Beast has grown increasingly immoral during his time with X-Force, and now he’s doing things he once condemned Cyclops for.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for King in Black: Marauders # 1 by Gerry Duggan, Luke Ross, Carlos Lopez, VC’s Cory Petit and Tom Muller, out now.
Krakoa’s formation has led many X-Men and other mutants to change, some in pretty drastic ways, but perhaps no one has strayed further from the person they used to be than Hank McCoy / Beast. As head of the intelligence division of X-Force, Krakoa’s equivalent to the CIA, Hank has become a ruthless military commander and his cruel and inhumane tactics contradict his past objections to earlier versions of the team, making him the ultimate hypocrite. of the Marvel Universe.
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This became especially obvious in King in Black: Marauders, when Beast ordered a mission almost identical to one that once sentenced Cyclops for giving.
X-Force has always been the most aggressive mutant superhero team. When Cable transformed the New Mutants in the team’s first iteration, it was destined to combat mutants and other threats more proactively and X-Force only got more dangerous from there. After “Messiah Complex”, Cyclops formed a new version of the team, led by Wolverine, to protect the endangered mutant race. Beast was shocked by the extreme tactics the team was using and was especially disgusted when Cyclops ordered him to reverse engineer Bishop’s time travel technology so the X-Force could be sent into the future to protect Cable and Hope Summers from Bishop. It was clear that Cyclops was planning to have the X-Force kill Bishop and Beast was so angry that he left the X-Men after the failed time travel mission. Beast would later return to aid his fellow mutants during the “Second Coming”, during which the X-Force’s existence was exposed to the rest of the X-Men. Beast went so far as to interrupt Nightcrawler’s funeral to blame his death on Cyclops, although the X-Force was in no way responsible for the events that led to Kurt’s death.
Years later, things have changed. Not only is Beast now the boss of X-Force, but he also ordered the same assassination mission that he sentenced Cyclops for, only with the roles reversed and an additional objective added. In King in Black: Marauders # 1, Kate Pryde’s team is sent to rescue Cyclops and Storm, who have been possessed by two of Knull’s symbiotes. But a flashback reveals that the Beast secretly ordered Bishop, now a Marauder, to kill Cyclops and Storm if he determines they cannot be saved. Beast has become so callous that he doesn’t even directly tell Bishop what he’s saying to Bishop, telling him that “if you can’t free them one way … free them the other.” The Marauders didn’t actually get to Cyclops and Storm before they were freed by other means, so it’s unclear what Bishop would have ultimately decided to do. Still, the mere fact that Beast gave the order shows what kind of hypocritical monster he has become.
There are two key differences between Cyclops’s decision and Beast’s, one of which possibly makes what Beast did worse and another that could make it better, if only marginally. The first is the contrast between Bishop’s previous situation and Cyclops and Storm’s current one. When Cyclops ordered to kill Bishop, the latter was an unrepentant villain who controlled his own actions. Bishop planned to kill millions with a series of global attacks to kill Hope. In the current story, Cyclops and Storm are unwitting victims, controlled by symbiotes, and thus not responsible for their actions, at least not entirely, making Beast’s decision to target them more cruel. In Beast’s defense, the mutants now have the Resurrection Protocols, which would presumably allow Cyclops and Storm to revive in new bodies if Bishop actually kills them. But as Wolverine has pointed out, the Protocols do not erase the trauma of being killed.
Ordering hits on two of his oldest friends isn’t the only horrible thing Beast has done since joining X-Force. He recently arrested all Krakoans of Russian descent for questioning about possible connections to an attack by Mikhail Rasputin. This is another hypocritical move, as this kind of profile is the exact opposite of the ideals of tolerance that the X-Men are supposed to represent and Beast has claimed to serve. Fortunately, even Beast’s X-Force teammates seem to realize this is wrong, with Wolverine attacking him when he publicly arrested Colossus. However, Beast’s role in King in Black: Marauders, in which Pyro mentions him in relation to X-Force, suggests they haven’t taken the necessary next step and removed him from his post.
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