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Herbert Wyndham (Earth-616)

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Quote1 The High Evolutionary intends to build a god fit for the twenty-first century. And you will be his raw materials. Quote2
-- High Evolutionary src
 

Early life

As a student in the 1920s, Herbert Wyndham was inspired by the work of Nathaniel Essex to perform his own genetic experiments, evolving rats in his parents' basement. Later, when he attended a conference in Geneva, Wyndham was approached by a disguised Inhuman, who gave Wyndham the secrets for unlocking genetic codes. As a result, he created a serum that allowed for genetic alteration, but his controversial work got him expelled from Oxford University.[1]

However, Wyndham joined with another fellow scientist, Jonathan Drew to continue his work, and they set up base in Transia on Wundagore Mountain in a futuristic citadel that his Inhuman contact gave him a workforce of Moloids to build.[2]

Spider-Woman

Drew's daughter Jessica became ill thanks to their proximity to the mountain's reserves of uranium, and she was treated by a combination of spider serum and Wyndham's evolutionary technology and placed in suspended animation. This process would later result in Jessica becoming the superheroine known as Spider-Woman.[3] Drew's wife was killed by a werewolf, Gregor Russoff, and died, while Wyndham survived the same attack. Jonathan left Wundagore, and Wyndham constructed a suit of advanced armor to protect himself.[4][5]

Marvel Two-In-One Vol 1 63 001

New Men

Soon after this, aided by a new assistant Miles Warren, Wyndham created the New Men by evolving animals into humanoid forms. Jonathan returned to Wundagore possessed by the sorcerer Magnus, who warned him that the mountain was the banishing place of the demon Chthon, though the scientifically-minded Wyndham scoffed at this - albeit Magnus convinced Wyndham to teach the New Men a chivalry code as ethics.[6] One of the New Men was the Inheritor, an evolved cockroach who developed megalomania and, unlike his peers, refused to follow Wyndham's orders and chivalry code. Wyndham reacted by banishing him to outer space.[7]

Chthon

Russoff used the mystical book the Darkhold to try and cure his lycanthropy, and in the process freed Chthon. Wyndham, now known as the High Evolutionary, and the New Men, now known as the Knights of Wundagore fought the demon, banishing him again.

Maximoff Twins

However, at that moment, a pregnant woman Magda gave birth to twins Wanda and Pietro on the mountain, in the citadel, and Chthon's power touched them, giving him a conduit into the world. The twins would grow up to become the mutant superheroes the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The High Evolutionary's New Man Bova first tried to pass the twins on to Robert Frank, whose wife had died in childbirth[8], before giving them to a gypsy couple who had lost their own children[9].

After clashes with the heroes Thor[10] and the Hulk[11], the High Evolutionary decided to launch his citadel into space. There, Wyndham temporarily evolved himself into a disembodied intelligence[12]. He later devolved himself back into his normal form, but now had powers, including the ability to evolve or devolve other creatures at will.

Counter-Earth

After his return to corporeality, the High Evolutionary took a ship disguised as an asteroid to the point in Earth's orbit on the opposite side of the sun and used his technology and abilities to advance a small chunk of terrestrial material into a nearly identical copy of the Earth. His goal was to create an Earth without the corruption of evil, but while he was resting, Man-Beast snuck onto his ship and tampered with the process to add that corruption himself. At the same time, the High Evolutionary had recovered the cocoon of Him and was taking care of it until its inhabitant would emerge again in a new form. When Him was reborn, High Evolutionary re-christened him as Adam Warlock, gave him the Soul Gem (which he had obtained by unrevealed circumstances), and enlisted him to protect Counter-Earth from Man-Beast and his evil New Men.[13]

Fantastic Four Vol 1 175 001

Confronting Galactus

When Galactus discovered the existence of Counter-Earth, the High Evolutionary created another army of New Men and sent Gorr to acquire the help of the Fantastic Four against the world eater and its herald, the Destroyer.[14]

