WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for X-Force #24
Hank McCoy, dubbed Beast, was once defined by the contrast between his ferocious demeanour and the deep intelligence and compassion he possessed within. He has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to realising Charles Xavier’s objective of peaceful coexistence between mankind and mutants throughout his long tenure with the X-Men, even serving as the moral compass that guided the team back onto the correct path when they strayed.
Krakoa has shattered what remained of Beast’s innate kindness
But, after years of moral ambiguity, Beast’s innate goodness has been broken by the mutant nation of Krakoa. Beast has had to make difficult decisions to safeguard mutant kinds of the new country since taking over X-Force, including surrendering his own principles, which has prompted many of his closest allies to disavow him out of contempt. Beast’s new cruelty is further cemented in X-Force #24, who shows he’s not only prepared to kill his teammates but also eager to mutilate himself if it means keeping the imagined peace on Krakoa.
Russian Nesting Dolls
The Russian government’s assault is one of the most persistent and powerful dangers to Krakoa. Colossus and Magik’s estranged older brother, Mikhail Rasputin, has conducted a vicious campaign of espionage and sabotage, supported by Russia, one of the few countries that refuse to recognise Krakoa as a sovereign nation. The Russian-backed anti-mutant militia Xeno just unleashed an army of “Russian Nesting Dolls,” biologically created warriors with a series of smaller clones inside of them. These operatives were able to inflict significant damage to Krakoa, resulting in Mikhail’s possession of the Cerebro Sword. Beast publicly detained and humiliated Colossus on suspicion of supporting his brother after discovering Mikhail’s involvement, an act that enraged many of Hank’s oldest allies.
Rationalised His Treatment
Beast rationalised his treatment of Colossus by claiming it was for the welfare of Krakoa and stated that his public display of cruelty was part of a plan to silence any possible moles on the island, as he has done with many of his previous contentious actions. When Beast discovers in X-Force #23 that he has been infested with microscopic Nesting Dolls, his conviction that his acts serve “the greater good” becomes gruesomely ironic. Knowing that his illness may give Mikhail unrestricted access to Krakoa’s secrets, Beast enlists the help of former X-Men villain Black Tom.
Beast Takes Out His Own Eye
Black Tom enters Beast’s body and proceeds to methodically destroy the Nesting Dolls that have proliferated across Beast’s body, using his plant-based anatomy to make a miniature version of himself. Beast finds the process excruciating, and he tries to stay awake enough to give Black Tom orders. Black Tom eventually cornered the Dolls in Beast’s stomach, where he used the remnants of Hank’s lunch salad to overwhelm and murder all of them. A thankful Beast is startled to realise his saviour appears to have a Doll on his face after vomiting up Black Tom. Beast prepares to attack Black Tom with a scalpel in order to stop the spread of the disease, only to realise at the last moment that the Doll is within his eye. Beast takes out and destroys his own eye to murder the last remaining Doll without hesitation.
This highlights how far he is willing to go to protect Krakoa
Beast’s desire to mutilate himself and harm another mutant demonstrates how far he is ready to go to protect Krakoa. Unlike Mikhail, who has prospered as Russia’s mutant spymaster, Beast has lost a significant part of himself in his duty as Krakoa’s. Beast publicly confesses how much he has changed since becoming command of X-Force in X-Force #23, remarking that he is no longer the guy his old teammates adored. He does, however, insist that if Krakoa is to survive, it needs a monster at the helm of its defence, and he is more than happy to transform into something considerably scarier than his appearance if it means keeping his home safe.