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How the X-Men’s Most Ferocious Member Became Marvel’s Darkest Sorcerer

One of the X-Men’s most technologically inclined members also became its most powerful sorcerer, and the reason why is tragic.

The mutants of the Marvel Universe have always been outsiders. Of course, some of them have had the luxury of being able to pass for ordinary humans. Others members of the mutant populace have not been so lucky, though. In the case of Hank McCoy, aka Beast, blending in has long been the least of his concerns. Rather, Beast has had to worry about how much further his mutations will develop, especially when one of his forms has posed a threat to all of the X-Men in a serious way.

When the young, original X-Men found themselves hurtled decades forward through time, they found themselves in a world farther removed from their own than they could have imagined. For the technologically inclined Beast, falling so far behind the times left him desperate to catch up in any way he could. By studying the Mystic Arts, Beast was able to search for a way to bring himself and his friends home. Unfortunately, this would also prove to be the means by which he would fall prey to the empty promises of the version of Madelyne Pryor left behind in the wake of 2015’s Secret Wars. After accidentally unleashing the Goblin Queen and her demonic hordes on Earth in 2017’s X-Men: Blue #10 by Cullen Bunn and Giovanni Valletta, Beast was transformed into the most terrifying version of himself yet. Sporting razor sharp claws and massive horns, this Mystic Beast was thankfully able to see that Madelyne was only using him before banishing her with the same magic he had used to summon her in the first place.

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Hank McCoy has struggled just as much with his life as a mutant as any other, and it has driven him to take some particularly extreme actions. It was his own work with Brand Corporation that led to Hank’s initial transformation into the furry and ferocious Beast that has become his most iconic look, but the changes hardly ended there. Beast would later be revealed to have taken on a much more cat-like appearance in the pages of 2001’s New X-Men #11 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. This led Hank to fear that he wasn’t just mutating, but devolving, and in a way he was right. It was because of yet another transformation which would have otherwise killed Hank that the time-displaced young X-Men were called to the present in the first place.

Luckily, the five original members of the team were indeed able to help Beast survive his latest mutation, this time into an apish form more closely resembling him after his first transformation. Despite the impossible weight that his myriad transformations have burdened Hank with over the years, none of them have ever left him with the kind of fear that cannot be overcome. At least, none other than his Mystic Beast form. As it turns out, Hank is still unwilling to truly confront that monstrous part of himself. When he brought the rest of the team back to their “present” to show them just why they could never go home in 2017’s All-New X-Men #19 by Dennis Hallum and Paco Diaz, Hank completely refused to acknowledge his Mystic Beast form after the fact.

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While there was surely some amount of shame involved in not wanting to talk with Jean Grey about his Mystic Beast form, that shame was born out of the damage his magic had previously wrought. As bad as that might have been, the Beast of the present can at least rest easy knowing that his days of mysticism are behind him. And if he does ever pick magic back up, fans know exactly what to expect from it.

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