Beast on the cover of A+X #7 (June 2013)
Art by Dale Keown and Norman Lee
|First appearance||X-Men #1 (September 1963)|
|Created by||Stan Lee (Writer)
Jack Kirby (Artist)
|Alter ego||Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy|
|Notable aliases||Blue Gorilla, Kreature, Mutate #666|
Beast (Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics and is a founding member of the X-Men. Originally called "The Beast", the character was introduced as a mutant possessing ape-like superhuman physical strength and agility, oversized hands and feet, a genius-level intellect, and otherwise normal appearance and speech. Eventually being referred to simply as "Beast", Hank McCoy underwent progressive physiological transformations, permanently gaining animalistic physical characteristics. These include blue fur, both simian and feline facial features, pointed ears, fangs, and claws. Beast's physical strength and senses increased to even greater levels.
Despite Hank McCoy's inhuman appearance, he is depicted as a brilliant, well-educated man in the arts and sciences, known for his witty sense of humor, and characteristically uses barbed witticisms with long words and intellectual references to distract his foes. He is a world authority on biochemistry and genetics, the X-Men's medical doctor, and the science and mathematics instructor at the Xavier Institute (the X-Men's headquarters and school for young mutants). He is also a mutant political activist, campaigning against society's bigotry and discrimination against mutants. While fighting his own bestial instincts and fears of social rejection, Beast dedicates his physical and mental gifts to the creation of a better world for man and mutant.
The character has also appeared in media adaptations, including animated TV series and feature films. In X2, Steve Bacic portrayed him in a very brief cameo in his human appearance while in X-Men: The Last Stand he was played by Kelsey Grammer. Nicholas Hoult portrays a younger version of the character in X-Men: First Class. Both Hoult and Grammer reprise their roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Hoult also reprised the role in X-Men: Apocalypse. He had a cameo in Deadpool 2.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 2.1 Main Timeline Beast
- 2.1.1 Youth
- 2.1.2 With the X-Men
- 2.1.3 Furry change and team trading
- 2.1.4 X-Factor
- 2.1.5 Return to X-Men
- 2.1.6 Studying the Legacy Virus
- 2.1.7 Enhanced feline form
- 2.1.8 Astonishing X-Men
- 2.1.9 Civil War
- 2.1.10 Decimation
- 2.1.11 Messiah CompleX
- 2.1.12 Move to San Francisco
- 2.1.13 The X-Club
- 2.1.14 Utopia
- 2.1.15 S.W.O.R.D.
- 2.1.16 Second Coming
- 2.1.17 Secret Avengers
- 2.1.18 Schism and AvX
- 2.1.19 Accelerated Mutation and Time Travel
- 2.1.20 Death of X and working with Inhumans
- 2.1.21 Inhumans vs X-Men
- 2.2 Time-displaced Beast
- 2.1 Main Timeline Beast
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Similarities
- 5 Other versions
- 6 In other media
- 7 Reception
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Created by writer Stan Lee and artist/co-writer Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in X-Men #1 (September 1963). Stan Lee writes in the foreword to X-Men: The Ultimate Guide that he made Beast the most articulate, eloquent, and well-read of the X-Men to contrast with his brutish exterior. Further, the book opines that the Werner Roth-Roy Thomas team garnered admiration for their "appealing and sensitive characterizations of the original X-Men". Roth, under the alias Jay Gavin, had taken over for Kirby fully by issue #18, and Thomas was a new talent. Beast was given an individualized, colorful new costume, along with the rest of the X-Men by issue #39 in order to attract new readers. During Jim Steranko's tenure, which added "exciting art", Roth returned, working with Neal Adams who blended Kirby's style with "realism, idealized beauty, and epic grandeur".
In Amazing Adventures #11 (March 1972), written by Gerry Conway, Beast underwent a radical change and mutated into his now familiar furry, blue appearance. The concept originated with Roy Thomas, an effort to make the character more visibly striking, and Beast also became more werewolf-like to capitalize on the success of Werewolf by Night. Steve Englehart, who wrote the remainder of the Beast's short-lived spotlight in Amazing Adventures, emphasized the character's wit rather than the tragedy of his transformation into a more monstrous form, reasoning that the Beast's intelligence and sense of humor would allow him to see his misfortune in perspective. Over the next decade the Beast would appear on the roster of several teams in titles ranging from The Avengers to The Defenders to X-Factor. It wasn't until 1991, in X-Factor #70/X-Men #1, that the Beast finally returned to the X-Men.
Englehart later said that he added the Beast to the Avengers roster because he wanted to write the character again and thought his funny, down-to-earth personality would make him a good foil for Moondragon. Succeeding writers of The Avengers similarly found that the character's lightheartedness made a good balance to the team's generally serious tone, resulting in the Beast's run in The Avengers outlasting his earlier run in X-Men. His friendship with fellow Avenger Wonder Man would likewise come to eclipse his friendship with X-Man Iceman for the comics fandom. The Avengers #137 (July 1975) debuted the Beast's catchphrase, "Oh, my stars and garters," and The Avengers #164 (October 1977) was the first to depict him as a sex symbol, a take which writer Jim Shooter said resulted in very positive mail from female readers in particular.
