Marvel decided it needed to start reminding people that it has X-Men, so in the panels above they explain why there had been no X-comics lately.  The book had been running reprints for years, and the characters had dropped out of sight.  So, they made Beast hairy and give a new, young writer the opportunity to fail.  In his first Marvel work, Steve Englehart had nothing to lose.  If he failed, nobody cared about the X-Men anyway.  If he succeeded, he would rebirth a franchise.  Tom Sutton’s art was perfect, too: He matched a grotesque Beast, a savage, with much clearer and straightforward art for the rest of the characters in the book.

But how to sell a mutant nobody remembered or cared about?  Easy: Put Iron Man in the book!

In these early issues, Beast has a “savage” side that he tries to keep under control, kind of like a milder Hulk (or a werewolf).

One thing though: Since when was Beast bulletproof?  Answer: Never.  The above scene never happened.  It was all Mastermind messing with Beast.

Creators: Steve Englehart and Tom Sutton

Grade: B-.  Above average, and very interesting.

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