WILLIE EVANS Jr.
Real Name: William Evans Jr.
Identity/Class: Human mutant
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Grunt (aspect of personality); Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Susan Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm), Guardsman (Michael O'Brien), Iron Man (Tony Stark), Dr. Henry Wallace, X-Factor (Angel/Warren Worthington III, Beast/Hank McCoy, Cyclops/Scott Summers, Iceman/Bobby Drake, Marvel Girl/Jean Grey)
Enemies: Miss Thatcher, Project: PEGASUS
Known Relatives: William (father), Doris ("Dee Dee", mother, deceased)
Base of Operations: Project: PEGASUS;
formerly New Hope Memorial Hospital, New York City
First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#203 (February, 1979)
Powers/Abilities: Willie possessed immense psionic powers, and his eyes glowed whenever he utilized his abilities. He could form solid creations from his own thoughts at will. He created duplicates of the Fantastic Four and X-Factor that actually seemed to surpass the originals in power. He could restructure solid matter at will. He could release energy in the form of blasts or explosions sufficient to demolish an entire building. He could form dense shields. The more he used his powers, the weaker he became physically. He eventually exhausted his powers completely, which proved to be fatal to him.
Weight: 80 lbs.
(Fantastic Four I#203 (fb)) - In 1968 (see comments), Willie Evans Sr. was a soldier whose platoon was involved in an experiment to determine the close range effects of a Cosmic Ray Bomb. Although he suffered no immediate effects, his genetic structure was mutated, and he eventually passed his mutated DNA to his son, Willie Jr.
Willie Jr. was normal at birth, but at the age of nine years, he lapsed into a coma. Identifying the radiation as the likely cause of the boy's affliction, Willie's physician, Dr. Wallace, summoned Reed Richards to assist in the case. Reed had been a student of Dr. Wallace, and readily agreed to help by donating a Comatron to monitor Willie's condition while they ran a few tests. Willie, however, sensing the presence of Richards, subconsciously created a monstrous version of the Fantastic Four, which rampaged in the city.
When the actual Fantastic Four opposed their doppelgangers, Willie continued to feed his creations with more and more energy to allow them to overcome their opponents. However, the massive output of energy was extremely draining to the comatose boy, sending him into critical condition. Reed finally determined what was going on and used his brand-new Radiabsorber to siphon the energy out of the four doppelgangers, causing them to dissolve and not further drain Willie. After Willie recovered from the coma, Reed explained to Mr. and Mrs. Evans that their son was a mutant, and recommended they contact Professor Charles Xavier for assistance.
(Iron Man Annual#8 (fb) - BTS) - Feeling that they wanted their son to have as normal of a life as possible, the Evanses elected against taking him to Xavier. They instead moved out of New York City and enrolled Willie in a normal school, attempting to keep his powers under control themselves. Perhaps out of feelings of loneliness due to his difference, Willie created a playmate for himself in the form of a small, talking frog-like creature named Grunt. Grunt apparently represented a portion of Willie's repressed frustrations and angers, and he could access Willie's powers without his knowledge. When Willie's mother ordered him to do his homework and household chores, Grunt arranged for an accident and forced her car off the road, which resulted in her death.
(Iron Man Annual#8) - Grunt encouraged Willie to become increasingly hostile towards everyone in his environment. After Willie manifested his powers in school, he and his father began to receive threats, and they fled to a new location. This happened on several occasions until the research group Project: PEGASUS learned of it; they tracked the Evanses down and abducted Willie, keeping him heavily sedated while they experimented to determine the extent of his powers. Willie Sr. contacted the group X-Factor, initially believing them to be responsible for the abduction, and then requested their assistance in rescuing young Willie.
Tony Stark, in the guise of Iron Man, was delivering an Alpha-Particle Generator to Project: PEGASUS. When he saw the sedated Willie Jr. being carted through the halls, he questioned the Guardsman (the security chief for the Project at the time), and learned that Willie was not there voluntarily. When X-Factor came to investigate, they initially were opposed by the Guardsman. The distraction caused a nurse to delay giving Willie his sedation, which allowed Grunt to force him to revive. Rather than simply escaping, Grunt goaded Willie into attacking the Project for revenge.