Beast cured the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men #390 (2001), and in X-Treme X-Men #3 (2001) he experienced a further mutation into a feline being, first shown in the introduction to New X-Men (June, 2001), by Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison. As evidenced on the back cover of X-Treme X-Men Vol. 1, Chris Claremont, writer of that series in addition to both Uncanny X-Men (for sixteen consecutive years) and X-Factor, contributed much to the Beast's characterization. Citing Claremont as inspiration for his run on New X-Men, Morrison explains Beast as a "brilliant, witty bipolar scientist". Morrison continues, "I saw Henry McCoy as an incredibly clever, witty, cultured, well-traveled, experienced, well-read character so I brought out those parts of his personality which seemed to me to fit the profiles of the smartest and most worldly people I know – his sense of humor is dark and oblique. He's obviously quite clearly bipolar and swings between manic excitement and ghastly self-doubt. He has no dark secrets, however, and nothing to hide."
Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men: Gifted story arc featured a "mutant cure" designed by Indian Benetech scientist Dr. Kavita Rao, and the prospect of "real" humanity arouses the interest of a heavily mutated Beast, who visits Rao only to discover that the drug is the product of illegal human experimentation on an unknown victim. The idea of a mutant cure, which had previously appeared in the 1992 animated series, was also the basis of the X-Men: The Last Stand movie plot and the series was even made into a motion comic. IGN called the arc focusing on Beast "best X-Men run in a decade" and lauded Whedon for flawless character dynamics. According to BusinessWeek, Beast is listed as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics.
Beast appeared as a regular character throughout the 2010-2013 Secret Avengers series, from issue #1 (July 2010) through its final issue #37 (March 2013).
Fictional character biography
Main Timeline Beast
Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy was born in Dundee, Illinois, in the United States, to Norton and Edna McCoy. His father, Norton McCoy, is employed at a local nuclear power plant before Henry's birth and was once exposed to intense nuclear radiation, which appears to have caused his son's mutation. Hank is born with a vast intellect, unusually long arms and legs, and unusually large hands and feet - a rare although not unique case of mutant powers manifesting before puberty. His bodily proportions are comparable to those of a gorilla and later stories reveal his nickname in school was "Magilla Gorilla".
With the X-Men
Henry's mutation more fully manifests during adolescence, providing greater strength and agility, and although his powers allow him to briefly excel in athletics during his remaining time at school, he soon attracts the animosity of his fellow students and other non-mutant humans. As he seeks refuge, he is approached by Professor Charles Xavier, who invites him to study at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
Henry recognizes the opportunities such an institution can offer him and accepts the invitation. He finds the school both a fountain of scientific knowledge and a place of sanctuary. There he is introduced to the X-Men, who accept him into their ranks and give him the codename Beast. Alongside workouts in the Danger Room, under Xavier's tutelage, he studies subjects ranging from differential equations to Proust.
With the rest of the X-Men on their first field mission, he battles Magneto for the first time, and later Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He became stressed because he had to keep a secret identity while in the X-Men team, so he briefly left the team to become a professional wrestler. While he was a professional wrestler he met Unus the Untouchable and helped the X-Men build a ray gun to make Unus completely untouchable, resulting in Unus not bieng able to feed himself. Beast then rejoined the X-Men team. With the team, he also visits the Savage Land, and meets Ka-Zar. Beast even battles the Juggernaut but is badly hurt. He then fights the Sentinels with the X-Men. In addition, he and Iceman fight the Maha Yogi. Hank later recounts his clash with the Conquistador and how he joined the X-Men.
Furry change and team trading
Hank leaves the X-Men shortly after his twentieth birthday, after remarking that he is no longer one of the "strangest teens of all". He becomes a research scientist at the Brand Corporation, a genetics research facility. His assistant, Linda Donaldson, quickly becomes his girlfriend. Hank isolates a "hormonal extract" allowing anyone to become a mutant for a short period of time, and uses the mutagenic serum on himself to disguise his appearance while foiling an attempt to steal his research. He waits too long to reverse the process, leaving him permanently transformed. He grows grey fur, which later turns blue, all over his body and acquires pointed ears, elongated canine teeth, claws, the ability to run on walls and ceilings like a spider, enhanced senses, an accelerated healing factor, and a feral side he struggles to control. He briefly joins the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants when Mastermind wipes out his memory, but quickly recovers. When Beast is wounded, he is aided by Patsy Walker, and then reunited with his old girlfriend, Vera Cantor. Back at Brand Laboratories, he discovers his girlfriend Linda Donaldson is an agent of the criminal Secret Empire, and they break up.
Not long after this transformation, Beast is recruited to join the Avengers as a provisional member. He is later granted full Avengers membership and remains a member for many years, becoming a close friend of Wonder Man. He leaves the team periodically to rejoin the X-Men during times of need (such as The Dark Phoenix Saga). Beast returns to the Avengers each time, but eventually leaves so that the team, which has a six-member limit at the time, can be filled out by new recruits.
He later joins the Defenders, stays with the team to organize as the "new" Defenders, and is one of the final surviving members at the time of its first disbandment as a result of the battle with Moondragon and the Dragon of the Moon. Beast and fellow surviving Defenders Angel and Iceman are contacted shortly after by Cyclops and Jean Grey to form a new group, X-Factor.
