(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
Judge Kray-Tor is one of my favorite Jim Starlin characters, an almost forgotten relic of Starlin’s first 1970s handling of Adam Warlock in Strange Tales and later his self-titled mag.
The early exploits of the Judan being known as Judge Kray-Tor are surrounded in mystery. He first appeared in the courtroom of the Universal Church of Truth after Adam Warlock was dropped through a trap-door by the Matriarch.
Kray-Tor presided over the trial of the heretic Warlock for his blasphemous actions against the Church. Warlock had a mouth-less lawyer and a jury selected solely by the Church (a bold commentary by Starlin). This hypocritical atrocity of justice infuriated Warlock and he began brutally beating the court’s attendees, leaving no one standing but the honorable Judge Kray-Tor.
Kray-Tor used his strange power to blast the floor beneath the feet of Warlock, causing him to submerge into the floor. At that time, the Judge pronounced his verdict: the death sentence. The large Judge began to glow with a strange power that struck fear into Warlock. Sensing that his life could be extinguished by this being, Warlock absorbed the soul of the Judge into the Soul Gem still on his forehead. This caused a backlash of memories to attack the mind of Warlock that revealed the Judge was not acting out of any evil religious belief but a strong moral conviction that he was doing the right thing.
Later, when Warlock himself journeyed into the pocket dimension of the Soul Gem, Kray-Tor and Captain Autolycus were among of the group of inhabitants that welcomed him to this peaceful place.
During the “Infinity War” event, the Silver Surfer and Drax the Destroyer traveled to Soulworld seeking the help of Adam Warlock against the universal menace known as Thanos. Warlock showed very little interest in their plight, which infuriated Drax who began slugging the golden warrior. Kray-Tor and the other inhabitants of Soulworld managed to calm Drax down.
During the defeat of Thanos, the Magus — Warlock’s evil self from an alternate future — was exiled into Soulworld, but since he was only in truth a fragment of Adam’s soul none of the other inhabitants even notice his presence. Both Kray-Tor and Captain Autolycus walked through his ghost-like soul fragment.
While battling the soulless Count Abyss from the dimension of Egolix-7, Warlock used the righteous soul of Judge Kray-Tor to torment the evil Count. The taint of a righteous soul caused Abyss to be unidentifiable by his master, Zalkor, which allowed the mystic Darklore and Warlock to banish the evil tyrant to an unknown dimension.
To the best of my knowledge (and I am Captain Cosmic!), even though Warlock, Pip and Gamora left Soulworld, Judge Kray-Tor still dwells there on the world within the green gem.