Bernhard "Buddy" Baker was a treasure hunter and a soldier of fortune. Eighteen-years-ago, Buddy was just starting out in his career and came upon information that led him to the ruins of an ancient Aztec pyramid in Mexico. There, he discovered Preann, a prisoner of a rival alien race known as the Camaxtli. The Camaxlti had been conducting experiments on Preann in an effort to synthesize her Durlan shape-changing abilities. While attempting to rescue her, Buddy was exposed to a pool of fluid created by the Camaxtli in one of their many experiments. The liquid activated Buddy's metagene, granting him limited anthropomorphic abilities.
Buddy and Preann escaped Mexico and she came to live with him in the United States. The two fell in love and gave birth to a son, Gar Logan Baker. Preann named him after Gar Egglar, a Durlan philosopher and patron saint of animals. It would be another twelve-years before Buddy realized just how “special” his son really was.
Fatherhood didn’t deter Buddy’s wanderlust however. While Preann preferred to remain in their Los Angeles condo raising Gar, Buddy renewed his interest in treasure hunting. With the added benefit of his animalistic powers, Buddy assumed the code name of Beast Man.
One of his adventures took him to Egypt and the pyramid of Ahk-Ton. He had learned of the existence of a mystical artifact known as the Orb of Ra. The orb was actually a fragment of meteorite that had stuck the Earth thousands of years ago (debris from the same meteor also landed in modern-day Wold-Newton England, and was responsible for transforming Neandertahl Vandar Adg into the immortal Vandal Savage). Buddy explored the pyramid, avoiding many of its various pitfalls and traps. Unfortunately for him, Buddy was not the only treasure seeker interested in the Orb. A mercenary named Rex Mason had been hired by industrialist Simon Stagg to procure the artifact as well. Stagg was able to provide Mason with a more accurate map of the pyramid and thus, Rex was able to locate the orb before Buddy. The two fought against one another for possession of the Orb. Buddy's animalistic powers gave him a decisive edge over Mason, but during their scuffle, Rex Mason came into physical contact with the Orb and a miraculous transformation took place. The power of the Orb, reputedly blessed by Ammon-Ra himself, transformed Rex into a Metamorphae – a soldier of Ra. As a Metamorphae, Rex commanded the very elements of creation and was able to defeat Baker. The situation in Egypt counts as one of the few failed missions in Buddy’s career.
Not long after, Buddy learned of the existence of one of the most legendary mystical artifacts of all time – the Spear of Longinus. Also known as the Spear of Destiny, this was the weapon owned by the Roman centurion, Longinus, and was used to pierce the side of Christ during the crucifixion. Over the span of two-thousand years, rumors of the spear’s mystical properties have circulated across the globe and it was known to have been possessed by various historical figures including Charlamagne, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mercedes Luthor and Adolf Hitler. Buddy’s quest for the spear brought him into conflict with Vandal Savage. Savage, secretly the founder of the Illuminati, was well versed in the Spear’s capabilities, and sought to possess it so that he might use its power to corrupt the minds of others in order to take control of the world. Beast Man and Savage fought against one another on several occasions. Their most noted conflict brought them to a mysterious, uncharted island sometimes referred to as “Dinosaur Island”. Savage bested Beast Man and took control of the Spear. Abandoning Baker on the island, Savage took advantage of the island’s inexplicable spatial anomalies and escaped into the timestream.
Buddy spent many years stuck on the island. However, as the island partially existed outside the space/time continuum, Buddy did not physically age for the duration that he spent there. While trapped on Dinosaur Island, Buddy encountered several other chronally-displaced adventurers including 1940s mystery man King Standish, the World War II experimental android dubbed the G.I. Robot, the 18th century patriot, Miss Liberty and the futuristic nuclear man, Ben Boxer. Banded together, these adventurers became known as the Forgotten Heroes (sometimes referred to as the Five Warriors from Forever). The Forgotten Heroes battled against a mishmash of strange otherworldly threats including mutant dinosaurs, giant apes, flying saucers, subterranean rock warriors and alien sea serpents. After years of fighting in this “War That Time Forgot”, the Forgotten Heroes came upon an amazing discovery. They found a floating city hidden within the clouds that enshrouded the island which had been the headquarters of the so-called Lord of Time, Epoch. Epoch had succeeded in traveling backwards in time to the year 1951 and capturing members of the celebrated super-hero team, the Justice Society of America. Epoch kept the JSA members in a state of suspended animation and used their life energies to fuel his Eternity Brain – the machine required to manipulate the timeline. The Forgotten Heroes rescued the JSA members and together they succeeded in defeating Epoch. They used the Eternity Brain to escape Dinosaur Island and Buddy Baker finally returned home.
Reunited with his family, he learned that his son, Gar (now twelve), had inherited powers from both Buddy and his alien mother. Whereas Buddy could only adopt certain physical characteristics from animals, Gar could literally transform into any animal he chose. Buddy committed himself towards watching over his son, and helping him adapt to his newfound powers as best he could. When Gar was sixteen-years-old, he assumed the name Changeling and became one of the founding members of the Teen Titans.
Buddy continued having adventures as Beast Man and occasionally brought Changeling along with him on his various quests. Invariably, these adventures always seemed to reunite him Vandal Savage, whom he now considered his nemesis. For a time, Buddy was successfully able to retrieve the Spear of Destiny from Savage, but recognizing its corruptive power, decided not to keep it himself. He relinquished the spear to the care of the sorcerer Doctor Fate who kept it secured inside his magic tower.
Buddy Baker is still active, and continues to travel the globe in search of high adventure as the Beast Man.
Powers and Abilities
- Animal mimicry: Buddy can mimic the abilities of any animal as a result of his encounter with the Camaxlti. He does this by either focusing on a specific animal near him, or, as he learned later, by drawing power from the animal kingdom in general (this enables him to even mimic animals that are extinct). He does not grow wings to fly as a bird, nor does he form gills to breathe underwater when mimicking a fish, but he has occasionally been known to mimic the actual appearances of animals, such as adopting the claws of a wolverine temporarily. Among the "animal powers" Buddy has been known to use are:
- The strength of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- The flight of a bird.
- The swimming ability of a fish.
- The speed of an ant.
- The wall-crawling of a spider.
- The sonic blast of a pistol shrimp.
- The sense of smell of a moth.
- The stench of a skunk.
- The color changing of a chameleon.
- The agility of a snake.
- The electricity of an electric eel.
- A worm's ability to re-grow lost body parts.
- The reproduction abilities of protozoa.
- The durability of a cockroach.
The level of Buddy's abilities are proportional to the size of the animal they are drawn from. Hence, drawing the jumping ability from a flea would allow him to cover great distances. However, taking the abilities of a larger animal does not result in diminished power for him.
In normal form, Beast Man has the strength level of a man his age, size and weight who engages in intensive regular exercise. His strength alters depending upon which animal characteristics he adopts at any given moment.
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
Links and References