With X-Factor, Beast rejoins the original members of the X-Men, and is again reunited with Vera Cantor. Beast starts out in his furred form, but on their second mission, he is captured by Tower. He is delivered to Carl Maddicks and used in an attempt to develop a cure for mutancy, which has rendered Maddicks' son, Artie, mute. Maddicks develops a serum based on McCoy's original serum, and tests it on Beast. Hank is also subjected to chemotherapy and radiation, and suffers a cardiac arrest. X-Factor arrives on the scene and saves Hank, but not before he's been injected with the serum. When the bandages around his face are removed, he is revealed to have lost his blue fur. This helps in X-Factor's cover as normal humans who are mutant hunters for hire (though they actually help the mutants they capture). When they see the need for their powers, they get new costumes similar to their old X-Men costumes, and call themselves the X-Terminators, posing as renegade mutants. Beast wears a mask as he did originally, since he now looks human again.
Eventually X-Factor clashes with the ancient mutant Apocalypse after Angel loses his wings in a battle and shortly after goes missing. Apocalypse turns Angel into Death, the most powerful of his four Horsemen of Apocalypse. During the battle, Beast is touched by the Horseman Pestilence, whose touch usually causes incredible pain and viral infection. The infection interacts with the recent serum treatment of Maddicks, and instead of killing him, Hank is affected in such a way that every time he uses his superhuman strength, his intelligence decreases. Though the battle is won, it comes at the cost of Hank's decreasing intelligence and Angel's humanity, which would not return for a time. Hank’s condition worsens for weeks. He even openly talks to Trish Tilby, a reporter, not realizing she might use the information on TV. Out of respect for Hank's situation, Trish does not mention his name when she reports about X-Factor’s recent battles, only that one of them lost his intellect while heroically defending New York. Beast is still hurt by her using the information at all, but she is able to convince him that she meant well.
X-Factor finally ends their charade and are hailed as heroes, and they then don costumes similar to their previous X-Terminator costumes. When Hank’s mind is nothing more than that of a child, he intercepts a mutant called Infectia who is trying to kiss Iceman. Infectia has the ability to manipulate molecular structures through touch, creating mutated "monsters". When she kisses Beast, he becomes feverish and begins switching back and forth between his normal and furred forms. Finally, he stabilizes in his furry appearance, keeps his intelligence, and has more strength than ever.
Return to X-Men
Hank soon resumes wearing his old costume, but now no longer has need for a mask. During the events of Inferno, Beast, along with the rest of X-Factor team up with the X-Men and various other heroes to fight the evil forces invading the city; eventually, they manage to stop a portal between Limbo and Earth from remaining open and peace returns for the survivors. Soon after Inferno ends, the X-Tinction Agenda takes place where Genosha wants to punish various mutants for war crimes on their island. Here, Beast plays yet another key role. Shortly after the crisis ends, X-Factor switches costumes once more; Cyclops, Jean, and Iceman all wear identical costumes, while Beast returns to wearing trunks, and Archangel sticks to his old costume he received from Apocalypse.
Towards the end of X-Factor's career, they battle the Shadow King during the Muir Island Saga. The final battle leaves Professor Xavier crippled again, which results in X-Factor rejoining the X-Men.
Studying the Legacy Virus
One of Beast's greatest challenges emerges with Stryfe's fatal Legacy Virus. Hank is already despondent, as he is turning thirty and questions his life accomplishments. His frustrations are further compounded when Professor Xavier and Moira MacTaggert don't ask for his assistance with the Legacy research, but it turns out Xavier is just giving him his privacy. Perusing their data, Hank learns the problem is more difficult than he had initially imagined. Hank has always believed that, given time, he could solve any problem; the Legacy Virus becomes his obsession. He goes as far as making an unethical decision in giving Mister Sinister information on the virus, since he has more resources and fewer morals to inhibit him.[volume & issue needed]
A turning point comes when Dark Beast finishes some of the formula, occasionally prying more information from Hank whom he imprisoned and replaces for a while. The most critical step toward a solution (other than when Beast individually finds the cure without acknowledgement) comes when Dr. MacTaggert discovers Mystique's irresponsible manipulation of virus strains. The cure is incomplete and it takes Beast to design the final cure. Based on Moira's notes, Beast concocts the anti-virus to much elation, but it soon is repaid with a heavy toll—Colossus chooses to sacrifice his life to release the remedy.
After mourning the loss of a teammate, Hank briefly leaves the school with Storm and her X-Treme X-Men team in search of Destiny's diaries. After an attack by Vargas that leaves Psylocke dead, Beast is gravely injured and returns to the Institute.
