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Comic Book / Beast (Marvel Comics)

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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.

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 Film Series, 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.


Beast has appeared in the following works:

    open/close all folders 

     Notable Comics 


     Live-Action Films 

    Western Animation 

     Video Games 

Beast provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Hank is shown to go through near manic phases of excitement and crippling self doubt. These quirks of his personality can be considered markers of bipolar disorder. Which is what Grant Morrison characterized him having.
  • Anti-Hero: Originally Hank was one of the nicest X-Men, but since not that long ago he seems to have gotten into this. Specifically one of his more questionable decisions is pulling out O5 from the past just to show Cyclops how Scott has changed since the team’s early days. In the Dawn of X he’s X-Force supervisor and by issue 6 his methods include torture, ordering to kill the creatures (that were once humans) and brainwashing.
  • A Beast in Name and Nature: A rare heroic version; codenamed for his gorilla-like physique, enormous hands and feet, and (later) his blue fur and other animalistic attributes. In sharp contrast to his beastly appearance, Hank is commonly portrayed as a brilliant scientist and a gentleman.
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase: "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, who is actually himself from the Age of Apocalypse timeline) 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.
    • In the early early issues of X-Men, he was basically an expy of The Thing. It wasn't until #4 that he started wearing glasses and doing higher math.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: Once accused Scott of forming X-Force as a black ops team to do all of his “dirty work”. In Dawn of X he himself became a supervisor of the Krakoan X-Force and his deeds involve torturing, brainwashing and giving direct orders to kill.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Queer Flowers: Invoked in the case of Wonder Man and Beast. When Wonder Man returns from the dead again in the pages of the Busiek/Perez Avengers, Beast shows up with a bouquet of roses, tackles him, and gives him a sloppy kiss on the lips. In an issue of Marvel's Alternate Universe Exiles, the team's Alterna-Beast chooses not ot return to his own universe because, with his lover Wonder Man dead, there was nothing left for him there.
  • Self Made Super Powers: Henry McCoy (Earth-295), better known as Dark Beast, continuously experimented on himself and others and gained Super Strength, slowed aging, etc. The full extent of his capability remains unknown as he continuously changes them. He also received cybernetic enhancements from Mr. Sinister.
  • 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?
  • Shoe Size Angst: His first mutation gave him enlarged hands and feet but his feet got the most attention, especially because of everything he could do with them.
  • 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.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: A strange case in that his time displaced younger self began dabbling in magic, and is seemingly possessed by a mystical artifact, and the nature of restoring the timeline means that technically Beast has been an Adept for years. This has yet to be followed up on in the present, especially the demonic transformation.
  • 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. This doesn’t stop when Xavier returns. See What the Hell, Hero? below.
  • 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!"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He was on the delivering end of this to Cyclops but ended up taking their falling out to far and has since been on the reviewing end of this a number of times.
    • When the Phoenix Force makes Cyclops kill Xavier, he brings younger versions of the original X-men (himself, Scott, Jean, Bobby and Warren) to present day in order to torment him. Many people including the Watcher voice disgust in him for putting the whole Universe in danger just to mess with someone he hates, with even his younger self horrified at who he’s become. The X-men eventually have an intervention in order to confront him about his actions telling him his hatred for Cyclops does not justify what he’s done.
    • He joins the Illuminati in destroying alternate worlds in order to save their own, Captain America and the rest of the Avengers are horrified and they end up on run. When the end of their world comes anyway, he receives another “What the hell” from his younger self for bringing him to the present knowing the world was in danger instead of letting him live his life.
    • When he teams up with the Inhumans in I.V.C, he received another from his former team when they come around to the fact that what the Royal Family was doing was wrong.
    • In X-Force (2019), Jean calls out Hank on keeping secrets within X-Force, as they nearly ruined a whole country and made a threat to Krakoa.
    • Later in the book, When Krakoa comes into conflict with Russia, he starts rounding up Russian mutants for being potential moles, including longtime friend Colossus. To make it worse, Beast gathers Krakoas citizens to which Colossus be arrested in a humiliating traitors parade. Both Domino and Wolverine voice how inappropriate and flat out messed up this is especially for someone as sweet and peaceful as Colossus. Wolverine even punches him in the stomach for this having had enough of his crap.
  • 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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