Transia, Eastern Europe
Herbert Wyndham (the High Evolutionary) and Jonathan Drew; formerly Baron Gregor Russoff
Points of Interest
High Evolutionary’s Citadel, Bova’s cottage; (formerly) the Tower of the Darkhold
Large, wooded mountain terrain, imbued with magic, containing large deposits of radioactive ore
Mount Wundagore is the most prominent mountain of the tiny Balkan nation of Transia, a place of legend and local mystery throughout history. In more recent years, it has become the home of the High Evolutionary and his New Men, also known as the Knights of Wundagore. The Evolutionary’s citadel itself is referred to simply as “Wundagore.”
The mountain’s abiding aura of fear and mystery began as early as the Sixth Century A.D. That was when the evil sorceress Morgan Le Fey led her followers known as the Cult of Darkholders in summoning the ancient demon Chthon. However, the powerful entity proved to difficult to control, forcing the mystics to mystically bind the demon to the mountain itself, effectively imprisoning it within Wundagore Mountain. Chthon's magic was imbued into the very earth itself, making the mountain’s dirt, clay, and trees magical in nature. Many individuals discovered this fact for themselves, as Philip Masters became the Puppet Master using the clay of Wundagore, and Nathan Dolly became Mister Doll and the Brothers Grimm using dolls carved from Wundagore’s trees.
In the early part of the Twentieth Century, the Transian landholder was the Baron Gregor Russoff, ancestor of Jack Russell, Werewolf By Night. Cursed throughout his life because of his family’s association with Wundagore and the tome of the Darkhold, Russoff sold the land to Herbert Wyndham and Jonthan Drew, who were looking for a place to build a laboratory. Luckily, they also discovered rich deposits of uranium in the mountain, which helped fund the creation of their giant scientific citadel. Wyndham’s experiments would lead to the creation of the New Men and his personal reinvention into the High Evolutionary. Jonathan Drew, however, would not survive the death of his wife, leading his daughter, Jessica, to be raised by Bova, cow-woman of the Evolutionary’s New Men.
Jessica Drew would not be the only child born on Wundagore. So, too, were Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, the latter of which was unknowingly mystically bonded to Chthon at the moment of her birth. This caused her powers to develop erratically over the years and also gave her natural abilities in witchcraft and the control of magic. Chthon also hoped to use the Scarlet Witch to escape the mountain by using her as a host body someday. Indeed, when she first returned to the mountain as an adult, Chthon possessed her, but she was soon freed by her teammates of the Avengers and her adoptive father Django Maximoff, who once again sealed Chthon inside Wundagore before dying.
Years before, Wundagore’s Citadel was first brought to public attention when the Evolutionary invited Donald Blake, secret identity of Thor to educate his New Men. However, at the same time, the Man-Beast awoke and battled Thor, forcing him to stand down. The Evolutionary decided the only way to stop the Man-Beast was to exile him to outer space, and the experience also led him to believe that Earth was too confining to continue to develop his New Men, and he left Earth entirely, converting his Citadel into a spaceshift and seeking out a new planet. This new planet became Wundagore II.
The High Evolutionary abandoned Wundagore II to return to a new Citadel on Mount Wundagore on Earth. (Alternatively, he may have relocated the New Men from the planet in the Sirius star system, although this remains unclear.) He remained a figurehead of Wundagore until the genetic acceleration “beyond godhood” that was forced upon him by the Avengers who needed to stop him from destroying humanity. He was trapped by the Celestials in the Black Galaxy until rescued by Thor, Hercules, and several of the Knights of Wundagore. The Evolutionary invited Thor to recuperate at his Citadel, although he soon left to return to the Black Galaxy with the remaining New Men aboard a vessel later known as New Wundagore, intrigued by what he found there.
During this time, the Evolutionary created the New Immortals, and when Thor was asked to follow up on the Evolutionary by the alien Rigellians, he became embroiled in the secret of the Black Galaxy, which was the fact that the entire "bio-verse" would be the ingredient for the birth of a new Celestial. Witnessing this, the High Evolutionary went insane and was looked after by the New Immortal Nobilis aboard New Wundagore, which continued its journey through the stars. At some point, however, the High Evolutionary regained his sanity and came upon the idea that it was time to create yet another new race on earth, abandoning the New Immortals and the New Men. The Evolutionary returned to the Wundagore of Earth, where he created the Godpack. Eventually, the New Men reconciled with their creator, resuming their home at the Citadel at Wundagore.
Over time, the New Immortals turned their attentions toward conquest of the planet Earth. From New Wundagore, they attacked the New Men and the High Evolutionary, earning the opposition of the Godpack and Thor as well. Finally defeated, the New Immortals were placed into suspended animation by the High Evolutionary and placed aboard a new vessel, Wundagore III. The High Evolutionary hoped that over time he might be able to correct the flaws in the New Immortals and revive all of them.
Years later, the High Evolutionary's Wundagore citadel came under attack by the villain Exodus and the Acolytes of Magneto. Exodus declared that the Evolutionary and his New Men were abominations and unnatural mutations, unworthy of the destiny of true mutants such as himself. Bova, who was taking care of Quicksilver's daughter, Luna, called Quicksilver for help. Despite Quicksilver's aid, the Evolutionary knew that Wundagore was soon to fall. He hoped to hide his most powerful invention, Isotope E, from the villains, and he used his powers to teleport those under his care to safety, swearing to return and take back the citadel at a later time. In the meantime, he offered leadership of the New Men to Quicksilver, who agreed. The New Men relocated to another of the Evolutionary's citadels-- in New York. Quicksilver was charged with keeping the New Men happy as adventure-seekers, and he led the Knights of Wundagore as a sort of superhero adventure team. As Quicksilver became preoccupied with his personal life, however, several of the New Men believed him to be reneging on his promise.
Eventually, Exodus and the Acolytes discovered where the Evolutionary was hiding, and sent a strike force to destroy him. The Knights intervened, finding the Evolutionary hiding in his citadel in the Savage Land. After defeating the villains, the Evolutionary revealed that his powers and physiology had been fluctuating widely of late, leaving him physically devolved into an ape. He had created Isotope E, with the help of the New Man Lord Delphis, in hopes to cure himself. Using it, he helped to stabilize himself, and he returned with the New Men to New York. Shortly afterward, the High Evolutionary and Quicksilver led the Knights, allied with the hero team Heroes for Hire, and reclaimed Mount Wundagore.