Enhanced feline form
As the world experiences a mutant baby boom, much of the mutant community seemingly begins experiencing "secondary mutations", often taking the form of additional or enhanced abilities. In the aftermath of Vargas' attack, Beast's secondary mutation is "jumpstarted" due to the powers of teammate Sage. The further mutation causes Beast to develop a more feline physique, to which he initially has some trouble adapting. A psychic attack by the genocidal Cassandra Nova leaves Beast humiliated, badly beaten (by the controlled body of his friend Beak) and haunted by the possibility that his new form is simply a step in a continuous state of devolution. Additionally, the alteration in form causes his long-time girlfriend, Trish Tilby, to break up with him after being accused of bestiality in the media. Over time, Beast strikes up a strong friendship with Emma Frost, in one incident bringing her flowers to cheer her up. He finds her diamond form shattered into thousands of pieces and spends some time putting her back together. With a final jolt of psionic energy from Jean Grey, Frost returns to life.[volume & issue needed]
Beast later uncovers what seems to be a female mutant with feline features, like his situation. This raises hopes for him, until he discovers it's not a mutant human that looks like a cat, it's a mutant cat who looks like a human. Either way, the creature is at the limit of her life and Beast allows her to leave the X-Mansion to pass away quietly in a spot she finds comfortable.[volume & issue needed]
When news of a "cure" that would reverse mutations suddenly arises, Beast finds himself seriously considering taking it so he can once again appear human. Hank eventually decides against it after vigorous "urging" by fellow team member Wolverine, as it would send out a negative message to other mutants if an X-Man were to take the cure. After learning that the cure was developed by fellow geneticist Kavita Rao through experimentation on mutant corpses – as well as on the X-Man Colossus – Beast helps take down Rao's operation. When the villainous Hellfire Club attacks the X-Men, Cassandra Nova telepathically strips away Beast's higher human consciousness, leaving him with only his animal instincts. After hunting Wolverine around campus (and even eating his leg), a student named Blindfold faces him down with a device he and Xavier had built in case his consciousness was ever lost. The device is a high-powered sensory stimulant in the form of a ball of string, which Beast had alluded to as being his greatest fear. Once restored, he is quick to put on a suit and tie and help Wolverine with a hyper-magnetic device. He, along with his teammates, are taken from the Mansion by the government agency S.W.O.R.D. and airlifted to the alien Breakworld.[volume & issue needed]
When a Civil War breaks out among Marvel's superheroes, Beast, along with the other X-Men, assumes a neutral stance. Beast was not a particular fan of the policy and secretly violates his stance by providing Spider-Man with a holographic disguise to enable him to continue teaching at Midtown High after his secret identity has been exposed. Despite his personal feelings about the Superhuman Registration Act, Beast enlists his services to the Initiative program after the war's end, to assist in the training of the next generation of superheroes.
The X-Men and various other mutants attend the funeral of a young mutant boy named Matt Landru who has been killed in a road traffic accident and muse on what this means for mutant-kind. Beast plans to find a way to reverse M-Day. Despite the 'aid' of his other self (the Dark Beast), along with exploring such diverse avenues of investigation as analysis of alternate timelines or an attempt to track down the Scarlet Witch, he is unsuccessful in his research, but the final part shows him holding a child wearing a three-eyed smiley face shirt saying "Evolution" on it as a promotion of the Messiah Complex.[volume & issue needed]
Beast is shown helping Professor X repair Cerebro when the X-Men are tracking down the child with the X-Gene. Beast is later seen at the Mansion when it is attacked by the Sentinels, who have been taken over by an unknown person. When Iceman arrives at the school with the New X-Men, Beast works with Prodigy and is able to stabilize the mortally wounded Hellion, as well as the other New X-Men and X-Men injured in their battles with the Purifiers and the Marauders, respectively. He is later present during the battle on Muir Island and is among the first to reach Professor Xavier after he is accidentally shot by Bishop. Xavier's body soon disappears.
In the aftermath, Cyclops has sent Beast to search for Professor Xavier, whose status is unknown by the X-Men. Beast is also seen closing down the ruins of the X-Mansion and taking Martha Johansson with him.
Move to San Francisco
Beast is seen as part of the team setting up a new X-Men headquarters in San Francisco, California. He is working closely with Cyclops, Emma Frost, and the rookie X-Man, Armor. He is also still seeing Abigail Brand, who requests that he take a weekend off from the X-Men so that she can 'tamper with him extensively'. He helps Tabitha Smith, teaching the young and flippant woman to use research instead of brutal strength to fight her enemy, a mutant with sedation powers called Nuwa. He and Warren go to Buenos Aires to recruit Doctor Nemesis to help the X-Men save the Mutant race. Only after they stop tube-grown super Nazis, does Nemesis agree. They also recruit Madison Jeffries. Together, they created a time travel device so that they could travel into the future and retrieve the mutant Messiah. However, because they created a device for time travel in so little time, the side-effect of the device is that the user's biology breaks down upon entering the future, so it will automatically bring the person back in thirty-two and a half hours.
Beast discovers that the Super-Skrulls with X-Men abilities can be infected with the Legacy Virus. Despite his ethical protests to the contrary, Cyclops decides to use it on them, offering the antidote in return for the Skrulls' retreat.
In order to save mutantkind from the effects of M-Day, Beast and Angel had to gather a team of specialists to help them. They gathered Madison Jeffries, Yuriko Takiguchi, and Dr. Nemesis. They then returned to Graymalkin Industries to meet their final member Dr. Kavita Rao (who was formerly trying to cure mutation). Beast and the X-Club traveled back to 1906 in order to find Dr. Nemesis' parents and discover the origins of modern mutation. During the mission, they also fought an early version of a Sentinel created by the Hellfire Club, and inadvertently caused the San Francisco earthquake. When they returned to the present, they found that their DNA evidence had been buried beneath where the Dreaming Celestial was standing in the park.
