KGBeast (Anatoli Knyazev) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo, the character first appeared in Batman #417 (March 1988) as an adversary of Batman.
KGBeast's civilian identity appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which he was portrayed by Callan Mulvey, and as a recurring character in the second, fifth, and sixth seasons of Arrow, in which he is played by David Nykl.
KGBeast first appeared in Batman #417 (March 1988) and was created by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo.
Fictional character biography
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. 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
In other media
- 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, 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.
- Anatoli Knyazev appears in Arrow, portrayed by David Nykl. His first appearance is in the season 2 episode "Crucible". Knyazev is a captain in the Solntsevskaya Bratva and a former KGB agent. 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 was shot. Anatoli tells him that it's a regular test to see if a prisoner is strong enough to survive. Later Anatoli and Oliver converse 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"). Several weeks later Anatoli is still a prisoner on the ship and is playing dice games with fellow inmate Hendrick (Artine Brown) when he is taken into Ivo's lab where Ivo intends to remove one of Anatoli's eyes for his experiments. However, they are interrupted by an explosion on the island that distracts Ivo. Oliver returns to the Amazo, pretending to be captured again, only to get out and attack the ship's crew alongside Sara and Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett). During the attack Sara frees Anatoli and the others who run and abandon ship and wash up on the island shore ("The Promise"). Sara takes Anatoli and the others to Slade's wrecked plane but Slade, having been turned against them by Ivo 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 for Hendrick, Anatoli helps Sara dig up a landmine to strap to Hendrick in order to blow them both up. Slade comes with Oliver and Ivo but Slade sniffs it out thanks to his enhanced abilities but decides to go through the deal as promised, also leaving Ivo, who he fatally wounded, with them ("Deathstroke"). Anatoli then tries to torture Ivo for his own amusement because of the torture Ivo put him through but Oliver stops him when Ivo says he can get Slade back on their side ("The Man Under The Hood"). Later Oliver and Sara lead Anatoli and another former prisoner of the Amazo, Peter (Seth Rogerson), to a submarine left by the Japanese from World War II on the island. Anatoli attempts to re-activate the sub but it's stuck in rocks and Peter, revealing Ivo gave him radiation poisoning, decides to steer a manually operated torpedo, killing himself but freeing the sub. Anatoli and Oliver together are able to steer the submarine free of the rocky coast, but Slade takes Sara and the others prisoner again on the damaged Amazo ("City of Blood"). When the Amazo starts moving Oliver orders Anatoli to get him to it so he can save Sara, but he also tells him to rig the last torpedo to fire in a straight line at the ship if he fails to return in an hour so Anatoli can 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 a friend for life ("Streets of Fire"). After 2 hours, Anatoli fires the torpedo at the ship, much to his grief, and returns to Russia in the submarine ("Unthinkable"). However Oliver manages to survive the ship wreck and eventually makes his way to Russia a few years later in Arrow Season 5 in order to avenge a friend by killing a gangster known as Kovar. To this end, Oliver joins the Bratva, reuniting with Anatoli. After several months and a lot of gang war, they succeed in eliminating Kovar, and Anatoli arranges for Oliver to go back to Star City and rejoin his family for the first time in 5 years. Anatoli Knyazev in the present day is first mentioned in the season one episode "Vertigo" where a Star City Bratva contact, Alexi Leonov (Eugene Lipinski) mentions that Oliver saved his life, presumably referring to the Amazo. Anatoli first 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. In season 5, episode 12 "Bratva", Oliver and his team go to Russia for help from Anatoli, in order to stop a corrupt U.S. Army general from setting off a nuclear bomb. In episode 18 "Disbanded", Oliver seeks help from Anatoli in order to murder Prometheus, but Anatoli tells him the Bratva is unhappy doing him so many favors for free, leading to an argument in which Oliver and Anatoli sadly end their friendship. After Prometheus's death and the island's destruction in the season 5 finale, "Lian Yu", Anatoli is a primary antagonist in season 6 as a member of Cayden James's criminal cabal, which consists of Black Siren, Ricardo Diaz, and Vigilante. Anatoli begings to question his allegiance to Diaz, however, when he sees the Dragon lives and fights without honor, something Anatoli still holds in high esteem.
- 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, with Knyazev being caught in an explosion.
- KGBeast appears in Batman. His only appearance in the game is at stage 1-2, although he's not a boss. He is portrayed as a ninja and attacks with a sword and shuriken.
- ^ 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'.
- ^ Robin (vol. 4) #14 (February 1995) ("Troika" Part Four)
- ^ Detective Comics #817 (May 2006)
- ^ Nightwing (vol. 2) #142 (May 2008)
- ^ Nightwing (vol. 2) #143 (June 2008)
- ^ Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
- ^ All-Star Batman #4
- ^ Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 (July 2011)
- ^ "Batman: The Video game". NES Player. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2010-12-29.