Beast: Who is the Genius X-Man?

W is for War Crimes, That’s Good Enough for Me

Bigot:A Mutant!
Beast:Yes, I am. Perhaps you self-appointed social engineers don’t realize the crucial role mutation plays in species evolution?
Bigot:Get him!
Beast: [lifts two bigots] “I’m sorry, gentlemen. Your anger at the inexorable alienation of late 20th century life is sadly misdirected!

X-Men: the Animated Series “Beauty and the Beast” – (Season 2, Episode 10)

A scientist looks through a microscope. His discovery could cure a terrible neurological disorder, but the sample won’t stabilize. He steps back and thinks. There must be some reagent, but he’s tried everything. The scientist needs a change in perspective.

With practiced ease, he leaps to the ceiling and latches on with his claws. He paces for a few minutes until he spots a small chemical vial on the back shelf. He jumps down and adds a few drops to the sample. 

The initial prognosis is promising, now all that’s left is to let it mature. This calls for a celebration. He brews tea, grabs a plate of cookies, and turns on Masterpiece Theater. “Today’s a good day“, Beast thinks as The Tempest begins.

Beast is one of the original X-Men. He’s grown from genius to hero, but taken darker paths recently.  So who is he? Why does he look like Cookie Monster’s big brother? What has he done to piss off the X-Men? Let’s find out.

Brave New World: Beast’s Backstory

Beast: “To paraphrase The Bard, I am a Mutant. Hath not a Mutant senses, affections? Fed with the same food, warmed and cooled by the same Summer and Winter as a human is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?”

X-Men: the Animated Series “Enter Magneto” (season 1, Episode 3)

Beast debuted in X-Men #1 in 1963. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Hank McCoy was born with large limbs. It became apparent by high school that he had superhuman strength and agility. He was ostracized after showing off during a football game and fell into depression until Professor Charles Xavier arrived to recruit him for his Mutant school.

Hank excelled under Xavier’s tutelage. He mastered several scientific fields and trained to become a superhero called Beast. Alongside his X-Men teammates, Beast fought to protect a world that hated and feared him. 

Stress from the job drove Hank to seek a cure for Mutation. He mixed several chemicals and earned his mad scientist credentials by testing the concoction on himself. The strange brew enhanced Hank’s mutation, giving him blue fur, claws, and other animal features. Now he truly was a Beast.

Cruel to be Kind: Beast’s History

Beast:You can take the hero out of the X-Men, but you can’t take the X-Man out of the hero!

Champions #16

Beast joined The Avengers, but later returned to the X-Men. He prioritized support roles over heroics, designing tools and researching foes when he wasn’t throwing down. Beast also cured The Legacy Virus, the mutant counterpart to AIDS.

Beast quarreled with Cyclops when the X-Men’s leader became a militant radical. He brought the original X-Men to the future to scare Teen Cyclops straight, but temporal shenanigans trapped them in the present. This was the first of his many unwise decisions. 

Beast joined a Mutant-led nation called Krakoa and took command of their black ops division: X-Force. Beast committed many atrocities during missions. He created mindless shock troop clones of Wolverine, founded an internment camp for Russian Mutants, and turned a rival nation into a mind-controlled banana republic. All for the sake of Krakoa and Mutantkind, of course.

Beast finally went too far when he forced a secret agent friend of Wolverine’s to serve him by threatening the man’s preteen daughter. Wolverine killed Beast, who had a handy clone in reserve, who then fled Krakoa. The only thing he left behind was a resignation from the X-Men.

Be All My Sins Remembered: Beast’s Powers and Personality

[Beast has seen visions of idyllic and horrific futures]
Mysterious Figure: [standing in shadows] A myriad of realities you have destroyed, Dr. McCoy. You have guaranteed that the happiness and love and respect and adventure that you crave for your friends may never happen.
Beast:Then help me. Help me put it back. Help me.
The Watcher: I am The Watcher. I do not act. And you disgust me, Hank McCoy.”[disappears]
Beast: But… but it’s not too late. I… I can still make it right. I can still fix this.

All-New X-Men #25

Beast has superhuman strength, speed, agility, heightened senses, and a healing factor. The potion he drank added coarse fur, fangs, claws that allow him to wall crawl, and the ability to sense electricity. He has trained extensively in gymnastics and studied martial arts under Captain America.

Brains beat brawn when Beast is around. He rivals Mr. Fantastic for the title of smartest man in the Marvel Universe. Physics, genetics, political science, starship repair; there’s little that Doctor McCoy can’t do.

Readers meet Beast as a fun-loving adventurer. He grew into a scholarly hero who often quoted poetry and Shakespeare mid-mission. Recent events have caused Beast to decide that he knows best for everyone so he became a monster.

The Actors Who Play Beast

George Buza – X-Men: the Animated Series, Spider-Man the Animated Series
Michael Kopsa – X-Men: Evolution
Fred Tatascoire – Wolverine and the X-Men, Marvel Anime: X-Men
Kelsey Grammer – X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past
Nicholas Hoult – X-Men: First Class, X-Men Days of Future Past, More

Didya Get All That?

Beast is a hero turned monster.

Image: Nicholas Hoult as Beast in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Copyright 2019 Marvel via Legacy Effects.

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