The Magus was originally a future version of Adam Warlock created by the In-Betweener who came to believe that he was a god, leading his fanatical followers on a crusade to conquer the galaxy and eliminate all who were considered "impure". All non-humanoids and certain 'undesirables' such as trolls were to be exterminated and all others are to worship him or die. He formed the Universal Church of Truth to attain his whims by converting billions across the galaxy to his twisted beliefs.
His Black Knights protected the Church and his Grand Inquisitors hunted those who would oppose the Church and terminate them. Adam Warlock learned that the Magus was actually his darker self and it was his own responsibility to stop this madness. He was trapped by the Church and they attempted to convert him to their faith but his will proved too strong.
Warlock gained the assistance of Gamora and Pip the Troll. He was also aided by an unlikely ally, Thanos. Warlock was able to travel his own timeline and find himself before he was to become the Magus. He absorbed himself into the Soul Gem and erased the Magus from existence, and all knowledge of him and the damage done by his Church were eliminated from the universe.
Magus was created by Jim Starlin and first appeared in Strange Tales #178 (1975).
Major Story Arcs
The second Magus is the manifestation of all the evil inside Adam Warlock. He was created when Adam Warlock cleansed himself of all good and evil while he obtained the Infinity Gauntlet. Warlock was unaware that this cleansing ever occured. The "good" cast off from his soul forms The Goddess.
Magus gathers five Cosmic Cubes and uses them to create evil doppelgängers of many of Earth's superheroes (such as the Doppelganger of Spider-Man) and Thanos. He plans to replace the entire universe as he saw fit. But the cosmic cubes are not enough for the Magus, he wishes to obtain the Infinity Gems for himself. His plans are well conceived. He uses his power to put Eternity in a catatonic state. He also watches every major player in the universe closely and has every part of his plan go according to how he wishes.
Magus also manages to collect the Infinity Gauntlet in addition, though when he first wields it, the gems are still forbidden to work in unison so he is almost defeated when his base is stormed by Kang and Dr. Doom. Just as Magus is about to hand the gauntlet over to them, however, the Living Tribunal and Eternity allow the gems to work together again and Magus reasserts control. He finally has the power he so long desired. But Magus is deceived. Aware that they are being watched, Thanos and Adam Warlock replace the Reality Gem with a powerless facsimile. Magus in his lust for power fails to notice this and thinks he has full godlike power. Adam Warlock battles him for control of the gems and knowing the truth about the gems proves to make him more powerful. Adam releases Eternity and Infinity from himself. Magus is unaware that they are part of the same entity. Their combined might is more than Magus can handle without a complete gauntlet. He is eventually defeated when he is sent into the Soul Gem.
Imprisoned In Soul World
As the spiritual embodiment of a mere fraction of Adam Warlock's whole soul, Magus finds he has no substance in Soul World and none of its residents know he is even there. He realizes this when, upon first arriving in Soul World he spots two former Universal Church of Truth employees of his who had been absorbed into the Soul Gem years ago, Captain Autolycus and Judge Kray-Tor. Magus tries to talk them into being the first recruits for his new army, only to have them walk right through him and keep on going, never even having known he was there at all.
When Goddess, the good side Adam Warlock cleansed himself of, starts the Infinity Crusade, Warlock is able to find out her true intentions and travels to the Soul World in an attempt to get Magus's assistance. Warlock offers Magus the opportunity to merge with him and help him battle the Goddess, but as much as Magus despises his imprisonment, he hates Adam Warlock more and would rather the universe be destroyed than to help him. Magus attacks Adam Warlock in an attempt to return back to reality in Adam Warlock's waiting body. But he is soundly defeated by Warlock, who claims that Magus had no chance of winning. Warlock leaves Magus behind in the Soul World.
Magus sinks into despair until the end of the Infinity Crusade, when Goddess is also absorbed into the Soul Gem and winds up in the same situation as Magus. Magus antagonizes Goddess until she takes a swing at him, only to have her fist pass through him. While they can see and speak to each other, they are still just ghosts in the Soul World.
