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Beak of the X-Men and Exiles (Marvel Comics)

Beak

(Barnell Bohusk)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Beak was a minor X-Men character. He appeared in 2001, during the Grant Morrison New X-Men era. He then unexpectedly switched to EXiles. Beak chiefly appeared during the 2000s.

At the very beginning, Beak was among a batch of mutant students whose deformities broke the mould of X-Men all being good-looking and with useful powers. But as it turned out, Beak also had something special despite his less-than-impressive mutation.


Background

  • Real Name: Barnell Bohusk
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Known Relatives: Charles Bohusk (father), Kathy Bohusk (mother), Angel Salvadore (wife), Tito, Axel, Kara and other unidentified children presumably named after members of the Jackson family (children)
  • Group Affiliation: Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning – Special Class (former), Magneto’s Brotherhood (former), Exiles (former); New Mutants (Age of Apocalypse version); Gene Nation (Weapon X: Days of the Future Now version)
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 140lbs Age: Teenager
  • Eyes: Black (originally Blue) Hair: None (originally Blond)


Powers and Abilities

Beak’s is a mutant whose bones are light and hollow. His arms have begun to grow feathers which, when fully formed, may allow him to fly. He can currently glide and fly for short distances with great effort. Beak also has enhanced eyesight along with talons on his hands and feet.

In combat situations, Beak currently wears the helmet worn by his former teacher, Xorn. He also carries the metal baseball bat he used to forcibly injure the Beast. For more details, see the Beak – Unexpected Hero of the Day section in our game stats.


History

Barnell first began to mutate into a bird-like human when he hit puberty. The X-Men Jean Grey and Scott Summers approached his parents and offered him a place at Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning. At the Institute, he chose “the Beak” as his mutant name. It was what a girl in his native Rotterdam called him when the locals found him hiding behind some beer barrels.

One of the Institute’s teachers, Dr. Henry McCoy (a.k.a. the Beast), took a particular interest in him. Beast was concerned to see that, even among his fellow mutants, Barnell was still lonely, isolated and insecure about his freakish appearance.

State of shock

When Beak went to the school’s laboratory to entrust his prize titanium baseball bat to Beast, he found the villainess Cassandra Nova mentally attacking his teacher. Cassandra had taken over Professor X’s body and infiltrated the X-Men by posing as their founder and headmaster. She used her vast telepathic powers to turn Beak against Beast.

Unable to fight off her control, Beak beat Beast to a bloody pulp with his bat. The psychic battering left Beak catatonic, and he was placed in a medical tank. Beak remained catatonic for some time. In the meantime, Cassandra Nova brainwashed the Shi’ar  empress Lilandra into declaring war on the X-Men.

During the Shi’ar Imperial Guard’s assault on Xavier’s Institute, the telepathic collective known as the Stepford Cuckoos devised a means of helping the X-Men. They enlisted the help of their fellow student Angel Salvadore, a girl with fly-like wings and toxic vomit. Then they collected a sample of Cassandra Nova’s tissue from the school laboratory.

There, Angel found and freed a stark naked and traumatized Beak from his tank.

Still not doing too good

Bohusk suggested interrogating the synthetic Shi’ar creature named Stuff. This enabled the Cuckoos to remove the helmet the aliens had placed on their teacher Emma Frost, to keep her from accessing her telepathic powers.

When Cassandra Nova herself arrived at the Institute, Jean Grey and Professor X joined forces to expel her from his body. Emma then tricked the bodiless Cassandra into entering Stuff. Frost had encoded it with Cassandra’s tissue sample to be an exact duplicate of her real body. Once Cassandra was inside Stuff, Jean and Professor X were able to reprogram and rehabilitate her mind.

Beak later volunteered to go out to space to help with the relief work for the Shi’ar. He hoped that he’d find acceptance with the aliens. Angel, in her typical acerbic fashion, shot down his hopes, his appearance and his general existence. He nevertheless tried to fly off to the Shi’ar flagship, but plummeted to the ground before he could make it.

Angel then kissed him on a bet from their classmates, but Barnell, oblivious to this, fell madly in love with her. He decided to stay on Earth so he could be with Angel.

Special class of their own

Beak and Angel were assigned to the Institute’s Special Class, which was taught by the Chinese mutant Xorn. Here, Beak found acceptance and friends, as the Special Class was composed of mutants just as strange as he was.

The other students were Ernst (the rehabilitated Cassandra Nova, now programmed to look like a little girl), Martha Johansson (a disembodied telepathic brain), Basilisk (a one-eyed mutant who could emit a strobe light from his brain) and Dummy (a sentient gas encased in a latex suit).

