|First appearance||Batman #417 (March 1988)|
|Created by||Jim Starlin
|Alter ego||Anatoli Knyazev|
Black Lantern Corps
|Abilities||Enhanced physique due to cybernetic enhancement and extreme KGB conditioning
Extraordinary hand-to-hand combatant
Master of weapons and explosives
Prosthetic gun in place of left hand
Fictional character biography
Anatoli Knyazev, code-named "The Beast", and known to the C.I.A. as the "KGBeast" was trained as an assassin by "The Hammer," a top secret cell of the KGB. In addition to being the master of several martial arts, his strength was cybernetically enhanced, and he had also mastered the use of every deadly weapon known. At the time of his first appearance, he was rumored to have killed at least 200 people, including Anwar El Sadat.
The Beast made his first appearance in the storyline, "Ten Nights of The Beast" Batman #417 - 420, which was later reprinted as a trade paperback of the same name. It was written by Jim Starlin and drawn by Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo.
The Hammer's general, angry that the Soviet government was working to better relations with the United States, sent Knyazev on a mission to kill 10 high-ranking U.S. officials in an attempt to cripple the Star Wars program. These include scientists, civilian administrators, military figures, and politicians, the last of whom being then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan, scheduled to visit Gotham City.
Despite Batman's best efforts, the Beast eliminated nearly all of his targets. In particular, he showcased his ruthlessness by poisoning an entire banquet, killing over 100 people, just to ensure that his target would die.
When Batman finally faced the Beast in hand to hand combat, the Beast quickly gained the upper hand, fleeing only because he thought Batman had back-up.
During the rematch between the two, Batman snared the Beast's left wrist with the Batrope. Rather than be captured, the Beast grabbed a nearby axe and chopped off the restrained hand. The Beast quickly had the limb replaced with a cybernetic gun, made by one of Gotham's top weapons dealers.
Before the final confrontation between Batman and the Beast, C.I.A. Agent Ralph Bundy reminded Batman that, if the Beast were to be captured alive, he would have to be handed over to the Soviets, and likely escape justice. Knowing this, Batman, after thwarting the Beast's assassination attempt on Reagan, destroyed the Beast's gun-arm, lured him into the sewers, and then cornered him in an underground room. The Beast invited Batman to fight him to the death, but instead Batman locked the room, effectively burying the assassin alive.
In the later story, Batman: Year Three, Batman noted that he then contacted the police to pick up the subdued villain.
However, the Beast escaped and went into hiding, from which he saw the Soviet Union dissolve. His protégé, the NKVDemon, surfaced in Russia, but was killed by Batman's ally, Soviet police detective Nikita Krakov. The Beast became a traditional supervillain, engaging in a counterfeiting scheme and having additional cybernetic implants inserted into his body. He fought Robin and the Huntress, but was ultimately defeated by King Snake. He later acquirred a nuclear bomb the size and shape of a baseball, which he used to threaten Gotham City. He was defeated by Robin and ultimately locked up in Blackgate Penitentiary.
One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, the Beast was thrown from a roof by a man thought to be Two-Face, after the Beast botched an assassination. His lifeless body was later found by the police, his death caused by two gunshots to the head. Two-Face appeared to be innocent of the murder; the killer seemed to be The Tally Man, hired by the Great White Shark. The Beast's corpse was later stolen by a mysterious group who were reanimating corpses and turning them into zombie-like soldiers. His head was shown floating around in a tank with several life support devices, indicating that he would return at some point in the future.
As part of the Blackest Night story arc, KGBeast's corpse was reanimated by a black power ring and recruited to the Black Lantern Corps during the Blackest Night: Batman miniseries. He used his ring to form a black energy construct of his gun arm.
In other media
- KGBeast appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Kids Stuff". He, Blockbuster, Cheetah, and Copperhead are robbing a gold vault. He later made a couple of background appearances as a member of Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society. In the episode "Alive" he is seen fighting on Gorilla Grodd's side during his attempted mutiny. However, since he is not among those frozen by Killer Frost, it is presumed he is killed during the fighting.
- In Arrow, Anatoli Knyazev is an unseen character mentioned in the episode "Vertigo". He is a leader in the Solntsevskaya Bratva. At some point Oliver Queen saved his life, as a result of which Queen is considered a captain in the organization.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Using the Cold War as their backdrop, writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo crafted the four-part storyline 'Ten Nights of the Beast'."
- Robin #14 ("Troika" Part Four)
- Detective Comics #817
- Nightwing #142
- Nightwing #143
- Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
- Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 (July 2011)
- "Batman: The Video game". NES Player. Retrieved 2010-12-29.