Evolutionary War

Among the steps the High Evolutionary took in his crusade was discrediting the work of his former associate, cloning specialist Miles Warren. Wyndham still believed cloning was a dead end in genetic research and did everything he could to discredit the idea. After studying the Gwen Stacy clone created by Warren, he lied to Spider-Man and the woman, claiming she was not a clone at all.[15] Wyndham even went so far as to plant false journals of Warren's around Empire state University, claiming he had created a DNA recombinant virus that would re-engineer one person into the physical and genetic duplicate of another, rather than actual clones.[16]

After his apparent death in the Evolutionary War against Hercules, the High Evolutionary was resurrected in the Black Galaxy Saga.[17]

He and his adopted son Adam Warlock reunited in conflict with the Man-Beast.[18]

Mount Wundagore came under attack by Acolytes and Genoshan Mutates led by Exodus, who saw the Evolutionary's artificial work as an affront to natural evolution. Wyndham was forced to flee Wundagore, and left a garrison of Knights under the command of Pietro Maximoff.[19]

Fleeing to the Savage Land, Wyndham's experiments with the unstable Isotope E left him an evolutionarily unstable addict, shifting from Neanderthal to Hyper-Evolved Human states uncontrollably without regular exposure.[20]

The High Evolutionary devised the means to negate the x-factor in every mutant on the planet using satellite technology. He was manipulated into this by Mister Sinister, but the depowered X-Men ultimately ended his scheme.[21][22]

Annihilation: Conquest

The High Evolutionary was one of the scientists Beast consulted with after M-Day.[23] In a separate experiment, he devised the means to restore Magneto's mutant powers after being Decimated, using power harvested from the Dreaming Celestial.[24][25]

Herbert Wyndham (Earth-616) from Avengers Vol 5 12 0001

The Forever City of the High Evolutionary was one of the sites in the War of the Four Cities. Wyndham worked with the Future Foundation during the early days of the conflict.[26]

When the High Evolutionary learned of the Origin Bombs launched at Earth by the Gardeners, he arrived in the Savage Land to study the Zebra children.[27]

New Warriors

The High Evolutionary was later convinced by Zuras of the Eternals that the Celestials were going to come to the Earth and judge it, for which Wyndham killed all of the New Men and sent numerous Evolutionaries to assault metahumans.[28] He attempted to use a gene bomb that would've killed anything that wasn't human on the surface of the Earth, but was stopped by the New Warriors.[29]

He later tried once again to build the bomb, even though the New Warriors pinned him down.[30] This time, the Eternals arrived to help the High Evolutionary and defeated the Warriors.[31] After gaining a second wind, the Warriors discovered that Zuras had been lying. Zuras blamed the High Evolutionary for his actions and blasted him, leaving him for dead.[32]

Herbert Wyndham (Earth-616)'s true face revealed from Uncanny Avengers Vol 2 5

Wyndham unmasked

Counter-Evolutionary

The High Evolutionary later returned to the Counter-Earth, and used it as a test tube to create the perfect New Men, periodically performing cleansing's each time he noticed a "flaw," and starting again.[33] The High Evolutionary confronted the Avengers Unity Division when they interfered with his plan to destroy Lowtown, a refuge for a resistance formed by the High Evolutionary's rejects led by the Low Evolutionary.[34] He was defeated after Doctor Voodoo unleashed upon him the thousands of souls of those he had exterminated, and was forced to flee through a portal with Luminous after being beaten up by Quicksilver.[35]

Powers

The High Evolutionary was exposed to his Evolutionary Accelerator machine, giving him superhuman abilities by accelerating his personal evolution. The Evolutionary has shifted between various levels of evolution over the years, sometimes deliberately sometimes not, with different power levels as well. Often he maintains some level of superhuman power while incorporating the Evolutionary Accelerator machine into his armor, letting him evolve himself further at will. The unstable Isotope E caused the High Evolutionary to uncontrollably fluctuate between God-like powers and Neanderthal-level ability and intelligence.[36]