As X-Factor, Iron Man, and the Guardsman opposed him, Willie used more and more power against them. The output of violent emotions and energy strengthened Grunt, who began forcing Willie to do his bidding, attacking even those who were attempting to help him. Grunt even blasted Willie's father, and then revealed to Willie that he had also killed his mother, and that Willie had subconsciously wanted it. Grunt grew in size and power, even manifesting himself to others present in a monstrous form as he prepared to kill them all. But Willie mustered all of his power and concentration, forcing Grunt back to his subconscious, where he belonged. However, the effort required to do so proved fatal for Willie. As his tearful father cradled him in his arms, the dying Willie uttered his last words and wondered aloud, "Why, Daddy? Why was I born so... different?"
The night after Willie's funeral, the saddened Grunt (having returned to his original frog-like form) appeared by Willie's grave, promising that they'd make everyone pay. However, with Willie dead, Grunt appeared to be powerless to do anything about it.
Comments: Willie Evans Jr. was created by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard.
Grunt was created by Bob Harras and Paul Neary.
Another excellent use and wrap-up for a former one-shot character. I'd like to see a lot more of this.
Willie received a profile in X-Men: Phoenix Force Handbook#1 (September, 2010).
The year of Willie Sr.'s exposure to the "Cosmic Ray Bomb" was likely topical. - Ron Fredricks
Profile by Snood. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.
Willie Evans Jr. has no known connection to:
Grunt is not to be confused with:
Doris Evans (Willie's mother) should not be confused with:
Willie Evans Jr.'s Fantastic Four doppelgangers should not be confused with:
Miss Thatcher has no known connection to:
They were the parents of Willie Evans Jr. While serving in the military, Willie Sr.'s platoon was exposed to the radiation of a Cosmic Ray Bomb; although seemingly unaffected himself, Willie Sr. would eventually pass his mutated DNA down to his son.
Willie and Doris' son seemed normal a birth, but he eventually lapsed into a coma at the age of nine, so they took him to the hospital. Dr. Wallace determined that their son's condition was the result of dangerously high cosmic radiation levels in his body. While in a feverish state of delirium, Willie Jr. first manifested his mutant reality-altering power by creating evil duplicates of the Fantastic Four. After the real FF defeated their doppelgangers, Mr. Fantastic suggested that the Evanses take their son to Professor Charles Xavier.
But the Evanses wanted their son to have as normal of a life as possible, so they instead moved out of New York City and enrolled Willie Jr. in a normal school, attempting to keep his powers under control themselves. Perhaps out of feelings of loneliness due to his difference, young Willie created a playmate for himself in the form of a small, talking frog-like creature named Grunt. Grunt apparently represented a portion of their son's repressed frustrations and angers, and he could access young Willie's powers without his knowledge. When Doris ordered her son to do his homework and household chores, Grunt arranged for an accident and forced her car off the road, which resulted in her death.
When young Willie manifested his powers in school, he and his father began to receive threats, and they fled to a new location. This happened on several occasions until the research group Project: PEGASUS learned of it; they tracked the Evanses down and abducted Willie Jr., keeping him heavily sedated while they experimented to determine the extent of his powers. Willie Sr. contacted the group X-Factor, initially believing them to be responsible for the abduction, and then requested their assistance in rescuing young Willie.
During the final confrontation with Iron Man and X-Factor, Grunt revealed his true nature, so Willie Jr. forced the monstrous creature back into his subconscious, but at the cost of his life. As the tearful father cradled his dying son in his arms, young Willie could only wonder, "Why, Daddy? Why was I born so... different?"
--Fantastic Four I#203 (Iron Man Annual I#8
Created by the reality-altering mutant Willie Evans Jr. while he was in a feverish state of delirium, they had a distorted appearance and possessed the same powers as their counterparts.