After being captured, Beast became a test subject for the Omega Machine (designed by Dark Beast to eradicate mutant powers and place them in Weapon Omega) while being held prisoner on Alcatraz Island by Norman Osborn, along with Professor X. Beast is shown getting weaker and mentions losing his claws while hooked up to the machine. Beast was rescued by the X-Men, and later recuperated from his injuries. Later, he spoke at the funeral of Yuriko Takiguchi when Magneto had arrived. Beast seemed increasingly disillusioned with Cyclops' leadership and methods, such as allowing Magneto to become a member to his time under torture under the Dark Beast. This resulted in Beast leaving the X-Men.
After leaving the X-Men, Beast opted to join his current girlfriend Agent Abigail Brand as a member of S.W.O.R.D.[volume & issue needed] However, shortly after joining her in space, Brand's co-commander, Henry Peter Gyrich (hired by Norman Osborn) begins to round-up the aliens residing on Earth, in a xenophobic attempt at avoiding another Secret Invasion.[volume & issue needed] As a result of Henry's plan, he has even made moves against Brand, resulting in her, Beast, and the dragon Lockheed, becoming fugitives from S.W.O.R.D. and attempting to overthrow Gyrich.[volume & issue needed]
Beast later returns in an issue of Uncanny X-Men to attend the funeral of his friend and teammate, Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) where he confronts Scott Summers and blames Kurt's death on Scott's increasingly militant and extremist attitude to protecting the mutant species at all costs (even at the cost of sacrificing his friends to do so). Despite his issues with Cyclops, Beast remains on Utopia to help deal with the attacks being made by Bastion.[volume & issue needed] Following Bastion's defeat at the hands of Hope Summers, Henry again departs Utopia.[volume & issue needed]
Hank appears as part of Steve Rogers' Secret Avengers team. He goes with the covert ops squad on their mission to Mars,[volume & issue needed] and assisted the team in helping Shang Chi.[volume & issue needed] He also played a crucial part in the capture, interrogation, and "un-brainwashing" of John Steele.[volume & issue needed]
Schism and AvX
During the Avengers vs. X-Men miniseries, Beast sides with the Avengers to investigate and stop the Phoenix Force's return to Earth.[volume & issue needed] Hank joins the team of Avengers sent to halt the Phoenix Force's return to Earth, but later temporarily resigns from the Avengers in protest against their efforts to stop the 'Phoenix Five'- the five X-Men who have received the power of the Phoenix Force – as their actions appear to initially be benevolent. He returns to aid the Avengers and the X-Men when Cyclops and Emma Frost begin to be corrupted by the Phoenix's power.
Accelerated Mutation and Time Travel
In the aftermath of the Phoenix War, Cyclops now actively strikes out at government organizations and holds mutants prisoner, with the X-Men unwilling to actively fight him as they fear the subsequent mutant civil war that might result. Beast, who is apparently dying due to side-effects of his secondary artificially-accelerated mutation, stumbles upon a solution after a chance comment from Iceman who says "the past Cyclops wouldn't tolerate his present self's actions". Beast travels back in time to the early days of the Xavier Institute to bring the original five X-Men from that period into the future, hoping that Scott's past self will be able to convince his present self to stand down.
Beast lapses into a coma shortly after bringing the team into the present, and Jean's telepathy, which is artificially accelerated by the trauma of her trip to the future and witnessing what Scott has become, manages to connect the minds of the two Hanks. This allows the younger Hank to spot a mistake in his future self's calculations and stabilize his physiology by reverting to a blue furred ape-like state again, though this time, his ape-form is bald and has no head hair aside from the blue fur covering his whole body. The young X-Men decide to stay in the present and become the All-New X-Men, except for Angel who joins Cyclops' Uncanny X-Men.[volume & issue needed]
Death of X and working with Inhumans
After Cyclops goes to Muir Island and discovers that all of the mutants died painful deaths, he calls Beast to do a diagnosis and Beast discovers that somehow that the Terrigen cloud, the substance that gives Inhumans their powers, has become toxic towards mutants after mixing with the atmosphere changed its structure. Hoping to bridge Inhuman and Mutant relations in light of this new conflict, Beast works with the Inhumans to find a way to make the Terrigen cloud safe for mutants while making sure it remains suitable for Inhuman powers. He becomes a trusted ally to the Inhumans and joins their counsel.
Inhumans vs X-Men
When the present Beast realizes that he cannot find a cure for the Terrigen cloud, he visits the rest of the mutants and advises them that the best course of action is for all mutants to leave Earth, but his teammates object and imprison him before he can warn the Inhumans that war is coming. However, after learning what the cloud will do to mutants, Medusa activates a generator to destroy the Terrigen cloud, leaving Emma to be branded a traitor for her false claims inform about Cyclops' true death to manipulate the X-Men into destroying the Inhumans. Havok helps Emma to escape for the sake of his brother's memory, while Beast and his remaining teammates make up, all regretting what their lives have come to ever since discovering that the Terrigen could kill them.
