(Editor’s Note: The following was written by Keith Feltenstein.)
n our next “Versus” round up, we have two fuzzy furball manimals. We have Beast from Marvel comics, and we have The Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! Now that Disney owns Marvel Comics, we have a redundancy of Beasts in the House of Mouse. One of them has gotta go. Who would make a better beast? Who stays, and who goes? Here is a little something about each character:
Beast (Marvel Comics)
Beast (Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy) is a superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics and is a founding member of the X-Men. Originally called “The Beast,” the character was introduced as a mutant possessing ape-like superhuman physical strength and agility, oversize hands and feet, a genius-level intellect, and an otherwise normal appearance. Eventually being referred to simply as “Beast,” Hank McCoy underwent progressive physiological transformations, permanently gaining animalistic physical characteristics. These include blue fur, feline facial features, pointed ears, fangs, and claws. Beast’s physical strength and senses increased to even greater levels.
Despite Hank McCoy’s inhuman appearance, he is depicted as a brilliant, well-educated man in the arts and sciences, known for his witty sense of humor. He is a world authority on biochemistry and genetics, the X-Men’s medical doctor, and the science and mathematics instructor at the Xavier Institute (the X-Men’s headquarters and school for young mutants). He is also a mutant political activist, campaigning against society’s bigotry and discrimination against mutants. While fighting his own bestial instincts and fears of social rejection, Beast dedicates his physical and mental gifts to the creation of a better world for man and mutant.
The character has also appeared in media adaptations, including animated TV series and feature films. In X2, Steve Bacic portrayed him in a very brief cameo in a newscast scene as a human, while in X-Men: The Last Stand, he was played by Kelsey Grammer. Nicholas Hoult portrays the younger version of the character in X-Men: First Class. Both Kelsey Grammer and Nicholas Hoult reprise their roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Henry’s mutation more fully manifests during adolescence, providing greater strength and agility, and although his powers allow him to briefly excel in athletics during his remaining time at school, he soon attracts the animosity of his fellow students and other non-mutant humans. As he seeks refuge, he is approached by Professor Charles Xavier, who invites him to study at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
It is possible that Beast’s mutation is a result of genetic atavism. However, he also possesses neotenous characteristics, which may explain him having a genius-level intellect despite his animal physique. He also possesses superhuman strength, speed and agility. He is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, employing a unique style of acrobatic combat, from combat training he received at Professor Xavier’s and coaching from Captain America.
After being critically wounded, Hank’s body undergoes a secondary mutation, jump started by Sage. The result is a more feline appearance equivalent to that of a big cat. His strength, speed, stamina, sturdiness, and senses increase further with this change. He gains cat-like agility, flexibility, coordination, and balance, and all his senses are enhanced to twenty times that of a normal human being. In addition, Beast develops an accelerated healing factor that allows him to repair mild to moderate injuries within the span of a few hours. However, as his hands and feet change from simian to feline (going from a normal human set of four fingers to just three, retaining the opposable thumb), he loses his superhuman dexterity, once admitting that he used to play the guitar, but is now learning to play the drums instead. Following the X-Men’s relocation to San Francisco, Beast discovers that he had regained some of his old manual dexterity. In the first issue of Warren Ellis’ Astonishing X-Men run, Beast also comments he no longer needs full sleep.
It is later discovered that his secondary feline mutation is still detrimental to his health: as such, with the combined efforts of past versions of Jean Grey and himself, Beast’s condition was stabilized in a more human-like form, possessing blue fur and larger than the average human male but otherwise fairly human.
Hank possesses a brilliant intellect. He is a world-renowned biochemist, having earned Ph. D.s in Biophysics and Genetics, and is the man who cured the Legacy Virus. He frequently functions as both field medic and in-house physician for the X-Men, despite not technically having an MD. His intelligence and expertise in genetics rival that of Professor X, Moira McTaggert, and Kavita Rao. Despite this, he has never received a Nobel Prize or been elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences. A Renaissance man, McCoy is well-versed in many fields including languages (fluent in English, German, French, Latin, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, and Russian as well as the fictional language Latverian), literature, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, history, art and art history, anthropology, linguistics, and music, as well as in political science and economics with a special affinity for science and technology and a penchant for quoting literary classics. His vast scientific knowledge ranges from theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, differential equations, nanotechnology, anatomy, bio-medicine, analytical chemistry, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering to the construction of a hyper-magnetic device. An electronics expert, he often repairs Cerebro and makes upgrades to the Danger Room settings. He has made several deus-ex-machina devices on par with Reed Richards, including a device that strips entities of cosmic powers.
The Beast (Beauty and the Beast)
The Beast is a character who appears in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). He also appears in the film’s two direct-to-video followups Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Belle’s Magical World. Based on the hero of the French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, the Beast was created by screenwriter Linda Woolverton and animated by Glen Keane.
A pampered prince transformed into a hideous beast as punishment for his cold-hearted and selfish ways, the Beast must, in order to return to his former self, earn the love of a beautiful young woman named Belle who he imprisons in his castle. All this must be done before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose on his twenty-first birthday. In all film and animated appearances, the Beast is voiced by American actor Robby Benson. In 1994, the film was adapted into a Broadway musical, with the role being originated by American actor Terrance Mann. Dan Stevens will play a live-action version of the character in an upcoming film.
In the original tale, the Beast is seen to be kind-hearted for the most part, and gentleman-like, with only an occasional tendency to be hot-tempered. In Disney’s variant of the tale, the Beast originally appeared to be constantly angry and depressed. As opposed to his original counterpart, the creators gave him a more primal nature to his personality, which truly exploited his character as an untamed animal. To reflect his early personality, the Beast is seen shirt-less, with ragged, dark gray breeches, and a ragged reddish-colored cape with a golden colored circular-shaped clasp. Despite the actual color of his cape being a dark reddish color, the Beast’s cape is more often referenced to be purple (and in most of the Beast’s subsequent appearances after the film, such as Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas or the Kingdom Hearts games, his cape is colored purple). The reason for this change in color is unknown, although the most likely reason is that the color purple is often associated with royalty. After the Beast saves Belle from a pack of wolves, his dress-style changes, reflecting a more refined personality. His dress style becomes more disciplined, and the most referenced form of dress is his ballroom outfit, which consisted of a golden vest over a white dress shirt with a white kerchief, black dress pants trimmed with gold, and a navy blue ballroom tail coat trimmed with gold, worn during the film’s ballroom dance sequence. Upon his reform under his love interest Belle, his personality changes to refined, but naive about the world at the same time.
Supervising animator Glen Keane describes The Beast as “a twenty-one-year-old guy who’s insecure, wants to be loved, wants to love, but has this ugly exterior and has to overcome this.” The Beast is not of any one species of animal, but a chimera (a mixture of several animals), who would probably be classified as a carnivore overall. He has the head structure and horns of a buffalo, the arms and body of a bear, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the jaws, teeth, and mane of a lion, the tusks of a wild boar and the legs and tail of a wolf. He also bears resemblance to mythical monsters like the Minotaur or a werewolf. In the original versions, he was described more like a cross between a lion and a mythical animal. He also has blue eyes, the one physical feature that does not change whether he is a beast or a human.
So there you have it! Who do you think would be the better beast? The Beast from Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, or The Beast From Marvel’s X-Men? Vote now! Your opinion matters!
Next Podcast Unlimited Poll: Better battle suit – the Amplified Mobility Platform (Avatar) vs. the Exoskeleton suit (Edge Of Tomorrow).