High Evolutionary (Herbert Edgar Wyndham)

The Religious Affiliation of
High Evolutionary
Herbert Edgar Wyndham

Religion: Transhumanist CBR Scale: M

Name: High Evolutionary

Alter Ego: Herbert Edgar Wyndham

Classification: villain villain  

Publisher(s): Marvel

First Appearance: Thor (vol. 1) #134 (Nov. 1966): "The People-Breeders!"

Creators: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta

Super? (Has Super Powers/Special Abilities/Technology): Yes

Number of Appearances: 108

   Comic Book Appearances: 107

   TV, Film Appearances: 1

Teams/Affiliations: Animutants (founder); Knights of Wundagore (founder); New Immortals (founder); New Men (founder); Sensors (founder); The Godpack (founder)

Enemy of: The Hulk, Thor, The Avengers

Nation: England, United Kingdom

Birth Place: Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Gender: male

The High Evolutionary has very distinctive beliefs and motivations. The High Evolutionary genuinely desires to use science and evolutionary means to re-shape the world into a better, more benign, less brutal place. He apparently does not regard himself as an adherent of any organized religious group or philosophical system. He can best be described as a "Transhumanist."

Keep in mind that the High Evolutionary's brand of radical, applied Transhumanism is all his own, and is not derived from the precepts of any known organized Transhumanist group or any specific Transhumanist philosopher. The extent to which Stan Lee based the High Evolutionary on real-life historical transhumanists is not clear. Certainly there were prominent transhumanist philosophers and activists prior to the High Evolutionary's introduction in 1966, although the fairly modern term "transhumanist" had probably not yet been applied to them. The transhumanist methods and goals of the High Evolutionary have antecedents in eugenic experiments of Nazis as well as in more benign thinking by people attempting to apply genetics and Darwinian discoveries to the human condition.

On Marvel Earth it is likely that the High Evolutionary has many admirers in the Transhumanist community, but he is also probably a topic of frequent debate and disagreement among Transhumanists discussing the merits of his methods.

One example of the High Evolutionary's methods to forcibly (and sometimes violently) push his Transhumanist agenda is his "Genetic Bomb." A device he invented, the bomb was designed to forcibly evolve all humanity. The device was central to a company-wide cross-over story chronicled in one Summer's Marvel annuals. The Genetic Bomb was eventually destroyed by the Avengers.

Because the High Evolutionary's goals and motivations are so unique, they sometimes bring him into conflict with the heroes of Earth. But they sometimes make him an unlikely ally. In many stories he is best classified as a supporting character. Many noble supporting characters and even super-heroes are the product of the High Evolutionary's experimentation, including Bova (nanny to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch), Spider-Woman, and the New Men. He has acted as a benevolent father figure to a number of major heroic characters, including Adam Warlock, Quicksilver, Spider-Woman, Wolverine, and Thor. The High Evolutionary has even helped save the entire world, such as when he had a key role in saving the Earth from Chthon.

The High Evolutionary is not really a "hero", but nor is he a traditional self-serving "villain." He is so certain of his beliefs and so powerful in his ability to do what he wants to that he has been in the role of "villain" in many stories. But he is not intentionally "evil." Even most heroes who find themselves at odds with some of his intended experiments or plans do not regard him as "evil", per so.

This character is in the following 23 stories which have been indexed by this website:
Deadpool (vol. 3) #900 (Dec. 2009): "One Down" (mentioned)
Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #9 (Nov. 1989): "TBOTV: The Curse of the Darkhold, Part 1: The Montesi Formula"
Fantastic Four Annual #23 (1990): "When Franklin Comes Marchin' Home"
Gambit (vol. 5) #8 (Mar. 2013): "Forever Endeavor" (mentioned)
Heroes for Hire (vol. 1) #3 (Sep. 1997): "Give & Take" (mentioned)
Marvel Knights 4 #13 (Feb. 2005): "Eyes Without a Face, Part 1" (behind the scenes)
Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 (Oct. 2000): "A Very Dangerous Planet" (1-panel cameo)
The Punisher Annual #1 (Aug. 1988): "The High Evolutionary Part 2: Pet Project" (lead character)
The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual
Spider-Man: Dead Man's Hand #1 (Apr. 1997): "Dead Man's Hand"
Strange Tales (vol. 1) #178 (Feb. 1975): "Who Is Adam Warlock?"
Tales to Astonish
The Uncanny X-Men Annual #12 (Oct. 1988): "The High Evolutionary, Chapter Seven: Demon Night" (lead character)
Warlock (vol. 1) #1 (Aug. 1972): "The Day of the Prophet"
Web of Spider-Man Annual (vol. 1) #4 (1988): "The High Evolutionary, Part 8 of 11: All My Children" (lead character)
X-Factor Annual

Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: