Darwin (Armando Muñoz) is a mutant superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2, and was created by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Pete Woods. Darwin appears in X-Men: First Class where he is played by actor Edi Gathegi.
Early Life and Krakoa
After birth, Darwin’s powers of self-protection and continuous circumstantial evolution made his mother hate him. The half-African, half-Hispanic boy was found by scientists who experimented on him, bringing him to the attention of the public. He was found by Moira MacTaggert and recruited as one of her “fosters.” He was in the first team, along with Kid Vulcan, Petra, and Sway to attempt to rescue the X-Men from Krakoa.
While Petra and Sway were killed by Krakoa, Darwin and Vulcan were swallowed in the earth by a combination of Sway and Petra’s dying powers. Darwin absorbed the remains of the two girls and then converted himself into energy to fuse together with Vulcan. This gave Vulcan the powers of Darwin, Petra, and Sway. Rachel Summers managed to expel Darwin’s presence from Vulcan, who then took off for space. While dealing with the shocking revelations of the truth about Krakoa and Vulcan, Beast found out that Darwin was in fact still alive. He was brought back to the Institute, where Beast determined Darwin was now a being of pure energy. While not conscious, he was shown to still have brain activity and was still alive, located at the X-Mansion. Once separated from Vulcan, Darwin’s abilities caused him to develop a physical form once more.
The Rise and Fall of The Shi’ar Empire
When the Uncanny X-Men team (including Warpath, Havok, Polaris, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, and Professor Xavier) left to go hunt down Vulcan and stop him from destroying the Shi’ar, it was revealed that the Professor brought Darwin with them with hope that his friendship with Vulcan would help. When Shi’ar agents abducted Professor X, Darwin followed, and secretly jumped onto their spacecraft as it fled.
After successfully rescuing Xavier from his captors, Darwin was well on his way to freedom when D’Ken was revealed to be alive and well. Recaptured by the Imperium guards, Darwin failed in his attempt of rescuing his mentor and reluctantly accepted the Vulcan’s offer of becoming best man at his and Deathbird’s wedding.
Though obviously against the union, Darwin attended the wedding—albeit in shackles—and was caught in the crossfire when the X-Men and Starjammers attacked. Fearing his great day to be completely ruined by the interference, Vulcan trapped Xavier within the M’Kraan Crystal. Naturally fearing for his mentor’s safety, Darwin followed Xavier into the depths of the crystal, and rescued him. He was taken to the X-Men’s space ship with Professor X and Lilandra Neramani sent the ship on its way back to Earth.
World War Hulk
During the World War Hulk storyline, Darwin was one of the X-Men who heeded the call for help when Hulk came to the X-Mansion. While fighting the Hulk, he evolved the ability to absorb gamma radiation. Darwin attempted to absorb gamma radiation from the Hulk only to find that the Hulk’s gamma radiation supply was far more than he could drain. His body then determined the best way to confront the Hulk was to not confront the Hulk at all and Darwin gained teleportation powers and promptly teleported himself out of the Hulk’s path of destruction: a distance of roughly three states away.
Darwin reappeared in Messiah Complex and fought alongside the X-Men against the Marauders, Purifiers, Predator X and Cable.
Sometime after Messiah Complex, Darwin goes in search of Professor Xavier because he wants to help him. He encounters Longshot, who tries to lead him to the Professor by using his powers. Longshot, however is unsure if his powers have been working correctly and tests them out on a group of people which turn on Darwin and attack. After a brief fight, Darwin manages to get away and the crowd turns on Longshot. Afterward, Longshot meets back up with Darwin and they are attacked by Jazinda and She-Hulk who are trailing after Longshot, who is really a Skrull named Nogor. Darwin also develops a crush on Monet.
Meanwhile, Darwin’s father hires X-Factor Investigations to help him find Darwin, supposedly because he feels bad for walking out on him and his mother when he was younger.
After Darwin is reunited with his father, he is betrayed by him and sold out to operatives of an organization known as the Karma Project, who are experimenting on living human beings, only for their attempts to duplicate Darwin’s hyper-evolution to fail when the duplicate Darwins’ DNA proves incapable of handling his powers.
He is eventually recruited into the team by Siryn after she tells him that with X-Factor, he won’t have to deal with the massive threats the X-Men routinely deal with. After Monet is possessed by the villainous Cortex and attacks Lenore, a young woman in the team’s care, Darwin bravely fights her off. In the midst of the massive battle, Darwin is accidentally crushed by a Sentinel that had been blasted out of the sky by Siryn. Emerging unharmed from the debris, Darwin cynically mocks her earlier speech about not having to worry about this sort of thing with X-Factor.
Several months later, the team relocates to New York City in order to take advantage of high paying metahuman cases. Darwin is present when the team is hired by Valeria Richards and Franklin Richards, and claims to be intimidated by Valeria’s intellect. Darwin seems to still harbor feelings for Monet, becoming angry when Multiple Man tells the team that they may not be able to help her find her kidnapped father.
During a battle with Hela, Darwin adapts to her touch by becoming a death god himself, but has trouble coping with the after-effect of the god-like abilities that were granted to him. He decides to leave the team to adjust and find himself.
On his return to X-Factor in the story arc “Breaking Points”, Darwin has been plagued with voices in his head after touching Hela and assuming the form of Hela. These voices reveal to him the possible apocalypse that will be incurred by Rahne’s wolf son Tier. He takes it upon himself to kill the wolf, but is met with resistance from Tier and his guardianWerewolf by Night. Despite several attempts to subdue Tier, he is met by Rictor who tries to stop Darwin from killing the child by throwing Darwin off the top of the cliff using his newly regained earthquake-inducing powers. Darwin doesn’t die, the result of his evolutionary powers kicking in, but continues the hunt following Rahne’s son from another dimension.
Powers and abilities
Darwin has the power of “reactive evolution”; i.e., his body automatically adapts to any situation or environment he is placed in, allowing him to survive possibly anything; the exact nature and limits of his powers have not been revealed.
Examples of his powers include: gaining night-vision after a few seconds in the dark; functional gills after being submerged in water; fire-proof skin after being exposed to flame; increasing his own intelligence; converting his body into pure energy; no longer requiring oxygen after being sucked into space; morphing into a sponge when shot at with a weapon designed to destroy the subject’s nervous system; and acquiring comprehension of the Shi’ar language merely by looking at written samples. His power may concern itself with more efficient methods of survival than Darwin himself might choose; for example, instead of continually increasing Darwin’s powers when taking punishment from the Hulk, his body simply teleported him away from the fight.
His power can also work when dealing with non-immediately-life-threatening situations, such as rendering it impossible for Darwin to get drunk by allowing his body to process alcohol faster than humans would normally.