The Evolutionary War ran for 11 parts across a number of Marvel comic book annuals:
- Part 1: X-Factor Annual #3
- Part 2: The Punisher Annual #1
- Part 3: Silver Surfer Annual #1
- Part 4: New Mutants Annual #4
- Part 5: Fantastic Four Annual #21
- Part 6: The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22
- Part 7: X-Men Annual vol 1, #12
- Part 8: Web of Spider-Man Annual #4
- Part 9: West Coast Avengers Annual #3
- Part 10: The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8
- Part 11: Avengers Annual #17
The main writers for the series were Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Louise Simonson, Chris Claremont, and Steve Gerber.
The story opens with the shock revelation that The High Evolutionary survived his suicide attempt, and has rededicated himself to guiding and enhancing the evolution of humanity so that his race may one day be supreme to all others, including the Beyonders. To this end he initiates several concurrent efforts to accelerate human evolution and eliminate perceived threats to mankind’s genetic purity.
He sends his Purifier troops into Subterranea to sterilize the simple-minded races that dwell there. However, the discovery of a mutant Moloid attracts the intervention of X-Factor and Apocalypse. Apocalypse and The High Evolutionary engage in an epic battle in outer space. The Evolutionary is ultimately convinced that the Subterraneans indeed have genetic potential and ceases his operations there.
In Bogotá, the Evolutionary’s Eliminators are dispatched to exterminate a drug cartel. The Punisher discovers the battle and dispatches with both sides.
Meanwhile, the High Evolutionary visits the Eternals and persuades them aid his cause by mapping the genetic code of the Silver Surfer. The Surfer refuses to cooperate, and convinces the Eternals to let him be.
The Purifiers set about removing the powers of mutants deemed to pose a threat to humanity. When they capture Magma from Nova Roma, the inner circle of the Hellfire Club and the New Mutants storm the Purifier base in Wyoming to rescue her. During the struggle, Mirage inadvertently has her powers enhanced, allowing her to physically manifest the illusions she casts.
With the supply of drugs cut off by events in Bogotá, a drug war escalates in New York City, made worse by the Purifiers murdering drug dealers. Seeking to retaliate against the ones who disrupted his drug trade, the Kingpin learns about the High Evolutionary’s scheme and allows the information to reach Spider-Man and Daredevil. Along with Speedball, they defeat the Purifiers before they can enact the High Evolutionary’s plan to sterilize all undesirable individuals in the city.
While the royal family of the Inhumans is on Earth demanding that Crystal leave the Fantastic Four, The High Evolutionary leads a squad of Gatherers and Eliminators to the Blue Area of the Moon to obtain the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mist. Quicksilver leads the Inhumans in defending Attilan until the royal family and the Fantastic Four arrive to repel the invaders, but it doesn’t end there…