High Evolutionary: Who is the Genius Geneticist?

Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better

High Evolutionary: The High Evolutionary intends to build a god fit for the 21st century. And you will be his raw materials.

Iron Man/Thor #1

An armored man works at a computer. On the monitors, he sees several strange figures in an arena. A humanoid tiger wielding a sword, a chameleon woman loading a shotgun, and a bipedal octopus with many weapons. The man hopes they will be strong enough. He pulls a lever and a creature bursts into the arena. It has the body of a bear, the armor and stinger of a scorpion, a moose’s antlers, and walks upright like a human. 

The animals fight valiantly, but the chimera is too powerful. The man frowns. The chimera is mighty, but mindless. He reluctantly activates a fail-safe. The chimera dies of a sudden aneurysm. The surviving warriors roar in victory, and The High Evolutionary makes a note, already planning a superior chimera.

The High Evolutionary is one of Marvel’s strangest villains. He commits crimes, but isn’t evil. He’s stolen power from gods, but wants to protect humanity. He’s fought everyone from Thor to Alf. So who is the High Evolutionary? Where did he get his powers? What is his goal? Let’s find out.

On the Origin of Species: High Evolutionary’s Backstory

High Evolutionary:Should my bestial subject survive, he will be far more than a New-Man…far more than a wolf whose evolutionary process was sped up! In point of fact, he will be the ultimate end of evolution…a combination of the supreme man…coupled with the supreme beast! His power will be too awesome to imagine!”

Thor #134

The High Evolutionary debuted in Thor #134 in 1966. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Herbert Wyndham was an Oxford student in the 1930s who became obsessed with genetics after studying under X-Men villain Mr. Sinister. Wyndham created a device that could accelerate evolution, which convinced an Inhuman called Phaeder to advise him on manipulating genes.

Oxford expelled Wyndham for his experiments. He traveled to Mount Wundagore in the Balkans. By selling uranium, he was able to fund the Citadel of Science and resume his experiments. Wyndham created many human-animal hybrids that he dubbed New-Men.

Wyndham learned that Mount Wundagore was the prison of a dark god called Cthon. It sent a werewolf to kill him, leading Wyndham to forge silver armor that he wore at all times. He trained the New-Men in combat and chivalry to fight Cthon’s influence. In turn, they named Wyndham their Lord High Evolutionary.

Unnatural Selection: High Evolutionary’s History

High Evolutionary:The gods are returning to judge their creations. The Celestials are returning… And you and I are the only hope for humanity’s survival.

New Warriors #2

The High Evolutionary’s experiments have influenced many heroes. He created a serum to save a colleague’s daughter from radiation poisoning, which enabled her to become Spider-Woman. High Evolutionary also helped deliver Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. He experimented on the infants and gave them their powers.

Living on Earth was stifling the High Evolutionary’s creativity. He created Counter-Earth on the other side of the sun to experiment in peace. Those hopes were dashed when he created a mad New-Man called Man-Beast. Only the newly born Adam Warlock could oppose the High Evolutionary’s creation. He began fighting Man-Beast’s forces on Counter-Earth at High Evolutionary’s behest.

Counter-Earth was constantly threatened. The world eater Galactus tried to make it his next meal and was only repelled with help from the Fantastic Four and Impossible Man. The Beyonders took Counter-Earth to display in a museum. The High Evolutionary tried everything, even evolving himself into a god, but could not stop them. 

Realizing there were beings that no amount of evolution could match broke The High Evolutionary. He created an evolution bomb that would mutate all life on Earth to their maximum potential. Hercules defeated The High Evolutionary by forcing him into his own creation, causing both of them to evolve beyond the Marvel universe.

Are We Not Men?: High Evolutionary’s Powers and Personality

Wolverine: [spying on a group of New Men] “You ought to see it, Hank. It’s the blasted Island of Dr. Moreau.

X-Men: the Animated Series “Family Ties” (Season 4, Episode 13)

The High Evolutionary has excessively experimented on himself. The procedures have given him telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to manipulate matter. He is Earth’s greatest geneticist and skilled in other disciplines. On occasion, The High Evolutionary has temporarily ascended to godhood.

A suit of sentient armor is The High Evolutionary’s tool of choice. It is forged from silver to protect against magical threats and contains many weapons, including lasers and force fields. The New-Men are fanatically loyal to The High Evolutionary and will rush to his defense if he is attacked.

The High Evolutionary is not evil. He genuinely wants to help humanity by evolving them to their greatest potential. He is brave, compassionate, and fiercely protective of children. Unfortunately, The High Evolutionary suffers from a god complex and bouts of insanity. He’s also willing to let people die from his experiments if the research will benefit the majority.

The Actors Who Play The High Evolutionary

James Blendick – X-Men the Animated Series
Richard Newman – Spider-Man Unlimited
Jonathan Frakes – The Super Hero Squad Show
Corey Burton – Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Nolan North – Guardians of the Galaxy
Chukwudi Iwuji – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Didya Get All That?

Marvel’s Master of Evolution.

Image: Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL

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