The younger Hank and All-New X-Men defects to Cyclops's school,[volume & issue needed] after the events of the Battle of the Atom unfold.[volume & issue needed]. Young Hank is later transported to the Ultimate Marvel universe,[volume & issue needed] where he is captured by that world's version of Doctor Doom.[volume & issue needed], then teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in finding the Black Vortex.[volume & issue needed]
The time-displaced Jean Grey accidentally reads the mind of the present Beast and finds out that he regrets never telling her his true feeling.[volume & issue needed] Jean then confronts the time-displaced Hank and gives him a kiss.[volume & issue needed] They don't have time to develop their relationship since Dr. Octopus attacks them in New York City,[volume & issue needed]
Introduction to magic
Following the reconstruction of reality after the Battleworld crisis, the displaced X-Men remain in the future, travelling the world as they try to find their place, while the 'present' Beast works with the Inhumans to find a means of resolving the recent release of Terrigenesis crystals that have proven dangerous to mutants.[volume & issue needed] Increasingly frustrated with his inability to find a way back to their time through science, the young Beast contacts Doctor Strange for advice on using magic, but although Strange cannot help due to his currently weakened powers, when Hank is able to help him find a solution to a dimensional rift he was investigating, Strange reassures Hank that he is smart enough to find a solution to the current dilemma. After the conflict with the Inhumans is concluded, the younger Beast reveals to his teammates that he has determined, through a combination of science and magic, that the younger X-Men cannot return to the past as they are already there, leaving them free to travel the world and find their own place.
The young Beast finds himself working alongside Magneto along with the rest of the time-displaced X-Men doing whatever it takes to preserve Xavier's dream. Beast begins to use magic more freely on their missions, something that greatly distresses Cyclops. Whenever they're at X-Men HQ Beast spends most of his time on his own to continue study magic and becomes increasingly reclusive in the process.
Powers and abilities
It is possible that Beast's mutation is a result of genetic atavism. However, he also possesses neotenous characteristics, which may explain him having a genius-level intellect despite his animal physique. He also possesses superhuman strength, speed and agility. He is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, employing a unique style of acrobatic combat, from combat training he received at Professor Xavier's and coaching from Captain America.
Originally, Hank McCoy retains the basic features of a normal human alongside a generally simian physiology (e.g., elongated limbs and enlarged extremities) equivalent to that of a Great Ape. This mutation gives him superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, agility, flexibility, dexterity, coordination, balance, and endurance. Hank is equally dexterous with all four limbs; able to perform tasks with his feet or hands with equal ease. Because of his talents and training, Beast can outperform any Olympic-level athlete, contorting his body and performing aerial feats gracefully. His strength and dexterity allow him to climb vertical surfaces with just his hands and/or feet, jump great distances and survive falls that would kill any ordinary person. He also possesses enhanced senses and can track people for great distances over open terrain and his feet are sensitive enough to detect electronic signals (from bombs, listening devices, etc.) through solid walls and floors. Later, he drank an experimental solution of his own making and mutated further through the growth of grey fur covering his entire body and the enhancement of all of his existing abilities, especially his strength, and Hank also gained a nearly instantaneous healing factor. The psychological impact of this first transformation caused Beast to experience short-term amnesia and also made it difficult for him to control his animalistic instincts, which would cause him to slip into an uncontrollable berserker rage during combat. However, his body suddenly mutated again after a short time, changing his fur color from grey to black (although comic book printing technology depicted it as blue), returning his strength to previous levels, and losing his healing factor. He was also able to more easily control his animal instincts after this second mutation. Beast gained the ability to emit mood altering pheromones, causing sexual attraction in women. Hank McCoy briefly returned to his human form with his hair color now being depicted as black, not reddish brown. During this time he was occasionally depicted with claws and fangs, but these were not a part of his original mutation. However, as a result of being touched by Pestilence his strength began to increase exponentially while his intellect began to decrease.
After Infectia's kiss restored Hank to his simian physique, his intellect had stabilized and returned to his previous genius-level, and his strength had increased to superhuman proportions. Beast's fangs and claws became a consistent part of his appearance after this return to his "blue and furry" form.
After being critically wounded, Hank's body undergoes a secondary mutation, jump started by Sage. The result is a more feline appearance equivalent to that of a big cat. His strength, speed, stamina, sturdiness, and senses increase further with this change. He gains cat-like agility, flexibility, coordination, and balance, and all his senses are enhanced to twenty times that of a normal human being. In addition, Beast develops an accelerated healing factor that allows him to repair mild to moderate injuries within the span of a few hours. However, as his hands and feet change from simian to feline (going from a normal human set of four fingers to just three, retaining the opposable thumb), he loses his superhuman dexterity, once admitting that he used to play the guitar, but is now learning to play the drums instead. Following the X-Men's relocation to San Francisco, Beast discovers that he had regained some of his old manual dexterity. In the first issue of Warren Ellis' Astonishing X-Men run, Beast also comments he no longer needs full sleep.[volume & issue needed]
It is later discovered that his secondary feline mutation is still detrimental to his health: as such, with the combined efforts of past versions of Jean Grey and himself, Beast's condition was stabilized in a more human-like form, possessing blue fur and larger than the average human male but otherwise fairly human.
