Strange Tales featuring Warlock #180
This is the first issue of an American-style comic I can remember seeing. I think my brother brought it home from a trip in to London, perhaps with the scouts. I was used to typical British fare – Valiant, Lion, Whizzer & Chips and so forth – and I might even have seen UK Marvel reprints, but this just looked like something out of another universe.
|Could easily be Deptford High Street|
There’s an recap page, inevitably, but I don’t remember it and it looks too wordy for a six year old. I probably skipped right over to the next page where Pip the troll gets into a fight.
The thing I remember most vividly is Chapter II – The Trial of Warlock. I can remember finding the whole sequence disorienting and alarming. I’ve never forgotten the jury of faceless mannequins, the giant eye and giant lips, the bizarre creature (Kraytor) sitting in judgement. Nor have I forgotten the transparent injustice of it, the growing fury as Warlock is gagged and not allowed to defend himself.
|The big mouth is prosecutor and the big eye is defence.|
Nowadays it looks to me like the absurd trials in Alice in Wonderland or The Trial, or the final episode of The Prisoner. The climax sees Adam succumb to the power of the soul gem once more and eat Kraytor’s soul, and suffer another paroxysm of guilt. It’s this that lets the Matriarch capture him – his own guilt leads to his downfall even though he's been arguing his innocence. Ironic!
I also recall the pages featuring Pip and Gamora. These seemed almost incomprehensibly grown up to me. They meet in a bar, and a not a nice place either but a sleazy dive. Gamora herself, and the even the Matriarch, are definitely not the sorts of ladies you found in The Beezer.
|Gamora doesn't dress like your mum inless your mum is Cher.|
After this I didn’t see anything more of Adam Warlock for a long time. I think I first re-encountered him in Marvel The End, in 2003, another great Starlin saga. That’s a long gap to find out what happened in this story.
Actually, I already know because I read it in the Handbook of the Marvel Universe in the 1980s. Oh well, every story's spoiled these days.