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Art by Tom Lyle
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman #417 (March 1988)
Created byJim Starlin (writer)
Jim Aparo (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoAnatoli Knyazev
Team affiliationsKGB
Black Lantern Corps
Suicide Squad
Notable aliasesThe Beast
AbilitiesEnhanced physique due to cybernetic enhancement and extreme KGB conditioning
Extraordinary hand-to-hand combatant
Master of weapons and explosives
Prosthetic gun in place of left hand

KGBeast (Anatoli Knyazev) is a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo, the character first appeared as an adversary of Batman.[1]

KGBeast has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. Anatoli appeared in his first live adaptation as a recurring cast member on The CW Arrowverse television series Arrow played by David Nykl. Anatoli also appeared as a secondary antagonist and a henchman for Lex Luthor in the DC Extended Universe film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice played by Callan Mulvey.

Publication history[edit]

KGBeast first appeared in (March 1988) and was created by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo.[2]

Fictional character biography[edit]


Anatoli Knyazev (Russian: Анато́лий Кня́зев, Anatoliy Knyazev), code-named "The Beast", and known to the C.I.A. as the "KGBeast" was trained as an assassin by "The Hammer", a top secret cell of the KGB. In addition to being the master of several martial arts, his strength was cybernetically enhanced, and he had also mastered the use of every deadly weapon known. At the time of his first appearance, he was rumored to have killed at least 200 people.

First appearance[edit]

The Beast made his first appearance in the storyline, "Ten Nights of The Beast" Batman #417 (March 1988), which was later reprinted as a trade paperback of the same name. It was written by Jim Starlin and drawn by Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo.[3]

The Hammer's general, angry that the Soviet government was working to better relations with the United States, sent Knyazev on a mission to kill 10 high-ranking U.S. officials in an attempt to cripple the Strategic Defense Initiative program. These include scientists, civilian administrators, military figures, and politicians, the last of whom being then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan, scheduled to visit Gotham City.

Despite Batman's best efforts, the Beast eliminated nearly all of his targets. In particular, he showcased his ruthlessness by poisoning an entire banquet, killing over 100 people, just to ensure that his target would die.

When Batman finally faced the Beast in hand-to-hand combat, the Beast quickly gained the upper hand, fleeing only because he thought Batman had back-up. In addition, at the time, the Beast proves himself better than Batman in both tactical planning and skills.

During the rematch between the two, Batman snared the Beast's left wrist with the Batrope. Rather than be captured, the Beast grabbed a nearby axe and chopped off the restrained hand. The Beast quickly had the limb replaced with a cybernetic gun, made by one of Gotham's top weapons dealers.

Before the final confrontation between Batman and the Beast, C.I.A. Agent Ralph Bundy reminded Batman that, if the Beast were to be captured alive, he would have to be handed over to the Soviets, and likely escape justice. Knowing this, Batman, after thwarting the Beast's assassination attempt on Reagan, destroyed the Beast's gun-arm, lured him into the sewers, and then cornered him in an underground room. The Beast invited Batman to fight him to the death, but instead Batman locked the room, effectively burying the assassin alive.

In the later story, Batman: Year Three, Batman noted that he then contacted the police to pick up the subdued villain.

Later appearances[edit]

However, the Beast escaped and went into hiding, from where he saw the Soviet Union dissolve. His protégé, the NKVDemon, surfaced in Russia, but was killed by Batman's ally, Soviet police detective Nikita Krakov.[4] The Beast became a traditional supervillain, engaging in a counterfeiting scheme and having additional cybernetic implants inserted into his body. He fought Robin and the Huntress, but was ultimately defeated by King Snake. He later acquired a nuclear bomb the size and shape of a baseball, which he used to threaten Gotham City. He was defeated by Robin and ultimately locked up in Blackgate Penitentiary.[5]

In the No Man's Land storyline, the Beast appeared as a henchman of Lock-Up, during the latter's tenure as the unofficial warden of Blackgate.

One Year Later[edit]

One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, the Beast was thrown from a roof by a man thought to be Two-Face, after the Beast botched an assassination. His lifeless body was later found by the police, his death caused by two gunshots to the head. Two-Face appeared to be innocent of the murder; the killer seemed to be the Tally Man, hired by the Great White Shark.[6] The Beast's corpse was later stolen by a mysterious group who were reanimating corpses and turning them into zombie-like soldiers.[7] His head was shown floating around in a tank with several life support devices, indicating that he would return at some point in the future.[8]

Blackest Night[edit]

As part of the Blackest Night story arc, KGBeast's corpse was reanimated by a black power ring and recruited to the Black Lantern Corps during the Blackest Night: Batman miniseries. He used his ring to form a black energy construct of his gun arm.[9]


