The next team member to get an origin story is Beast, and it’s the longest origin we’ve heard yet. It is told through vignettes that span five issues, from 49 to 53. It goes so far back that we see Hank as a little baby, instead of jumping in with him as a teenager, as with Scott and Bobby. It is a story about a strange child with gifts both mental and physical. Lets find out what Henry McCoy was like before he knew all those big words.
Hank was born to Morton McCoy and Edna Andrews, two completely normal young adults looking to start a family. How nice. All I see are Brad and Janet Weiss. There are Frank, Magenta, and Riff Raff in the back watching and waiting.
Fate would have much more in store for this family than picket fences and christmas mornings. Norton works at a radioactive plant of some sort, and one day is is caught in an accident. In order to save the plant, and the lives of everyone within a whatever mile radius, he absorbs a dangerous amount of radiation. Norton surprisingly comes out of it unscathed, but it has triggered changes he can’t see.
Those changes become apparent once Henry is born. The doctors were concerned that their baby might not be normal, but his father is optimistic. Little Henry McCoy is born with sizable hands and feet, but otherwise is a healthy baby boy. Hank is able to “whoppp” his old man right in the jaw as a mere infant. Norton is correct that he is destined for a lot more than that. Hank was a lot to handle in his young age, climbing walls, lifting furniture, and even hurting people with his handshake.
Soon Hank is in college, where his gifts are finally find a purpose. Someone randomly demands that he try out for the football team, and in his Forest Gump moment he send that football soaring. His strength and speed are immediately put to good use on the field.
His athleticism doesn’t draw too much attention until one day the stadium is robbed. A bunch of masked thugs show up and demand money from the box office. Hank springs into action and takes them out without a problem. Thousands of fans see this amazing man perform beyond any known human. This draws the attention of both friend and foe, as there are many people seeking mutants, and for different ends. Keep in mind that Professor X finds more mutants through television than he does Cerebro. He can’t be the only one.
That other person turns out to be El Conquistador, who for whatever reason is armed with a trident and shield, like a Roman gladiator. Not a lot of research was done for this guy. His trident is actually a sword that extends into a trident and shoots electricity. He shows up and tazes Hank, enlisting him in a life of crime. I can say one thing about El Conquistador. He acts far nastier than Magneto. He forces Hank into his group, where Magneto at least asks nicely and accepts a no (from the Blob). Then he kidnaps Hank’s parents and threatens to harm them if he does not comply. Even on his worst day, I haven’t seen anything as sinister from the Master of Magnetism. El Conquistador forces Hank to break into a military lab and steal an experimental nuclear react that looks like a case with a bunch of retro side view mirrors stuck to it. It’s not important.
What is important is that the X-Men, now a three man team, show up to save the day. Cyclops, Angel, and Iceman burst in and rescue Hank. The Beast was already putting up a big fight, but the reinforcements definitely helped. El Conquistador ends up blowing himself up when he activates the reactor. Should have read the manual.
Once the dust has settled, Hank is invited to join the group. It is decided that his codename will be Beast, and he is given a new blue and gold uniform. Looking snazzy Hank.Once again, Charles has removed memories from an entire town of people, skirting his ethical principles with style and grace. The X-Men are now four. But wait… how did Warren get here? For some reason these origin segments kipped Angel. No worry, we’ll be reading that part of the story soon. First we have an epic four issue story arc that will give us both the return of one of their greatest enemies, and the debut of one of their greatest allies.
Hank’s origin wasn’t filled with surprises or suspense, but it was a fun read. It was nice seeing him as a boy, and it was nice seeing Scott, Bobby, and Warren in action together.