Strange Tales #178-181
Silver Sable & the Wild Pack #11-14 (Early Tales)
thanos does tend to be a tough opponent in the marvel villian cosmic universe.although he clashed with such tough opponents as thor,warlock,captian marvel and the thing to mention a few.i have'nt seen thanos clash against the hulk.which should prove interesting...!
Posted by: sam | May 2, 2011 7:24 PM
In Thanos Quest #1, while fighting the Champion, Thanos thinks to himself "In many ways I assume this is what it would be like battling the Terran behemoth, the Hulk. A conflict I've sought to avoid over the years." So assuming Thanos gets his way, you won't get your wish. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | May 5, 2011 8:28 PM
The "Clowns" title refers to the 1960s play/film "A Thousand Clowns" which had nothing to do with science fiction whatsoever.
Warlock #16 was killed when Jim Starlin left Marvel after a dispute with Gerry Conway. It was supposed to be drawn by Alan Weiss, but the art got lost before publishing, which contributed to the book's cancellation. Several pages were recovered and have been printed elsewhere.
The Thing is reading "Salem's Lot" by Stephen King at the start of MTIO Annual #2.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 22, 2011 1:11 AM
Thanos has clashed with the Hulk. Of course it was during the Infinity Gauntlet when he had ultimate power. Anyways, both Hulk and Drax attacked Thanos at once.
Posted by: James | September 12, 2011 10:08 PM
What Great Memories! I brought these very same titles hot off the stands back in the late 1970s and still have them in storage now. They were a huge part of what kept this African American inner-city kid off the streets, out of trouble, formed formidable reading skills, and ultimately, made me the Author I am today. I always explain during my speaking engagements that most of my vocabulary came from reading Comic Books. When I came across a word I did not understand, it went to the dictionary or encyclopedias my single-mother made sure we always had available. Thanks for Posting!
Posted by: J Thomas Stroud, Jr | August 23, 2012 12:51 PM
Avengers Annual #7 received mostly good reviews at the time of publication, but apparently the book suffered from an unusual amount of printing defects--smudges, impressions from previous pages on following ones, and even tilted pages.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 26, 2012 3:50 PM
Thanos is one of the exemple from unstable, powerful
and pure evil villain, one of the Titans are defensive
and protecting as Mentor, he is obsedded by Death. And Would do you know that is Death religion ? That's go to
enters in planet. He enters sometimes in rage and to find his way from power to ally with villains the most powerful not fully Super-Skrull, Controller, Rhino including Blackhash and that he ruled he controlled all can manipulate them if he
I never appreciated that Thanos manipulated Adam Warlock to show his Comet-Spice Missile and used it against Thor and Hulk. It's too bad because Hulk has lost his calm
and becomes mad again, that's very diabolical and cruel but that show a hard villain with really motivations to conduct villains, break with him and brised their partnership, all that depend to Titan God-King all they can go as Thanos said
desires or then they don't fight good or not kil
Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2012 1:34 PM
Why are Yellowjacket and Wasp absent from the Avengers Annual? Could this story take place in between Avengers 149 and 150.
Posted by: Steven Printz | August 5, 2013 6:43 AM
This is my all-time favorite Marvel cosmic saga, so I'm very glad to see it's one of the few things to which you've assigned an "A" quality rating.
It was recently reissued, of course, as "Warlock: The Complete Collection" (2014) -- well, except for the non-Starlin Marvel Team-Up story.
And that leads me to a point you may or may not agree with . . .
I'd suggest breaking this huge review up. I actually think of this series as four relatively discrete units:
1. Strange Tales 178-181 & Warlock 9-11 (Warlock vs. The Magus: *This* is really my favorite cosmic epic. I don't place the rest as high.)
2. Warlock 12-15 (an interlude featuring the Star Thief story, which anticipates the idea that Thanos will attempt to turn out the stars)
3. Marvel Team-Up 55 (the non-Starlin Stranger story)
4. Avengers Annual 7 & Marvel Two-in-One Annual 2 (the Second Thanos War)
There are so many things one could say about these issues. For now, I'll limit myself just to noting how cool it is that when we arrive for the second time at the scene in which Warlock kills himself, we learn that Starlin's other Eternal Champion, Cap. Mar-Vell, is the sole witness.