The Magus later reemerges in the pages of Captain Marvel Volume 4 as something of an energy vampire. He torments Genis Vell and some of his old friends from Captain Marvel Volume 3 in his non-corporeal form and drains the life force of hundreds of citizens of the planet he's on; nearly enough to give himself a new proper body. Magus is stopped by Genis, but not before he manages to take mental control over Genis's ally, Moondragon (though this plot thread is not pursued).
Magus appears once more to antagonize Genis, this time with the aide of Genis's own son, pulled out of time from the future and corrupted. Genis only manages to defeat his son by willing himself to kill him while he is still an infant; and while this has not yet occured in Genis' timeline, he apparently will follow through with it, as the decision wipes his son's older self out of existence.
Revenge of the Magus
When the fabric of space had become damaged, opening fissures and collapsing reality, Adam Warlock and the Guardians of the Galaxy try what they can to stop it. In addition to this, the Inhumans detonate a device known as the T-Bomb, which creates a hole in space known as The Fault, which threatens to consume the entire universe.
Receiving a warning from his teammates in the future, Adam Warlock did what was needed to be done to stop the universes' destruction. He is able to stop the fault from spreading, but this leaves him weakened. In order for this to work, Adam overlaps timestreams, making the sacrifice to save the universe. This allows his darker side to take over, and he becomes Magus. Some of the Guardians are sent back in time to stop this by Kang the Conquerer, who warns that all possible futures are becoming Magus futures. He gives them a Cosmic Cube to assist them. Starlord attempts to talk Adam into controlling his dark side, but fails. After a battle with Magus and the apparent deaths of Mantis and Cosmo, Starlord is able to revert Adam temporarily with the Cube. But Magus cannot be stopped, and Starlord ends Adam's life at his request.
But this is all a trick. Using most of his power to stop the fault from expanding, Magus knows he can not defeat the Guardians as long as they possess a Cosmic Cube. Magus subsequently fakes the deaths of the Guardians he killed and himself, sneaking away and reviving himself with the Church's belief fonts. Having the members he 'killed' captured, his men torture them until they follow only Magus, revealing that he plans to unleash the dark rulers of the Fault and help them in converting Earth-616 into another Cancerverse. He is next seen when Nova, in hot pursuit of Dark Quasar, comes crashing through one of the windows on his own Temple ship.
He immediately attacks Nova and then orders Dark Quasar to finish him off, so Nova's blood won't splatter all over him and ruin the clean, tidy look he is going to greet his Master in. However, before Magus could get any reprieve, the true Quasar arrives and engages Magus in battle. However, Magus and Dark Quasar manage to faze their foes and keep them on the ground, thus giving Magus enough time to transport a great deal of converted worlds controlled by The UCT at the mouth of the Fault, all of which are populated by billions of followers, each ready to give their lives to allow the Dark Gods of the Cancerverse entry into the Marvel Universe. Quasar and Nova, as well as the armies of the Kree/Inhuman alliance, the Shi'ar Imperium, Blastaar's Tribe and countless other species who all have represenatives on the Galactic Council, watch in horror as Magus simultaneously blows up all the planets and rips the Fault open, an act which breaks down the barriers between the two realities and makes the process of crossing over from one reality to the next as simple as walking through an open door.
With the destruction of the tunnel that once made the process of crossing over a seemingly insurmountable task possible, the Many-Angled Ones and their Master emerged from the Cancerverse and started the process of realigning reality with the etheric angles of harmony. While Magus and Dark Quasar watch their hard work finally bear fruit, their master, a dark and twisted version of Captain Mar-Vell, arrives on the Temple ship with one of his Many-Angled servants close behind. As both men bow before him, Mar-Vell asks Magus if he had managed to destroy the Avatar of Death, Thanos. Magus tells him that he is having trouble locating Thanos and is still trying to find him, Mar-Vell became very displeased and reduces him to ash as punishment for his failure.