As part of the New 52 the character got a new backstory First on the New Suicide Squad #2 (October 2014). KGBeast/Commander Anatoli Knyazev was a citizen of the USSR until it dissolved. He was trained by Boris Ulyanov/Hammer, as well as others like Kanto,[10] and has mastered several forms of martial arts. In addition he gained cybernetic abilities which increased his strength.[citation needed] He fought against the Suicide Squad as a Russian military soldier. After losing many times he became a member of Suicide Squad.[volume & issue needed]

DC Rebirth[edit]

In DC Rebirth KGBeast is now simply The Beast. He is described as one of the world's best contract killers, who formerly worked for the U.S. government and typically is exclusive to Washington D.C. His logo is a 666 symbol. He had his own private island constructed for the purposes of taking his captured enemies there and engaging them in a hunt to the death, free from any national jurisdictions. He is hired by the Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White to kill Batman and Two-Face after the latter threatens to release his collection of blackmail data to the world.[11] Anatoli is last seen when, to stop him killing a group of rioting civilians, Batman lunges into him and over a cliff. Only Batman is saved by Duke Thomas, leaving Beast's fate uncertain.

He is hired by Bane to break Batman by assassinating his protege Nightwing.[12] He is cornered by Batman after he murdered his father at the cabin. He's been hit in the neck, and Batman decides to walk away, leaving his fate unknown once again.[volume & issue needed] It is later revealed that KGBeast was saved by government agents who had been watching their fight from a distance.[volume & issue needed]

Other versions[edit]


In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, KGBeast is imprisoned in military Doom prison. During the prison break, KGBeast is shot with a blast by corrections officer Amazo.[13]

In other media[edit]


  • KGBeast makes non-speaking appearances in Justice League Unlimited. This version is a member of Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society. Prior to and during the episode "Alive!", Lex Luthor takes control of the Secret Society, but Grodd mounts a mutiny. KGBeast initially sides with the latter before defecting to the former.
  • Anatoly Knyazev appears in Arrow, portrayed by David Nykl. Introduced in season two, he met Oliver Queen on the island of Lian Yu and received the latter's help in escaping from Dr. Anthony Ivo. Queen later sought out Knyazev's help in joining the Bratva to kill Russian gangster Kovar. In the present, Queen occasionally seeks out Knyazev's aid in fighting Star City's crime. In season six, Knyazev joins Cayden James's cabal and fights against Queen until Ricardo Diaz usurps James in the season six finale, leading to Knyazev abandoning Diaz for fighting without honor. Following this, Knyazev becomes Queen's ally again, as well as an informant for A.R.G.U.S. In season seven, Diaz seeks revenge on Knyazev for betraying him and slaughters his Bratva unit. While Queen and his team save Knyazev, he leaves Star City not long after. In the season eight episode, "Prochnost", Knyazev returns to Russia following Diaz's death and opens a bar. He later helps Queen, Laurel Lance, and Mia Smoak procure a weapon that could be used on the Monitor while tangling with a separate faction of the Bratva. Knyazev makes his last appearance in the series finale, "Fadeout", as a guest at Queen's funeral after the latter gave his life to avert the Crisis.
  • KGBeast appears in the Harley Quinn animated series, voiced by Matt Oberg.


  • KGBeast makes a brief appearance in Batman: Assault on Arkham, voiced by Nolan North. He is recruited into Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad, but believes she is bluffing when she says she implanted bombs in the recruits' necks to keep them in line. When he attempts to leave, Waller detonates KGBeast's bomb, killing him as a warning to the remaining squad members.
  • Anatoly Knyazev appears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, portrayed by Callan Mulvey. This version is a mercenary, terrorist, and weapons trafficker who secretly works for Lex Luthor. While conducting business with African terrorists, Knyazev betrays them and kills his men before Superman arrives, though Knyazev escapes. While delivering Kryptonite to Luthor, Batman pursues Knyazev, but Superman stops the Dark Knight, allowing Knyazev to complete his job. On Luthor's orders, Knyazev kidnaps Martha Kent and Lois Lane, but Batman rescues the former and Superman the latter.

Video games[edit]

KGBeast appears as an NPC in the NES version of Batman: The Video Game.[14] This version is a ninja who wields a sword and shuriken.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 212. ISBN 9780345501066.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  3. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Using the Cold War as their backdrop, writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo crafted the four-part storyline 'Ten Nights of the Beast'. {{cite book}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  5. ^ Robin (vol. 4) #14 (February 1995) ("Troika" Part Four)
  6. ^ Detective Comics #817 (May 2006)
  7. ^ Nightwing (vol. 2) #142 (May 2008)
  8. ^ Nightwing (vol. 2) #143 (June 2008)
  9. ^ Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
  10. ^ "Batman #56 (2018)
  11. ^ All-Star Batman #4
  12. ^ Batman Vol 3 #55
  13. ^ Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 (July 2011)
  14. ^ "Batman: The Video game". NES Player. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2010-12-29.

External links[edit]