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, including Anwar El Sadat.
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. PresidentRonald 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.
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 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.
KGBeast appeared in the 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, so it's believed he switched sides during the mutiny. However, he did not make it to Sinestro's force field, and he was presumably killed when the ship exploded.
In Arrow, Anatoli Knyazev made his first appearance in the Season 2 episode "Crucible" and was portrayed by David Nykl. He is the leader of the Solntsevskaya Bratva and is former KGB. At some point he was abducted from Russia by Dr. Anthony Ivo (Dylan Neal) and kept prisoner aboard his ship, the Amazo, and is tortured for his various science experiments near the island of Lian Yu. He is soon joined by Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) who is shot and Anatoli tells him that it's a test to see if he is strong ("Crucible"). Later Anatoli and Oliver continue to talk in their cells about how business on the ship works and later Oliver is freed from his ship by Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) to which Anatoli asks if he will come back for him which Oliver vows to do ("Keep Your Enemies Closer"). Weeks to a month later Anatoli is still a prisoner on the ship who plays dice games with fellow inmate Hendrick (Artine Brown) but is taken into Ivo's lab where he intends to remove one of Anatoli's eyes for his experiments until a bomb fire on the beach distracts him. Oliver is then returned to his cell but soon Oliver gets out and attacks the ship's crew with Sara and Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett). During the attack Sara frees Anatoli and the others who abandon ship and wash up on shore ("The Promise"). Sara takes Anatoli and the others to Slade's wrecked plane but soon after Slade, who has turned rogue and taken Oliver prisoner, demands that Hendrick be turned over to fix the broken engine or Oliver will die. Anatoli distracts Hendrick long enough for Sara to knock him out ("Birds of Prey"). As part of a plan to kill Slade when he comes Anatoli helps Sara dig up a landmine to strap to Hendrick but when Slade comes with Oliver and Ivo Slade's sniffs it out thanks to his Mirakuru enhanced abilities but decides to leave them ("Deathstroke"). Anatoli then tries to torture Ivo for his own abuse but Oliver stops him when he mentions a cure for Mirakuru ("The Man Under The Hood"). Later Oliver and Sara lead Anatoli and inmate Peter (Seth Rogerson) to the submarine they found Mirakuru and where Slade was injected to save his life. Anatoli attempts to re-activate the sub but it's caught in rocks and Peter is forced to steer a manually operated torpedo killing himself but freeing the sub which Anatoli and Oliver together are able to get free but Sara on land is abducted ("City of Blood"). When the Amazo starts moving Oliver orders Anatoli to get him to the ship so he can save Sara but tells him to rig the last torpedo to fire at the ship if he doesn't return in 1 hour and get himself home. Before he leaves Anatoli, fearing that he may never see him again, commends Oliver for his bravery and tells him that he has made friend for life ("Streets of Fire"). As promised however Anatoli, after 2 hours, fires the torpedo at the ship much to his grief ("Unthinkable"). However Oliver manages to survive the ship wreck and eventually makes his way to Russia in Arrow Season 5 where he joins the Bratva, reuniting with Anatoli, to enact vengeance on Kovar. Anatoli Knyazev in the present day is first mentioned in the season one episode "Vertigo" where Alexi Leonov (Eugene Lipinski) mentions that Oliver saved his life, presumably referring to the Amazo. Anatoli appears in the present in "Keep Your Enemies Closer" where he helps Oliver, John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) save Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) from a Russian gulag prison by smuggling John in where he with the help of Deadshot (Michael Rowe) is able to free Lyla and Anatoli drives them to safety.
KGBeast appears briefly in the animated film, 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 calls Amanda Waller's bluff 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.
Anatoli 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, killing him.
^Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 233. ISBN978-0-7566-6742-9. Using the Cold War as their backdrop, writer Jim Starlin and artist Jim Aparo crafted the four-part storyline 'Ten Nights of the Beast'.
^Robin (vol. 4) #14 (February 1995) ("Troika" Part Four)