Since their book was cancelled, Marvel decided it needed to start reminding people that it has X-Men, so in the panels above they explain why there had been no X-comics lately. The book had been running reprints for years, and the characters had dropped out of sight.
So, they made Beast hairy and gave a new, young writer the opportunity to fail. In his first Marvel work, Steve Englehart had nothing to lose. If he failed, nobody cared about the X-Men anyway. If he succeeded, he could rebirth a franchise character. Tom Sutton’s art was perfect, too: He portrayed a grotesque Beast, a savage, with much clearer and straightforward art for the rest of the characters in the book.
But how to sell a mutant nobody remembered or cared about? Easy: Put Iron Man in the book!
Beast and Iron Man fight.
Can Iron Man really be strangled while in his armor?
In these early issues, Beast has a “savage” side that he tries to keep under control, kind of like a milder Hulk (or a werewolf). One thing though: Since when was Beast bulletproof? Answer: Never. The above scene never happened.
It was all Mastermind messing with Beast.
He and the Evil Mutants make an appearance as the villains of the story.
Beast kicks his ass.
It’s a nice, soft reboot of the X-verse. Hard to believe the most successful franchise in history almost died out.
These issues also bring Golden Age fashion model and future Hellcat Patsy Walker into the current Marvel Universe, along with her husband, future Mad Dog, Robert “Buzz” Baxter.
They’re at a party with Thing and Tony Stark.
Beast invents a suit to allow him to go undercover, but it kind of plays out like a weird bondage thing. Still, it enables him to meet Tony Stark and his fiancee…
I didn’t remember that they were engaged.