Thursday, 3 September 2015

POP! Marvel – Beast

Year: 2013
Company: Funko
Series: POP! Marvel

At its core, X-Men is really a (very extended) story about people who feel like they don’t fit in. All of us can relate to this at some level – especially during our teenage years. And while pretty much every character who’s passed through the X-Men fits this archetype in one form another, few typify it better than Beast, aka Hank McCoy.

Beast started life in the comics as a guy who seemed to have the mutant ability of just looking a bit weird and monkey-esque. Honestly, if you read those first few issues of the 1960s X-Men comic, you probably wouldn’t even notice that Beast was a mutant. He was freakishly athletic and strong, which actually sounds pretty awesome. To give this a little more visual pizzazz, the First Class movie gave him ape-like feet.  

In his filmic incarnation, for some reason he decided that his incredibly helpful abilities were excluding him from everyday life, and so he developed a “cure” to neutralise his mutant gene. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and actually turned him furry and blue. It was incredibly depressing for someone who just wanted to “fit in”. There’s a moral here – namely, don’t worry too much if you’re out of step with the mainstream, because people will appreciate you for you are anway. And people who don’t are not the sort of people you want to try to impress. You’ll only make yourself unhappy in the process.

The comics story isn’t quite as depressing. Beast developed a serum that allowed anyone to become a mutant for a short period of time. He used it to disguise his appearance, but left it too long and was permanently transformed as a result – initially with grey fur, but later blue.      

This Beast POP was first released in 2013, but now seems to be showing up all over the place in Sydney again, as do his wavemates Silver Surfer and Deadpool. Ghost Rider, Phoenix/Dark Phoenix and Dr Doom don’t seem to be turning up with the same regularity though. Maybe it’s a Sony and Marvel not getting along thing – who knows? Funko’s distribution/re-release schedule is frequently mysterious.

Beast is sculpted with his classic blue Wolverine hair look, complete with massive sideburns. I’m sure someone has already used this head for an unmasked Wolverine custom – Wolverine does get drawn with slight fangs from time to time. Beast is also a brilliant scientist, often depicted with glasses to emphasise his genius. Glasses = smart just about everywhere you go. This POP skips that, but in hindsight I’m surprised they didn’t do a paint variant or convention exclusive that incorporated them. I’m sure clever customisers have already done it, too.

Likewise, it’s surprising that there wasn’t a grey paint variant, to capture his early look. But there is one other version of him floating around – a flocked version put out by Gemini Collectibles. eBay suggests it’s at least a couple of hundred dollars for one, so if you’re keen to track one down…      

Blue furry dude in a Speedo does not sound like a recipe for a good character, but Beast is actually a really fun…ko POP. He’s an essential addition to any X-Men or Avengers collection.      

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