It is in the pages of The Incredible Hulk where The Power of Warlock finds its ultimate resolution. It's been nearly year since the cancellation of the series and all that time fans wondered what became of Adam Warlock. In a story by Gerry Conway, Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel (who handle all three issues of the finale) The Hulk, who as it turns out had been to Counter-Earth before, finds his way there again aboard a spaceship designed by The Inhumans.
He lands and finds a United States ruled utterly by President Rex Carpenter, who is actuality is the Man-Beast. After a furious battle the Hulk is captured. Adam Warlock has been captured but is revived and released by The Recorder, who was sent to Counter-Earth by the High Evolutionary.
The Hulk in his form as Bruce Banner is taken to the Man-Beast who gloats over his total victory over Counter-Earth, but when he transforms the Hulk disagrees and escapes to found by some of Adam Warlock's followers, creatures the Hulk himself had met before. Hulk is taken to Adam Warlock who is assembling his followers for a final supper before they confront the enemy.
But the Man-Beast has maintained control of the Hulk and unleashes his might and he and Warlock battle with the result that Adam is captured and scheduled for public execution. That execution is held and Warlock seemingly dies as he returns to his cocoon form before the eyes of the whole world.
After the seeming demise of Adam Warlock the Hulk returns to his senses and attacks the minions of the Man-Beast and takes the cocoon away into the remote countryside. There the Hulk is joined by Adam's followers who stand watch over the body for several days.
Meanwhile the Man-Beast casts off the body of Rex Carpenter, and prefers to rule openly in his true form hoping to bring the whole of Counter-Earth under his sway. The Hulk attacks and is fended off while the cocoon of Warlock opens and he is reborn with sufficient power to finally defeat the Man-Beast for once and for all. With the Man-Beast devolved to his animal form, Adam declares that his work on Counter-Earth is done and that now free of the enemy the people can follow their own destiny while he ascends to the heavens to help others. He leaves the Hulk and the Recorder behind as he rockets into space.
Many years later in 1979 this trilogy was collected in the over-sized Marvel Treasury format under a handsome cover by Bob Budiansky and Bob Wiacek, which it turns out the image was a swipe of a John Byrne image.
Byrne had drawn the scene for a Marvel calendar and that dramatic image made its way onto the cover of the Treasury comic.
The story of Adam Warlock, an innocent who becomes a savior for a world on which he was never born is a timely tale of course for the season. The parallels in the story to life and times of Jesus Christ are obvious but still potent. For a comic book to take on such material so directly was challenging. The notion had been broached in more purely symbolic terms with the Silver Surfer. But with Adam Warlock, Roy Thomas and later Mike Friedrich and Gerry Conway take the story of the Gospells and give them a modern superhero vibe.
And that wraps up the saga of the "Power of Warlock". The character would be famously revived by Jim Starlin in the pages of Strange Tales and it is this Warlock that most folks fondly remember from those halcyon days. But for me as dandy as those tales were, I will always first and foremost think of Warlock as voiced by Roy Thomas and imaged by Gil "Sugar Lips" Kane, a superhero Jesus-freaky by-product of the hippy generation.
It's been fun. Merry Christmas everybody!