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How DC Made the Unsettling Justice League Ally Mr. Beast More Disturbing

Suicide Squad: King Shark #3 sees the return of one of the Justice League’s most unsettling allies, and he’s stranger than ever before.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Suicide Squad: King Shark #3, on sale now from DC Comics.

The Wild Games, the extra-dimensional tournament at the center of Suicide Squad: King Shark #3 (by Tim Seeley, Scott Kolins, John Kalisz, and Wes Abbott) keeps getting weirder. Although the assortment of champions representing the various branches of the animal kingdom that King Shark has been forced to battle are all pretty unusual, the most surreal creature involved in the Wild Games just might just be its host, the obscure Silver-Age hero B’Wana Beast.

The Silver-Age is well-known for ushering in a generation of gimmicky and bizarre superheroes and villains, and B’Wana Beast might just be the weirdest one of them all. His bizarre costume, bombastic demeanor, and ability to merge two different animals into a chimera makes him both unique and terrifying. During a conversation with King Shark’s human fiend Defacer, B’Wana Beast confesses that his unusual powers have taken a heavy toll on his conscious that heavily contrasts his otherwise happy-go-lucky demeanor, adding yet another level of strangeness to an already bizarre character.

RELATED: Suicide Squad’s King Shark Brings a Justice League Ally Back in a Wild Role

As the host of the Wild Games, B’Wana Beast’s interest in Defacer began the moment she and King Shark were pulled into the Red, the elemental realm that connects all animal life and serves as the location for the tournament. While King Shark is battling the champion of walruses in a brutal fight to the death, B’Wana Beast brings Defacer to the announcer’s booth for a casual conversation about her relationship with King Shark. Upon learning that King Shark and Defacer’s friendship was formed due to their shared anger-management issues, B’Wana Beast becomes unusually emotional. As it turns out, B’Wana Beast has some deep insecurities about his powers, and they’ve been haunting him since the moment he first acquired them.

B’Wana Beast, whose real name is Michal Payson Maxwell, first gained his powers after he was caught in a plane crash that stranded him on Mount Kilimanjaro. There, Michael drank from a mystical pool that granted him superhuman strength and senses before acquiring a mystical helmet that gave him his more well-known ability to commune with animals and merge them into chimeras. During Grant Morrison’s acclaimed run on Animal Man, it’s further explained that Michael gained his powers from the Red’s rulers, the Parliament of Limbs. While these powers allowed Michael to protect animals as the hero B’Wana Beast, he admits to Defacer that he’s always wondered if the creatures that he used to create his chimeras hated him for robbing them of their individuality and turning them into monsters. Learning about King Shark and Defacer’s friendship has given B’Wana Beast hope that animals are capable of understanding the importance of teamwork, giving the hero a small amount of comfort.

RELATED: Animal Man’s New 52 Debut Introduced the Dark World of ‘The Rot’

B’Wana Beast’s blunt admission that his abilities carry horrific implications and the ease with which he dismisses those concerns adds another layer of strangeness to his already bizarre character. However, this isn’t the first time that B’Wana Beast has questioned how he uses his powers. During Morrison’s Animal Man, B’Wana Beast’s ape companion Djuba is kidnapped by an immoral researcher and used as a test subject in lethal biological warfare experiments. In his quest to avenge his friend, B’Wana Beast combines animals from a nearby zoo into powerful monsters, seizes control of a human by fusing them with a rat, and takes revenge on the doctor who kidnapped Djuba by fusing him with her dead body, killing him instantly. Haunted by this experience, B’Wana Beast gives up his title to a South African civil rights activist named Dominic MnDawe before being possessed by the Antagon, a darker manifestation of the Red, forcing his new friend Animal Man to kill him.

This makes B’Wana Beast’s surprise return even more bizarre since it hasn’t been explained how B’Wana Beast was revived after his death. Given his innate connection to the Red, the Parliament of Limbs might have revived him to serve as their master of ceremonies. Regardless of the explanation, B’Wana Beast’s role as the Wild Games’ host is a fitting role for the bizarre hero and one that he seems happy to accept.

KEEP READING: Animal Man vs Vixen: Which Justice League Hero Has More Ferocious Powers?

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