Sunday, October 23, 2011

X-Factor Annual #3: Evolutionary War Part 1

I found this in the dollar comics bin at BAM!, where I've been uncovering all kinds of fun stuff. With the economy in such an anemic state, and the price of comics so high, I find no reason not to dig into the past at this price, there being so much I haven't read. And what fun it is! The Evolutionary War  was an event spanning eleven Marvel title annuals in 1988. I found this one and a Fantastic Four from this series, realizing later that I've had the Avengers Annual from this series since my youth! No wonder these looked so familiar & appealing to me   :D

The High Evolutionary's purifier troops are surprised at the Subterraneans struggle against attempts to sterilize them- an effort to eradicate lower life forms that have failed to evolve, all part of the High Evolutionary's mad plan to accelerate mankind's evolution.

Jean Grey hears their psychic cry of anguish high above ground, endangering a restoration effort of the Empire State Building underway by her X-Factor team, and pleads with Cyclops and the others to help her find the source greatly distressing her extra-sensory perception and all-around ability to function. They discover the Subterraneans have a psychic leader of sorts- a "missing link" in their midst, a "mutant" of sorts, who at first feels threatened by the X-Men, but soon realizes their pure intentions.

Miles above the Earth, the High Evolutionary oversees the Purifier's efforts, when Apocalypse appears before him, arguing the flawed nature of his efforts. For Apocalypse believes only the strong survive, and the war & strife he perpetuates is the superior way to determine who should live or die. The impatient High Evolutionary attacks Apocalypse in defense of his methods, claiming his method of sterilization is more humane & necessary to expunge the unfavorable branches of the evolutionary tree, while his purifier troops below the surface have gladly resorted to violence in dealing with the frightened Subterraneans.

When the leader of the Subterraneans saves Beast's life, and the the tide is turned against the purifier troops, Apocalypse is proven right by the High Evolutionary himself- his own actions provided the necessary stressors to force the Subterranean's growth. "You do my work for me, High Evolutionary, whether you wish it or not... and you do it well!"

Also included in this 64 paged Super-Sized Annual from 1988 is a short origins-type story, "Changes", told via the X-Terminators (adolescent mutant team put together by X-Factor) stumbling into Beast and knocking an old X-Men photo album loose, prompting  a reminiscence of the X-Men, changes they've been through, and where they ended up. Corny, but by this point probably necessary: in the 20+ years spanning their creation in the early 60's up to the date of this publication in the late 80's, some new readers may not have realized what a history they had. Some things were mentioned that I did not know, either. My knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds lately, reading the original stories in the Marvel Masterworks: X-Men Vol. 1 & 2, as well as dipping into some of the Chris Claremont 80's stuff.

The third story is another featuring the High Evolutionary, "The Gift", telling the story of Herbert Wyndham's early genetics testing in London, his rejection by the scientific community, and a mysterious stranger helping him along the way- continued in Punisher Annual #1!  Also included are some pin-ups, icluding this one of the original X-Men by - Behold:

More Later- Make It FUN!


  1. I remember this time very fondly. I was living in the far north and had my comics shipped to me monthly. It was a panic to have my friends over for a comic reading party once a month.

  2. i got my driver's liscense in the summer of '88... growing up in a small town, my horizons were broadened significantly by this. i had an X-Factor & a little X-men stuff back then.

  3. Ya gotta love those super sized annuals.Just the feel and the thickness of the book compared to regular sized issues was awesome.With these annuals you knew you had those extra couple of pages to read through and loved every minute of it!