The half-black, half-latino Armando Muñoz manifested his ability of reactive evolution soon after birth, and because of it, his mother despised him. Soon after, he was found by scientists, who experimented on him and made his existence public. Moira MacTaggert then took him in as one of her own, and he became a member of the "Missing X-Men," alongside Sway, Petra and Kid Vulcan.
Darwin was created by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Pete Woods and first appeared in a back-up story in X-Men: Deadly Genesis issue 1 (2006).
At first, like the rest of the Missing X-Men, Darwin was created to be a throw away character in order to show how the original X-Men survived Krakoa. However, he was brought back and became a member of the X-Men and later a member of X-Factor.
Major Story Arcs
The first time we see Darwin among the Missing X-Men, they are on a mission to save the original X-Men from Krakoa. Unfortunately, his teammates Sway and Petra don’t manage to survive. Darwin decides to absorb them and, as a result of their dying efforts, Kid Vulcan is saved. Darwin, unwilling to die there, converts himself into energy and fuses himself with Kid Vulcan, effectively giving the entire team a single body. After Vulcan is found many years later, he confronts the X-Men. Marvel Girl senses that Darwin still resides within Gabriel, so she uses her telepathic powers to draw him out, which injures Vulcan. The X-Men sees this as thier chance to finally defeat him, but Vulcan, still stronger than they thought, manages to escape.
With Vulcan gone, Beast notices that Darwin’s remains are not only alive but are beginning to restore his body. One week passes, and we see the Professor and Beast marvel at how Darwin’s body has restored itself using pure energy.
The Rise And Fall Of The Shi'ar Empire
Once fully restored, Darwin is chosen by Professor X to lead a team intended to stop Vulcan from destroying the Shi'ar Empire. When the Professor is later captured by agents of the Shi'ar, Darwin secretly jumps on the ship with intent to rescue Professor X. While he successfully boards the ship, his rescue attempt ultimately fails when he is captured upon arrival. Darwin then reluctantly accepts Vulcan's offer to be the Best Man at his wedding. Darwin attends the wedding in shackles. Darwin then learns that Professor X had been trapped in the M'Kraan Crystal by Vulcan. Fearing for his mentor's safety, he followed Charles into the depths, eventually succeeding in rescuing him.
World War Hulk
Sometime later back on Earth, the Hulk attacks the Xavier Institute. During his battle with the Hulk, Darwin manifests the ability to absorb gamma radiation, but finds that the Hulk had more then he can siphon off. With this, his body involuntarily decides that the best way to defeat the Hulk was to stay away from him teleports him out of the battle. For a time, Darwin is thought to be missing.
Darwin's return happens in the Messiah CompleX storyline, where he fights alongside the X-Men, against various teams also seeking the mutant child.
Secret Invasion and X-Factor
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. However, Longshot is unsure if his powers have been working correctly and tests them out on a group of people, who turn on Darwin and attack. After a brief fight, Darwin manages to get away and the crowd turns on Longshot. Afterwards, 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. 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 the investigation succeeds and Darwin is reunited with his father, he is betrayed by him and sold out to by operatives of an organization known as the Karma Project, who are experimenting on living human beings. He is eventually saved and recruited by X-Factor. When the villain Cortex takes control of Monet, Darwin bravely fights her off. He also begins to develop feelings for Monet in the process. When Madrox leaves Detroit to restart X-Factor Investigations, Darwin stays under the employment of Terry. However, Terry shut downs the office a month later, and Arman (along with everyone else) returns to New York.
To Hela and Back
Most recently, X-Factor (once again under the control of Jamie Madrox) journeyed to Las Vegas on a mission to rescue Pip the Troll from Hela, the goddess of the dead. Whilst there, and with assistance from Thor, the team battled Hela and her Undead Niffleheim Warriors.
During the battle, Hela attempted to use her death touch on Darwin, but on account of his mutant abilities, he was able to adapt to and survive the touch by becoming a death god (or at least someone with the power of a god) himself. With this new found power, Darwin was able to defeat Hela and the team escaped with Pip the Troll at their side.
Having been severely affected by his new found persona, Darwin left the team in order to reflect upon the events that transpired in Vegas. His journey took him to the desert where he had a vision of Tier, who believes himself to be the son of Rahne Sinclair, or so he claimed. Shocked and confused by this, Darwin is now working his way back to his friends in New York (X-Factor), startled by his time in the desert.
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 the human norm.
What If...? The Second Team Of X-Men Had Lived?
In this reality, the team comprised of Vulcan, Darwin, Sway and Petra survived the battle against Krakoa. Instead, the original X-Men die, leaving the Missing X-Men to become the X-Men. They are able to finally beat the Brotherhood and Vulcan is viewed as the greatest hero ever. However, it is then reveled that Vulcan was responsible for the deaths of the original X-Men. As a consequence, he is sent to live on the Island and watch the event over and over for the rest of his life. In a twist, Darwin is able to use his powers deliberately and consciously and is able to negate Vulcan’s powers.
Appearances in other Media
- Darwin makes his film debut in X-Men: First Class, portrayed by Edi Gathegi. In the film, he is portrayed as a young cab driver who is recruited by Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr for their fledgling mutant team. While bonding with his new teammates at a CIA facility, the group is attacked by the Hellfire Club, led by Sebastian Shaw. Shaw offers the mutants a chance to join him, but Darwin and Havok attempt to overpower him. However, Shaw absorbs Havok's energy blast and channels the power into Darwin, killing him. Darwin's death proved controversial, with fans and critics noting both that it made little sense and that it was an example of the "Black guy dies first" trope.
- Darwin was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Darwin was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the Bonebreaker Build-a-Figure wave.