The evil duplicates nearly defeated the real FF, until Mr. Fantastic used his Radiabsorber against them, which caused the four doppelgangers to dissolve.
--Fantastic Four I#203
Initially manifesting as a cartoon-like humanoid frog standing about 12-inches tall, Grunt was a malevolent aspect of young Willie Evans Jr.'s personality. Grunt's appearance was apparently based on the comic books that Willie was always reading.
The personification of Willie's anger and rage, Grunt was the dark-side of Willie's repressed subconscious; he was eventually able to access Willie's reality-warping powers himself and became a separate entity.
During his final confrontation with Iron Man and X-Factor, Grunt turned against Willie Jr. and took on a much larger and more monstrous appearance. Willie was eventually able to seemingly force Grunt back to his subconscious, but at the cost of his own life.
The night after Willie Jr.'s funeral, the saddened Grunt (having returned to his original frog-like form) sat by Willie's tombstone, promising that they'd make everyone pay for what happened.
--Iron Man Annual I#8
Miss Thatcher (first name unrevealed) was a school teacher, and one of her students was Willie Evans Jr.
When she caught Willie speaking out of turn and disrupting the class, she gave him an additional homework assignment as punishment. But the next day, Willie told her he hadn't completed the work, so she ordered him to go to the principal's office.
The upset Willie used his power to bring Miss Thatcher's desk to life; this incident resulted in the classroom being left in shambles, and Miss Thatcher was sent to the hospital in a state of shock.
--Iron Man Annual I#8
When the reality-altering mutant Willie Evans Jr. escaped from Project: PEGASUS, he was pursued by by the members of X-Factor. At the urging of Grunt, Willie used his powers to form these giant-sized replicas of the team from pillars of rock.
Wille's creations duplicated the powers of the Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Girl, but to a greater degree; they temporarily rendered their living counterparts unconscious, allowing Willie and Grunt to make their getaway.
After the defeat of the heroes, the duplicates were no longer needed, so presumably they returned to their natural state.
--Iron Man Annual I#8
images: (without ads)
X-Men: Phoenix Force Handbook#1 - Willie Evans profile (Main Image - Willie Evans Jr. with Grunt on shoulder)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p16, pan6 (Headshot - Willie Evans Jr.)
Fantastic Four I#203, p4, pan3 (Willie Evans Jr. (eyes glowing) in Comatron)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p39, pan4 (dying Willie Evans Jr. held by his father; X-Factor, Iron Man (background))
Fantastic Four I#203, p2, pan6 (Doris and Willie Evans Sr.)
Fantastic Four I#203, p3, pan3 (Doris and Willie Evans Sr.)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p10, pan1 (Willie Evans Sr. reveals his wife is dead)
Fantastic Four I#203, p5, pan1 (Fantastic Four doppelgangers)
Fantastic Four I#203, p17, pan2 (Fantastic Four doppelgangers dissolve)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p1, pan1 (Grunt)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p37, pan1 (Grunt in monstrous form, blasting Willie Evans Jr.)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p37, pan5 (Grunt in monstrous form; Iron Man, Willie Evans Sr. (foreground))
Iron Man Annual I#8, p40, pan7 (Grunt sitting by Willie Evans Jr.'s tombstone)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p2, pan2 (Miss Thatcher)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p2, pan4 (Miss Thatcher, attacked by animated desk; Willie Evans Jr. (background, red shirt, eyes glowing)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p20, pan1 (X-Factor facing duplicates of themselves formed by Willie Evans Jr.)
Iron Man Annual I#8, p21, pan2 (X-Factor battles duplicates of themselves)
Fantastic Four I#203 (February, 1979) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Keith Pollard (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks)
Iron Man Annual I#8 (October, 1986) - Bob Harras (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Brian Akin & Steve Garvey (inks)
First posted: 09/06/2001
Last updated: 06/02/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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