Hank possesses a brilliant intellect. He is a world-renowned biochemist, having earned Ph.D.s in Biophysics and Genetics, and is the man who cured the Legacy Virus. He frequently functions as both field medic and in-house physician for the X-Men, despite not technically having an MD. His intelligence and expertise in genetics rival that of Professor X, Moira McTaggert, and Kavita Rao. Despite this, he has never received a Nobel Prize or been elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences. A Renaissance man, McCoy is well-versed in many fields including languages (fluent in English, German, French, Latin, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, and Russian as well as the fictional language Latverian), literature, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, history, art and art history, anthropology, linguistics, and music, as well as in political science and economics with a special affinity for science and technology and a penchant for quoting literary classics. His vast scientific knowledge ranges from theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, differential equations, nanotechnology, anatomy, biomedicine, analytical chemistry, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering to the construction of a hyper-magnetic device. An electronics expert, he often repairs Cerebro and makes upgrades to the Danger Room settings. He has made several deus ex machina devices on par with Reed Richards, including a device that strips entities of cosmic powers. While not a medical doctor, he was able to perform brain surgery on the Red Skull to extract the fragment of Charles Xavier's brain that the Skull had grafted onto himself, removing the Skull's telepathic abilities while leaving the villain otherwise apparently healthy.
After a meeting with Doctor Strange, the displaced younger Beast has mastered a combination of science and magic, allowing him to return himself and his four teammates to the past for a few minutes, although he notes that it took a great deal of effort to send them back for that long and it merely confirmed that history has been 'reset' so that the displaced X-Men are no longer 'needed' in the past. He has also mastered a mystical portal that allowed him to send the Juggernaut to Siberia after passing through Hell.
According to writer Will Murray, a possible inspiration for the Beast was Andrew Blodgett "Monk" Mayfair, a companion of pulp hero Doc Savage. Both are possessed of an apelike appearance and are brilliant scientists. Before becoming more erudite in later issues, McCoy also used a great deal of slang in his early appearances much like Monk.
In other media
- Beast makes his first animated appearance on a 1966 The Marvel Super Heroes episode of The Sub-Mariner, with the original X-Men line-up (Angel, Cyclops, Iceman, and Jean Grey).
- The ape-like Beast appears, alongside the other original X-Men, in the episode "The Origin of Iceman" of the 1981 animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. He is seen in a flashback in his original form and has no lines.
- Beast is a regular character and member of the X-Men in the 1992 X-Men animated series, voiced by George Buza. He appears in his blue simian form throughout the entire series.
- Buza also voiced Beast in the two-part episode "The Mutant Agenda"/"Mutant's Revenge" of the Spider-Man animated series, a crossover with the 1992 X-Men series.
- Beast appears as a regular character beginning in the second season of the 2000 animated series X-Men: Evolution, voiced by Michael Kopsa. He starts off as the chemistry and gym teacher of the high school the younger X-Men attend, suppressing his mutation through a serum he developed. Eventually the serum starts to fail, and he mutates into the furry blue "Beast" and joins the X-Men.
- Beast is again featured as a regular character in the 2009 animated series Wolverine and the X-Men, voiced by Fred Tatasciore. He is the first X-Man recruited by Wolverine in the series, being the only X-Man to have stayed behind after the destruction of the X-Mansion and the disappearances of Professor X and Jean Grey.
- Beast appears in the Astonishing X-Men motion comic, voiced by Mike Pollock and later Ron Halder.
- Beast appears in Marvel Anime: X-Men, voiced by Hideyuki Tanaka in the Japanese version and again by Fred Tatasciore in the English dub. This version of Beast is shown in his cat-like appearance.
- Beast appears in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, sporting his cat-like appearance.
- Beast was included in early drafts for the 2000 film X-Men, but had to be removed for the film to be greenlit by the studio, due to budget concerns. Elements of his persona, including his medical expertise and political activism, were transferred into Jean Grey's character.
- Steve Bacic makes a brief cameo as Dr. Hank McCoy in the 2003 film X2, on a television screen in a bar.
- Kelsey Grammer portrays Beast in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand. In the film, Beast is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States, serving as Secretary of Mutant Affairs. After a "cure" for human mutation is developed and weaponized, he resigns from his position in the government and helps the X-Men fight Magneto's forces on Alcatraz Island. He ultimately injects Magneto with the cure. After the incident, he is appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
- Nicholas Hoult portrays a younger Beast in the 2011 prequel film X-Men: First Class. Actor Benjamin Walker was originally cast in the role, but dropped out of the film to star in the Broadway musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. McCoy's most notable character facet in the franchise from this point on is his long-lasting crush on Mystique. In the film, he originally possesses only prehensile feet and enhanced speed, agility and reflexes. He attempts to cure himself of his mutation with a serum derived from Mystique's DNA, but this causes his transformation into his familiar blue-furred feline form.
