Issue 48 gives us a glimpse into the powers of Dr. Henry McCoy, the strong man of the group. Every super hero team needs its strong man. The Avengers have Hulk. The Justice League has Superman. The Fantastic Four have the Thing. The X-Men will have many strong men in their group over the years, but Hank is the original. He is also very unique, in both his physical and mental prowess. This little vignette sheds some light on who he is and what he can do.
He starts by explaining that his powers give him much more than just strength. The Beast has all the physical performance of a jungle cat, climbing, running, jumping, and smashing. He has “super locomotion speed” and “freakish flexibility.” He can use his muscles to absorb the impact from falls, like coil springs. He can strike an opponent with all of his force at one point, to deliver the “force of a ten ton truck.” He is really quite different than The Thing, Hulk, or other X-Men that would follow, such as Colossus. He is a very well rounded athlete instead of just being brute strength. Thing and Hulk simply can’t move like the Beast can, and this often gives him an edge over even stronger opponents.
He goes on to explain that his physical feats aren’t only for combat, as his dexterous feet are like a second pair of hands. He has perfect penmanship with them, and they can manipulate machinery. When building or repairing, he is twice as fast, doing the work of two men.
Still, there is so much more to Hank McCoy than muscle and performance. He also has a very bright, educated mind, with knowledge and intelligence that rival the most brilliant characters in the Marvel universe. Here we can see how he became so wise, considering a life without literature to be “squandering his greatest inheritance.” You have to start young. Feed your head.
Here we see three aspects of Hank that truly set him apart from similar strong guy characters. He has the reflexes of a cat, the dexterity of a gorilla, and the intellect of Isaac Newton. Take that Mr. Grimm.
Hank could have been good at anything. In fact, he’s good at so many things that he has a problem choosing a direction to go in. What art or endeavor should he devote his life to? Well it may seem like a wasted mind, but his physical abilities often take precedence over his mental ones. Don’t think his mind goes to waste though, as he will later serve as a member of the Illuminati, an order of the most brilliant minds on Earth 616. He will also eventually cause serious damage to the space-time continuum, and endanger the future of the mutant race, but who’s thinking about those things when you’re living fast and young?
He didn’t choose the life of a superhero as much as it chose him. Coming up soon we’re going to get an origin story for Hank, which will show us exactly how it chose him. But first we’ll check out what Scott and Jean are up to out in sunny Hollywood California.