Membership: None named

Purpose: World conquest, of course!

Affiliations: People's Defense Force (Madame X, Scarlet Beetle(s), el Toro, Voice, unnamed communists),
former agents of Quicksilver;
former agents of East German, and later Hungarian communists

Enemies: Giant-Man (Henry Pym), Lee Kearns, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wasp, West Coast Avengers (Dr. Pym, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Tigra, Wonder Man)

Base of Operations: currently unknown; formerly East Germany and Hungary

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish I#60 (October, 1964)

Powers: The Beasts of Berlin have the strength, speed, and agility of normal gorillas (presumably). However, they possess human level intelligence. While they intially could not speak, they understood language and could communicate their own thoughts via sign language. Later, under unknown circumstances, they gained the ability to speak.
They are trained in military forms of armed and unarmed combat. They have access to a number of forms of conventional weaponry.
Initially, the Beasts were dependent on frequent dosing with the ray to maintain their intellect. Their current state is unknown.
There are six known Beasts.



History: (Tales to Astonish I#60 (fb) ) - Right around the start of the modern era, those darned commies (of East Berlin) developed a ray which enabled them to increase the intelligence of animals. The Reds discovered it accidentally, and were unable to duplicate the ray.
    They first started using it on gorillas--making them smart enough to read--to obey commands! They were secretly trying to create and army of these beasts, combining the strength of a gorilla and the intelligence of a human.
However, since there was only one of the rays in existence, they kept it under heavy guard, while they attempted to reproduce it.




BTS-Lee Kearns, a former FBI agent and friend of Henry Pym, crossed the Berlin Wall as a private citizen, but was captured and accused of being a spy for the communist government.





(Tales to Astonish I#60) - Henry Pym, now Giant-Man, flew to East Berlin to rescue Lee. He snuck into the base, and learned of the Beasts of Berlin from Lee. After breaking Lee out and heading for the ray, they were attacked by the Beasts. Pym, at ant-size, escaped the Beasts, and turned the ray back on the communists controlling the Beasts. As Pym had deduced, the ray somehow affected the humans in reverse, making them think and act like regular gorillas. Giant-Man then bound the Beasts in his "climbing wire", while he destroyed the only working ray, before escaping with Lee. The effects of the ray soon wore off, leaving both normal humans and gorillas. And the threat of the Beasts of Berlin was over forever...or so the Germans would have you believe!!!!



BTS-The ray was eventually re-developed. The Beasts of Berlin joined forces with the communist government of Hungaria, along with a bunch of other communist, old foes of Pym.

(West Coast Avengers II#33-34, 36) - Under the direction of Quicksilver (at the time on one of his "evil kicks"-I think later ret-conned away to the manipulation of Maximus), Pym and his allies, the West Coast Avengers, were tricked into coming to Hungaria under false pretenses. Once they arrived, the People's Defense Force attacked them and forced them to surrender. The Avengers eventually broke free and defeated the PDF.

(Nextwave#11 - BTS) - The Beyond Corporation somehow created duplicates of the Beasts of Berlin and unleashed them on Nextwave when they invaded their State 51 base, but Nextwave made short work of them.

Comments: Excitingly Written by Stan Lee, Exquisitely Drawn by Dick Ayers, Extravagantly Inked by Paul Reinman, Emotionally Drawn by Art Simek.

Obviously, the references to the Berlin Wall, and the whole Red Scare touch to the storyline is topical.

So, if the animal brain stimulation ray was re-developed, then why were there only six Beasts, the same number as from before? I think it's more likely that the original Beasts eventually regained their intellect. Otherwise, there may be millions of them now, just waiting for revenge.

Maybe, while still attached to the Hungarian People's Defense Force, they had their quasi-human intelligence restored by the Scarlet Beetles? After all, with their psychic power over other forms of insect life, it would be quite easy to telepathically stimulate the minds of those apes, via the fleas on their bodies! *(Yeah; yeah! I know it's a stretch. But, let's face it: MARVEL HAS UNDENIABLY DONE A LOT CRAZIER RET-CONNING!)*

The Beasts of Berlin are going to make a comeback, one of these decades. There were 24 years between their first and second appearances, so I'm banking on 2112, baby! The year of the Ape! (I know apes and gorillas are different, but it just lacked that zing!).
Anyway, tough as they may be, the ape rebellion will be pitifully crushed by the omnipotent
Cockroach Conspiracy.

If I remember correctly, the WCA issues ended with Pym finding his long lost wife, Maria Trovaya, who had been mutated by the commies into having a giant brain. "Maria" became SODAM (Specialized Organism Designed for Aggresive Maneuvers), which wisely and quickly was changed to MODAM (Mental Organism Designed for Aggresive Maneuvers), which was later revealed to have never been Maria at all. Is that right?

You can't get any more entertaining than intelligent, communist gorillas! In fact, you can't beat the Ant-Man/Giant-Man series in Tales to Astonish. Classic Comics. You can read all of them in black and white for $15.00 in Essential Ant-Man.

The group of old Tales to Astonish foes in West Coast Avengers was named the People's Defense Force in Hungary's entry in the Marvel Atlas.

The Beyond Corporation used their own version of the Beats of Berlin to protect State 51 against the Nextwave Squad in Nextwave#11.
--Markus Rayond

The Beasts of Berlin have an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook.

Clarifications: As far as I know, none of them crazy apes have done anything outside their appearances listed above. So no other intelligent ape bent on world conquest has any connection to the Beasts of Berlin.
These include:

images: (without ads)
West Coast Avengers II#33, Cover (main image)
Tales to Astonish I#60, p8, pan1 (upper body)
Tales to Astonish I#60, p8, pan3 (full body)
Tales to Astonish I#60, p7, pan3 (reading book)
Tales to Astonish I#60, p12, pan2 (communists hit by ray)

Tales to Astonish I#60 (October, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Dick Ayers (pencils), Paul Reinman (inks)
West Coast Avengers II#33-34 (June-July, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Mike Machlan (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
West Coast Avengers II#36 (September, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Mike Machlan (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Nextwave#11 (February, 2007) - Warren Ellis (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade von Grawbadger (inker), Nick Lowe (editor)

First Posted: 03/08/2002
Last updated: 09/23/2007

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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