- Hoult and Grammer returned as Beast in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past. Hoult revealed to Joblo that Hank created a serum which controls his mutation, making him appear human unless he gets angry. Grammer reprised his role as the older Beast in a cameo at the end of the film. When asked by the younger Beast if he is alive in the future, Wolverine tells him that he is not. A viral marketing website for the film shows that Beast was killed in 2015 by an angry mob of human protesters outside his home in upstate New York. Wolverine's actions in the past – during which he interacted with the younger Beast and warned him and Xavier about the future – create a new timeline where Beast is alive, with Wolverine seeing the older Beast walking through the Xavier Mansion when he returns to the future.
- Hoult reprised his role as Beast in the 2016 X-Men: Apocalypse. Still using his serum to maintain his human form, Hank has also developed a new jet in the mansion's basement, respecting Xavier's dream to make the mansion a full university for mutants and humans but preparing for war nevertheless. He reverts to his "beast" form after the mansion is destroyed in the first confrontation with Apocalypse when he is captured by Stryker and thus misses his shot, but subsequently pilots a jet stolen from Stryker's own fleet to Cairo to confront Apocalypse, engaging the Horseman Psylocke in battle, with her telekinetic-enhanced leaps and her mental sword matched by his greater physical strength and reflexes. At the film's conclusion, Beast is depicted as one of Xavier's lieutenants (along with Mystique) with the revived X-Men team.
- Hoult portrays the character in a brief cameo in Deadpool 2. While Deadpool is in the X-Mansion and rants about how vacant it seems, Beast and other X-Men are briefly shown behind a sliding wooden door, which is quietly closed by Beast in an attempt to hide from Deadpool.
- Beast appears in the 1994 Super Nintendo side-scrolling video game X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse as a playable character.
- Beast also appears as a playable character in the 1995 Sega Genesis side-scrolling game X-Men 2: Clone Wars.
- Beast makes a cameo appearance in Chun-Li's ending in the 1996 fighting game X-Men vs. Street Fighter.
- Beast makes a cameo appearance alongside Blanka in the Death Valley stage in the 1997 fighting game Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter.
- Beast is a playable character in the 2000 fighting game X-Men: Mutant Academy and the 2001 sequel game X-Men: Mutant Academy 2. He is again playable in the 2002 fighting game X-Men: Next Dimension.
- Beast appears as an NPC in the first level of the 2001 game Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- Beast appears as an NPC in the 2003 movie tie-in game X2: Wolverine's Revenge, voiced by Richard Portnow. He gives Wolverine a watch which tells them how much time they have to cure themselves from an ailment.
- Beast is a playable character in the 2004 action role-playing game X-Men Legends, voiced by Richard Doyle. The player can tour his lab when not on a mission.
- Beast appears as an NPC and boss in the 2005 sequel game X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, with Richard Doyle again voicing the character. In the game, Beast is captured by Apocalypse and mind-controlled into being Dark Beast.
- Beast is featured in the 2006 movie tie-in game X-Men: The Official Game (which occurs between X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand), voiced by Gregg Berger. He appears multiple times throughout the game.
- Beast is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Beast is a playable character in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance. In the game's Special Operations 16, he is captured by Mister Sinister to serve as Pestilence, one of Apocalypse's Horsemen. He is returned to normal once Apocalypse and all the Horsemen are defeated.
- Beast appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
- Beast appears as an NPC and a playable character in Marvel Heroes, also voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
- Beast appears as a playable character in the mobile game Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Beast is a playable character in Marvel: Future Fight.
Figures of Beast have been released in multiple action figure lines, including Toy Biz's X-Men Classics line, the Marvel Legends line from Toy Biz and later Hasbro, and the Marvel Icons twelve-inch (305 mm) action figure line. Beast is the sixteenth figurine in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection. The Beast has also appeared in Hasbro's Marvel Universe Infinite Series line.
In the Marvel magazine, Marvel Vision, for most of the series Beast was the supposed author of his self-titled "Beast Files". This series of 2-page articles was perhaps the first time a character in any comic universe was depicted to be keeping detailed profiles on other heroes and villains. This format has been adopted since by many other books, including most notably the Alex Ross series, Justice (DC Comics) which had 2 profiles in each issue during the mini-series' 12 issue run. The files appeared for over 2 years, and the column was voted the fan-favorite. "Beast Files" was actually written by Benny R. Powell.
Beast has received positive reception as a comic book character and a member of the X-Men. Wizard magazine ranked Beast the 180th greatest comic book character of all time, on their list of the Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time. IGN ranked Beast as the 58th greatest comic book hero of all time stating that Beast embodies everything about the mutant struggle in the Marvel Universe. IGN also ranked Beast as the 9th greatest X-Men member stating that when the world can accept Henry McCoy, the X-Men will have succeeded in their mission, as #7 in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012.
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- Essential Classic X-Men Vol. I – first appearances
- X-Men: Mutations TPB – becomes furred
- Avengers: The Morgan Conquest TPB – joins Avengers
- Beauty and the Beast miniseries 1-4 – teams with Dazzler
- X-Men: Fall of the Mutants – reverts to human; becomes dumber
- X-Treme X-Men Vol. I TPB – Beaten badly
- X-Treme X-Men: Savage Land TPB – finds love
- New X-Men: E is for Extinction TPB – lion mutation