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Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy, better known as Beast, is a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, first appearing in X-Men #1 (dated September 1963).

Introduced as one of the original five X-Men, Hank was a genius-level intellect whose mutation manifested itself in the form of gorilla-like physiology and enhanced strength, but remained otherwise human-looking. Because of his combined brains and brawn, he's often regarded as a trope codifier of the genius bruiser trope. It wasn't until nearly a decade later, however, that Hank would transform into a literal blue, furry beast man.

Despite his monstrous appearance, Hank remained upbeat and witty, and continued serving as a stalwart X-Man and professor at the Xavier Academy in the following decades. He also became known for his pro-mutant activism and accolades in the fields of genetics and biochemistry.

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Beast is also notable for being one of the few Marvel characters to serve as an X-Man, Avenger, and Defender, while also spending a period of time with The Inhumans as well. He was specifically placed on The Avengers by Steve Englehart because of his light-hearted personality, serving as a foil to some of their more serious members.

Because of his status as a founding X-Man, Beast has appeared quite often in other media. He's been in every animated X-Men series to date, and even two anime featuring Marvel characters.

Beast also appears in most of the X-Men films, portrayed by a number of actors throughout the franchise — most notably Nicholas Hoult and Kelsey Grammer as the younger and older incarnations of the character, respectively.


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Beast has appeared in:

