It’s official: Adam Warlock has been cast for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. That puts an immediate premium on his first appearances, but there are other related issues you should watch as well. Here’s more.
After nearly a decade of waiting and speculating, James Gunn made it official: Adam Warlock is bound for the MCU. Yesterday, Deadline broke the story, and Gunn later confirmed on his Twitter account that actor Will Poulter will portray the golden god-man for the third installment of the GOTG franchise. For fans, it’s been a long time coming.
The character was first teased with his cocoon inside the Collector’s chambers inside Knowhere as part of 2014’s original GOTG. Gunn doubled down in the sequel as Sovereign leader Ayesha revealed the creation of “Adam” with a golden cocoon that was obviously taken from the pages of Fantastic Four #67.
Just as fans were certain Warlock was inbound, the trail ran cold. Gunn was fired by Disney (and rehired soon after signing on for DC’s The Suicide Squad), and there was no word on when Adam Warlock would make it into the MCU. Some wondered if he would arrive at all. Granted there was plenty of fan casting and speculation (my favorite was Keanu Reeves in the role, but, let’s face it, he is fan cast for EVERY Marvel role at this point), but the official word was completely silent.
Now, seven years after the initial tease, Warlock is officially coming to GOTG Vol. 3. That should put you on the hunt for these key issues.
FANTASTIC FOUR #67
Technically, this is the first appearance of Adam Warlock. Keep in mind, he was known as HIM at that time, created by the Enclave to be the perfect male specimen. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did an amazing job building the mystery of the cocoon that was paid off with FF #67 as HIM emerged in all his glory. He didn’t hang around long, and flew into space within a handful of panels. Because of that brevity and HIM not being on the cover art, this issue falls in line behind Thor #165, but it is still a red hot comic to own after yesterday’s big news.
Earlier today, a graded 5.5 sold for $350, and a 5.0 sold for $250. Yesterday, a 7.0 brought $769.
FF #67 may get the title of “first appearance,” but Thor #165 has become the premiere Warlock key to own. The values are much higher for this issue than any other of his early appearances, and that puts this issue at the top of the food chain for today’s intents and purposes. After FF #67’s brief appearance, readers were given their first full glimpse of HIM in this issue of Thor.
There are a couple of bonuses when it comes to this particular issue. First of all, Thor #165 marks Warlock’s debut on the cover art, and those particular keys are always in high demand. The other part is the confrontation between HIM and Thor. There is little doubt in my mind that these two cosmic behemoths will square off on the silver screen. When that happens, it will make not just Thor #165 even more collectible, but it will add value to #166 which has another famous cover with the two duking it out.
Only a day ago, a 7.0 smashed through its records when one brought $1,130. Before this year, it had never exceeded $500. Meanwhile, a 6.0 sold for a record high $700 only for that mark to be crushed today when another copy earned $850.
MARVEL PREMIERE #1
Completing the holy trinity of Warlock keys is Marvel Premiere #1. Although not as famous as Thor #165 or FF #67, MP #1 is an important key because it launched what became the modern interpretation of the character. Instead of being the generic pronoun HIM or just Warlock, writer/editor Roy Thomas gave him the first name Adam an issue later, which brought the godlike being to a more personal, human level. He also got a full makeover for his costume with the addition of the Soul Stone in his forehead.
Since the news broke, prices have been spiking. Yesterday, an 8.5 sold for $900. The same day, a 7.5 set a new record after a $700 sale, and a 6.5 hit a high as well, selling for $500.
STRANGE TALES #178
When you are collecting those Warlock keys, I highly recommend going with ST #178. With seven years worth of teasing, it is clear that James Gunn has big plans for the golden god-man. My inclination is that Warlock will be much more than a side character in the GOTG franchise, and I would not be surprised to see him get his own film or Disney+ franchise. In that event, we could see the Universal Church of Truth in GOTG Vol. 3 and possibly even Magus at some point in the future.
When Adam Warlock began his first solo adventures in the Bronze Age, among his early adversaries was the Church of Truth, and they have James Gunn written all over them. Not only could we get a modern socio-political commentary through the Church, but their founder is Magus. He happens to be a futuristic variant of Warlock who used the church to conquer worlds in his timeline. Since Kang and He Who Remains has been firmly established in the MCU, adding Magus and the Universal Church of Truth would seem like a natural fit at this point.
ST #178 has already broken records this month. A 9.6 brought $1,550 on October 4. If you are looking for something a little cheaper, the 9.0 sold for just over $200 earlier this month.
Along with Adam Warlock in GOTG Vol. 3, there is a very likely scenario that the High Evolutionary will come along for the ride. HE has been rumored for the MCU for nearly as long as Warlock. In fact, the High Evolutionary gossip started around the time that Adam was named in GOTG Vol. 2.
These two go together like peanut butter and gene splicing. In fact, it was the High Evolutionary who first christened HIM as Warlock. That being said, it is almost a given that the two will cross paths at some point. If it’s not in GOTG Vol. 3, then it will be in a possible Warlock solo film or Disney+ series.
The only graded copy sold this month has been the 7.0, and it brought $624 on October 3. While there haven’t been any other graded sales, the raw copies are seeing a boost thanks to the Warlock casting and a potential High Evolutionary announcement in the near future. One copy brought as much as $375.
WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH #1
This is a longshot, Adam Warlock could introduce a new team to the MCU. While he was most famously a member of the revised GOTG lineup during the Annihilation story in 2008, Warlock also founded the Infinity Watch 16 years prior. The team included Warlock, Drax, Gamora, Pip the Troll, Moondragon, and the unlikely addition of Thanos. Since both Pip and Moondragon are rumored for the MCU, could we see a version of the Infinity Watch arrive in the MCU? That is a possibility, and it would be worth having this issue just in case. For $10, it’s hardly a gamble.
A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES
Adding Warlock to the MCU fold opens the door for many cosmic possibilities. Not only could we see him battle Thor and form the Infinity Watch, but he could set the stage for a big screen adaptation for the Annihilation crossover. There are so many possibilities for the character, and I imagine that he will star in his own franchise at some point. For that matter, he may be one of the premiere MCU characters going forward.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.