The Power of Warlock #3 - #8
So, my plan was to blog about this issue by issue, maybe every day and have a bit of fun with it. That was the plan. But as the great Ayrshire poet and chain of bottle stores in New Zealand reminds us, the best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglay, and mine seem to go aglayer and ofter than most.
Partly this is because of my busy metropolitan life style that keeps me away from the keyboard with thrilling man-about-town antics. Partly it’s because these comics rapidly descend in quality – and let’s face it, the first few were not a towering achievement of the arts.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cheesy 70s Marvel – that’s why I read these things – but this is terrible, even by their standards!
For the first few issues, it’s saved by the magnificent art of Gil Kane, and when Roy Thomas is scripting it has a certain bombastic charm that makes it interesting. But when it’s Mike Friedrich and Bob Brown...
The story continues in the pattern set in the previous issues. Each requires at least two pages re-capping the creation of Him and Counter Earth, the introduction of evil by the Man Beast, the leader of the New Men and Adam Warlock’s pledge to rid the world of evil. This is usually delivered by the High Evolutionary while he ponders whether he should just destroy Counter Earth and be done with it. Thereafter we continue with the story of Warlock’s battles with the New Men and related shenanigans.
In #3 and #4, a rocket launch off the Florida coast is attacked by a sub captained by Apollo, who appears to be be one of Man Beast’s lieutenants. Aside from the mythical confusion of the submarine sun god, Apollo looks more like one of the Inhumans or one of Kirby’s New Gods than the animalistic New Men that form his crew. However, after a kick in the face from Warlock he transforms into the grotesque pig-man and announces his real name is Triax. This is misspelled on the cover for #4 - “Make way for the demon called Trax!”
In #5, #6 and #7 we learn a bit more about the Counter Earth Dr Doom and Reed Richards. On this world, Doom is a good-hearted and earnest scientist and the best friend of Reed Richards. We learn that his face was disfigured in an accident rather than an initiation ritual by a murderous cult. Reed Richards seems to have nurtured him back to health.
In thaty last panel Doom looks exactly like the barking mad scientist on regular Marvel Earth. Why he still wears a scary skull mask if he’s a good guy, I don’t know. You’d think a good Doom would opt for something with a smile, at least.
As for Richards, he still makes his historic flight into orbit, but Man Beast was able to interfere, and suppress their super powers as part of his plan to introduce evil into the world. Instead, the result was a crash that left Sue Storm in a coma.
There’s some carry on with robot atomic deathbirds, and Reed Richards turns into a grotesque monster called The Brute (no relation to The Hulk!) and goes on the rampage. In the meantime, a shady politician called Rex Carpenter, who first makes his presence known in number #3 (here appears in the back ground in #2) becomes Presdient of the USA and hunts Warlock down as an enemy of the state.
At the end of #8, President Carpenter reveals himself to have been none other than the Man Beast all along! In the final panel, Man Beast and Warlock are squaring off for a fight, when...
And that’s it!
Clearly it got cancelled, just another series that seemed like a good idea but never found its feet. But that’s not the end of Adam Warlock. What we’ve come for, the Starlin years, is still to come. First though, the Counter Earth saga is concluded in the pages of The Incredible Hulk.