Uncanny Origins #6
Marvel Comics (February, 1997)
The Beast: “Lo! A Beast Is Born
WRITER: Michael Higgins
PENCILER: Dave Hoover
INKER: Don Hudson
COLORIST: Bob Sharen
SEPARATOR: KGM Graphics
LETTERERS: Janice Chiang & Jon Babcock
EDITOR: Terry Kavanagh
Returning to the origins of the X-Men, it’s the story of Hank McCoy. Unlike other mutants, Hank was lucky. For one thing he can possibly trace his origins to the time his dad was exposed to nuclear radiation saving a power plant from going into meltdown. His parents also immediately accepted him, as did his peers, despite his oversized hands and feet. In fact, his principal was only mad because Hank’s intelligence and dexterity didn’t come with a lot of self-control. He found love, and only once dealt with some goons, which caught the attention of the football coach, who pressed Hank into joining the team. And good thing, as Hank was there to stop a robbery. After supervillain The Conquistador tried to force him to work for him, Hank and his parents were rescued by the X-Men. While he served with them, he went off to study genetic mutation, forced to further mutate himself to stop his evil boss. And even then he’s one of the few mutants that only the most die-hard anti-mutant types could hate.
What they got right: With so much tragedy that seems to be part of a mutant’s origin, especially an X-Man, it’s nice to see one that actually had a happy childhood despite carrying the X-gene. Hank actually has a normal life before becoming a superhero. Good luck finding that, X-Men or otherwise, in today’s superheroes. There’s no tragic backstory; he just becomes a hero because he can, and few hate the lug, even after he goes all furry.
What they got wrong: While I love that his parents treat Hank as just an overactive budding genius who happens to be very strong and enhanced reflexes, there are times when they’re almost “Stepford” in how easily they laugh off some of Hank’s antics. Not all the time, but on occasion, since only once is Hank called out for his lack of control, and it’s an understandable accident rather than the time he started messing with the school bus.
Recommendation: An origin that’s rare in the Marvel universe since it lacks any tragedy and just has the Beast becoming a hero because he’s just a good person who likes to help people. I don’t know what’s been changed or added to it since then (except further mutating because someone wants to draw him horse-like or something) but it’s still a good origin that’s worth checking out.