Posted by: Instantiation | August 20, 2014 8:09 PM
I agree that that's how the stories should be broken up, Instantiation, but as i mention in the Considerations section, my reprints of these issues are very weirdly formatted such that the original issues are split up amongst multiple issues of the reprint. So for example Special Edition Warlock #5 contains half of Warlock #15, all of Marvel Team-Up #55, and half of Avengers annual #7. And since i've found a way to fit all the issues into continuity as a group, i don't want to cut up the issues (and photocopy pages when there's a different issue on each side). I have done some crazy stuff like that when i've had to, but i avoid it whenever possible. So that's why they're bunched into a single entry like this.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 20, 2014 9:22 PM
Possibly a reason to get the new "Complete Collection," then! As a bonus, it has what remains of the "lost issue" of Warlock, penciled by Alan Weiss, along with some full-pg. pinups by Starlin and the earlier reprint covers. (I never had those reprints, just the original issues and this new collection.)
Oh, and it also has a little info about the prank Starlin played on the censors when he remixed letters on the cover of Strange Tales #179 to read, "Approved by the Cosmic Code Authority" . . .
Btw, I notice your Strange Tales scans appear washed out by comparison with the vibrant colors of your Warlock issue scans.
And one final random observation: The "blazing giant" from Warlock #14 looks a fair bit like Omega, the apocalyptic character Starlin later introduced, under a pseudonym, in Superboy & The Legion of Super Heroes 250-51. (Are we allowed to mention DC around here??)
Posted by: Instantiation | August 20, 2014 10:05 PM
I read this about a year ago, the Avengers Annual and Two and One Annual and sadly I did not realize the significance of it. I mean more for Adam Warlock but I had no idea Thanos actually said dead for over a good decade and figured he was going to pop up again some time.
Now that I'm trying to prep myself for Infinity stories maybe I'll like these old Starlin stories more.
Also in my last comment I meant Adam Warlock not Quasar. See I really do need to read some of both to stop mixing them up.
Posted by: david banes | September 14, 2014 3:07 AM
Also apparently Bolgia, the big red thug of the opening trio is the same species as the Blood Brothers. That's a neat tidbit. I figured the Bloods wew created.
Posted by: david banes | January 19, 2015 1:19 PM
For me, and I would imagine, for anyone who knows Eros (Starfox) more from his days as a light-hearted Avenger, that first panel you have of him is really shocking.
This is a magnificent saga. I considered listing Adam Warlock's death in my 10 Comic Book Deaths. I didn't because Warlock, as a character, never meant that much to me - he died long before I began reading comics and had already returned before I quit comics the first time in 1991. But that final page of the Avengers Annual is so well done, it's really remarkable (that whole Annual is, I think, the best of all the Avengers Annuals).
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 20, 2015 5:37 PM
I imagine that readers of the day who were confused by the clown issue probably didn't know that it was Jim Starlin's thinly veiled criticism of Marvel management. Speaking of which, "diamonds among the garbage". Apparently Starlin shares the same opinion about his book as you do, fnord12. ;)
Posted by: EHH | April 3, 2015 1:39 AM
I just read this and I'm confused. Because of the time travel, there are 2 Warlocks as well as the Magus - each with the soul gem on forehead. So all of this time traveling duplicated the soul gem? Was this ever explained?
Also, is Zen Whoberis an anagram of some sort?
Posted by: Tabe8 | May 27, 2015 11:39 PM
There are a couple of things that have always bugged me about this whole run, might as well mention them here, if anyone can provide any explanation to them...
1) It's specifically stated that the In-Betweener turns Warlock into Magus so he could be an avatar of Life, just like Thanos is an avatar of Death. However, Magus is a tyrant who's also stated to be responsible for deaths of billions, so what kind of an avatar of Life is that?
It'd make much more sense for Warlock himself to be the avatar of Life, but why would the In-Betweener then need to turn Warlock into Magus for him to become the avatar? So the whole birth of Magus doesn't make any sense, and since the first half of the run revolves around that plot point, it kinda diminishes the story for me.
2) During the Star-Thief story Warlock grows to become larger than our solar system due to some pseudo-science involving the expansion of space. A big deal is made out of the fact that he can never make contact with Earth again due to his expanded size, and that he's all alone now. Then he meet some random old geezer who's getting abused by some capitalist aliens, and all of a sudden he's normal size again, with no explanation.