Originally believed to be killed, the Universal Church is able to recreate the cocoon at the birth place of Adam Warlock on Earth. Disguising themselves as a U.S.-based religious company, the Universal Church awaits Magus's rebirth until the arrival of the Annihilators on Earth force Magus to be reborn early, leaving his powerful self in the body of a small child.
Iron Man soon discovers that Magus has learned how to broadcast his mind into other host bodies, which is how he not only survived being "killed" by Lord Mar-vell, but also how he intends to continue living. Soon, the Universal Church's fleet appears in the sky and broadcast Magus's mind into almost 30% of Earth's population, causing Ronan to summon several Kree Sentries to scorch Earth and wipe out Magus and the Church if the Avengers and the Annihilators don't find a solution to stopping them.
When the heroes attempt to stop Magus by going after the belief font, this gives Magus the opportunity to take control of Gladiator - the perfect vessel for the Magus to destroy his enemies. But the Annihilators know the dire situation and do not hold back on Magus, despite using their teammate's body. With the help of Iron Man and Ronan's Universal Weapon, Magus is trapped in one of the de-animated Kree Sentries combined with his regenerative cocoon and taken to Knowhere, all knowing it was only a matter of time before Magus once again escapes.
Powers & Abilities
The Magus is an evil version of Adam Warlock and thus possesses the same powers as his counterpart.
The Magus has super strength, durability, reflexes and stamina. The Magus is capable of flight and can breathe in space. He is also a skilled hand to hand combatant.
The Magus can manipulate and project vast amounts of cosmic energy. While in control of the Universal Church of Truth, he also has access to near unlimited power from the belief fonts fueled by his worshipers.
The Magus has also shown to be able to become intangible, project illusions, teleport, communicate telepathically and has a certain degree of cosmic awareness and other hyper senses.
In this reality, the Magus destroyed the Earth and the Intergalactic Alliance. Except for Maxam and Zhang, the human race was completely wiped out. A Badoon named Ecallaw trained the two boys to go back in time and kill Adam Warlock before he became the Magus and save the universe.
In Other Media
- The Magus appears in the second season of Guardians of the Galaxy, voiced by Eric Bauza. In the series, Adam Warlock transforms into the Magus after absorbing J'Son of Spartax into his Soul Gem, which corrupts the youth from within. The Magus battles the Guardians and Nova on Drax's home planet, and forces them to face visages of their lost loved ones. The Magus is ultimately defeated after Star-Lord manages to purge J'Son's essence from Warlock, returning him to normal. With the Magus gone, Warlock enters a state of stasis, and his body becomes encased in another cocoon.
- The Magus appears as a boss enemy in the Capcom beat 'em up game Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems. The Magus is initially set up as the main antagonist of the game, and is hinted to be the one searching the universe for the Infinity Gems. He is fought aboard his space ship, and is able to fire powerful projectiles from the Infinity Gauntlet, which contains one of the Infinity Gems. He can also teleport and regenerate his health. After the Magus is defeated, the heroes learn that he was not the true mastermind searching for the gems, and that Thanos is the real adversary they must ultimately face.
- The Magus appears as a boss enemy in Marvel Avengers Alliance.
- The Magus returns as a boss enemy in Marvel Avengers Alliance 2.
- Bowen Designs produced a statue of the Magus, which was a variant of the Adam Warlock statue they also put out. The statue was based on the Magus' appearance from the Infinity War storyline.
- The Magus appears in the HeroClix figure game. He is featured in both his 90s appearance from the Infinity War crossover, as well as his more modern appearance from the Guardians of the Galaxy comics.
- Hasbro released an Adam Warlock figure as part of the Marvel Legends Mantis Build-a-Figure wave. The figure came with an alternate Magus head as an accessory, which could be used to transform the toy into one bearing Magus' likeness.