X-Factor (1st series) #89
Allied with Singularity Investigations, Purity, X-Cell, and the Genoshan government
• Attuned to the ambient power structure of the mutant race, allowing him to remotely call upon any and all mutant abilities possessed by currently powered mutants
The man known as Josef Huber, the Isolationist, is an enigma. It is known that he possesses a vast personal fortune and claims both German and Genoshan citizenship, although it's possible he was being deceptive for each claim. Apparently not a mutant himself, Huber somehow became the living representation of every mutant power on Earth. The power set of any and every active mutant became accessible to him at all times. Instead of making him all-powerful, Huber was overwhelmed by the input of conflicting energies in his system. In particular, the multiple overlapping telepathic powers made him a functional omnipath, drowning in the constant thoughts of everyone on the planet. To make matters worse, some form of mental block was erected in his mind, leaving Huber unable to directly kill or cause harm to mutants. He could do nothing to lessen the torment he was experiencing. He became the Isolationist, crafting a frozen citadel in the far north to limit his contact with others, with a supply of medication that partially mitigated the psychic pressure on his mind.
Huber claims to have no particular hatred of mutants. For the sake of his own sanity, however, he is willing to commit genocide to reduce the mutant population and quiet his mind. For a time, Huber left his isolated fortress and journeyed to Genosha. He met secretly with the newly appointed Genegineer Sasha Ryan, keeping himself isolated in a hidden vault that may have helped offset the pain caused by his powers while in Genosha. Huber and Ryan seemed to have dark plans in mind for the Mutate population, and Huber hoped to wipe out the large mutant population on the island to lessen his torment. Given the presence and needs of the Isolationist, the initial outbreak of the Legacy Virus on Genosha may not have been a coincidence, but an orchestrated event. [X-Factor (1st series) #89] However, nothing further was seen of the Isolationist's plans on Genosha. It's likely that any calculated plotting he had in mind was upended when Fabian Cortez killed the Genoshan president and Genegineer, kicking off a civil war in Genosha between Mutates and Magistrates that lasted for years. [Bloodties crossover]
The Isolationist retreated to his fortress of solitude, struggling to maintain his sanity as time passed. One miraculous day, M-Day, the pressure on his mind quantitatively lessened. The decimation of millions of mutants reduced the population of mutantkind to only a few hundred. Huber was able to think clearly enough to put several plans into action, hoping to eliminate the final dregs of mutantkind and end his isolation. He became a silent partner in Singularity Investigations, and it may not have been a coincidence that Singularity began their own work on recreating the Legacy virus. Huber also provided technology and backing to the X-Cell, former mutants who blamed the government for the Decimation. These misled homegrown terrorists could only further enflame people against mutantkind.
Huber became aware of the fringe mutant detective agency X-Factor Investigations after they shut down Singularity and their Legacy research. He decided they would be useful pawns in his upcoming plot against mutantkind. Huber recognized that the prescient Layla Miller might foresee or counter his plans for her agency, and so he arranged to neutralize Layla's influence. On a trip to Paris, Monet and Siryn of X-Factor saw a building full of former mutants burned to the ground by anti-mutant protestors. A young girl named Nicole was the only apparent survivor, and Monet decided to bring her back to X-Factor for sanctuary. "Nicole" was actually an android created by the Isolationist using Forge's mutant gift for invention. She would serve as a spy amongst X-Factor, and also contained a chaotic randomizing generator that stymied Layla's knowledge relating to her, masking the Isolationist's upcoming efforts. [X-Factor (3rd series) #16]
Once X-Cell failed to cause any real backlash against the remaining mutants with their attacks, the Isolationist decided to make his move against X-Factor. Huber triggered Nicole's programming, causing her to attack and nearly kill Layla Miller in Central Park. He also worked through the anti-mutant group Purity to orchestrate a child kidnapping case that would appeal to Siryn and Monet. They were lured away from Manhattan by Huber's agents acting as concerned grandparents, further limiting the agency's personnel.
Huber approached Madrox in a bar, claiming he was familiar with the man from his defiant stance against the Superhuman Registration Act weeks prior. Huber identified himself as a concerned philanthropist interested in helping the threatened mutant species. Indeed, that was his angle: to have mutantkind protected under the Endangered Species Act. If mutants truly were a separate species from humans, as many of their detractors and more militant supporters claimed, then the number of mutants left in the world was dangerously low. If recognized under the Act, the government would be unable to act against mutants, and would actually be required to provide them sanctuary and support.
Using some of his borrowed telepathy, the Isolationist was able to "nudge" X-Factor into agreeing with his plan. They, in turn, got him in touch with other prominent mutants like Cyclops and Beast of the X-Men, whom he also prodded mentally. Privately, Huber's ultimate goal was to establish a "million mutant march," gathering all (or at least the majority) of remaining mutants together to march on Washington and declare their intent under the ESA. Once they had all gathered together, he could indirectly kill them all through minions, perhaps setting off a nuclear or biological weapon. Once the mutant population was gone, his head would clear and Huber would finally know peace. Unfortunately, Layla managed to escape from Nicole in Central Park and called Madrox to warn him.
With the X-Men already departed, the Isolationist hoped he could eliminate X-Factor now and his plans could proceed even without them. He managed to cast several members through a teleportation portal rigged with Forge's powers, sending them back to his Arctic landscape to freeze to death (neatly side-stepping his mental block against directly killing mutants). However, this was observed by Rictor, the depowered member of X-Factor. Huber thought he could easily kill the non-mutant Rictor, but the young man proved surprisingly resilient. Unbeknownst to Huber or Rictor, Ric was temporarily immune to all mutant powers due to exposure to Terrigen. Rictor survived his struggle with the Isolationist long enough to retrieve the teleport device and for Siryn and M to return from their diversion. With his plans unraveling and the feedback from Monet's telepathy causing him direct pain, the Isolationist abandoned his efforts without further malice. When planning genocide, he mused, what was the point of homicide? [X-Factor (3rd series) #21-24]
The Isolationist returned to his Arctic abode and spent months dwelling on his fate. He was eventually visited by Jezebel, the daughter of Mephisto. She proposed an idea to bring about the apocalypse, at the same time killing the mutants whose existence troubled Huber so much. In the months that followed, however, it was revealed that Jezebel was actually working in opposition to her father and the upcoming Hell-On-Earth War that would kickstart the apocalypse. The Isolationist did not resurface, and so whether he actually contributed to the plans of Jezebel or Mephisto is unknown. In all likelihood, Josef Huber remains in his frozen castle, constantly tormented by the existence of mutantkind and yet unable to do anything about it directly. [X-Factor (1st series) #233-234]