The High Evolutionary

The High Evolutionary

(pop culture)
The bizarre genetic mutations of the High Evolutionary, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's cosmic version of H. G. Wells' Dr. Moreau, were first revealed to Marvel Comics readers in Thor vol. 1 #134–#135 (1966). The Thunder God goes not to a Moreau-esque island but to a baroque citadel on Transia's “forbidden” Wundagore Mountain, deftly guarded by the Knights of Wundagore on their airborne “atomic steeds.” Thor hammers through these sentries but is astounded to discover that they are actually “New-Men,” beasts anthropomorphically endowed by the lordly High Evolutionary. More an obsessed scientist than a malefactor, the High Evolutionary nonetheless displays a “warning sign” of his impending supervillainy—a flair for monologuing—overdramatically lamenting to Thor the woes of his phylogenic experiments and blathering the story of his origin. Behind his purple helmet (interestingly, its sharp-browed faceplate vaguely resembles the craggy visage of Darkseid, the DC Comics supervillain Kirby would create four years later) is Herbert Edgar Wyndham, a geneticist from the 1930s elevated to artificial godhood by his scientific experiments. Fearing “the death knell of the entire human race” when one of his creations, the wicked Man-Beast, runs amok, the High Evolutionary rockets away from Earth in Wundagore—which is actually a spacecraft—to find a new home. That home was Counter-Earth, a duplicate he created on the opposite side of the sun (his mutated Knights were entrusted with a world of their own, Wundagore II), which in the 1970s became the residence of the superhero Adam Warlock. Regarding himself the deity of his manufactured world, the High Evolutionary's actions have been deemed amoral by many, particularly the Avengers, who halted the High Evolutionary's most ambitious effort, the Evolutionary War, via which the would-be god endeavored to rapidly evolve humankind, attempting the extermination of certain races including mutants (as seen in Marvel's 1988 annuals). Mr. Sinister, the X-Men foe who is actually a nineteenth-century evolutionist, is a former colleague of Wyndham's. The High Evolutionary appeared in a 1996 episode of the animated series X-Men (1992–1997), and was a principal character in the poorly received cartoon Spider-Man Unlimited (1999–2001), a series set on Counter-Earth.
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