Full Name: Henry "Hank" McCoy
Occupation: Teacher, Researcher, Technician, Liscensed Doctor, Instructor at Xavier Institute for Higher Learning
Mutant Abilities: Anthropoid/Simian physique
that gives him an ape-like demeanor. Originally had a more human disposition, but an adverse reaction to a serum caused additional manifestations that gave him full-bodied blue fur and ape-like physiology. Mutant morphology also grants him above-average strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, and agility. Also posesses a genius level IQ, but does not stem from his mutation
History: Henry McCoy was born in Livermore, California in a comfortable middle-class home. His father, Norton McCoy, was a prominent scientist at the world-renowned Lawrence Livermore National Labratory and his mother was a homemaker. Much of his upbringing centered around the scientific community that was so prominent in the area. As a hotbed for advanced technological research, young Henry was immersed in the world of science and showed an early interest in wonders of the natural world.
Throughout his childhood his parents nourished his innate curiosity. It wasn't long before Henry showed a profound talent for reason. By the time he was ten he was scoring genius level results on IQ tests. He skipped several grades and frequently accompanied his father on research assignments for Livermore. Around this time, it was noticed by his family and peers that his appearance seemed a bit unusual. He developed a stocky, muscular demeanor that seemed more like an ape. It was subtle at first, but Henry himself quickly determined that he was a mutant. It was his first major discovery and despite the shock of his peers, it expanded his hunger for new knowledge.
Unfortunately, the knowledge he got from his father was cut off when Norton McCoy was fired. His superiors wanted him to start on a new project that involved chemical and biological agents that could potentially be used in war. He refused out of principle and because of this, he was cast out from both the community and the organization he dedicated his life to. This impacted Henry and his family profoundly, not just in terms of money but in ethics as well. His father's morality gave Henry a profound new insight on his world and would use this inspiration later in life.
After losing his job at Livermore, Norton McCoy moved his family to New York City where he accepted a low-paying teaching position. For a time the family lived meagerly, but Henry used his brilliance to push ahead. He graduated high school early at age 16 and started working odd-jobs to help his family. As he did this he developed his ape-like reflexes. He became more and more physically endowed and at times he appeared to become more ape than man. This caused a fair amount of ridicule and scorn from his peers that threatened his potential. Not wanting to see his son's potential go to waste, Norton McCoy called upon an old college associate in Charles Xavier. He was able to meet with his son and help him manage his animal instincts through psychic training and will-power. Once he had control, Henry was back on track.
By age 18 he obtained a scholarship from Princeston, thanks in large part to Charles Xavier's influence. Once there he excelled both in the classroom and on the field. Emboldened by his new control, he became a star football player and set several major rushing records. By the time he graduated with a doctorate, he was one of the youngest and most acclaimed graduates in the school's history. While Charles Xavier was fighting cancer, he became one of the most well-renowned researchers on mutation. Much of his work along with Xavier's would set the tone for mutant policies as the mutant population continued to grow.
While doing research, Hank also began teaching part time at local schools. But these added stresses started to reek havoc on his mutant instincts. After a while the control he once had started to falter. He would get strange bursts of animal rage and his body demeanor would shift unexpectedly. As it continued to affect his personal and professional life over the years, he attempted to control it with a serum. But in his desire to re-establish control, he acted brashly and tested it on himself before it was ready. The resulting effects further provoked his mutation. His body became covered in blue fur and his face and posture became permanently ape-like. Because of this new appearance he could no longer teach and his research at the university was severely curtailed.
But he would get another chance to teach. Professor Charles Xavier, who was recovering from his cancer treatments, offered him a full-time position at his Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Hank accepted and played a major role in teaching the new generation of mutants that would eventually become the X-men.
Character Breakdown: Hank McCoy is most defined by his dedication to science and reason. It is an ironic contrast because his mutation forces him to continuously wrestle with irrational animal impulses, yet much of his personality and his behavior is guided by the highest of human cognition. This contrast gives Hank a somewhat elastic psychological makeup. He can be the smartest, most reasonable man in the world at one moment and turn into raging beast the next. This breadth of cognition gives him control issues similar to that of Cyclops and Jean Grey. However, Hank's personality and his cognitive makeup cause him to handle it in a very different way.
It's easy to see how he would favor the rational approach early on. Both his parents were champions of the tenants of science. The community he grew up in was immersed in the most advanced scientific research. Hank, having the benefit of a genius IQ, could actually understand and contemplate these profound mysteries. This is important to consider because it takes a certain level of intellect to not only understand these concepts, but to be guided by them as well. Hank was motivated throughout his life to understand these extremely complex forces. In a ways his first major discovery that he was a mutant set the tone for how he would approach these issues in the future. It would also effect how he personalizes these issue.
Another important feature to his character came from the actions of his father. His family had a very comfortable living with his father working at Lawrence Livermore Labratories, but they wanted him to do research that he didn't agree with. So rather than do what was easiest for him and his family, his father stood firm and refused to proceed. This demonstrated for Hank a major ethical stand. This stand would go a long ways to impose a morality to the mysteries he investigated. It was no longer just a matter of whether or not he could. It was also a matter of whether or not he should. This would be very important when he would later face scrutiny for his changing appearance.
A lot of these traits came together when he tried to maintain control of his mutation. This is where some of the major flaws come out in his character. He thought early on that he could control what he was and stop it from happening. To him control wasn't just managing the instincts and abilities that came with his powers. Control was making sure they didn't interefere with his work. This false mindset is what led him to test the serum on himself. In his overly rational mind, the risk was worth taking so that he could continue his research. But it didn't turn out that way. Being turned into the very thing he was trying to prevent was a deeply humbling experience, showing him that despite his intellect he had to accept what he was and work with that.
Like his father before him, Hank took an ethical stand when he joined Charles Xavier and the X-men. While he has embraced the principles that are so similar to that of his father's, his keen intellect is at times a cause of isolation. Very few people can keep up with his mind so like many other geniuses throughout history, he is socially awkward. It is only with the X-men that he can really be himself, but it remains a constant struggle with the ape-man within him. His mind may be able to contain the myriad of thoughts, but his spirit is always struggling. He remains rational and logical to the end, sometimes stubbornly so. But when it comes to ethics and morals he stands firm. This in many ways is what makes him part of the moral core that encompasses the X-men.