Now, most of Starlin's Warlock run reads like he was making things up as he went along, but the whole Incredible Shrinking Warlock thing bothers me more than the other odd plot twists in the story, because it reverses the dramatic ending of the previous issue without even bothering to come up with some excuse for the reversal.
Posted by: Tuomas | June 17, 2015 4:18 PM
The idea was that the Magus was a creature of PURPOSE, and purpose=life, in contrast to directionless Warlock.
Re: the old geezer- I assumed that he was supposed to be an alien the same size as Warlock. In any case, Warlock's growth in size was explained away as an illusion in Marvel Two-In-One 62-64.
Posted by: Michael | June 17, 2015 8:56 PM
...And handwaved serviceably, if not well, in the MTU issue when he teleported with the ship Spider-Man is in and found himself re-integrated at normal size...
Posted by: BU | June 18, 2015 4:03 PM
I don't think just having a purpose would be enough for someone to become an avatar of life? Thanos has a purpose too, and he's the avatar of death. I think at this point Magus has killed way more people than Thanos, so it makes no sense that he was created to represent Life.
Posted by: Tuomas | June 19, 2015 2:22 AM
Starlin likes to look at dichotomies, especially in his Warlock and Thanos books. So he introduces entites for Order and Chaos, and makes them responsible for an In-Betweener. And Thanos isn't just death (i.e., like a peaceful death of old age), but an active overwhelming death. Magus is similarly life overrun and out of control. He's described in issue #9 as a "cancer", and he spreads out across the universe with his Universal Church of Truth.
Starlin will do something very similar with Infinty War and Infinty Crusade. In War he starts out with an obvious evil, Magus again, but this time the personification of Warlock's evil side. But then with Crusade, he takes Warlock's good side and shows that extreme "good" is just as "evil" (and again, there's a religious aspect to it).
So i think the way to understand what Starlin is going for - and i'm doing my best to get in the head of someone from the heady late 70s with the above - is that the extreme in either direction can be bad, and that's why we need balance.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 19, 2015 2:49 AM
Yeah, I can sort of get what Starlin's trying to do with Magus, comparing his Church to cancer, but the problem is that Starling mostly describes him as a tyrant and murderer of billions, so he doesn't really bother to examine what it means for Magus to be an avatar of Life, and how such avatar could cause an universal imbalance.
In "The Thanos Imperative", Abnett and Lanning do a much better job in explaining how an avatar of Life could turn evil: their avatar comes from an alternate universe where he's conquered Death and no one dies anymore, so life's spread out through that universe until they have no room anymore, and they need to start conquering other universes (such as ours). This premise also makes it easier to understand how Thanos, as the avatar of Death, actually serves a function instead of being a mere villain.
I agree that Starlin's 90s work with Thanos, Warlock and the Infinity crossovers gets his points across much more effectively... Here he's just content to drop these kind of huge allegorical/cosmic concepts, but he never bothers to illustrate them that much before quickly moving to the next philosophical subject on his mind. This kind of half-baked storytelling is why I've always found this run a bit overrated. Starlin's 90s cosmic comics may be kinda overblow and indulgent, but at least in them he devotes enough time and space to proper exploration of his concepts.
Posted by: Tuomas | June 19, 2015 6:09 AM
Just to let you know, fnord, the original Star-Thief will (after a long, long absence) eventually make a return, so he needs to be tagged.
Posted by: Thanos6 | June 25, 2015 4:29 PM
Oh good. I hated having a tag for Star-Thief II but not the first one. Added him. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 25, 2015 6:18 PM
As a big fan of this series, I'd just like to address Tuomas' two points a bit further:
1. Starlin is alive to contradictions and ironies. His Universal Church of Truth is, of course, a parody of the Catholic Church, which set itself up in the name of the "Prince of Peace" and yet was responsible for crusades, inquisitions and torture, "witch" burnings, complicity in the genocidal conquest of the New World, etc. (I'm not trying to irritate Catholics, btw, just stating historical facts.) So, Starlin, who was raised Catholic and rebelled, is pointing out that setting a person and an institution up as a champion of this or that is no protection against corruption and hypocrisy. And we certainly can't equate "Life" here with goodness. It's much more connected with order ("I am the new order!" The Magus screams at one point), which at a political level easily becomes fascism, as here. Michael aptly mentioned "purpose," and a purpose needn't be a good or benevolent one. The Magus himself says that in the In-Betweener's realm he learned that "the great division is not right or wrong, but ... purpose or death" (issue #9). So he opposed death with the evil purpose of his church. Anyway, personally, I don't think the "avatar of life" concept is really a problem. The whole point is that The Magus is an evil, corrupt, hypocritical avatar, and the series is a critique of ideological blindness and fanaticism.
