Name: Henry Philip McCoy
Alias: Dark Beast, Black Beast
First Appearance: X-Men Alpha (January 1994 Marvel Comics)
Created by: Scott Lobdell and Roger Cruz (based on a character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
“My task is to genetically amplify the powers of homo superiors deemed unfit for the cause…and I do love my work.”
Every hero has the potential to become a villain, and many times we are given alternate reality glimpses where things have gone wrong for them. In Hank McCoy’s case, his dark shadow has been given much more than just a glimpse in the form of Dark Beast. The Hank McCoy introduced in Age of Apocalypse has all of the Beast’s powers and intellect, but instead of using that for the betterment of mankind, Dark Beast in only interested in his own scientific curiosity at unspeakable costs. As he himself states in his first appearance, “No pain, no gain.”
While introduced in an alternate reality after Legion accidentally killed his father, Charles Xavier, this darker Hank McCoy was much to intelligent to stand aside while his reality was destroyed. Using the M’Kraan crystal, he was able to enter the proper Marvel universe, albeit 20 years in the past. Continuing his torturous experiments he began in Age of Apocalypse, he actually created the Morlocks for his own scientific curiosity. Since then he has popped into the life of the X-Men as it suited him, bringing havoc wherever he went. Most recently he has been featured in the current Uncanny X-Men, where we may have seen the last of one of our favorite twisted mad scientists. In honor of this twisted version of the original X-Men, we looked back on his quick introduction during X-Men Alpha, the beginning of the Age of Apocalypse universe.
We are introduced to him toying away in his lab for Apocalypse, working on genetically modifying inferior mutants. He is experimenting on the Blob, enjoying every minute of the process. Being in so much pain the Blob lashes out to Dark Beast’s surprise. Havok is there to save him as he shoots the Blob in the arm with his powers. This only angers the Blob more as he strikes the two and leaps into the air to crush them, being much faster due to the experiments. The two are saved by Cyclops who blasts the Blob with his optic beam. With the danger out of the way, Cyclops begins to berate Dark Beast and yell at him for his extreme experimentation. This is the last we see of him in X-Men Alpha, but by no means the last we see of him in the X-Men comics as his experiments still continue.