X-Men’s Beast Evolves Again

The Beast is evolving again. The furry X-Man has been through a variety of look since his fur-less introduction back in 1963, but whereas some of those variations have been merely the result of the whims of various artists, he’s also had a history of “evolution jumps”. This latest “official” change of appearance is another mutation, taking him back from the feline look (created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely in New X-Men #117 back in  2001) to a more simian appearance. [image via MTV Geek]

It takes place in All-New X-Men # 5, and the new look has been designed by artist Stuart Immonen.

Newsarama spoke to All New X-Men editor Nick Lowe about the reasons behind the change, and whether it was a reaction against negative reaction from some fans to the feline look:

“We would often get in big disagreements (by we, I mean me and most of the room) at editorial retreats about Cat Beast vs Ape Beast. Also, the old design doesn’t look like an ape! Anyway, my resistance was against reverting to the older version because I thought that the more beastly look works better for the actual character. But since this is a new, still beastly design and not just a furry guy with big hair, I was all in! But my passion on the subject does open me up to lots of ridicule. But that’s okay, I’m the youngest of three in my family so I’m used to that.”

Of Immonen’s design he says: “This was Stuart’s first real design try at Beast and he pushed it very ape or gorilla, and that was great. Again, the design people call ‘Ape Beast’ doesn’t really look like an ape, but I don’t want to confuse people so let’s call this one ‘Gorilla Beast’! As for changing him, it was something [writer] Brian [Bendis] wanted to do from day one. The only thing we didn’t have hammered out was exactly what he’d look like. That was where Stuart came in!”

• Here’s a quick refreshing of how Beast has looked previously, starting with the human-form created by Jack Kirby for The Uncanny X-Men #1 in 1963:

• In 1972, in Amazing Adventures #11, he first transformed into his furry form with his first big mutational “leap”. He wasn’t blue at first… more grey-ish. This redesign was was done by artist Ton Sutton.

• He soon turned blue though, and here’s John Byrne’s take on the character from The Avengers #181 in 1979.

• The in 2001 in New X-Men he became the “cat-Beast”. Artist Frank Quitely and writer Grant Morrison were clearly going for a Cocteau-style La Belle et la Bete beast but subsequent artists just stuck him back in the usual superhero costume and made him look like a big blue cat.