2. To elaborate on what others have mentioned, in Marvel Team-Up #55 a quick explanation for Warlock's shrinking is given. And the old geezer of Warlock #15 was in a different region of space than Sol, presumably one with a different "expansion." (Not that I'm going to defend the pseudo-scientific concept, tho! :-) For a cosmic dude, Starlin was never careful with scientific matters. His strengths lay elsewhere.)
Personally, I prefer Starlin's earlier work for Marvel (i.e., through "The Death of Captain Marvel") by a wide margin to the later stuff he's done for the company, and part of me still regrets he didn't leave well enough alone. The earlier stuff is much stranger, more improvisational, more satirical, more psychedelic, more sublime. To each his own, tho. :-)
Posted by: Instantiation | July 18, 2015 10:51 PM
Just want to add that my favorite more recent Starlin work has not been for Marvel. I particularly like his six-issue "Cosmic Guard" series for Dynamite (2004-2005), which is kinda like Mar-Vell crossed with Green Lantern. (Wasn't quite as keen on the follow-up graphic novel but enjoyed that the evil alien infiltrator in D.C. was clearly Dick Cheney ....) And even better is the eight-issue "Mystery in Space" series for DC (2006-2007), which essentially did for Captain Comet what Starlin had done for Mar-Vell and Warlock back in the 70s: namely, take an intriguing minor cosmic character and finally do something really interesting with him. The fact that Shane Davis provided absolutely spectacular art for the main stories didn't hurt. Starlin drew the back-up stories, which dovetailed in a cool structural concept with the main ones. Anyways, I'd recommend these to Starlin fans who are interested in seeing him write/draw something besides endless Thanos tales.
Posted by: Instantiation | July 19, 2015 8:28 PM
As revealed on Bleeding Cool, Starlin blatantly stole Gamora's design from an 1971 Esteban Maroto illustration from Eerie #38, a story called “A Stranger In Hell.
Posted by: Andrew | November 18, 2015 9:42 PM
I really like this story, but it should be noted that it is heavily influenced by Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone saga, almost to the point where Starlin's Warlock could be classified as a re-telling in a cosmic setting.
Warlock is moody and angsty like Elric, the Soul Gem is a soul drinking weapon like Elric's sword Stormbringer, both characters have a doomed destiny, and Pip the Troll is very similar to Elric's companion Moonglum. Both stories also revolve around themes of anti-religion and Law vs. Chaos.
Tons of other comics writers have also borrowed from Moorcock over the years, particularly Grant Morrison. George R.R. Martin's Targaryens in Game of Thrones are also very similar to Moorcock's Melniboneans.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 20, 2015 3:18 PM
Looking at MTIO Annual #2 again, I have to ask: where did that cat in the Baxter Building come from?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 25, 2016 9:04 PM
I don't think it was ever explained why Warlock had such a solid opinion of Thanos so soon after meeting him for the first time (somewhere in Warlock #10 or 11). Nor why Thanos expected it.
It almost feels like Warlock read the Captain Marvel appearance in his own book.
Were I trying for a no-prize, I would offer that the Soul Gem communicates with its peers and is therefore aware of some of Thanos' so far unrevealed attempts to acquire the other Gems. For reasons of its own, it does not want Warlock to be aware of the specifics yet.
Or: Magus is at least peripherically aware of Thanos before he appears in the actual story and somehow transmits that awareness with his two gem blasts on Warlock.
Or still: Warlock is beginning to develop his improved awareness (a power that Magus has but Warlock previously did not) on his own, and an early manifestation of it allows him to look beyond Thanos' superficial behavior. That would nicely explain why Magus sought Warlock at this specific point in time - he needs Warlock to have reached a certain level of power maturity.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 4, 2016 7:10 AM
@Luis- it was explained- Warlock said that Lord Chaos and Master Order came to him in a dream and informed him of Thanos's evil.
Posted by: Michael | April 4, 2016 8:03 AM
I don't remember that. Would you remember where it happened, Michael?
