One Man Zoo
Beast Boy: “I’m the entire animal kingdom crammed into one magnificent specimen.”
Raven: “You’re something crammed into something alright.” – Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2015)
A gang in a warehouse unloads a shipment of weapons. One hears a noise and investigates. He finds a cat, but notices that the cat’s fur is green. Thinking the cat is diseased, the gangster picks up a nearby hammer to put it out of its misery. The cat runs towards the rest of the gang, the gangster in pursuit.
As the cat nears the gang, it grows bigger and its body changes from a green cat into a green hippo. The hippo barrels into the crooks, knocking them out. The gangster drops the hammer and wildly fires a gun. The hippo turns into a hummingbird and easily dodges the gunfire. The hummingbird flies in front of to the gangster and transforms. The gangster sees the slavering maw of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and faints. Beast Boy chuckles before shifting into a falcon and flying away.
Beast Boy is the DC Universe’s spittoon. He beat an incurable disease and became an important member of the Doom Patrol and several versions of the Teen Titans. So who is he? How did he get his powers? Why is he green? Let’s find out.
Not Easy Being Green: Beast Boy’s Backstory
Robot Man: “This isn’t kid’s stuff, Beast Boy. You think you can handle it?”
Beast Boy: [gestures to the Teen Titans] “You have no idea what we can handle.” – Teen Titans, “Homecoming” (Season 5, Episode 1)
Beast Boy debuted in Doom Patrol #99 in 1965. He was created by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown.
Garfield Logan was the son of two scientists obsessed with resurrecting extinct species of animals. The neglectful scientists didn’t notice Garfield playing with one of the test animals until he was bitten and infected with a nearly incurable disease. The Logans used an experimental formula they had invented to turn Garfield into a Green Monkey, the only species able to survive the disease. And yes, skeptical reader, green monkeys exist.
Their plan worked, but turned Gar’s skin and hair green despite Green Monkeys having yellow fur. At least he got shapeshifting powers from the deal. The Logans died in a boat accident while searching for a cure, leaving Garfield an orphan with survivor’s guilt. Gar was adopted by a court-appointed guardian who had an eye on the family’s fortune.
Lady Luck finally smiled on Garfield when a superhero team called the Doom Patrol investigated his adopted father, who was conspiring with their enemies. They rescued Garfield and trained him, giving him the name Beast Boy. Doom Patrol members Mentallo and Elastigirl (no, not the one from The Incredibles) cared for Beast Boy and became his new parental figures. That left Beast Boy floundering when the Doom Patrol sacrificed their lives to save a town and he became the lone survivor again.
The Judas Contract: Beast Boy’s History
Beast Boy: “We’ve got to get back to the Tower and…”
Terra: “Beast Boy, I’m not going back. I can’t.”
Beast Boy: “What? Why can’t you?”
Slade: [Appears from shadows] “Because she’s not your friend – she’s my apprentice.” – Teen Titans, “Betrayal” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Beast Boy wandered for a while before becoming an actor in a Star Trek pastiche. He was manipulated by the half-demon sorceress Raven and joined a new Teen Titans team. The team helped Beast Boy come to terms with his lingering guilt and the Doom Patrol’s deaths. He even found a girlfriend in his Titan teammate Terra.
Life hates Beast Boy. Terra was revealed as a psychopath in love with Deathstroke the Terminator, The Titans’ archenemy. Deathstroke used Terra’s affection to lure the team into a trap, saving Beast Boy for last. Beast Boy managed to convince Terra that Deathstroke was using her. Terra saved the team before launching a kamikaze attack on Deathstroke.
Terra’s betrayal nearly destroyed Beast Boy. He resumed wandering and joined several other teams when he wasn’t with the Titans. He eventually learned that the Doom Patrol had been resurrected and rejoined his surrogate family. He is currently a member of the Teen Titans and in a relationship with Raven.
Sad Clown: Beast Boy’s Powers and Personality
[The Titans are in a ship underwater]
Beast Boy: “Time to do what I do best. Try not to be jealous.”
[he exits the ship and turns into a whale]
Raven: “He just put on 300,000 pounds. I am so jealous.” – Teen Titans, “The Deep Six” (Season 1, Episode 8)
Beast Boy can change into any animal he has seen without limit. He can use any ability or attribute those forms possess. Beast Boy often uses forms in combos like flying above enemies as a bird before dropping on them as a whale. The only downside is that the animal is green.
Beast Boy isn’t limited to Earth’s animals. He has transformed into alien animals, mythological creatures like dragons and phoenixes, and even demons when he was trapped in Hell. Beast Boy also transformed into completely fictional creatures like the Jabberwocky or animals he imagined.
Long-time Titans writer Marv Wolfman claims that Beast Boy can transform into other humans, but doing that would be pointless because they would be green. All I’m saying is that Kryptonians are animals and a green Kryptonian still has all of Superman’s powers. Ah well, gotta keep the Titans challenged somehow.
Beast Boy’s craptastic life has given him more guilt than you could shake a dozen Spider-Men at. He’s afraid of the Titans dying like everyone else and is terrified of losing himself to his animal instincts. He hides his pain by clowning around, constantly joking, and playing pranks.
The Actors Who Play Beast Boy
Beast Boy is primarily voiced by character actor Greg Cipes. Cipes started voicing Beast Boy in 2003’s Teen Titans and has voiced him on and off since. He currently contributes to the comedic Teen Titans Go! and has appeared in Teen Titans Go!: To The Movies.
From Dusk till Dawn’s Brandon Soo-Hoo has voiced Beast Boy in several movies, including an adaptation of The Judas Contract. Annie Award-nominee Logan Grove voiced Beast Boy in the series Young Justice.
Big Hero 6 star Ryan Potter will play Beast Boy in Titans. This version of Beast Boy only turns green when using his powers, which probably saves a ton of time in the makeup chair.
Didya get all that?
It really ain’t easy being green.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.