How Powerful Is Adam Warlock And Is He A Hero Or Villain?

Freshly out of the cocoon, eh?

by Abhirup Sengupta
Image: Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios

After a tease around six years ago in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, James Gunn is set to bring Adam Warlock in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Thus, ahead of the May release date, additional details about the character portrayed by Will Poulter are reaching the interwebs. 

As one of the most highly anticipated characters to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Adam Warlock is expected to be a key figure in the upcoming phases. Therefore, it is highly plausible that the engineered cosmic being will appear in crossover films like Avengers The Kang Dynasty and Avengers Secret Wars in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

Adam Warlock – Origin, Powers, And Moral Affiliation

Prior to the character’s “rebirth” as Adam Warlock, he was known as ‘Him.’ The character debuted in Marvel Comics with 1967’s Fantastic Four #66. It was not until five years later, in Marvel Premiere #1 (1972), that he appeared in the comics as Warlock.

Origin

Following a similar origin to that in the MCU, Adam Warlock was engineered in an attempt to create a perfect humanoid being. While in the cinematic universe, Warlock was created by the space-bearing race of highly intellectual and advanced beings called the Sovereign, in the comics, Warlock’s origin was tied to the Enclave. 

Though the MCU seemingly went with a non-human origin for the group of scientists that created Adam Warlock, in the comics, they were humans. Interestingly, it has already been showcased that James Gunn chose a different origin for Warlock. In the MCU, the character of Ayesha (also known as Kismet or ‘Her’ in the comics) already existed as the High Priestess of the Sovereign, who would then proceed to create Warlock, as showcased in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. However, in the comics, Ayesha’s birth was essentially an attempt to recreate Warlock.

Powers

While it is not clear how much of Adam Warlock’s powers and abilities will trickle down from the comics into the MCU, there is no doubt that the character will be one of the most mighty cosmic beings in the Earth-616 universe. 

Due to his advanced biological and physiological origin, Adam Warlock has a series of common powers like extreme levels of super strength, durability, energy manipulation, flight, and more. However, the character can gain more powers after his rebirths, prior to which he cocoons himself to metamorph with additional abilities. 

As hinted by his name, Adam Warlock, the character also has magical abilities. In the comics, when he had bonded with the Soul Stone (soul gem), Warlock had some sway over the souls of beings, which enabled him to resurrect and made him immune to the effect of the soul stone’s abilities if used by someone else. The character could also manipulate wormholes and blackholes. He was also immune to the powers of reality warping. However, the MCU may not showcase his soul stone-related powers as the infinity gem appeared to have been destroyed in Avengers Endgame. 

Though, there is a silver lining that the MCU may decide to explain Warlock’s permanent connection to the Soul Stone, like in the comics, where it was in his possession. It is plausible that MCU establishes a similar relationship between the soul stone’s powers and abilities with Warlock as they did with Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) and the mind stone.

How Strong Is Adam Warlock?

In Marvel Comics, Adam Warlock’s power levels vastly varied due to the soul stone in his possession. As showcased in one of their most famed comic bouts, Warlock turned Thanos into granite in 1977’s Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2

Additionally, Warlock can go toe-to-toe with a highly rageful Thor, as showcased in multiple instances in the comics. However, the Asgardian had always edged out Warlock, prompting the latter to admit that Thor was stronger than him. In 1993 to 1994’s Blood and Thunder storyline, Thor defeated both Warlock and Silver Surfer.

Though Adam Warlock appears to be slightly less powerful than Thor, the engineered being has overpowered many powerful beings like Silver Surfer and Mephisto. In  2016’s Thanos The Infinity Finale, Warlock removed Mephisto’s mouth, à la Wanda’s rebuttal against Black Bolt in 2022’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness. Similarly, in The Infinity Gauntlet saga, Warlock beat Silver Surfer, albeit it can be argued that the latter was taken by surprise. 

Thus, James Gunn and MCU may decide to set up Adam Warlock in the early stages of developing his powers. However, it remains to be seen how powerful Warlock will be without the permanent possession of the soul stone.

Is Adam Warlock Evil?

Along with an exclusive look at Will Poulter’s take on Adam Warlock from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn told Empire Magazine that the character would likely be evil initially. Gunn elaborated: “It’s kind of more complicated than that…But he’s definitely not a good guy. What we’re seeing is the infant form of Warlock, newly out of the cocoon, and he does not understand life very well. He’s basically a baby.”

Thus, Gunn will take a similar route to Warlock’s origin, like in the comics, where he gains a more complex moral compass later. Initially, Warlock may be influenced by characters like Ayesha and High Evolutionary in the MCU. This would explain how he would be pitted against the Guardians and their associates. However, it is likely that Warlock will slowly move into the superhero category after additional experiences following his life outside the cocoon. This could very well set future MCU appearances of Adam Warlock.

- This article was updated on January 18th, 2023