Notable Comics

Anime

Film

Western Animation

Video Games


Beast provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: The main reason he's had so many mutations over the years is that first dose of mutant growth hormone he had synthesized and then took himself to avoid it being taken by thieves. A few flashbacks to the backstories of contemporary characters show that MGH ended up on the streets soon after anyway.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Hank, like practically everyone in the original X-Men (sans Bobby), had a crush on Jean Grey and he even stole a kiss but was never a contender for her affections between Scott and Warren. This only came up well after the fact when his past self is brought to the present and his love for Jean is explored, with their past versions even starting a relationship, but one that is ultimately broken off-panel.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The fur which covers out his body was grey when he had his own series in Amazing Adventures. It later changed to blue, which is his signature color.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's a very nice person, but push him too far and you WILL regret it.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": His initial Secret Avengers costume had a gigantic "A" on the chest, which is kind of odd for a guy who's on a secret team. Thankfully he's gone back to his normal X-Men costume.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Oh my stars and garters!" and "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent"—usually said right before he slugs someone.
  • Characterization Marches On: He was originally written as a Dumb Muscle, but the third issue abruptly changed his characterization to Genius Bruiser, and it stayed that way.
  • Chick Magnet: At least before he took on a feline appearance (and after gaining his blue fur), quite a number of women displayed attraction for him, or at least when he was with The Avengers, as it was not a rare sight to see groups of women swooning over him. He has had longtime relationships with Vera Cantor (1966-1990) and Trish Tilby (1988-2001). More recently he has been dating Abigail Brand.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He was the main source of verbal humor in the original X-Men and this trait has remained defining for him.
    Jubilee: Show-off! I was just about to do that!
    Beast: I am certain. Fact is, I was sitting over there thinking, "What would Jubilee do in MY place?"
  • Death Is Cheap: In The Infinity Gauntlet #1 (July, 1991), Thanos wipes out of half the population of the Marvel Universe. In issue #2 (August, 1991), a list of "missing" (dead) heroes is read and Beast was among them. Every casualty of the event was restored to life in issue #6 (December, 1991), Beast included.
  • Evil Twin: All the X-Men have evil twins. Beast is notable because his Evil Twin (known as the Dark Beast) has stuck around long-term, become a recurring villain, and even teamed up with Beast himself on occasion.
  • Expy: Beast (in his human form) is very similar to "Monk" Mayfair, sidekick of proto-superhero Doc Savage. Monk is a scientist (industrial chemist) who resembles a great ape. Beast is a scholar (later scientist) with apelike features and abilities. Monk loves a good brawl, and so does the Beast. Monk loves beautiful women, and so does the Beast.
  • Fatal Flaw: In recent years, Pride, to the point of Hubris, wherein he believes that he has the right to play God.
  • Genius Bruiser: Dr. Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy aka "The Beast" is blue, huge, furry, super-strong (depends on the writer, but sometimes he is said to bench press 70 tons), agile, and Nobel-level intelligent (generally regarded as the preeminent biochemist in the Marvel Universe, and he gave himself the power upgrade that made him look like how he is today, only stronger than he was when he looked more human). As a bonus, he was played by Kelsey Grammer in X-Men: The Last Stand.
    Jean Grey: His name's Henry McCoy, dipstick—he reads poetry, swings from trees, knows the square root of a million, and he's gonna kick your butt.
    Beast: (Cracks knuckles) Indubitably.
  • Handy Feet: One of his most notable powers is superhuman manual dexterity, even in his feet. He regularly uses them along with his hands to perform all kinds of tasks, sometimes seen typing with his feet alone. Some adaptations (and further mutations) go so far as to make his big toes opposable like a gorillas. This is generally when he actually has feet, instead of lion-like paws.
  • Healing Factor: He has one, making him able to recover from non-fatal wounds at a much faster rate than normal humans.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: He was attracted to redhead Jean Grey in his teenage years.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Iceman, and later his Avengers teammate Wonder Man.
  • Hidden Depths: Before his "secondary mutation" kicked in, giving him cat-like paws, he was a talented guitar player. Something he revealed only after he lost the ability to do so. He later started learning how to the play drums.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Stan Lee toyed the idea that Mutants were the result of exposures to radiation. Which is why the X-Men were the so-called "Children of the Atom." Beast's Origins Episode in X-Men #49 (October, 1968) reveals the reason for Beast's mutation. His father Norton McCoy worked in nuclear power plant. An accident exposed him to a massive dose of radiation. When Norton eventually had a son, this son was born with an obvious genetic mutation.
  • Insufferable Genius: Increasingly in recent years as he starts Jumping Off the Slippery Slope by bringing the Original Five to the present on false pretences (he claimed that present day Cyclops was about to unleash mutant genocide) and refused to admit he'd done anything wrong - though the incident with Uatu suggests that it haunts him somewhat.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Wolverine. Wolvie was born in the 19th century and is old enough to be Beast's ancestor.
  • Killed Off for Real: In the Ultimate Marvel universe, during Ultimatum
  • Lightning Bruiser: Not only is Hank strong, but he's also incredibly fast and agile.
  • Mistaken for Gay: His girlfriend Trish Tilby once accused him of being gay... prompting him to admit to such in the media... despite not actually being gay. See, she gave him the idea that he could be a role model for mutants and gay people at the same time.
  • Monster Modesty: He started off looking reasonably normal. During this time, he was covered up almost completely. Once he turned into a furry monster, he stripped down to underwear. This is especially odd since the character is a very educated, polite individual who would normally be the type to dress in a dignified manner.
    • Hank explained at least once, though it may not have been fully serious (or even canonical), that he dresses the way he does because all that fur got downright HOT when all covered up. When he DOES get fully dressed, he's about as dapper as a bulky, stocky man with bright blue fur all over his body can be.
  • Mutants: He is both a mutant and a mutate. He was born a mutant with ape-like features and abilities. He mutated himself by ingesting a chemical. It turned him into a new form with new powers. He grew gray fur over his entire body, his muscles expanded, ears became larger and pointed, claws sprouted, and his canine teeth became larger, resembling fangs. The serum further increased his superhuman agility, endurance, speed, and strength, as well as enhanced his senses, and granted him an extraordinary healing factor.
