In every installment of “If I Pass This Way Again,” we look at odd comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) mentioned again after they were first introduced.
Today, we answer a question from long-time reader Alan B., who read my recent piece about how Cloak and Dagger used to be mutants (but now are not) and had a question about an appearance in “Cloak and Dagger” by Iceman and Beast from X-Factor. Alan wrote:
In your story about Cloak & Dagger being mutants there is a panel where Iceman states that the Beast gets dumber when he uses his strength. I have NEVER heard of this being part of the Beast’s power-set. I do recall a W.I.L.D.C.A.T.S. character who became dumber the bigger he became, but the Beast? And when did the Beast have Super Strength anyway? Why would that affect his I.Q.?
Read on for the answer, Alan (and everyone else) as we take a look at a short-lived plot in the life of the Beast!
It all began in “X-Factor” #19 (by Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson and Bob Wiacek), where X-Factor was attacked by the Horsemen of Apocalypse (only three of them, as former X-Factor member Warren Worthington was not yet the fourth Horseman). The Horseman known as Pestilence touched Beast, which messed him up…
A couple of issues later, the Beast was seemingly recovered, but something was definitely up with him, as he was much stronger but was acting more erratic…
The truth was revealed in “X-Factor” #24, when the mutants faced off against Apocalypse. He taunted Beast with the truth about the cost of his new powers….
In the next issue, just to be a dick, Apocalypse tricked Beast into destroying the stabilizers on Apocalypse’s ship, knowing that his actions would cause the ship to then crash into New York City (Apocalypse is a straight up jerk)…
After X-Factor defeated Apocalypse, Beast was still distraught over A. what he did and B. what was happening to his mind. In the next issue, he sobbingly revealed his situation to reporter Trish Tilby, who had been working on an expose against X-Factor (back when everyone thought that they were mutant hunters)…
That’s so sad.
That was the status quo for Beast for the next few issues, but then Simonson/Simonson/Wiacek started a new plot beginning in “X-Factor” #28 where a mysterious woman named Infectia became interested in Iceman. She had the ability to alter people’s molecules through a kiss. Beast saw her transform a cop into a monster, but Iceman wouldn’t believe him because he was, well, you know, dumb now. Beast managed to convince the young mutant children that X-Factor was helping to train, though, and they conspired along with the Beast to prevent Iceman and Infectia from kissing. Eventually, Infectia and Bobby just left X-Factor’s base (which was now the same ship that Beast had messed up a few issues earlier – it was sentient and liked X-Factor a whole lot more than Apocalypse. Oddly enough, Infectia kissed IT, as well, and helped control it a bit).
So Infectia was about to kiss Iceman in “X-Factor” #31 when suddenly Beast burst in and took the kiss for Iceman…
After being in a coma for most of “X-Factor” #32 and #33, when Beast overheard that Iceman and the mutant kids were in danger, it kickstarted his system and we see that the molecular bio-chemistry changed of Infectia’s kiss returned Beast to his intelligent, blue and furry self!
The whole thing was a little over a year and obviously no one has really talked about it since.
Thanks for the suggestion, Alan! If anyone else has a suggestion for a little-remembered comic book plot point, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I’ll feature it in a future installment of If I Pass This Way Again!
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