This article contains spoilers for X-Men: The Hellfire Gala (2023) #1, now on sale from Marvel Comics
The X-Men have faced deadly challenges in the past, but the latest assault by Orchis against the mutant population takes things to a darker place than ever before. With most of the mutant race lost and only a handful of desperate X-Men left on the board, there’s not much hope left for the former students of Professor X. But one of his oldest students might find renewed importance in such desperate times, possibly at the cost of his own redemption.
Beast’s evolution across the Krakoa Era reimagined the founding X-Man as a ruthless operator, willing to weaponize his allies in the name of mutant advancement. Beast’s role as such a dangerous wildcard might make him one of the most important mutants remaining in the world, especially if the other X-Men grow desperate enough to work with him. But his true potential might actually be as a fall guy for the latest X-Traitor, as teased in X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1 (by Gerry Duggan and various artists).
Beast Could Transform The Remaining X-Men
The latest Hellfire Gala took a deadly turn for the X-Men, with a large portion of the mutant population apparently wiped out or exiled as part of Orchis’ false-flag operation against Krakoa. Many mutants seemed to be lost to the compromised Krakoa Gates, while the few left quickly went underground. However, one major mutant abandoned the mutant nation long before the Orchis attack. As commander of X-Force, Beast employed ruthless methods (including murder) in the name of protecting Krakoa. Once he was exposed, the Quiet Council accepted his existence as a rogue agent, while X-Force was splintered as a result of his actions. He currently remains at large, and has already proven to be a target of several governments, including the United States.
The rest of the X-Men being forced to go on the run in the aftermath of the Orchis attack might give them little other option than to turn to Beast (or one of his many copies) for help. Although Wolverine, X-Force, and Maverick were able to do serious damage to his worldwide plans, Beast has remained a fugitive going into the Hellfire Gala. His tactics have allowed him to stay ahead of world governments with relative ease, making his experience a likely asset for the rest of the surviving mutants. The X-Men are already hard at work trying to stay unseen by the rest of the world, and his inventions could help assist in this endeavor. His cloning technology could serve as a rudimentary answer to the disappearance of the Five, countering the end of the resurrection protocols. His ruthless motivations might also make much more sense to the remaining mutants in the aftermath of the latest Mutant Massacre, allowing Beast to try and earn back some of the confidence other mutant heroes have lost in him. However, the founding X-Man’s real potential may lie in his ability to save another mutant.
The X-Men’s Beast Could Potentially Save Firestar
In the chaos of the Hellfire Gala, Jean Grey was specifically targeted by Moira MacTaggert with the mutant-power-dampening Blightswell. The attack proved fatal for the Omega-Level Mutant, but she had a small amount of time to try and help her allies in her final moments. While speaking directly with Firestar telepathically, Jean was able to rewrite Doctor Stasis’ memories to plant the former Avenger within Orchis’ ranks as a spy for the X-Men, publicly claiming Firestar has always been an agent for Orchis. The powerful young mutant could prove to be the key for the X-Men to bounce back from their latest loss, but the last minute decision to transform Firestar into a spy was kept from the rest of the X-Men, making her appear to be a genuine traitor to the mutants. Firestar brought this up to Jean in the moment, and the telepath quickly suggested Beast as a fall guy, citing his recent history as evidence for the other X-Men.
Jean’s acknowledgment of Beast as the perfect fall guy for Firestar’s actions speaks volumes about how far the hero has fallen from their days together as founding X-Men. But it also potentially serves as the key to keeping Firestar alive going forward. Rogue has already expressed a desire for payback against Firestar for her perceived crimes, and it’s likely the rest of their allies share similar feelings. But Beast is a useful excuse to justify Firestar’s actions by claiming it was him who placed her within Orchis. His recent actions, even if more understandable in the vicious aftermath of the Hellfire Gala, will likely keep the survivors from ever fully trusting him, and this makes the deception all the more believable.
The vicious Beast could be a key weapon in the fight against Orchis, countering their dangerous potential with his own. The former Avenger’s continued presence in the Marvel Universe has to be addressed eventually, as the character has recently become a genuine monster. Having him be used as an scapegoat to save Firestar from her potentially vengeful allies gives Beast a real purpose, while closing the book on the villainous take on the character and leaving the door open for the more altruistic copy of him to be brought into play. Beast’s fate is likely sealed with his former teammates in the X-Men, but he could still find some final purpose in protecting the life of a genuinely heroic mutant.
Things look bleak for Marvel’s mutants as the Fall of X begins, but a surprising wildcard may be the X-Men’s best chance for survival. Read More