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B'wana Beast
art by Mike Sekowsky
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Showcase #66 (January 1967)
Created by Bob Haney (writer)
Mike Sekowsky (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Michael Payson Maxwell
Abilities Mind control, able to fuse two animals into a chimera.

B'wana Beast is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Universe. He first appeared in Showcase #66 (January 1967), and was created by Bob Haney and Mike Sekowsky.


Brief bibliography

B'wana Beast appeared in Showcase #66–67. He did not appear again until an issue of DC Challenge, in which he and Djuba teamed up with Congo Bill. His next appearance, around the same time was in Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985. He then showed up in Swamp Thing Annual #3 in 1987. After that, he appeared in Animal Man #1, 3, 4, and 13 in 1988.

He also makes an appearance in the cartoon tie-in series Justice League Unlimited, in issue #29. There he assists Animal Man in defeating the Queen Bee.

Fictional character biography

In his most well-known incarnation, his given name is Mike Maxwell. Maxwell possesses a helmet and elixir which confer on him his powers. These powers are mind control and the ability to fuse together two living animals to make one powerful entity under B'wana Beast's control.

With the help of his gorilla companion, Djuba, in a secret hideout at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, ranger Mike Maxwell drinks the aforementioned elixir and dons the helmet to become B'wana Beast. In the origin issue, he fights Hamid Ali, "He Who Never Dies."

In the initial story arc of Animal Man, written by Grant Morrison, B'wana Beast journeys to America to rescue Djuba, who has been captured by scientists and infected with an experimental form of anthrax. He fails to save Djuba and is himself infected with the disease, but he is cured by Animal Man, who mimics B'wana Beast's powers in order to merge his white blood cells into forms capable of fighting off the disease.

In Animal Man #13 (July 1989), also written by Grant Morrison, Maxwell decides to retire and performs a ceremony to find a successor. He passes the helmet and elixir on to a South African activist named Dominic Mndawe, who assumes the name Freedom Beast.

Mike Maxwell returns in Animal Man #47 (May 1992), corrupted and possessed by the destructive force called the Antagon and transformed into the evil Shining Man. In the ensuing battle, Maxwell is killed.

Powers and abilities

B'wana Beast has the ability to communicate with animals. He also has the ability to merge two animals together to form a Chimera or (how he puts it) he merges the best of two different things to create an unstoppable force.

In other media


B'wana Beast in Justice League Unlimited.
  • B'wana Beast was featured in the Justice League Unlimited episode "This Little Piggy" (voiced by Peter Onorati). He was recruited by Batman for his superior tracking skills in the search for Wonder Woman, who had been mystically transformed into a pig by Circe. In this incarnation, B'wana Beast was given a thick New York accent and blue collar personality to match, and his abilities were presented as animalistic feats of agility and the ability to communicate with animals. According to the DVD commentary for the episode, B'wana Beast's seductive growl to Zatanna was actually performed by producer/character designer James Tucker. Peter Onorati couldn't quite get it, so Tucker stepped in to perform it.
  • B'wana Beast appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Enter the Outsiders" voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. He helps Batman in his fight with Black Manta. In his fight with him, B'wana Beast used his powers to merge a policeman's horse and a spider to form a creature to catch up with Black Manta and later merged a pelican and a shark to form a creature to stop Black Manta. B'wana Beast returns in the second season, with a bigger role. In "Deep Cover for Batman!", you can see an alternate verison of B'wana Beast in Silver Cyclone's flashback, for some reason this alternate verison of the character is not in the showdown in the Injustice Syndicate's base.


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