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 4, 2016 5:25 PM
It was revealed in Avengers Annual 7:
"Once more I am drawn to life, only to watch it fade. Yet I knew it was to be. For had not the fates of life-- Chaos and Order-- whispered in the night that it would be so? Was it not also revealed that he whom I thought an ally was in truth a betrayer, a herald of anti-life... ultimate death? Did not these same fates tell me in my sleep how I was the chosen champion of life, the evil Titan's natural foe?"
(We didn't get to see the actual dream, which resulted in ridiculously clunky exposition. Adam, did those same fates also tell you that if you only have a limited amount of time to save the universe, it's not a good idea to stand around talking to yourself?)
Posted by: Michael | April 4, 2016 10:00 PM
Boy... Marvel Team-Up #55 is a veritable gold mine of continuity. Had it been published these days it would be issue #1 of some event.
It gives MTU #54 a much-necessary (yet partial) resolution.
It follows from Warlock #15.
It is followed by a flashback shown years later in Marvel Two-in-One #62 that follows into the Avengers Annual.
Its last panel shows a "silver egg" that may have been revisited in Iron Man #109 (not sure about this one).
It is followed immediately by Champions #12 (from the Stranger's perspective).
It is shown in flashback in Hulk #248.
It seems to also be the first time Spidey leaves Earth.
And, of course, that is without referencing the Blue Area of the Moon and the Stranger.
Quite a feat for a story that only lasts for a few minutes and has only three characters with real lines.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 5, 2016 1:28 AM
It seems to also be the first time Spidey leaves Earth.
Spider-Man first left earth for another dimension in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2. He traveled to another part of the solar system (an asteroid orbiting Jupiter) for the first time in Marvel Team-Up #7.
Posted by: Tony Lewis | April 5, 2016 10:33 AM
This is my favorite Marvel story. Really mind blowing stuff when you're 10.
Posted by: Mizark | July 21, 2016 4:05 AM
Catching up w. the latest comments on this old favorite ...
Michael notes: "if you only have a limited amount of time to save the universe, it's not a good idea to stand around talking to yourself?"
True, true, but Warlock, of course, isn't a strictly rational entity. He's moody, melancholy, doom-driven. So it's not surprising he's prone to deliver soliloquies a la Hamlet.
And Red Comet is spot on about the many parallels with Moorcock's Elric. I don't remember which I read first at this point, but the similarities were obvious to me as a teenager. Of course, it was this Elric-like take on the character that differentiated Starlin's conception from Roy Thomas's earlier (and far less successful, I think) "Jesus Christ Superstar" version. Starlin has admitted to the Moorcock influence but tried to play it down in at least one interview I read. And it's true that Elric at least didn't travel into the future to kill himself.
The inspiration for that, I'm guessing, might have been Robert Heinlein's classic short story "--All You Zombies--" from 1959, which is kind of the ultimate in time-travel paradoxes. (In a nutshell, the protagonist, because of time travel and a sex-change operation, turns out to be his own father and mother. Crazy stuff.) But that's pure speculation.
In response to the most recent comment, I was a little older than 10 when I first read this, and I've reread it a number of times since, most recently when it was reissued as a handsome TPB a few years ago. I've seen more in it and enjoyed it in different ways each time.
Posted by: Instantiation | August 9, 2016 4:42 PM
I just realized something: wasn't Pip's pleasure cruiser that he acquired back in Warlock #12 left within the hangers of Thanos' Sanctuary II? I wonder whatever happened to it...?
Posted by: D09 | September 5, 2017 1:04 AM
Just a few weeks back I got a full set of the reprint series and read it and immensely enjoyed it. This, for me, is what comics are about and I'm really glad to see it got an A rating.
I read Starlin's Infintity series in real time but never these. It's fun to see where a lot of the seeds for his later stuff were layed and see the first appearance of characters that are currently used in the cinematic universe.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | December 5, 2017 1:31 PM
I just realized something, if Warlock's past self absorbs his future self's soul, then why are Pip and Gamora there when he wakes up?
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 3, 2018 8:37 PM
Presumably because at the time of his death the two aspects of his soul merge and his consciousness shifts to what is now probably called Stoneworld, where he meets Pip and Gamora's own stolen souls.
The implication is that for the last few months future Warlock's soul was subsummmed into present Warlock's own and had no discernible consciousness of its own.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | May 3, 2018 9:00 PM