Adam Warlock is a Marvel Comics cosmic hero who has starred in more than one series. He's best known for being the personal nemesis of Thanos, for his connection to The Infinity Gauntlet and the Soul Gem, and as a founding member of the 616 version of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
He first appeared in Fantastic Four vol. 1 #66-67 (September-October, 1967), created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for a Fantastic Four story, but as "Him", an artificial lifeform who had escaped its creators. In Marvel Premiere #1 (April, 1972) writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane reinvented him as Marvel Space Jesus, complete with crucifixion and resurrection! His task was to save an artificial parallel Earth (Counter-Earth) from a rebellious creation of its maker, The High Evolutionary.
Nevertheless, he never really took off until a new writer got his hands on him - Jim Starlin. It was under him that Adam became the philosopher-hero that he is best known to be today, as well as the Arch-Enemy of Thanos. Starlin also introduced the rest of his supporting cast including Pip the Troll (his best friend, a drunken space satyr) and Gamora, his love interest, Thanos' former personal assassin.
Adam's major storylines involve his Evil Future Self, The Magus, whom he eliminated from existence by killing himself in the future (both got better later) and the Infinity Gems, a collection of gemstones (said to be Pieces of God) that grant omnipotence if used all at the same time (Adam was given one, the Soul Gem, by the Evolutionary. He and his allies later took to guarding the rest, as a team known as The Infinity Watch.)
Warlock has suffered at the hands of lesser writers over the years, but still exists in the Marvel Universe and occasionally pops up to save the day again.
A cocoon similar in design to his one in the comics featured in the background of the Collector's collection in Thor: The Dark World, and again in Guardians of the Galaxy. By the end of Guardians, it's been cracked open and is empty — though Word of God is that in spite of the similar design, it wasn't his cocoon. Adam Warlock was originally considered for an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but his role was cut as the script was revised — while his sister, Ayesha, serves as the film's secondary antagonist. A cocoon different from the one in the first movie is later seen in one of the stingers, which Ayesha refers to as 'Adam'.
Tropes involving Adam Warlock:
- A God Am I: Adam tends to have delusions of this from time to time, especially when he holds the Infinity Gauntlet.
- Amazing Technicolour Population: His skin is golden. It turns a pale purple when he becomes the Magus.
- Anti Anti Christ: He was created to help a team of scientists take over the world, but decided he didn't like the sound of that.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Adam, a genetically-engineered "quantum wizard" on a team with a talking tree-alien and a racoon, doesn't believe in werewolves. Which, it should be noted, do exist in the Marvel universe.
- Arch-Enemy: To Thanos, although with a dose of Friendly Enemy. Earlier in his career, he was one to the Universal Church of Truth, so you can imagine how awkward it was when it turned out their deity was a future version of Adam himself.
- Artificial Human: He was an experiment to create the perfect man, no natural birth for him.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: "Our" original Warlock, from Earth-616, was summarily replaced by the Warlock of a parallel and nearly identical universe, at the end of ''The Infinity Revelation'. What happened to the original Warlock is left ambiguous, but eventually this latest version of Warlock became the new Living Tribunal. Before doing so he brings the original Warlock back.
- Back from the Dead: Thanos revived him after the Magus was killed in The Thanos Imperative.
- Badass Longcoat: He often wears an impressive longcoat.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Realized the hard way that this has to exist during Infinity War and Infinity Crusade, where his good and evil sides both went nuts without the other to rein the other in. Taking this lesson to heart, he chose Thanos to be his counter-balance; neither will allow the other to die, and Warlock makes a point of giving Thanos an Infinity Stone for as long as he has one.
- Came Back Strong: He often gets killed, but then he reincarnates within a cocoon and comes back with new powers.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: After Annihilation, he chanced upon Thanos' corpse in deep space and decided to put him into one of his cocoons that would resurrect him as a potential secret weapon if the need ever arose.
- Creepy Child: In the Annihilators: Earthfall mini, this is the form Magus is revived as. He possesses the bodies of other children to prevent the Avengers from attacking him.
- Creepy Good: Even without the Soul Gem making him a golden space vampire in-practice, Adam is still a rather eerie figure, not helped by the fact that he has a fondness for adorning his costumes with skull jewellery and blood-red fabrics.
- Cosmic Keystone: The Infinity Gems.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Killing someone using the Soul Gem sends them into a paradisaical universe inside the Soul Gem. When Warlock himself is killed by the Soul Gem (he is killed by his past self) he finds that all his old enemies have now become his friends, since paradise made them Get Better.
- Deity of Human Origin: By the end of The Infinity Finale saga, Warlock has become the new Living Tribunal, the previous one having been killed by the Beyonders in the prelude to Secret Wars (2015). The catch is, this is the Warlock of an alternate universe who absorbed all of his universe's energies, cosmic abstracts included, then completely replaced "our" Earth-616 Warlock at the end of The Infinity Revelation. He brings the original back before he takes on his new role.
- Distaff Counterpart: 'Her' (later renamed Kismet), a second creation of the Enclave. She sought out Warlock to mate with him, but he was "dead" at the time.
- Still a female 'Warlock' previously known as Janie Chin was introduced in a 2003 mini.
- Also see Enemy Without trope below.