Among the abilities the High Evolutionary has demonstrated thanks to the Evolutionizer are:

  • Superhuman Strength
  • Superhuman Intelligence: The High Evolutionary has evolved his own brain to its full potential; he has virtually unlimited knowledge and intellectual ability.
  • Superhuman Durability
  • Healing Factor: Augmented by his armor's automatic Evolutionizer equipment, the High Evolutionary is virtually unkillable. Even after being ripped to pieces and pulverized into organic jelly by the Hulk,[37] the High Evolutionary evolved out of his injuries and was fully restored.[38]
  • Telepathic Communication
  • Astral Projection: The High Evolutionary can separate his spirit from his physical form and can survive in this state for an indefinite period of time.
  • Self-Levitation
  • Mental Invisibility: preventing detection by other powerful telepaths. Which he can extend to an entire world
  • Force Fields
  • Mass Manipulation: increase and decrease his own size/mass, can grow at max to 300 feet
  • Psychokinesis
  • Concussive Force Blasts
  • Plasmatic Rays
  • Total Recall Memory
  • Artificial Evolution:: Capable of forcibly evolving or devolving life-forms at an accelerated rate

Abilities

  • Master Geneticist

Strength level

Variable; Potentially Class 100+[39]



Equipment

  • Evolutionary Exoskeleton: Most of the High Evolutionary's powers are derived from his protective suit which also provides its wearer with amazing protection against all physical attacks and protection from energy, psionic, or magical attacks.
    • Automatic Defense: The suit is designed to protect its wearer at all costs and, as such, works automatically to prevent disasters from affecting the High Evolutionary.
    • Reconstitution Protocol: Body armor, including micro-circuitry containing his complete genetic information and thus capable of restoring him to life in the event of his death. Thus the suit can, in time, regenerate his body or even create a whole new body for Wyndham.
    • Life-Support System: The suit provides complete life support for Wyndham, automatic recycling his air and providing him with water and food
  • Genetic Manipulation Technology: He frequently uses machinery to control evolutionary effects.
  • He owns a space-worthy Citadel of Science on Transia's Mount Wundagore, a research fortress in the Savage Land, an upstate New York castle, research facilities beneath several major cities, and space facilities ranging from asteroid bases to orbital ships to the worldship New Wundagore.
  • He dislikes cloning, as he regards it as stagnating evolution, whereas he seeks to speed it up.[15][40]
    • However, his aversion to cloning didn't stop him from cloning Thor and creating Nobilius.

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. X-Factor Annual #3
  2. Punisher Annual #1
  3. Marvel Spotlight #32
  4. Silver Surfer Annual #1
  5. New Mutants Annual #4
  6. Uncanny X-Men Annual #1988
  7. Incredible Hulk #149
  8. Giant-Size Avengers #1
  9. Avengers #186
  10. Thor #134
  11. Tales to Astonish #94
  12. Tales to Astonish #96
  13. Marvel Premiere #1
  14. Fantastic Four #172-175
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8
  16. The Spectacular Spider-Man #149
  17. Thor #419-424
  18. Warlock and the Infinity Watch #3-4
  19. Quicksilver #1
  20. Quicksilver #9
  21. Uncanny X-Men #379-380
  22. X-Men Vol 2 #99
  23. X-Men Vol 2 #200
  24. Uncanny X-Men #500
  25. Uncanny X-Men #511
  26. FF #3
  27. Avengers Vol 5 #12
  28. New Warriors Vol 5 #1
  29. New Warriors Vol 5 #4
  30. New Warriors Vol 5 #10
  31. New Warriors Vol 5 #11
  32. New Warriors Vol 5 #12
  33. Uncanny Avengers Vol 2 #2
  34. Uncanny Avengers Vol 2 #4
  35. Uncanny Avengers Vol 2 #5
  36. Quicksilver #8-12
  37. Incredible Hulk #266
  38. Avengers Annual #17
  39. Fantastic Four #175
  40. Scarlet Spider Unlimited #1
  41. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #5
  42. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 5



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