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Wundagore

Wundagore is the name of a mountain in the Eastern European country of Transia, a citadel built there, and of a planet (properly known as Wundagore II) in the solar system of the star Sirius. These locations are the past and present homes, of the sentient semi humanoid animals known as the New Men, who were originally artificially evolved to their current state from ordinary animals by Herbert Edgar Wyndham, the geneticist known as the High Evolutionary. A large number of the New Men act as warriors in a military order that was modeled after the knights of Earth's Middle Ages and that is known as the knights of Wundagore.

In the Sixth Century A.D. the sorceress Morgan Le Fey and her cult of Darkholders, unable to control the primeval demon Chthon, whom they had summoned, imprisoned him within Wundagore Mountain in Transia. Chthon's magic entered into the clay found in the area of Wundagore, which Philip Masters, the criminal known as the Puppet Master, has learned to use to control the minds of others mystically.

By the Twentieth Century Wundagore Mountain was part of the estate owner by Gregor Russoff, the father of Jack Russell, who sold part of his estate, including Wundagore Mountain, to Wyndham and his partner Jonathan Drew, the father of Jessica Drew, who became the first Spider-Woman. On the mountain Jonathan Drew and Wyndham discovered a rich deposit of uranium, and used the wealth they gained from it to build a citadel of advanced scientific research (which itself has been known as Wundagore). Then Wyndham began to procure both domestic and wild animals and genetically accelerated them into "New Men," animals with humanoid posture and intelligence. Among the first of his New Men were Bova, a cow-woman, Porga, a pig-man, and Tagar, a tiger-man.

The spirit of the Sixth Century sorcerer Magnus, who was among those who had imprisoned Chthon within Wundagore Mountain, took possession of the body of Jonathan Drew in order to warn the High Evolutionary of the demonic threat beneath his feet. Magnus and the High Evolutionary decided that the New Men should be trained to combat Chchon's impending attack, and Magnus suggested they be organized and trained along the lines of the highly disciplined soldiers of his day, the Arthurian knights. Manus supervised the training of the New Men who became the Knights of Wundagore and instilled them with a sense of chivalry. When Chthon finally attacked through his host, the Other, he was defeated by the combination of the High Evolutionary' advanced science, Magnus's sorcery, and the battle prowess of the Knight of Wundagore.

On the very night of this battle, a woman named Magda, who had sought refuge at the High Evolutionary's citadel, gave birth there to twins, who later became known as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Chthon imbued the newborn infant who would become the Scarlet Witch with latent potential for using magic.

After their victory over Chthon, the Knights of Wundagore undertook the full-time task of patrolling and protecting Wundagore. The High Evolutionary equipped the Knights before their battle with Chthon with suits of armor that are extraordinarily resistant to damage, advanced weaponry, and nuclear-powered one-man flying craft known as the Knights' "atomic steed." (One of these "atomic steeds" is today utilized by the Black Knight.) The Knights of Wundagore have used such armor, weaponry, and means of transportation ever since.

Eventually, the High Evolutionary created a New Man who proved to be a menace, the Man-Beast, whom he had evolved from a wolf. After the Asgardian thunder god aided in defeating the Man-Beast, the High Evolutionary decided that Earth was too confining an environment for his New Men. Having converted his Citadel into a starship, the High Evolutionary set forth within it, along with his New Men, for the stars to seek a planet for them to settle. The only New Men to remain behind on Earth were Bova and the cat-man Tabur.

As for Man Beast, he created New Men of his own to terrorize the world called Counter-Earth. The High Evolutionary's ally, Adam Warlock, devolved all of these New Men on Counter-Earth back to their original forms. However, the Man-Beast himself has subsequently returned in his semi-human form, and his present whereabouts, activities, and condition are unknown.

The High Evolutionary and his New Men settled on a planet in Sirius's solar system. The High Evolutionary named this planet Wundagore II. However, for unknown reasons, the personalities of the New Men of Wundagore II turned savage and warlike. The High Evolutionary used his technology to evolve himself into a godlike being with extraordinary psionic powers, which he then used to devolve the New Men back into their original states.

Years later, Commander Arcturus, one of the alien Rigellian Colonizers, separated his fleet of starships from the main body of Rigellian starship that was seeking a new homeworld after the destruction of their original one. (The main body of the fleet eventually found and settled upon the planet known as New Rigel.) Arcturus sought to find a habitable planet on his own, which he planned to use as a base from which to found his own interstellar empire and challenge the Rigellians' leader, the Grand Commissioner. One of Arcturus's space probes landed on Wundagore II, but had become irradiated with unknown form of energy during its journey through space. This radiation caused the animals who had once been the New Men to evolve back to their New Men forms, but free once more from the savagery that had previously overcome them. The New Men once again went to live in the city that the High Evolutionary had guided them in building there.

Arcturus sent his feet to attack the New Men, since he was determined to take possession of their planet. However, the Knights of Wundagore were aided in combating Arcturus's Rigellians by the Earth-born champions Iron Man, the Jack of Hearts, and the Soviet Super-Soldier. Finally Arcturus was arrested by his own subordinates when they learned he was acting in defiance of Rigellian law, and the Rigellions left Wundagore II to the control of the New Men. Ever since then, as far as is known, the New Men have lived in peace and harmony on Wundagore II. The current leader of the Knights of Wundagore is Sir Lyan.

First Appearance: (Wundagore Mountain and its citadel) THOR #134, (Wundagore II) TALES TO ASTONISH #94

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