- The Dreaded: Warlock tends to inspire wariness among most people at the best of times, thanks to his raw power and well-earned reputation for manipulating people (The Infinity Gauntlet, for instance, was essentially a giant Xanatos Gambit to deprive Thanos of the titular artefact and claim it for himself, with a back-up Batman Gambit to deal with Thanos). The Magus, however, is a cosmic level nightmare, frightening both Thanos and Kang the Conqueror - and with very good reason.
- Enemy Without: In addition to The Magus, Adam also once accidentally spawned a female, 'good' version of himself, The Goddess, who was still a menace as she wanted to purify the universe... by destroying it.
- Evil vs. Evil: The forces of Order and Chaos tortured Adam into becoming the Magus so he could act as a Champion of Life brutal and powerful enough to overcome Thanos, the Champion of Death, as they believed his more heroic and noble self to be too soft-handed and weak for the task.
- FaceHeel Turn: Adam Warlock becomes the Magus in an alternate future and due to his actions containing the Fault in Guardians of the Galaxy, he becomes the Magus again.
- Friendly Enemy: His relationship with Thanos is...complicated.
- Fully Absorbed Finale: After Warlock's series was canceled, Starlin was invited to write and draw the Annuals for The Avengers and Marvel Two-in-One, where he wrapped up the storylines from Warlock and seemingly killed off most of his own characters.
- Future Me Scares Me: Adam Warlock was captured by his mad future self The Magus; after escaping, he soul-sucked a nearer-future self to make sure The Magus was definitely dead.
- He hates the thought of becoming the Magus again so much that he asked Peter to kill him when it was about to happen. Until it turned out he already was the Magus, and was just screwing with Peter's head.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: The original origin of the Magus.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Usually, though he can be terse and blunt.
- HeelFace Turn: Gamora, raised by Thanos to kill Adam (to keep him from becoming his rival, The Magus, in the future) but fell in love with him instead.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: It took Gamora a long time to realize her feelings for Adam, even after befriending him.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Against Thanos In Marvel Two In One Annual #2. He got better.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: His mysterious power and behavior, blunt mannerisms, and borderline friendship with Thanos makes it very difficult for other heroes to trust Adam. Having 2 villainous entities spawn from extensions of himself also did not help. After Infinity Crusade most of the heroes were actively hostile to him after he stopped the Goddess' plans.
- Immune to Fate: Other than his issue with the Magus, the entities Lord Order and Master Chaos declare that Adam Warlock is outside destiny. A side effect of this is he's impossible to scry.
- Interspecies Romance: With Gamora.
- Mad Scientist: The Enclave, the trio who created Adam to be a living weapon with which to Take Over the World. He had other ideas.
- The High Evolutionary is a superpowered one, with a God Complex to boot.
- Meaningful Name: The Evolutionary renamed him 'Adam' (for being the first of his kind) and 'Warlock' because "Men would fear his powers". note
- Gamora is the last of the Zen-Whoberis (or "Zen Hubris"). Good luck working out what that actually means though.
- Messianic Archetype: Earned the fan nickname "Space Jesus". He didn't start out this way, but his third appearance had him stumble upon the High Evolutionary creating a new world, then saving it from being corrupted by one of the Evolutionary's fallen creations.
- Pivotal Wake-up: When he awakens from the trace put upon him by the Soul Gem.
- Religion of Evil: The Church of Universal Truth, run and founded by the Magus.
- Slasher Smile: This is The Magus's default expression, to the point of being near-permanent one. Adam starts wearing it when he begins to turn.
- The Smart Guy: The one who fixes the NegativeSpaceWedgies the team encounter, and the most together male on the team. Yes, they're that dysfunctional.
- Soul Power: Held the Soul Infinity Stone for a good while, prolonged exposure left him with innate senses regarding it and the rest of the gems. Outside of that his soul itself is so powerful Death herself cannot claim it.
- Stable Time Loop: Broken by having Adam commit suicide so there would not be a Magus.
- Not that it seems to help as the Magus seems to always come back but that in itself maybe the Loop.
- The Stoic: Adam is not one of nature's warm and cuddly folk, which got even more pronounced when he split off his good and bad sides. That he momentarily acts astoundingly callous during War of Kings is a sign he's beginning to turn to the Magus.
- Superheroes in Space: He prefers to fight evil outside Earth.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Magus is Warlock's Mr. Hyde.
- Superpower Lottery: He's immortal, has cosmic and magical powers, a number of abilities that affect reality including being a reality anchor and hiding out from near-omniscient beings. Finally if he's still in trouble, he can cocoon and evolve further.
- Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: His magical abilities are vaguely described as based on quantum physics.
- Tyke-Bomb: Gamora was raised from childhood by Thanos to kill the Magus. She eventually falls in love with Adam.
- Ultimate Life Form: Adam's intended purpose, along with 'Her', was to be this.
- Unexplained Recovery: Adam, Thanos, Gamora, and Pip - Death Is Cheap when you own the Soul Gem.
- Unwanted False Faith: The Church of Universal Truth consider him their god. He really hates this.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Warlock spent about half of Starlin's run on his title back in the 70s as this. Warlock killed his future self using his Soul Gem, so he knew it was only a matter of time before he met up with himself, which he did in the title's final issue.
- Zany Scheme: The Enclave kidnapped Alicia, The Thing's blind girlfriend, just so she could tell them what Him looked like, since they couldn't see it because of the dazzling light he emitted. All they achieved was getting the Fantastic Four mad at them.