One major mutant hero has been quietly thinking about wiping out humanity — and given recent developments, it may be the sensible thing to do.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Force #23, available now from Marvel Comics.
Beast has been one of the primary leaders of the X-Men for decades. A founding member of the team and frequent figure within adaptations of the property into other mediums, Beast has long been defined by his sweet nature and brilliant temperament, despite his animalistic appearance.
But in recent years, he’s become a darker figure — with one future incarnation of him even becoming a villain. Now, in the First Age of Krakoa, he’s become the mutant nation’s resident “bastard,” in his own words — with X-Force #23 by Benjamin Percy, Martin Coccolo, Guru-eFX and VC’s Joe Caramagna revealing just how dark his thinking has truly become.
For many audiences over the years, Beast has been one of the more jovial X-Men. The loquacious and friendly mutant hero was one of the earliest mutants to join the Avengers after he gained his famous blue hairy form, and his experience working with human heroes has been a factor for decades. Although he always had inner darkness (as explored in New X-Men and Astonishing X-Men) he was usually shown as a friendly figure — at least until the events of “Decimation” when 98% of mutants lost their abilities in the fallout of House of M. A desperate Hank McCoy spent years pushing himself and his morals to find cures, and increasingly became a darker character.
This has never been more highlighted than in his current role as the head of Krakoa’s incarnation of X-Force. Reimagined the CIA of the mutant nation, Beast has increasingly pushed the organization (and by extension the entirety of Krakoa) to terrifying places. He’s arranged for the murder and mental rewriting of villains like Omega Red, as well as the very morally dubious actions he took to control the Terra Flornics of Terra Verde to weaponize their ambassadors as unwitting spies. He’s been repeatedly called out by his fellow mutants for his actions — Jean Grey quit X-Force over his choices, Wolverine and Sage have both physically assaulted him for his choices, and Emma Frost has even threatened to bring his actions up to the Quiet Council.
In X-Force #23, Beast ends up alone in his lab, examining one of the corpses of the Russian Nesting Doll Agents that was captured during their earlier attack on Krakoa. Quoting Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Beast quietly considers how he’s actually fantasized of wiping out humanity for all their crimes against mutant-kind over the years. Following Xavier’s assassination in X-Force #1, he pondered what it would be like to take command of Krakoa as the father of the mutants’ future. He thinks about how he’s heard others speak about him lately, complaining that they miss the old happy-go-lucky Beast. But he also considers the current times dangerous enough to warrant a “bastard in charge” if the mutant nation is going to survive and thrive in a hostile world.
It’s a harrowing moment, especially coming from someone who in the past had been such a champion of Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence. But like his mentor — who has become increasingly distant with humanity after embracing the mutant people fully with Krakoa — Beast seems to be embracing a far darker path. It also makes him all the more important to the nation and a much larger target, as the Nesting Doll proves when it attacks him and begins targeting his internal organs. Having a single “bastard” in charge of Krakoa is a worrisome prospect, especially if they were then targeted and brought down.
All of these changes in Beast could be seen as the influence of something like Onslaught bringing out the darkness upon Beast’s recent death. But it also speaks to how grim the formerly optimistic Beast has become by choice, and the fact that he’s embraced such a transformation.
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