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He is delivered to Carl Maddicks and used in an attempt to develop a cure for mutancy, which has rendered Maddicks' son, Artie, mute. Hank is also subjected to chemotherapy and radiation, and suffers a cardiac arrest.X-Factor arrives on the scene and saves Hank, but not before he's been injected with the serum.He has grown gray fur (which later turns blue) all over his body and acquired sharp ears, elongated canine teeth, claws, the ability to run on walls and ceilings like a spider, enhanced senses, an accelerated healing factor, and a feral side he struggles to control.He briefly joins the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants when Jason Wyngarde wipes out his memory, but quickly recovers.Not long after this transformation, he is recruited to join the Avengers as a provisional member. and remains a member for many years, becoming a close friend of Wonder Man.He leaves the team periodically to rejoin the X-Men during times of need.When the bandages around his face are removed, he is revealed to have lost his blue fur.This helps in X-Factor's cover as normal humans who are mutant hunters for hire (though they actually help the mutants they capture).
With the rest of the X-Men on their first field mission, he battles Magneto for the first time, and later Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.When the Beast is wounded, he is aided by Hellcat, and then reunited with his old girlfriend, Vera Cantor.