rank this volume as one of Marvel's finest moments- up there with Claremont/Byrne's X-Men; Stern/Byrne's Captain America and Miller's Daredevil. It's too bad, Marvel comics today has nothing to compare with its past glories.
Again, it reminds me of Led Zep IV, wild and driving with overwhelming energy but also undeniable talent and just enough art to keep it all together.
Top reviews from other countries
The Warlock character had a weird history even before Starlin got hold of him. Prior to "Strange Tales" #178, where this collection kicks off, he'd last been seen rising from the dead three days after being crucified to save a world, and while you've obviously spotted the not-exactly-subtle reference, this improved on the source material by having the Incredible Hulk in it. That story was about as weird as the usually sensible Len Wein ever got, but Starlin, while avoiding further Biblical references, started off at 11 and kept things cranked up to that level. We kick off with Warlock wandering through space, endowed with vast powers he'd never had before and which Starlin sees no need to explain, and quite right too, but before long, he's become involved in a struggle to save the entire universe from a tyrannical church founded by his own future self, 7000 years from now. These attempts go badly wrong, but things get sorted out with some intervention from the "mad god" Thanos (the star of Starlin's previous cosmic hit, the absurdly psychedelic re-invention of Captain Marvel), but he has an agenda, which is to get Warlock on board as a pawn in his plan to destroy the universe as a tribute to his unrequited love, Death (who, in the Starlinverse, is what they used to call A Hot Babe). This, as you might expect, gets complicated. Things are eventually resolved, but there are tears before bedtime.
This sounds preposterous, and it is, but it works because Starlin's work is so intense and so highly individual: his involvement with the material, and its personal importance to him, blazes through every panel. You really feel Warlock's self-loathing and rage. The character's personality (and his main weapon, the soul-stealing gem on his brow) is heavily indebted to Michael Moorcock's Elric (he even has his Moonglum counterpart in Pip the Troll), but the brooding here is more convincing than Elric ever was, partly because it's so well-integrated into the overall story, and partly because it feels like Starlin is dealing with his own demons (this raises what may be an issue for modern readers, particularly young 'uns who don't seem to like comics with words in 'em, in that these, like most '70s comics, are verbose, especially by modern standards).
Starlin draws as well as writes, so it's very much his own vision throughout. In certain technical senses (mainly human anatomy), Starlin couldn't actually draw that well, but it doesn't matter much, because he's not really going for realistic representative art. His work is a synthesis of the styles of earlier artists (primarily Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and Gil Kane) and so heavily and comprehensively stylised his technical failings don't really matter, because they're integrated into a larger vision in which realism just isn't that important (the same could be said for Kirby, except Kirby COULD do realistic anatomy, he just decided, quite early on, that his style was better off without it). By contrast, he had a great design sense - his costume designs were superb, and the battle scenes, with dozens of imaginatively conceived and completely individualised aliens, are astonishing. There's no duplication, every alien is totally different from every other. Starlin's page layouts are also hugely impressive, often relying on symmetrical designs reminiscent of psychedelic posters, but always clear and immediately comprehensible. The art is hugely detailed but always clear. Overall, its intensity and imaginative power more than compensate for any technical shortcomings
It's also important to note that the intensity is regularly relieved by humour, typically from Pip but also, in the final two stories here, from the Thing and Spider-Man, who, along with the Avengers and Captain Marvel, turn up in what were originally published as Avengers Annual # 7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 in 1977. These are two genuinely epic tales, probably the only Marvel annuals of the seventies to match the standards of their sixties annuals, which told genuinely important stories on a grand scale. These two stories wrap up the Warlock saga in a breathtaking manner, and are among the very best superhero comics ever created. Starlin, as both writer and artist, is at the peak of his powers. The very specific link back to a key incident in the earlier stories is handled extremely well, and a scene in which Spider-Man briefly freaks out, because realises he's utterly out of his depth in a cosmic battle, is one of the best, and the truest, in the character's long history.
The Warlock story was (spoiler alert) intended to end here, and should have. Over a decade later, Starlin brought him back, with ever-diminishing returns, in the various "Infinity" series. He's now, along with Thanos and Gamora (also introduced in the stories in this book), part of the MCU. But this book is the best way to remember him, and Starlin's talent from the days when he was burning with creative energy.
* He's against it.
On the content, this collects almost all of Starlin's work on the character up to the conclusion of the first Thanos Soul Gem story. Fors some reason, the early Warlock stories of his first life as a crucified messiah aren't included here. I wonder why they don't tend to get reprinted...
In many ways, I wish Warlock had been left in peace at the end of Starlin's first sequence, instead of being dragged back in a variety of guises. The two concluding parts of the story, played out across Annual sized issues of the Avengers and Marvel Two In One, are probably the best examples of large-cast space operas I've ever seen, with a stellar Avengers line up, Captain Marvel, Moondragon, the Thing and Spiderman all up against Thanos and his minions. The ending still packs a punch, the art is fantastic, and I'll always think of Warlock in his paradise, and old granite-chin meeting an apt (if rather under-explained) fate.
Still, without the later "Infinity" stories we wouldn't have Infinity Gauntlet, and I must admit that I'm looking forward to the movies.
(Oh, something I hadn't noticed - even this far back, in a story unrelated to Thanos, Warlock's Soul Gem is already referring to itself as "One of the six". Kudos to Starlin for such long-range plotting)