Art by Tom Lyle
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman #417 (March 1988)
Created byJim Starlin (writer)
Jim Aparo (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoAnatoli Knyazev
Team affiliationsKGB
Black Lantern Corps
Suicide Squad
Notable aliasesThe Beast
AbilitiesEnhanced 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 (Anatoli Knyazev) is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo, the character first appeared as an adversary of Batman.[1]

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.

Publication history[edit | edit source]

KGBeast first appeared in (March 1988) and was created by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo.[2]

Fictional character biography[edit | edit source]

Backstory[edit | edit source]

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.

First appearance[edit | edit source]

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.[3]

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.

Later appearances[edit | edit source]

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.[4] 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.[5]

In the No Man's Land storyline, the Beast appeared as a henchman of Lock-Up, during the latter's tenure as the unofficial warden of Blackgate.

One Year Later[edit | edit source]

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.[6] The Beast's corpse was later stolen by a mysterious group who were reanimating corpses and turning them into zombie-like soldiers.[7] 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.[8]

Blackest Night[edit | edit source]

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.[9]

Post-Flashpoint[edit | edit source]

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),[10] 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.

DC Rebirth[edit | edit source]

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.

Other versions[edit | edit source]

Flashpoint[edit | edit source]

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, KGBeast is imprisoned in military Doom prison. During the prison break, KGBeast is shot with a blast by corrections officer Amazo.[13]

In other media[edit | edit source]

Television[edit | edit source]

  • KGBeast appears in Justice League Unlimited. In the episode "Kids Stuff", he along with Blockbuster, Cheetah and Copperhead are robbing a gold vault when they fight the Justice League and is defeated by an electric shock. He later made a couple of background appearances as a member of Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society. In the episode "Alive", KGBeast is seen fighting on Gorilla Grodd's side during his attempted mutiny against Lex Luthor. He is seen on Luthor's side once the fight is over.
  • Anatoly Knyazev makes his live-action debut in Arrow, portrayed by David Nykl. He appears in both the present timeline and flashbacks beginning in season 2. He and Oliver Queen initially meet near the island of Lian Yu, where Oliver helps him escape from Dr. Anthony Ivo. Years later, Oliver arrives in Russia, looking to avenge a friend by killing a gangster known as Kovar. He seeks out Anatoly and joins Bratva, eventually killing Kovar and returning to Star City after his plan to gas members of the Russian Government failed. In the present timeline, Oliver seeks out Anatoly's aid from time-to-time. In season six, Anatoly becomes a recurring villain as part of Cayden James's cabal alongside Vincent Sobel, Laurel Lance and Ricardo Diaz. When Diaz usurps James by killing him, Anatoly abandons him in the season 6 finale after seeing that he lives and fights without honor, something he holds in high esteem. He once again begins working with Oliver, while also becoming an informant to A.R.G.U.S.. In season seven, Diaz looks for vengeance on Anatoly for betraying him and slaughters his Bratva unit, which Oliver and his team save Anatoly, who leaves Star City for a tropical island. In the episode "Prochnost," Anatoly returns to Russia following Diaz's death and opens up a bar. He helps Oliver, Laurel, and Mia Smoak look for a weapon that might be used on the Monitor while tangling with Oleg's faction of the Bratva.
  • KGBeast is voiced by Matt Oberg in Harley Quinn. In the episode "Til Death Do Us Part", he is an inmate of Arkham Asylum. He appears again in "So You Need a Crew?", attacking Harley while she tries to rob a train armed with nuclear warheads. Harley is able to defeat him. In "L.O.D.R.S.V.P.", he and Harley are both nominated to be the new members of the Legion of Doom. When Harley gets in and not him, he throws up a middle finger and walks out.

Film[edit | edit source]

  • KGBeast appears briefly in Batman: Assault on Arkham, voiced by Nolan North. He appears briefly as a recruit for the latest Suicide Squad, after being captured during an attack on a military base. When he awakens with the Squad, he believes Amanda Waller is bluffing after she warns them of the small nano-explosives implanted in the neck of each member. Waller allows him to walk out only to immediately execute him with the explosive to serve as a warning to the other Squad members should they abandon their mission.
  • Anatoly Knyazev appears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, portrayed by Callan Mulvey. He appears as a mercenary, terrorist and weapons trafficker who secretly works for Lex Luthor as his main henchman. He was in Africa doing business with African terrorists, but double crossed them by killing his men when Superman arrived to the scene, following Luthor's orders. Bruce Wayne has kept tabs on him and when he was delivering the Kryptonite to Luthor, Batman chased after him for the Kryptonite only to be stopped by Superman, who has problems with his tactics, allowing Knyazev to successfully deliver the Kryptonite to Luthor. Later, Knyazev kidnaps Martha Kent following Luthor's instructions to burn her to death in one hour unless ordered otherwise, and holds her hostage in a warehouse with many armed men guarding the building, only for all of them to be taken down by Batman. The Dark Knight shoots the flamethrower tank he was wearing in order to rescue Martha from his grip, with Knyazev being caught in an explosion.

Video games[edit | edit source]

  • KGBeast appears in Batman. His only appearance in the game is at stage 1-2, although he's not a boss.[14] He is portrayed as a ninja and attacks with a sword and shuriken.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 212. ISBN 9780345501066. 
  2. Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0. 
  3. Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Using the Cold War as their backdrop, writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo crafted the four-part storyline 'Ten Nights of the Beast'." 
  4. Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0. 
  5. Robin (vol. 4) #14 (February 1995) ("Troika" Part Four)
  6. Detective Comics #817 (May 2006)
  7. Nightwing (vol. 2) #142 (May 2008)
  8. Nightwing (vol. 2) #143 (June 2008)
  9. Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
  10. "Batman #56 (2018)
  11. All-Star Batman #4
  12. Batman Vol 3 #55
  13. Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 (July 2011)
  14. "Batman: The Video game". NES Player. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2010-12-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links[edit | edit source]

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