The upcoming Beast World event will show off Beast Boy’s potential. Although already potentially one of the strongest characters in the DC Universe, his ability to transform into any animal will be pushed past its limits in this new event.
Beast World is the first-ever crossover event starring the Titans. After replacing the Justice League, the Titans now face a galactic threat. The Necrostar is a Star Conqueror, a member of the same species as Justice League villain Starro. Beast Boy shapeshifts into a Star Conqueror to fight fire with fire.
Tom Taylor teased this premise here.
Essentially, to save the world from an ancient evil, Beast Boy becomes a Starro, transforming Garfield Logan into Garro, and he becomes lost. He creates spores like Starro all over the planet and creates animal/human hybrids all over the place. So we see things like Black Adam as a lion tearing people to shreds,”
If Beast Boy’s powers can potentially rock the entire DC Universe, then he’s more powerful than previously thought. Below, we discuss just where Beast Boy’s powers come from, how they work, and how this event is even possible.
Who is Beast Boy?Beast Boy is a member of the Doom Patrol, and later of the Teen Titans. His ability is shapeshifting into animals.
Doom Patrol #100 detailed his first origin. As a young child, Garfield Logan lived with his parents in Africa. His parents researched “reverse evolution” to bring back extinct creatures. One day, Garfield developed a rare disease called Sakutia, which is fatal within 24 hours for every species.
Well, except for the West African Green Monkey. To cure Garfield, his father reverses his evolution into a Green Monkey for a day. As a result, Beast Boy gains his trademark green skin and hair.
Obviously, his shapeshifting abilities are also a side-effect of the procedure. He first discovered them when he changed into a mongoose to protect his mother from a snake. However, not long after this, his parents died in a boating accident. Too young to save them, his mother told him to transform into a bird and fly away.
An orphan, Beast Boy then found a new family in the Doom Patrol.
Where Do His Powers Come From?
The official explanation for Beast Boy’s powers comes from his parent’s experimentation in his origin story. However, Beast Boy, like many of DC’s animal-themed heroes, shares a connection to “The Red.”
“The Red” is the creation of Animal Man comics writer Jamie Delano. It is a morphogenetic that connects all animal life and micro-organisms. Animal Man taps into this field to mimic the abilities of animals, such as gaining the flight of a bird. (This is similiar to “The Green” from Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing which allows all plants to communicate.)
Another hero connected to “The Red” is Justice League member Vixen. Vixen uses a totem to channel the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on the planet. The Tantu Totem is a gift from the African trickster god Anansi, and the totem allows her to make use of “The Red” without it overwhelming her mind.
Admittedly, Beast Boy’s connection to “The Red” is not as well explored as Animal Man’s and Vixen’s. This is likely because Beast Boy himself never lived up to the full potential of his power. After all, he never made it to the Justice League. In fact, Beast Boy’s the youngest member of every team he’s been on.
Nowadays, though, Beast Boy is finally an adult character. As Beast Boy’s grown stronger, perhaps his connection with “The Red” has grown stronger too, which could explain his power up in Beast World.
How Strong is Beast Boy?Beast Boy can transform into any animal, even extinct ones like dinosaurs or woolly mammoths.. His most basic ability has pushed the limits of his powers several times in the past.
For example, while on a mission to free Starfire, he took the form of a Gordanian, a green-skinned alien species. In the 2003 Teen Titans, Beast Boy takes the form of a mythical bird known as a phoenix. Plus, Beast Boy can transform into entire swarms of animals, which he does in Titans 2023 #3.
Honestly, his imagination may be the only true limit of his powers. Some canon evidence hints at this: when Beast Boy’s mental trauma is triggered, his powers tend to go all wacky. In New Teen Titans, for example, he transforms into creatures that do not even exist.
Teen Titans (2003) features Titans of Tomorrow, a storyline where characters confront future versions of themselves. A future version of Beast Boy, calling himself Animal Man, uses the abilities of different animals at the same time. He can change into an ox and then divide into two oxs like an amoeba.
Towards the end of the The New Titans (1988) Beast Boy loses control of his powers. A trigon-possessed Raven places the seed of Trigon in Beast Boy, which grants him a whole new level of shape-shifting ability. The Beast Boy who attacks the team resembles a monster from a Clive Barker Horror novel.
Beast Boy might just be capable of transforming into almost anything. He’s just held back from his true potential so far because of his youth. A grown-up Beast Boy, though, could easily transform into the likes of Garro.
What is Garro?Firstly, what is Starro?
Starro first appears in The Brave and the Bold #28, in the story titled Starro the Conqueror. A Starro is a gigantic starfish-like alien with a single eye. Just like a starfish, Starro reproduces asexually by creating millions of starfish-shaped spores. These spores control the minds of whatever host they attach to. Starro belongs to a species called the “Star Conqueror.”
Beast Boy’s already taken the forms of several aliens in the past. He can use the abilities of whatever animal he changes into, so Garro can produce spores as well.
Since Beast Boy’s powers depend on his mental state, it’s easy to imagine Beast Boy losing control. When he does Beast Boy’s spores will likely change their victims into animals. Which is what creates the titular Beast World.
Explaining Beast World
The basic explanation for Beast Boy’s powers comes from his unstable DNA. after his Sakutia infection. The story arc Beast Boys & Girls explains:
You were altering yourself at the very base level. Unlocking your DNA strands and reconfiguring them with a thought apparently breaking down and rebuilding it in less than a second.
In this story arc, a villain infects children with the mutated Sakutia virus. As a side effect, they gain Beast Boy’s ability to change into green animals.
Something similar actually happens in the Teen Titans (2014) Annual #2. Doctor Pyg creates a pill from Beast Boy’s blood which turns whoever ingests it into a green mutant animal. In both cases, contact with Beast Boy’s DNA can give strangers his shapeshifting powers.
However, there may be another explanation for how Beast Boy gives his abilities to others. Star Conquerors possess incredible psychic powers. They control everyone infected with their spores with these powers. Hence, Garro may psychically connect its victims to “The Red” to give them his powers.
As a result, those infected with Garro spores turn into mutant animals. So far, preview images feature Black Adam as a lion and Harley Quinn as a rabbit.
Welcome to Beast WorldBeast Boy’s powers give him the potential to be either one of the earth’s strongest heroes or its most dangerous threats. In this case, for Beast Boy, it is mind over matter. This is because too much mental trauma and stress can cause him to lose control of his powers. Beast Boy loses control in the Beast World event, likely because of his trauma from Dark Crisis.
Both the Titans and Beast Boy are getting focused on in their first crossover event. While Beast Boy is a character with a long history he is usually just comic relief. The New52 reboot also made him into a teenager again undoing years of growth. Only in the aftermath of Dark Crisis do we see him as a fully grown adult again. This event is a chance to show us what Beast Boy can do as a character.
For those of you who want to pick up and read the Beast World event, the reading order is here.
The first prologue, Tales of the Titans #4, is already out. It tells the story of Beast Boy’s mental state in the aftermath of his traumatic brain injury. Titans Beast World Evolution #1 and Titans #5 are two more prologue issues to pick up.
The event officially begins in Titans: Beast World #1 on November 28th, 2023.