“Why is there so much weird s#!t that happens at this one mountain in Europe?” scribe Matt Fraction asks in a
And we will be off on our first arc of the new, anxiously-awaited Defenders title coming in December by Fraction and artist Terry Dodson that promises to explain the entirety of the Marvel Universe as this most unlikely non-team adventures along to solve an ancient cosmic mystery.
January’s Marvel solicits ask again: “What is the secret of Wundagore Mountain?” Fraction promises to show us, but let’s take look back at some of what we know – or what we think we know – and hope there is not a relaunch between now and December, lol.
Wundagor Mountainis located in the Marvel U. Eastern European nation of Transia. All Avengers and Dr. Strange fans know the history of the god Chthon and the evil tome the Darkhold are strongly tied to this mountain. In the Sixth Century, a cult of Darkholders led by the sorceress Morgan Le Fey attempted to summon Chthon but found him to be uncontrollable. While the Darkholders were incapable of banishing him altogether, they bound him to Wundagore Mountain, in what would one day become Transia.
In the late 1940s, Herbert Wyndham (no relation to Barry), the man who became the High Evolutionary, made his laboratory base at the foot of Wundagore Mountain with the assistance of Dr. Horace Grayson (father of the superhero Marvel Boy). Wyndham found uranium in and around Wundagore and funded a national non-profit trust with the money gathered from his uranium mine, which has become Transia's main source of income. A number of smaller villages are now located at the base of Wundagore.
Years later, a young Philip Masters (AKA the Puppet Master) obtained clay from the mountain that had been granted mystical power by Chthon's presence; he would use this clay in his attempts to conquer the Fantastic Four.
A colleague of Wyndham's, Jonathan Drew, with his wife Miriam and daughter Jessica arrived during this time. The werewolf Gregor Russoff, a Darkholder whose grandson (birth name Jacob Russoff, legal name Jack Russell) would become the Werewolf by Night, attacked and killed Drew's wife, Miriam. Jessica was placed in suspended animation.
The High Evolutionary also created a race of artificially evolved humanoid animals called the New Men, whose elite members were entitled the "Knights of Wundagore.” The New Men were the results of Wyndham's first experiments in accelerated evolution. When Wyndham learned from Magnus that WundagoreMountain, on which his advanced genetics research citadel was based, was the prison of Chthon, he decided to train his creations in chivalry and battle tactics and equip them with advanced weaponry and armor. Wyndham later converted his citadel into a spaceship, and he and most of his New Men left to explore the stars. They eventually settled on a planet which they named Wundagore II, with the High Evolutionary staying on the planet's moon in order to look after them.
A pregnant gypsy woman named Magda arrived one day at Wundagore (the mountain, not the planet) on the verge of giving birth (unknown to all, she was the wife of the man who would become Magneto). While Magda was giving birth with the assistance of a bovine female midwife, Lady Bova of the New Men, Chthon sent a part of his essence into one of Magda's twin children, Wanda, whose mutation was transformed into the ability to manipulate chaos and probability and, later, reality itself! Once healthy enough, Magda left her children with Bova and fled into a snowstorm, never to be seen again. Magneto later searched for her remains after learning this story, but was never able to find out what happened to her. He built a grave in her honor.
Much later, Robert Frank and his pregnant wife Madeline (formerly the WW II superheroes Whizzer and Miss America), came to Wundagore. Madeline died giving birth to a stillborn child. When the Whizzer asked to see his child, Bova, to spare Frank’s grief, presented the late Magda's two children to him as his children, but when the Whizzer learned of his wife's death, he fled. The twins were returned to suspended animation until Bova brought them to a Transian gypsy named Django Maximoff, who raised the children as his own. The twins would become the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Jessica Drew was also freed from suspended animation and became Spider-Woman.
The High Evolutionary later returned to Wundagore and re-established a citadel there. He evolved more New Men and, for a time, Quicksilver lived there and ruled the New Men. Quicksilver and the New Men repelled attacks on Wundagore by the Acolytes led by Exodus as well as the rogue New Man, the Man-Beast.
Wundagore was also attacked by Modred the Mystic, who slaughtered the New Men there, apparently leaving Bova as one of the few survivors.
This facility was later destroyed by Abigail Brand, head of the Sentient Worlds Observation and Report Department (S.W.O.R.D.). She believed an invasion from an alternate universe was happening inside. The X-Man Forge, who had taken over the structure, is assumed to have died in the explosion.
Many more are the tales of Wundagore, but its “secret” – outside the influence of Chthon – is one to which we have never been privy. I am anxious to crack Defenders #1 open already!
Defenders #1 hits stores in December!