  • Natural Weapon: His fangs and claws are weapons.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He had his brains undergo an inflation similar to Superman's powers going from Flying Brick in the Golden Age to almighty in the Silver Age. In the early days he was just the best and most studious of the school's students. By now he's a world-renowned expert in every science there is, and when it comes to solving the science-based problem of the week, be it a virus, a killer robot that doesn't respond to Eye Beams, etc. he'll be the one to do it. Officially Reed Richards is the smartest human in the Marvel Universe, but Beast really can stand up to him in the actual count of scientific day-saving moments. Need a device to make the godlike Dark Phoenix's butt temporarily kickable? He'll whip it up in an hour. The Big Bad is using an alien spaceship left behind by The Precursors? He'll pull up a chair and make it work for him in under an hour! Legacy Virus? Get on it, Hank. And somehow, even with the superhero-ing and research work in all fields of science, Hank also finds time to be a regular on the talk show circuit.
    • Interestingly, he's less like this in his Avengers appearances: when you've got a team with Pym, Stark, and Banner you don't need another genius, so he's more of a Boisterous Bruiser with his (considerable) physical powers emphasized (which have also greatly increased since his days as one of the original X-Men; he once casually boasted about being able to bench press 70 tons and his agility has always been on par with Spider-Man). However, that was when he was first with the Avengers, during the interregnum between the original X-Men series and the "all new, all different" one that introduced Storm, Wolverine, etc. This many decades of being the X-Men's resident genius later, it's no longer possible to ignore the brains angle. He keeps his X-Men characterization during Secret Avengers, and in that series he's clearly on par with Pym.
      • The in-universe explanation (although never stated outright) was that this was the time where he started experimenting with pot.
    • Dark Beast, the evil alternate Hank who arrived here from the Age of Apocalypse universe, once posed as "our" Hank and ended up complaining about all the things he was expected to know. Dark Beast is an expert on genetics, making him seriously bad news to have on the wrong side in this universe. However, genetics is his specialty while the prime Hank's specialty is "everything ever." At one point, that was prime Hank's specialty too, but he's branched out a lot since then, being a medical doctor in addition to having Ph.Ds in genetics and biochemistry and being a self-trained expert in everything else.
  • Petting Zoo People: Originally he was basically a shaved gorilla, then became a blue gorilla with Wolverine hair, then he became a blue version of the Beast. Much angsting ensued, most of it justified.
  • Pillars of Moral Character: His heroism is duty-based. He believes it is his duty to save lives as both a hero and a scientist. He is also driven by compassion. He refuses to compromise his morals and attempts to act as a living conscience to others.
    • Undermined somewhat in recent years; while he still sees himself as this and tries to behave as such, he tends to behave in an increasingly reckless, self-righteous, and destructive manner - bringing the teenage Original 5 to the present and consequently screwing up the timeline in a hairbrained scheme to get Cyclops to 'see reason', for instance, nearly wound up retgonning Cyclops out of existence, increased the rate of the universe's decline and according to Uatu in a "Reason You Suck" Speech, destroyed multiple positively Utopian possible futures for the X-Men.
    • Worse, when repeatedly confronted with his habit of defying the laws of nature with no regard to the consequences, even when called out for it by his own younger self, he refused to admit that he'd done anything wrong and his justification was basically 'I'm far too smart for you to understand anything I do, therefore you are in no position to judge me.' It gets to the point where Storm bluntly asks when he stopped knowing the difference between right and wrong.
  • Pointy Ears: When he mutated himself, Beast gained pointy ears. He lost them when he changed to a new catlike form, then regained them when he started looking human again.
  • Power at a Price: During X-Factor he became infected by Pestilence with a disease that increased his strength at the cost of his intelligence the more he exerted himself.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: That is how Beast went from hairless gorilla to a furry form. While working for the Brand Corporation, discovered an hormonal extract that causes mutations in genetic structures. He then discovered a mission that would need him to be unrecognizable. Beast decided to use the chemical on himself to temporarily disguise his features. He would have an hour to complete his mission and take an antidote to change back. He missed that deadline and the furry form became permanent.
  • Psychologist Teacher: As a teacher, Beast tries to solve the problems of his students. Though, he is far from infallible in his role.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Easily the most verbose of the original X-Men and has a tendency to use "big words." It's just for the joy of wordplay — everyone he works with already knows he's a genius — though it undoubtedly has a side effect of convincing people he's never met before that even mutants who look like him can possess an enormous vocabulary.
    • And he does it with insults too; "go suck eggs" becomes:
      Hank: Why don't you go orally extract embryonic fluid from a hen's egg?
  • Smart People Know Latin: In one issue, he converses with a Catholic nun in Latin.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: He wears reading glasses and is a genius scientist. It's a little odd to see a big blue cat/ape thing wearing reading glasses, but it lets you know what you're in for.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Always finds ways to make sophisticated references to literature, science, music, and science fiction. It's like a game for him, and it's his favorite one.
  • Status Quo Is God: Not as bad as the Hulk or the Thing, but he's never going to stay human-looking for long.
  • Stripperiffic: Less likely to wear a shirt than Iggy Pop. After mutating to his original furry form, he went around almost nude. Only his crotch and buttocks were covered by clothing.
  • Super Strength: Has always had some level of super strength. As a teenager, Beast could lift 1 ton. His strength has since increased over the years.
  • Techno Wizard: He is an expert in electronics.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: From the death of Charles Xavier onwards, he's become increasingly reckless, self-righteous, and destructive.
  • The Big Guy: The strongest and more physically imposing of the original X-Men.
  • The Smart Guy: Although he was probably more The Big Guy of the original team, since his intelligence was downplayed in those days. He is the resident genius.
  • Underwear of Power: His costume for most of The '70s and part of The '80s was just underwear covering his crotch and buttocks.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Iceman. They are best friends, but that does not prevent them from taking shots at each other. Beast pointing that Iceman is not the brightest guy around: "meet my blundering associate – who's not such a bad idiot when you get to know him!"
  • Wicked Cultured: "Beast turns evil" is kind of a much more common scenario than you'd think. See Grant Morrison's "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc in New X-Men for a quintessential one. Beast (under the influence of Sublime) attempts to destroy the X-Men (now led by a reformed clone of Cassandra Nova) once and for all.

Alternative Title(s): Beast

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