Henry “Hank” McCoy / “Beast”

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History

While working at a nuclear power plant, Norton McCoy was exposed to massive amounts of radiation that affected his genes. As a result, Norton's son, Henry ("Hank") McCoy, was born a mutant who showed the signs of his being different from birth with his unusually large hands and feet. As a youth, Hank's freakish appearance was the subject of much ridicule from his classmates, earning him the nickname "Beast". However, one classmate named Jennifer came to know the real Hank after he began tutoring her in biology. On the night of the junior prom, Jennifer insisted that Hank accompany her as her date, and stood up for him after he was teased.

In his senior year, Hank's superhuman agility and athletic prowess earned him recognition as a star football player. During one game, Hank easily stopped a trio of robbers who were attempting to escape across the football field. His efforts were noticed by the villain named the Conquistador who kidnapped Hank's parents in an effort to coerce the young mutant into working for him. The X-Men soon arrived and defeated the villain, and Hank was invited by Professor Charles Xavier to join the team of teenage mutant heroes and enroll in the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Unable to resist the temptation of a private institution that could offer him limitless academic opportunities, Hank accepted. Hank's days were rich with differential equations, Proust and workouts in the Danger Room.

A brilliant student, Hank completed his doctoral studies under Xavier's tutelage, and finally graduated from the Xavier School to take a position at the Brand Corporation as a genetic researcher under Doctor Carl Maddicks. During one of his experiments, Hank discovered the hormonal extract related to genetic mutation and went to inform Maddicks of his findings. However, Maddicks was secretly plotting to steal top secret government documents, and Hank took it upon himself to stop Maddicks. In order to disguise his appearance, Hank took the extract and underwent radical physical changes that enhanced his agility and strength, as well as causing him to grow fangs, pointed ears, and fur all over his body. When he stayed too long in this state, Hank found he could not return to his original form. He was now a beast in fact as well as in name. At first, he tried to hide his mutation with a latex mask and gloves, but later learned to accept his new appearance.

After receiving his doctorate in genetics and being considered one of the world's experts on mutations and evolutionary human biology, despite never having earned a Nobel Prize or been invited to join the National Academy of Sciences, Hank left Brand and applied to join the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers. Initially accepted as a probationary member, Hank soon proved his worth and was granted full membership. During his time with the team herevealed his identity to the public in the hope that his status as an Avenger would help ease human/mutant tensions.

Following a restructuring of the Avengers, Hank left and became involved with the team of adventurers known as the Defenders which he soon reorganized into a more formal and cohesive unit, bringing in his former X-Men teammates Iceman and Angel. Following the apparent death of several of the Defenders, Hank reunited with the other four original X-Men to form X-Factor, an organization that intended to seek out and aid other mutants under the pretense of hunting them down.

After X-Factor disbanded, Hank returned to the ranks of the X-Men and became the team's resident technological and medical genius, working on everything from advanced alien technology to the deadly mutant-killing Legacy Virus. Hank took an extended leave of absence from the X-Men to work on a cure for the Legacy Virus, which he ultimately found thanks to his implementing the work of his former colleague, the late Moira MacTaggert. Soon after, Hank joined Storm's team of X-Treme X-Men in their quest for the diaries of the late mutant seer Destiny. Almost killed in the team's first battle with the villainous Vargas, Hank's life was saved by his teammate Tessa who used a heretofore-unseen power to accelerate the Beast's mutation to a new level. Hank returned to Xavier's mansion to recuperate and mutated further, becoming bulkier, heavier, and taking on a more leonine appearance. Forced to relearn fine motor control over his body, Hank once again served as the team's resident genius, as well as an active teacher of dozens of young mutants.

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. 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.

School’s Out / High School Never Ends

Beast and the rest of the X-Men return to Xavier’s school to find that the reserve members of the X-Men (Nightcrawler and Angel) were put into a temporal coma by a group called the Travelers. A group of seniors at the school took over and ultimately defeated the Travelers. At this point, Scott reveals that the Board of Trustees of Xavier’s school had secretly built a new west coast school, Academy X. Considering the relative success the seniors had in running Xavier’s school, Scott offers them the chance to run Academy X.

Welcome to Paradise / Hotel California

Storm joins the X-Men just before the team’s next mission: an extradimensional trip through a “ghost box” to fight a group intent on invading the X-Men’s reality (“Ghost Boxes”). Beast’s expertise is crucial in defeating this invasion.

My Generation / Children’s Crusade

Beast and the X-Men travel to Africa to deal with a mysterious mutagen that is causing mutations among newborn children. They find that this, too, is linked to ghost boxes (“Xenogenesis”).

Valley of Lost Souls / Empire of the Damned

After a falling-out with Academy X over their decision not to allow Bobby (“Iceman”) to reclaim half of his mutant powers from the artificially created mutant girl, Agape, Scott helps fight Selene during the Necrosha event. During the battle, Nightcrawler and Iceman face Selene, and Nightcrawler is killed. Many at Xavier’s school blame Academy X staff for Kurt’s death, though Beast seems sympathetic to the Academy X staff. He later helps them with several issues, such as a student infected with the techno-organic virus.

Powers and Abilities

Anthropoid/Simian Physique: Originally, Hank retained 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 gave him superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, agility, flexibility, dexterity, coordination, balance, and endurance. He was 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 could outperform any Olympic-level athlete, contorting his body and performing aerial feats gracefully. His strength and dexterity allowed 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 possessed enhanced senses and could track people for great distances over open terrain and his feet were sensitive enough to detect electronic signals (from bombs, listening devices, etc.) through solid walls and floors

Feline Physique: Hank later underwent a secondary mutation. The result is a more feline appearance equivalent to that of a big cat. In this form he has many abilities:

Superhuman Strength: Beast can lift up to ten tons.

Superhuman Speed: Beast can run and move at speeds that are slightly beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete. He can run at speeds up to 40 miles an hour over short distances, particularly if he runs on all fours.

Superhuman Stamina: 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: 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 many 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 super-humanly strong beings that would either severely injure or kill a normal human with little to no discomfort.

Superhuman Agility: Beast's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete. He has the acrobatic prowess of an Olympic level gymnast. He can walk a tightrope or a slack rope as easily as most people can walk on a sidewalk. He can also walk on his hands for many hours, or perform a complicated sequence of gymnastic stunts such as flips, rolls, and springs.

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.

Pheromones: Beast has the ability to secrete pheromones to attract members of both sexes.

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: A world-renowned biochemist, Henry McCoy's greatest asset is his keen scientific mind. He possesses a genius-level IQ, with extraordinary expertise in genetics, biochemistry, electronics and other subjects. Beast is also an accomplished keyboard musician.

Hand to Hand Combatant: 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.