Warlock by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection

warlock by jim starlin the complete collection cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Sometimes weird but always interesting

So odd and fast that you sometimes have a difficult time following them

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Strange Tales (Volume 1)/Warlock (Volume 1)/Avengers (Volume 1)/Marvel Two-In-One (Volume 1)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Jim Starlin

Artist: Jim Starlin

# of Issues: 13

Release Date: 2014

strange tales #178 cover warlock

Strange Tales (1) #178

Reprints Strange Tales (1) #178-181, Warlock (1) #9-15, Avengers (1) Annual #7, and Marvel Two-In-One (1) Annual #2 (February 1975-May 1977).  Warlock is tripping space and exploring the depths of his Soul Gem.  When he learns that a force called the Magus is taking over portions of space, he finds himself teamed with a mouthy troll named Pip, Warlock’s enemy Thanos, and the deadly Gamora on a quest to stop the Magus once and for all.  Warlock is going to discover that killing the Magus will mean facing his own mortality…and those he considers allies in his fight could be the death of him.

Written and illustrated by Jim Starlin, Warlock by Jim Starlin:  The Complete Collection is a Marvel Comics space-fantasy comic book collection.  The issues in the volume have been collected multiple times including Essential Warlock, Avengers vs. Thanos, Guardians of the Galaxy Solo Classic Omnibus, Marvel Masterworks:  Warlock—Volume 2, Gamora:  Guardian of the Galaxy, The Thanos Wars:  Infinity Origin, Drax:  Guardian of the Galaxy, Thanos vs. Hulk, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude—Volume 1 among others.

I think my first encounter with Warlock was in Incredible Hulk (1) #158 (December 1972) where he had a small cameo, but then he took Marvel by storm in the 1990s with The Infinity Gauntlet.  I wish that this collection had existed before The Infinity Gauntlet was released because in the “pre-internet” days, there a lot of “who are these people”.

While Warlock had been around for years (previously called Him), he never seemed to take off as the creators seemed to plan.  He bounced around Fantastic Four and Thor before landing in his own book, but that book ended.  Starlin relaunched Warlock in the issues of this volume and created some of the heady issues of the time.  The issues in the collection demonstrate some of Marvel’s weirdest.

strange tales #180 cover warlock 1st gamora

Strange Tales (1) #180

The story also served to introduce some major players.  Thanos had some major battles with the Avengers and Captain Marvel, but really takes root here with his attempts to kill the world with the Infinity Stones.  The story also introduces Gamora (who he raised) but demonstrated that Gamora had a slightly independent streak.  Pip the Troll also comes to play in the volume and kind of serves as the jokes in a book that sometimes got too heavy but would sometimes turn oddly light (like in the clown issue).

The biggest thing that Starlin’s run on Warlock did was set-up Starlin’s 1990s fares with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet by having the “deaths” of Warlock, Thanos, Gamora, and Pip.  All the characters were resurrected for the big event.  This collection also sets up the follow-up series Infinity War which featured the Magus (Warlock’s alternate timeline version) who became the villain of that series.

Starlin’s run on Warlock is fantastic and monumental.  This is one of those “must have” collection if you are a Marvel fan and if you aren’t willing to either buy it or hunt down the issues, read them online because they are a treat.  They demonstrate how much range Marvel had in the 1970s and how writers as artists sometimes can work to create great reads.  The book does not read like a current book and sometimes stories that would be stretched out five or six issues now are compacted into two, so it is not always the easiest read.  Warlock might be dead at the end, but he returned in Infinity Gauntlet in 1991.

Related Links:

The Infinity Gauntlet

The Infinity War

The Infinity Watch—Volume 1

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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