KGBeast is a Russian supervillain, an assassin, and also an enemy of Batman.
Anatoli Knyazev was an extraordinary assassin who was in the employ of the KGB, the Soviet Union's secret police and intelligence agency. Anatoli 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 a master of several martial arts, his strength was cybernetically enhanced, and was also said to have mastered the use of every deadly weapon known to man. At the time of his first appearance, he was rumored to have killed at least 200 people, including possibly Anwar El Sadat.
The Beast made his first appearance in the storyline, "Ten Nights of The Beast" (Batman #417 - 420, later reprinted as a trade paperback of the same name.) The Hammer's general, angry that the Soviet government was working to better relations with the United States, sends Knyazev on an unauthorized mission to kill 10 high-ranking U.S. officials, ten key people who were involved with the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed the "Star Wars" program, in the hope of putting an end to it.
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. The Soviets warned the American government about Knyazev's plan.
Despite Batman's best efforts, Knyazev proved highly successful, killing seven of his nine designated targets. In particular, he showcases his ruthlessness by poisoning an entire banquet, killing over 100 people, just to ensure his target would die. When Batman finally meets the Beast in hand to hand combat, the Beast quickly gains the upper hand, fleeing only because he thought Batman had back-up.
At one point, the Batman ensnared the KGBeast's left hand in a noose. To free himself, the KGBeast severed his trapped hand with an ax. Having lost his left hand in battle with the Batman, the KGBeast quickly has the limb replaced with a cybernetic gun, made by one of Gotham's top weapons dealers, that fired automatically and that fit on the stump of his left arm. He also used a bayonet attached to the gun as a weapon.
Later the Batman succeeded in saving the President of the United States, who was visiting Gotham, from being assassinated by Knyazev. The Batman then pursued Knyazev into the sewers. Finally, the KGBeast found himself trapped within a small room in the lowest section of Gotham City's sewer system.
Before the final confrontation between Batman and the Beast, C.I.A. Agent Ralph Bundy reminds 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, destroys the Beast's gun-arm, lures him into the sewers, and then corners him in an underground room. The Beast invites Batman to fight him to the death, but instead Batman locks the room, effectively burying the assassin alive.
Batman later informed the police that the KGBeast was trapped (presumably waiting long enough for Knyazev to have suffocated). In the later story, Batman: Year Three, however, Batman notes that he actually had contacted the police to pick up the subdued villain. Though the exact details of his escape are unknown, the KGBeast did escape (or escaped police custody).
The KGBeast escapes and goes into hiding, from which he sees the Soviet Union dissolve. His protegé, the NKVDemon, surfaces in Russia, but is killed by Batman's ally, Soviet police detective Nikita Krakov. The KGBeast becomes a traditional supervillain, engaging in a counterfeiting scheme and having additional cybernetic implants inserted into his body. He fights Robin and the Huntress, but is ultimately defeated by King Snake. He also acquires a nuclear bomb the size and shape of a baseball, which he uses to threaten Gotham City. He is defeated by Robin and ultimately locked up in Blackgate Penitentiary.
Later KGBeast fought Batman on two more occasions when Batman helped Arsenal find a kidnapped Cheshire and during an escape from Blackgate Penitentiary. Batman defeated the Beast both times.
No Man's LandEdit
In the Batman: No Man's Land storyline, the KGBeast appears as a henchman of Lock-Up, during the latter's tenure as the unofficial warden of Blackgate. He later ran into Robin and the Huntress, who defeated him but did not capture him.
The KGBeast later attempted to deploy a small sized nuclear device in Gotham City when things got out of hand. Along with two Russian teammates, they caused much damage to the City. Eventually he came face to face with the GCPD and Robin. He severely injured Harvey Bullock, and battled it out with Robin. In the fight, Robin pulled off the KGBeast's eye-piece, which he found out was attached to his skull. This incapacitated the KGBeast just long enough for Batman to show up.
From Supervillain to simple HenchmanEdit
Early on Batman felt that in meeting the Beast he, for once, found someone better than him. Tim Drake was reluctant to fight the Beast because he felt way out of his depth against a foe this powerful. The respect that the Beast earned in earlier stories vanished. Later, KGBeast lamented that he had become nothing more than a hitman for hire. He was even defeated by Harvey Dent in hand to hand combat.
Eventually, the KGBeast was among the villains murdered by the Tally Man, under orders from the Great White Shark. However, in the Nightwing series, his body was later stolen by a mysterious group attempting to reanimate the corpses of dead super-beings, creating the possibility that the Beast may one day return.
KGBeast was one of the many villains raised from the dead in Gotham City to join the new Black Lantern Corps as zombies during Blackest Night. Along with Abbatoir, Deacon Blackfire, Blockbuster, King Snake, Magpie, the Trigger Twins, and the Ventriloquist, he received a Black Lantern Ring. He terrorized the city, and tore out the hearts of innocents to feed on their emotions and life force when they were feeling the most fear.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Cybernetic Enhancement: Supplemented physique due to cybernetic enhancements. Strength, Agility, Stamina and Durability in metahuman level.
- Pain Resistance
- KGB Training: He was highly trained in extreme methods of hand to hand combat and physically as well as mentally trained to deter, capture or kill hostile agents, saboteurs, bandits and other criminal elements. He would also have received training in reconnaissance and sabotage.
- Multi-Lingual: He's able to speak fluent Russian, Spanish, German and English.
- Skilled Combatant: He is a formidable hand to hand combatant, proficient in Sambo, Boxing and Systema.
- Expert Marksman
- Weapons and Explosives Master: Trained in the usage of every weapon imaginable, whether advanced or archaic. Also competent in the use of explosives.
- Espionage Master: Experienced espionage operative.
- Cybernetic Eyepiece: To compensate for the eye removed by Batman, he implemented a cybernetic eye, feeding visual information directly to his brain, the eye is waterproof, shockproof and impact resistant. The eye also has Night Vision, Infrared Vision and Tactical Analysis.
- Left Hand Weapon System: It is a military prosthesis consisting of a titanium alloy, with various types of weapons including a Retractable Sword, Machine Gun and Micro-Rockets. If the Left Hand Weapon System is unavailable (for example, when he was unarmed during No Man's Land), KGBeast will attach a blade to his stump.
- Various Weapons: Including Steel Nunchaku, Sniper rifle, Blades, Rocket launchers and Brass knuckles Spikes.
In other mediaEdit
- KGBeast appears as an enemy in the "Batman" NES game by Sunsoft. His only appearance in the game is at stage 1-2, although he does not appear as a boss. He attacks with a sword and shuriken.
- KGBeast was made into an action figure as part of the JLU line.
- KGBeast appears in Batman: Assault on Arkham as a potential recruitee for the Suicide Squad. He was brought in shortly after he was detained for trying to attack a presumably American base and succeeding in causing major damage to it. He wrongly believed that Amanda Waller wouldn't go to the trouble of capturing them only to kill them the moment they had failed, disobeyed or fled, resulting in his death when he attempted to walk out.