Starlin Trek: WARLOCK BY JIM STARLIN:THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (book review)

warlock1I usually write about old movies here, but they’re not my only interest. When I was younger, back in the 70s, I collected comic books. I had stacks and stacks of them: Marvel, DC, Charlton, Atlas, undergrounds. Even the oversized Warrens and of course, Mad. Now that I’m slightly older (well, okay maybe more than just slightly), I’ll occasionally pick up a trade paperback that grabs my nostalgic interest. While browsing through the local Barnes & Noble recently, my gaze came upon one that screamed “Buy me now”! That book was WARLOCK BY JIM STARLIN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION.

Starlin’s cosmic opus starred Adam Warlock, a Christlike space hero, pitted against Thanos of Titan and his quest to posses the Infinity Gems. Adam has the soul gem imbedded in his forehead, an vampiric emerald that steals mortal souls. The story’s themes concern philosophical questions about life and death, chaos and order, gods and madmen. Very heavy stuff. The books weren’t all that popular though, and the series only lasted from 1975 to 1977. Way ahead of its time, Starlin’s Adam Warlock saga has now become considered a classic of the comic world as the years have passed.

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Jim Starlin is now recognized as one of the giants of the comic industry. Starlin wrote and drew the series with a deft hand, knowing exactly what he wanted to say and how to get there. He was ably assisted by inker/finishers Steve Leialoha and Joe Rubinstein. They make Starlin’s pencils and layouts pop with cosmic wonder. Tom Orzechowski’s lettering aids tremendously in setting the tone and mood for this galactic epic. The book’s loaded with extras, including a “lost” Warlock tale Starlin conjured up as a fill-in issue. The adventure is fanatastic as a whole, but some favorite chapters of mine are the Steve Ditko inspired “1000 Clowns” (Strange Tales #181), the solo interlude starring Warlock’s degenerate friend Pip the Troll (Warlock #12), and the cataclysmic conclusion from Avenger Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2.

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Marvel Cinematic Universe fans (of which I’m one) are already aware of the power of the (now renamed) Infinity Stones. We’ve seen Thanos appear in the two AVENGERS flicks and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. And where Thanos treads, can Adam Warlock be that far behind?? One can only dream…

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