Art by Tom Lyle
|First appearance||Batman #417 (March 1988)|
|Created by||Jim Starlin (writer)|
Jim Aparo (artist)
|Alter ego||Anatoli Knyazev|
Black Lantern Corps
|Notable aliases||The Beast|
|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
KGBeast has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. Anatoli appeared in his first live adaptation as a recurring cast member on The CW television series Arrow played by David Nykl. Anatoli also appeared as a henchman for Lex Luthor in the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice played by Callan Mulvey.
Anatoli Knyazev (Russian: Анато́лий Кня́зев, Anatoliy 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.
The Beast made his first appearance in the storyline, "Ten Nights of The Beast" Batman #417 (March 1988), 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 Strategic Defense Initiative 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 where 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 acquired 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.
As part of the New 52 the character got a new backstory First on the New Suicide Squad#2 (October, 2014) KGBeast/Commander Anatoli Knyazev was a citizen of the USSR until it dissolved. He was trained by Boris Ulyanov/Hammer, as well as others like Kanto (comics), and has mastered several forms of martial arts. In addition he gained cybernetic abilities which increased his strength. He is and fight against the Suicide Squad as is a Russian military soldier after is many times lost is become is a member of Suicide Squad.
In DC Rebirth KGBeast is now simply The Beast. He is described as one of the world's best contract killers, who formerly worked for the U.S. government and typically is exclusive to Washington D.C.. His logo is a 666 symbol. He had his own private island constructed for the purposes of taking his captured enemies there and engaging them in a hunt to the death, free from any national jurisdictions. He is hired by the Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White to kill Batman and Two-Face after the latter threatens to release his collection of blackmail data to the world. Anatoli is last seen when, to stop him killing a group of rioting civilians, Batman lunges into him and over a cliff. Only Batman is saved by Duke Thomas, leaving Beast's fate uncertain.
He is hired by Bane to break Batman by assassinating his protege Nightwing. He is cornered by Batman after he murdered his father at the cabin. He's been hit in the neck, and Batman decides to walk away, leaving his fate unknown once again.
Using the Cold War as their backdrop, writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo crafted the four-part storyline 'Ten Nights of the Beast'.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)