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Warlock and the Infinity Watch #38: Review

Mar 1995
John Arcudi, Patrick Olliffe

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Warlock and the Infinity Watch #38 Review by (June 7, 2024)
Writer John Arcudi probably knows that on Earth Domitian was a Roman Emperor.

I don't think we ever learn what the conflict Warlock foresees is. It was a plotline initiated by Jim Starlin but now that he's gone it gets forgotten about after this series ends.

This story concludes next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Warlock and the Infinity Watch #38 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Someone named Zakaius has been wandering the universe stealing the life-force of various beings including Firelord. Firelord's soul is now in Soul World within Adam Warlock's Soul Gem, from which he's contacted Adam to warn him that Zakaius is now on Earth in Pittsburgh. Last issue Warlock led the Infinity Watch to confront him. The ensuing battle included an exploding petrol tanker which caused much damage and possibly loss of life.

But now we see the Watch finishing rescuing everybody, including Drax the Destroyer going back in to the blaze to save a dog belonging to a little boy. Adam accuses Zakaius of causing all this and not helping in the rescue. The 'villain' pleads guilty and claims he's been paralysed by grief. He also claims to be the executioner appointed by the Imperial Court of Domitian to kill those declared cosmic menaces and extract their life-force runes for him. He was sent to Earth to reap the Watch (which doesn't explain why he killed a 'minor' murderer in #35), but he's beginning to question Domitian's rulings having seen how valiant Warlock and his team have just been. Adam says that Firelord was also unjustly executed and asks Zakaius to return his life-force, but the foe says he's already delivered that rune to his lord and master.

Simple-minded Drax doesn't want to give the puppy back to the boy because *he* wants something to look after. Moondragon persuades him by promising him a puppy of his own when they get home (by which time he'll have forgotten all about it). But she also wonders if this desire for responsibility is another sign that his mind is evolving. Pip the Troll offers to teleport them to Zakaius' boss but their opponent performs a mystical rite to take them there.

Last issue we saw that Firelord's body is on the planet Luarei where the people have now placed it on a throne in their church. Their priest reads from the Book Of Truth. In ancient days their ancestors looked much like (currently fireless) Firelord until a 'white rain' tainted the land and mutated their offspring. He declares the body too pure to be buried in the befouled soil.

The Watch arrive at the Holy Palace of Lord Domitian and see that it is very large and very shiny. The door is guarded by a large cyborg Kaef, and Zakaius asks him for an audience with the master. He wishes to report that there's been a mistake, and the Infinity Watch are good guys who aren't a danger to Domitian's Empire. And also that Firelord was possibly innocent too. But Kaef considers any suggestion that Domitian isn't infallible to be heresy, and he arrests Zakaius but says the Watch are free to go - for now. When Warlock demands he release Zak, Kaef reclassifies *him* as an an enemy deserving death. But Drax and Maxam combine mighty blows to send the guard flying towards the horizon.

Zakaius asks Adam why he's helping the man who tried to kill him (last issue). Warlock says he's doing it for Firelord, but his thoughts show that his motive isn't that pure. He wants to put Pyreus Kril in his debt as he has done to Thor (in his #471 at the end of the Blood & Thunder crossover event) and Silver Surfer (in the SS/Warlock: Resurrection mini-series) in readiness for a conflict he foresees. Now Lord Domitian appears on a balcony and turns out to be an old man prone to muttering to himself. He dismisses his servant's pleas and goes back inside. And then the courtyard they are standing on splits and opens up to disgorge an army of cyborgs created from the bodies of previous felons.

Back on Laurei the people have put Firelord's body on a bier and are preparing to cremate him. But the young lad who found his body last issue has the staff he found with him, and 1 of the Luareians says it should be cremated with him. The boy Harkort doesn't want to give it up but they force him to, and then they light the pyre.

Drax and Maxam launch into battle alongside Gamora against the cyborgs. Moondragon can't affect their minds because they don't have any so she's left with telekinesis. Pip's teleportation isn't much use and Warlock can't think of any strategy better than brute force. Kaef has returned but throws himself on his Lord's mercy for failing in his duty. Domitian accepts his faith and loyalty (even though he knows it's programmed in). Kaef reports that the odds on the Watch being defeated are >90%, so Domitian figures it's safe for him to join in. Kaef follows him into a room containing innumerable glowing life-force runes waiting to be 'redeemed'. Outside Adam asks Zakaius to transport them into the palace to confront the boss. Zak says it's *impossible* for him to do that without the Lord's permission. Pip says if Zak describes the route *he* can teleport them there. But Domitian saves them the bother by coming to them in a large young body powered by the runes.

Patrick Olliffe
Keith Williams
Ian Laughlin
Patrick Olliffe (Cover Penciler)
Patrick Olliffe (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Jack Morelli.
Editor: Craig Anderson. Editor-in-chief: Mark Gruenwald.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Drax the Destroyer)

Plus: Infinity Watch, Maxam.

> Warlock and the Infinity Watch: Book info and issue index

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