Henry "Hank" Phillip McCoy
Henry Philip 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 for a human; in fact, his body's proportions are comparable to those of a gorilla and later stories reveal his nickname in school was "Magilla Gorilla".
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 offer. He finds the school both a fount of scientific knowledge and a place of sanctuary and is there 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. With the team, he also visits the Savage Land, and meets Ka-Zar. Hank even battles the Juggernaut and the Sentinels. In addition, he and Iceman fight the Maha Yogi. Hank later recounts his clash with the Conquistador and how he joined the X-Men.
After the X-MenEdit
Hank leaves the X-Men shortly after his twentieth birthday, claiming 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. However, he waits too long to reverse the process, leaving him permanently transformed. He has grown gray fur (which later turns blue) all over his body and acquired sharp 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 Jason Wyngarde wipes out his memory, but quickly recovers. When the Beast is wounded, he is aided by Hellcat, and then reunited with his old girlfriend, Vera Cantor. Back at Brand Laboratories, he discovers his girlfriend Linda Donaldson is a Communist spy, and they break up.
Not long after this transformation, he 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. He 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. He 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, he 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 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 don 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 turns up 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. The 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. 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 Hell 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.
Back with the X-MenEdit
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. A turning point comes when Dark Beast finishes some of the formula, occasionally prying more information from Hank whom he imprisons 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 a virus strand. However, 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 has 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.
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. 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 female 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. 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
When a Civil War breaks out among Marvel's superheroes, Beast, along with the other X-Men, assumes a neutral stance. However, Beast is 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. 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.
World War HulkEdit
Beast is training with the New X-Men when the Sentinels fly off and the Hulk shows up looking for Xavier. Beast summons several X-Men to the fight. Beast is endangered by the Hulk when he is saved by several of his teammates. Charles shows them what he saw and Beast is shocked and apologizes to Hulk.
Messiah Complex and Divided We StandEdit
Beast is shown helping Professor X repair Cerebra 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. He's also is seen closing down the ruins of the X-Mansion and taking Martha Johansson with him.
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 as well. 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's 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. However, 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.
Dark Reign: UtopiaEdit
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 is seen briefly in Utopia: Part Six with Professor X and Emma Frost on a hospital table with the X-Men regaining his strength, but his current condition is unknown. Yuriko Takiguchi died of natural causes shortly after, and Beast spoke at his funeral. 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.
After leaving the X-Men, Beast opted to join his current girlfriend Agent Abigail Brand as a member of S.W.O.R.D. 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. 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.
Beast later returns in an issue of Uncanny X-Men to attend the funeral of his friend and teammate, Kurt Wagner, 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. After Bastion is defeated Beast walks away from the X-Men while being criticized by Namor for turning his back on the mutant race.
Avengers Vs. X-MenEdit
Beast sides with Wolverine and the Avengers.
Henry McCoy wondered why he wasn't one of the "lucky ones". If he had to remain a mutant, why did he have a power that made him look and sometimes feel like a beast? He continued to struggle for the acceptance of others. As a man of arts and letters and the sciences, Beast was very much the Renaissance man, and while his peers in the intellectual community knew this, he never received a Nobel Prize or got invited to the National Academy of Sciences as they still considered him very much a mutant. He even knew what it was like to be jilted by the proverbial Beauty — his recent fear of human emotion had caused him to turn away from long time lover Trish Tilby, who had finally seemed to find the error in her ways as far as attitude towards his secondary mutation.
Despite his ongoing battle with the demons of loneliness and rejection, he was an inveterate prankster and wit, and besides his brutish exterior, Beast was the most literate and eloquent of the X-Men, possessing a million-dollar vocabulary. Henry was every bit a human being plagued by duality: man/beast; genius/sports star; gentle giant/feral aggressor.
Equal parts biochemist and activist, Beast focused on the X-Men's goals of building better relationships between man and mutant. In immersing himself in this campaign, Beast held hope that in the world he and the other X-Men dream of, he'll finally be known more for the genius within than for the creature outside.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Genetic Atavism: powers of genetic atavism (or genetic traits that resurface in a species after many years of dormancy). He also possesses neotenous (or traits in a descendant that resemble those of an ancestor organism, like an ape trait in a human) characteristics, which would explain why he has a big modern brain with an ape-like physique. Due to secondary mutation Beast transformed from his original ape-like physique to a more cat-like physique.
- Superhuman Strength The Beast has always possessed some degree of superhuman strength, the limits of which have varied at times due to subsequent mutation. During his teens, he was able to lift approximately 1 ton. After mutating into his simian form, and after this mutation eventually stabilized, his strength was increased to the point where he could lift about 10 tons, which was sufficient to smash through a brick wall with a single punch and to tie an iron barbell into a knot. He has experienced a further increase in his physical strength after mutation into his current feline/lionesque form, though the exact amount of weight he can lift isn't known. It is known, however, that he can lift more than 25 tons.
