By Ben Morse
After a harrowing journey, Nova has finally reached the Technarchy homeworld of Kvch, the one place that may hold the key to defeating the Phalanx, but in order to do so, he'll need the help of a new friend—or for many readers, an old "self-friend."
That's right, cosmic and mutant fans alike take notice: a cult favorite return on March 12 in the pages of NOVA #11 when former New Mutants member Warlock joins the Annihilation Conquest fray! It's been a bizarre road back to the spotlight for the character, but NOVA co-writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning couldn't be happier to have helped the process along.
"We were both readers of the fabulous NEW MUTANTS stories by [writer Chris] Claremont and [artist Bill] Sienkiewicz when the character was introduced," shares Lanning. "To us, Warlock was very quirky, very different, and very sympathetic."
Warlock made his debut in 1984's NEW MUTANTS v1 #18 by the aforementioned classic Claremont/Sienkiewicz creative team. An alien member of the techno-organic Technarchy, Warlock sought refuge from his people's ancestral rite of passage that would have seen him forced to combat his father, the malevolent Magus, in a duel to the death, and found asylum with Professor Charles Xavier and the New Mutants.
"Warlock is Technarchy, but a mutant technarch," explains Abnett. "He clashed with his 'father,' or siredam, and fled to Earth where he joined the New Mutants. Warlock essentially hates the Technarchy's aggressive life cycle and refuses to play a part of it."
Visually different than anything fans had ever seen thanks to Sienkiewicz and gifted with a peculiar but endearing speech pattern from Claremont, Warlock became an unlikely hit with fans. As the 80's became the 90's and audience tastes began to shift, Warlock met a series of unfortunate fates, first apparently dying and though later revealed to live on being banished to outer space obscurity, but his
return will prove both unexpected and crucial to the Conquest saga.
"[Warlock's] role in NOVA #11-12 and ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST #6 is going to be important," promises Lanning. "The Phalanx are a sort of evolutionary by-product the Technarcy leave behind them, an infection. The Phalanx infect worlds and then offer them up to their Technarcy parents, kind of trying to impress them. The Technarchy, however, despise the Phalanx and usually destroy them outright. So how could a Technarcy ally tip the scales of battle [for Nova]?"
However, while Warlock may look the same as he did 24 years ago in new NOVA artist Paul Pelletier's homage to the work of Sienkiewicz and other essential Warlock
preview art by
visual contributors like Art Adams, he has also changed a great deal.
"He's still his classic self, but he's grown up a little," reveals Abnett. "There's a touch of maturity about him as a result of a new agenda and new aims which we'll reveal that may impact the Phalanx invasion."
No matter what effect Warlock's return has on his Phalanx distant relatives, Abnett does promise that the finale of Conquest will deliver on at least one major confrontation some fans have been dying to see:
"If nothing else, we thought it was time the two Warlocks of the Marvel Universe—Adam and 'self-friend'—finally appeared in the same story!"
NOVA #11 blasts into stores on March 12. You can check out the classic battle between Warlock and the Impossible Man with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.