February 27, 2024

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #280: Maxam

An amnesiac joins Adam Warlock's Infinity Watch, possibly to destroy it from within.

The 90s saw writer/artist Jim Starlin revive many of his 70s cosmic characters, most notably Adam Warlock, where they would get involved in all kinds of infinity stone stuff, often while making other Marvel heroes look like chumps.  Many of those characters have since gone on to join different incarnations, print and film, of the Guardians of the Galaxy, most notably Drax the Destroyer, Gamorra, and in print, Moondragon.  Others like Adam Warlock and Pip the Troll tend to appear here and there, with Warlock anticipated for the third Guardians movie.

But there was one other member of the team for a while, and I don’t mean secret member Thanos (yes, he was).  I mean a guy called Maxam.

Starlin’s return to Marvel brought with it the Infinity Gems, the Gauntlet that held them, and eventually, Adam Warlock taking the Gems and distributing them to some colleagues (“allies” never seems like the right word for Starlin’s version of Warlock).  Warlock kept the Soul Gem for himself.  He’d been associated with it for years and knew how to use it.  The rest of the group, not so much.  True, sometime Avenger Moondragon found her psychic powers greatly amplified by the Mind Gem, but she was more the exception than the rule.  Drax the Destroyer got the Power Gem, initially thinking it a jelly bean and swallowing it.  He was able to use it to make himself stronger and more powerful on a subconscious level, but this was a brain-damaged version of Drax and was “dumb Hulk” level smart.  Pip got the Space Gem, and he was able to use that to more or less teleport anywhere he wanted to be instantaneously.  Gamorra was given the Time Gem.  She kept it in her belt and didn’t even know what to do with it.  The group was called the Infinity Watch, and they were, I suppose, a superhero team, but not the traditional kind.  Heck, after Stalin left the book and his successor wrote a scene where the Watch saved a bunch of people from a burning building, my only thought was that was pretty damn weird for me to see them do that.

Oh, as for the Reality Gem, Warlock gave it to Thanos, knowing the Mad Titan was powerful enough to keep it secure and smart enough not to use it by itself.  And unlike the movies, these Gems were not instantly fatal to anyone who managed to grab one.

But remember when I said Gamorra didn’t know what to do with the Time Gem?  That was more or less true.  Every so often, she got a flash of another time and place, but that was about it.  And with that long introduction, we can get to Maxam because the first time anyone laid eyes on him in January of 1993’s Warlock and the Infinity Watch was when Gamorra saw a vision of him standing over a prone and possibly dead Adam Warlock.

Not long after that, the man appeared, and after the initial scuffle with the Watch, he was invited to join them.

Maxam more or less just appeared from out of nowhere.  He had no real memory of who he was, but he did have a superpower in that he could increase his size and mass, increasing his strength and resistance to injury in the process.  Otherwise, he was just a friendly enough normal-sized guy.  He was also very resistant to psychic attack.  He sided with the unbrainwashed heroes during the Infinity Crusade where his size-changing powers knocked out the strongest member of the Fantastic Four.

Like so.

I think he then tossed Hercules literally over the horizon, but don’t hold me to that.

Anyway, what was his whole deal?  He did eventually get the Time Gem when Gamorra temporarily left the team, and then, he remembered.  And yes, he had it in for Adam Warlock.  See, he was from the future, and in that future, Warlock’s evil side, The Magus, had taken over large swathes of the universe as is his wont, and Maxam was altered to give him his superpowers, and then sent back in time to kill Warlock before he became the Magus (again).

So, kind of a Terminator plot line.

Anyway, that resistance to psychic powers apparently had some limits because Moondragon got rid of him by making him think he was successful in killing Warlock, after which he went home.

Will Maxam come back?  Will he still have a name a lot like a men’s magazine of questionable value or some sort of palindrome?  Only time will tell…but my guess is probably not.