BIOGRAPHY - page 3
Bobby’s girlfriend arranged a blind date for Hank with one of her friends and they agreed to met at the library. Once there, Hank got in an argument with Vera Cantor, a part time librarian, failing to notice that she was his supposed date.
Though Hank and Vera had a bad start, there was indeed some mutual attraction. Unfortunately, the date was disturbed by one of Vera’s ex-boyfriends, namely Calvin Rankin.
Calvin had just awakened his mimicing abilities and, while engaging Hank in a fight, he started to copy Hank’s agility by sheer instinct. Calvin would later join the X-Men as the Mimic for a short time, while Hank’s and Vera’s relationship continued to develop. [X-Men (1st series) #19]
Since their first mission, the X-Men had worn a standard blue & yellow uniform. Now, after having proved themselves as a team and having battled many supervillains, Xavier granted them each an individual costume, all designed by Jean. Hank’s new blue and red costume was still without gloves or boots, to give his hands and feet the needed freedom, but the sleeves were now skintight, unlike those of his training costume. [X-Men (1st series) #39]
Over time, the X-Men’s reputation grew and they were sought out by Kraven, the Hunter, who wanted to hone his skills in battle against the Beast. To ensure that the X-Men would agree to a duel, he had their houseguest, Avia, poisoned and would only provide them with the antidote once the fight was over. The two combatants battled on the Xavier estate, but Kraven had prepared many traps and Hank was hit by some drugged darts. Actually, the venom’s purpose was to slow down the blood flow to the Beast’s brain, to dull his reflexes, but they had some unwanted side-effects. With his higher brain functions inhibited, Hank regressed to a more feral nature and went into a berserker rage. He would have killed Kraven if his teammates hadn’t separated the fighters. [X-Men: The Hidden Years #17]
For a time, Hank worried that a similar incident could happen again and so held back during the fights, but over time he overcame this fear. Also he and Vera slowly, but surely, lost track of each other as their lives seemed to take different directions.
Hank decided that he should explore a life outside the X-Men and applied for a job at the Brand Corporation. He left Xavier‘s mansion with a heavy heart, but at the new place he had the chance to hone his bio-chemical skills. At Brand, he alsomet his beautiful assistant, Linda Donaldson, and bitter superior, Carl Maddicks.
In his experiments, Hank discovered the hormonal extract that causes mutations in genetic structures. When rushing to tell Maddicks about his discovery, he overheard him making plans to steal top secret government documents.
Realizing that he couldn't stop Maddicks as himself, Beast took the hormone extract in order to increase his power and disguise his appearance. It gave him a new, furred appearance. It would become permanent in an hour, so he moved fast. While he did stop the robbery, Hank failed to make his deadline and was stuck in his furry form forever. Meanwhile, Carl Maddicks was shot for his failure by Linda Donaldson, who was actually a spy for the Secret Empire. [Amazing Adventures (2nd series) #11]
Over the night, Hank read various books on make-up and masks and, after he stole the necessary equipment from a store, created a latex mask and gloves that resembled his own face and human hands, so that he could pass as plain Hank McCoy while wearing clothes. The only problem was that, due to the long hours of work, his body had adapted to the strain and he now had a gorilla’s posture. With straps and bands around his body, Hank forced himself to stand upright like a man again and, the next day, he went to work as if nothing happened. However, he soon found himself facing more problems. For example, although their relationship grew, he could not allow to get kissed by Linda, who then would have felt the rubber mask.
Other complications arose when Tony Stark visited the Brand Corporation. When during a crisis both he and Hank tried to help as super heroes, Iron Man mistook the Beast for a villain. Things grew worse for Beast when Mastermind of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants watched from a short distance and planted the illusion of having killed Iron Man in Hank’s mind. The Beast was then easily manipulated into joining the evil mutants, but they failed to recognize him as the X-Man they all had encountered before. Soon, Hank overcame the illusion and left the Brotherhood, after defeating them all by himself. [Amazing Adventures (2nd series) #12-13]