What If... the Beast Had Continued to Mutate?

Or as the interior story asks "What if the Beast Had Truly Become a Beast?" In my opinion, the Beast's revamp from big hands and feet monkey-boy to furry, blue and in Wolverine's hair club took a forgettable character and made him iconic. It also graduated him from original (read: lame) X-Man to Avenger (and then Defender, but we don't like to talk about that). As with any transformation, writers have scaled it back and forth, but he's still furry and blue today (but see These things happen). As with Daredevil's costume, this is a case of the original NOT being the better design. Let's see what writer/penciler Alan Weiss wants to do with the concept...

What If Vol.1 #37 (February 1983)
Based on: Amazing Adventures #11
The true history: Hank McCoy was the first X-Man to leave the team to follow a prestigious career in chemistry at the Brand Corporation. He developed a serum that contained the secret of human mutation and drank it whole rather than see it fall in the hands of industrial spies. It unlocked his body's further potential for mutation and he physically became more bestial, but retaining his genius-level intellect. Jean Gray and Professor X detect the change from afar, but he cuts off all ties with them due to his freakish new looks. The Avengers take him in.
Turning point: What if the Beast's serum had been more concentrated?
Story type: Deviated origin
Watcher's mood: Casper
Altered history: The serum on this Earth is a little more potent and Hank is quickly starting to sound like the Hulk. Professor X detects something is very wrong and he sends the X-Men out before something happens to screw up human-mutant relations even more.
That's about the extent to the Beast's vocabulary, though he has moments of lucidity via thought bubbles. Not much, but some. It doesn't stop him from almost killing Angel though. Cyclops and Jean Gray are also on his tail.
But they don't fare much better. And then Hank goes CANNIBAL!
Professor X intervenes, using a mix of telepathy and school spirit, he pacifies the Beast, who lets out its last civilized words.
Well, they actually DO let him become that, but at least they find a place for him where he can't do too much harm: The Savage Land!
Ka-Zar gets another pet (Zabu is real jealous as cats known to become), and Hank gets a big playground filled with dinosaurs. Everybody wins!
Books canceled as a result: None. Even the old Beauty & the Beast mini-series could have been published, maybe with Sheena in Dazzler's place. Could only improve it.
These things happen: Hank McCoy has indeed gone through many transformations since the day he became a blue fuzzball, and the serum has often been blamed for his evolving mutation. In X-Factor, he went back to his human look, but the intelligence got progressively drained from him to the point where he was just a dumb beast. Later, he returned to smart and blue, but the mutation kept going and today, he looks like a humanoid lion with glasses. It's anybody's guess what the Beast will look like in another 10 years.

Next week: What if the Silver Surfer Lost the Power Cosmic?
My guess: He would find it in the last place he looked.


rob! said...

You bring up an interesting side point re: the Beast being a member of the Avengers, the X-Men, AND the Defenders.

I wonder, in the Marvel Universe is there some sort of social stigma in the superhero world about being a member of so many teams? Is it perceived that you can't get along with other superheroes?

Or just the opposite--you're looked at as being so desired every team wants to sign you? Or have I thought about this too much?

Siskoid said...

Mmm, that last one I think.

But yeah, I now want to research how many other characters managed to get on three or more teams.

Wolverine I guess (Alpha Flight, X-Men, New Avengers). Anyone at DC? I'd be counting the various permutations of the Justice League as a single team, so think carefully before ringing in your answer.

chiasaur11 said...

Luke Cage had Heroes for Hire, the FF, and now the Avengers, so that's something.

Jennifer Walters had the FF and the Avengers too, and very brief stints with the Defenders and Heroes for Hire.

So, that's two.

rob! said...

DC doesn't have as many "top tier" teams the way Marvel does. There's the JLA, and then sort of everyone else (Titans, Doom Patrol), below them.

Black Canary was in the JLA and the JSA, and Wally West was in the Titans and the JLA.

And let's not even mention Batman and the Outsiders.

Siskoid said...

I guess Canary is in the Birds of Prey, so that makes 3!

Jeff R. said...

Let's see, double-teamers include Beast Boy (Titans, Doom Patrol), Superman (Legion, JLA), Batman (Outsiders, JLA), Deadshot (Suicide Squad, Secret Six), Captain Boomerang 2 (Suicide Squad, Outsiders). Superboy could get you to three, just barely, based on affiliations with the Titans, one of the Legions, and the Ravers, but the legion connection is fairly weak. Supergirl has Outsiders and Legions membership cards at least. Tracy 13 has at least worked with the Shadowpact, the Titans, and the Birds. Speedy/Arsenal/Arm-Fall-Off Boy 2 is another triple, with Titans, Outsiders, and JLA. And he at least worked a case with the Suicide Squad as well

Matthew Turnage said...

No love for Dick Grayson, who's been a member of the Titans, the Outsiders, and the JLA as well? Wasn't Power Girl a member of Infinity, Inc. early on, as well as being a member of the JSA and JLA? For that matter, Nuklon/Atom Smasher has also been in Infinity, Inc., the JLA and the JSA. I could probably come up with a few other three-team DC heroes if I sat and thought for a while.

Jeff R. said...

Honestly, the recent period during which the Outsiders turned into the Titans Alumni Club makes some of this a bit too easy.

Anyhow, Power Girl is probably the most teamful DC character, with Infinity, the JSA, JLE, and the Soverign Seven along with at least weaker affiliations with the Suicide Squad and the Birds of Prey.

Austin Gorton said...

You know, I feel compelled to defend the original X-Men...but I got nothing.

Siskoid said...

They're actually not as lame as some of the X-teams from the 90s.

Austin Gorton said...

Hey, you're right! There's a defense after all!


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