- Look at his eyes, Superman... feral... scarlet with blood-lust! He's completely insane!
Beasts was a three-part story-arc that took place in issues #221-223 of Justice League of America (Volume 1). Written by Gerry Conway with illustrations by Chuck Patton and Pablo Marcos, the story focused on the [[Justice League of America|JL
Beasts was a three-part story-arc that took place in issues #221-223 of Justice League of America (Volume 1). Written by Gerry Conway with illustrations by Chuck Patton and Pablo Marcos, the story focused on the JLA's struggle to defeat the Ani-Men.
Repli-Tech Industries was a Manhattan based company that had fallen into near financial ruin. CEO Rex Rogan knew that should they file for bankruptcy, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) would doubtlessly learn about Repli-Tech's more unscrupulous business practices. Refusing to sacrifice his wealth and power (in addition to facing imprisonment), Rogan convinced his fellow board members and his trusted assistant Irena to embark upon a dangerous and radical procedure that would guarantee them fame and power. Under the guidance of Repl-Tech's top scientific mind, Doctor Lovecraft, Rex and the others subjected themselves to genetic manipulation that transformed them into powerful animal-human hybrids. Rogan himself was transformed into a lion-man and took to calling himself Maximus Rex. His lover, Irena, became a cat-woman and began calling herself simply Reena.
Rogan established a private entertainment spot called the Arena. The Arena was a stadium where the wealthy citizens of New York would pay top dollar to watch Rex and his Ani-Men fight captured civilians in brutal, gladiatorial combat.
Maximus Rex also had his Ani-Men travel to different locales in order to steal scientific equipment needed for his ventures. Invariably, these exploits earned them the attention of the Justice League of America. Superman and Wonder Woman first encountered Gargantus the whale-man while fighting some of Repli-Tech's armored goons after they had robbed the S.T.A.R. Labs in Metropolis. The Flash was nearly gored to death in Central City after an encounter with a rhinoceros-man, and the Elongated Man suffered grievous injuries after fighting off a flock of human birds in San Francisco. In Egypt, Hawkman was felled by a scorpion-man who poisoned him with venom from his stinger.
At the Arena, cat-woman Reena could no longer stand by and watch such visceral acts of barbarism. With the aid of another Ani-Man named Rowl, she escaped from Rex and sought sanctuary with the Justice League of America.
The JLA were reluctant to trust Reena and they believed that she was just as responsible as Rex for the terrible activities taking place at the Arena. Firestorm vouched for her however, and convinced the other League members that she required their help.
Maximus Rex soon learned of Rowl's betrayal so he challenged him to open combat in the Arena. Rowl was strong and fast, but he was no match for the more powerful Maximus Rex. Rex slaughtered him to the delight of hundreds of blood-starved onlookers.
When Rex became aware of the Ani-Man's various encounters with the Justice League, he had the Ani-Men and the remaining Repli-Tech employees relocate to a private island off the coast of Newfoundland. Rex openly challenged the remaining members of the League, declaring that he was the leader of a New Order. The League fought against the Ani-Men, ultimately saving their captured and injured colleagues.
What none of the Ani-Men realized however, was that the process that gave them their powers was mutating them even further. The Ani-Men were rapidly devolving into their base animal forms. Ultimately, the process transformed them into normal animals. The League no longer considered the animals to be a threat, and left them on the island.
- It is unclear what, if any, elements of this storyline have been preserved in Post-Crisis continuity. As the Earth-One versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman and Hawkwoman play such a pivotal role in this story-arc, it is reasonable to assume that "Beasts" is now considered apocryphal as per modern continuity.
- "Beasts" was divided into three chapters:
- Part I: Beasts
- Part II: Death Games
- Part III: Blood Sport
- No trivia.
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