- Superhuman Speed The Beast can run and move at speeds that are slightly beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete. He can can run at speeds up to 40 miles an hour over short distances, particularly if he runs on all fours.
- Superhuman Stamina The Beast's highly advanced musculature produces less fatigue toxins during physical activity than that of an ordinary human. He can exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood begins to impair him.
- Superhuman Durability The Beast's bodily tissues are harder and more resistant to certain types of injuries than the bodies of normal humans. His physiology can withstand great impact forces, though he can be injured by may types of conventional weapons such as standard firearms and bladed weapons. However, he can withstand physical impacts, such as falling from several stories or being physically struck by many superhumanly strong beings, that would either severely injure or kill a normal human with little to no discomfort.
- Superhuman Agility The Beast's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete. Like some of his other powers, his agility has varied at times due to ongoing and subsequent mutations. While in his simian form, he had the agility of a great ape combined with the acrobatic prowess of an Olympic level gymnast. He could walk a tightrope or a slack rope as easily as most people can walk on a sidewalk. He could also walk on his hands for many hours, or perform a complicated sequence of gymnastic stunts such as flips, rolls, and springs. He can easily match or top any Olympic record at gymnastics apparatus. Upon mutating into his feline form, his agility remains roughly the same, though it has taken some time for him to become accustomed to the physical changes.
- Superhuman Dexterity He can perform many tasks with his feet as easily as a human would do with his hands. His manual and peal edal dexterity are so great that he can write using both hands at once or tie knots in rope with his toes. Although he can still perform many of these same tasks in his current feline form, he dexterity isn't quite what it once was..
- Regenerative Healing Factor The Beast's metabolism enables him to repair mild to moderate injuries much faster than a normal human. For instance, he can recover from minor ailments, such as a cold, within a few hours. More severe injuries, like broken bones, can heal within a few days, whereas normal humans might take weeks or even months.
- Super humanly Acute Senses Hank possesses enhanced, acute senses that are comparable to those of certain animals, enabling him to see and hear distant objects more clearly than a normal human, and identify and track someone purely by scent. He also possesses cat-like night-vision.
- Claws and Fangs The Beast sports retractable, razor sharp claws at the tip of each finger and toe. Their natural edge, coupled with his strength, are sufficient to rend most conventional materials including flesh, wood, stone, and even some types of metals. He also possesses elongated canines that he can use, if he chooses to do so, as effective weapons in close quarter combat situations.
Genius-level Intellect: Henry McCoy possesses a genius-level intellect and is a world-renowned biochemist with great insight into mutant genetics and evolutionary biology: a peer of Professor Xavier, Moira MacTaggart, and Kavita Rao. He also has expertise in chemistry, physics, differential equations, electronics, nano-effusive devices, anatomy, philosophy, ancient cultures, art history, musicology, and literature. Beast is even an accomplished keyboard musician! Multilingual (French, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Russian, English)
Hand to Hand Combatant: The hyperactive, bouncing Beast is an excellent hand-to-hand fighter. He gained his initial combat training from Professor Xavier, and then continued his tutelage in combat gymnastics from Captain America. He typically uses a freestyle form of combat, similar to that of Spider-Man, that allows him to make full use of his great strength and agility. During times of anger, however, the Beast is known to resort to brawling and street fighting tactics.
Class 10; Hank is able to lift 10 tons
The Beast possesses a fully-equipped laboratory in Xavier's mansion. Presumably it holds the latest in biological and material analysis devices. It may also contain Shi'ar technology.
The Beast often travels with the X-Men in their modified SR-71 Blackbird.
While known to use heavy weapons, The Beast prefers to fight bare-handed.
- Beast was set to appear in the X-Men movie, but was taken out due to make-up problems. His doctor persona was transferred into Jean Grey's character.
- Kelsey Grammer is also known for playing psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane in the Frasier TV series, a character that, while having none of Beast's powers, was very refined and cultured himself.
- In X-Treme X-Men Volume #1, it was revealed that Hank had a crush on Psylocke when she was a supermodel. They flirted with one another in the same issue.
- Hank's religious affiliation is Episcopalian.
- The Beast enjoys Twinkies. Evidence can be found in X-Men #73, where Beast's list of New Year's Resolutions revealed that one of his resolutions was to "Eat fewer Twinkies" (the other resolutions were to "read more 15th century texts" and "cure Legacy Virus", the latter the only one which it is evidenced that he did).
- Beast was the one who initially discovered the cure for the Legacy Virus.
- Due to Beast's transformation into a cat-like being he has developed a carnivorous taste for flesh, which he is conflicted over.