The class went camping in the woods near the X-Mansion. They did not know that a contingent of U-Men were nearby, watching them and planning to harvest their mutant parts. At night, Beak and Angel snuck away from the Special Class to get drunk and have sex. Beak got cold feet at the last moment and was interrupted by the timely attack of the U-Men.

When Xorn left the Special Class to confront the U-Men, Beak tried to rally his classmates to aid their teacher. He also saved Dummy by plugging up the hole in his suit with a condom. Working together, the Special Class managed to subdue a U-Man.

I predict a riot

At the same time, a group of violent, dissident students known as the Omega Gang subdued Professor X. They then seized control of the school during Open Day. Led by the powerful young telepath Quentin Quire, the Omega Gang went on a rampage induced by the power-amplifying drug Kick. They attacked the visiting humans, teachers and students.

The X-Men were eventually able to stop the riot, but not before the students lost a few of their number.

Dummy’s suit got torn and he evaporated, essentially “dying” in Beak’s arms. Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos also died in her efforts to stop Quentin. Quentin himself died as a result of his abuse of Kick.

On the way to the Institute’s prize giving ceremony (in which both Beak and Angel were awarded for their heroism in dealing with the U-Men), Angel revealed to Beak that he’d gotten her pregnant. Guess he should have saved that condom after all. [New X-Men #137-138]

Murder she wrote

Shortly afterwards, Emma Frost’s diamond body was found shattered into a million pieces by an unknown assailant. The former X-Men Bishop and Sage came to the Institute to investigate the murder. When Bishop questioned Angel about her possible involvement in it, Beak feared the worst and confessed to the crime in an attempt to divert suspicion from her.

He claimed that the reason he did it was because Emma was going to tell the staff he’d gotten Angel pregnant with “monster babies” and that they’d be expelled for it. Naturally, neither Beast nor Professor X believed him. Professor X also quelled Beak’s fears about being expelled by telling him that he was one of the Institute’s most valued students.

Following a lead given to them by a former member of the Omega Gang about where they used to get Kick, Sage went to a shack on the school grounds. She found dozens of gigantic larvae hanging from the ceiling. She returned to the shack with Bishop, Professor X, Xorn and Beak, where they found that Angel had already given birth to a dozen part-fly, part-bird, part-human babies.

Beak, seeing his children for the first time, promptly fell in love with them.

In the meantime, Jean Grey resurrected Emma with the Phoenix Force. It was revealed that Esme, a Stepford Cuckoo and Emma’s favorite student, had mind controlled Angel into committing the murder as well as engineered her sister Sophie’s death in order to gain control over the other Cuckoos. Once her treachery was found out, Esme broke away from the Cuckoo collective and left the Institute.

No more Xorn

Some time later, Xorn revealed himself to be Magneto. He had been hiding in the school for some time, planting the seeds of terrorism and dealing Kick right under Professor X’s nose. He took the X-Men out of commission, crippled and captured Professor X and destroyed the Institute.

He then went to New York City, taking the Special Class with him. Together with Toad and Esme, who had been conspiring with Magneto all along, the Special Class became the new Brotherhood of Mutants.

Magneto proceeded to wreak havoc and destruction on New York. After sending the city’s superheroes off on a wild goose chase, he formed a magnetic shield around Manhattan, effectively closing it off from the outside world. He renamed the city New Genosha, after the island nation he had once ruled.

Many mutants gathered to him, and he directed them to herd all the humans they could find into crematoria.

Rebel rebel

At this time, the Special Class began to rebel against Magneto’s extremist acts. Beak, in particular, protested strongly against the humans being systematically exterminated. Magneto, in a fit of anger, accidentally killed Basilisk. He then ordered Beak to be thrown in with the humans.

Beak escaped from the levitated cars and succeeded in flying for a few seconds before crashing several stories to the ground. The injured and wounded Barnell was further beaten up by a group of mutant bullies when he tried to identify himself as one of Professor X’s students.

Beak was found by E.V.A., the nervous system of Weapon XIII (a.k.a. Fantomex). She took him to the hideout of an underground resistance. There, Beak was tended to by Phoebe of the Stepford Cuckoos, who informed him that Esme had been controlling Martha into influencing the Special Class students’ minds.

Beak found Cyclops and Fantomex in the hideout and told them everything he knew about Magneto’s plans.

When the X-Men launched an attack on Magneto, Beak went with them to try to rescue Angel and his kids. After Magneto was defeated, Beak and the Special Class returned to the school. He and his family then moved into a small house separate from the student dormitories.

EXiles

During the reconstruction of Xavier’s Institute, Beak ran into the reality-hopping warriors known as the Exiles. Having arrived on Earth-616 , they had gone to the Institute to gather clues about their latest mission: to “leave your possessions and earn your wings.”

Their guide the Tallus then informed them that their newest member, Namora, had been captured by her 616 counterpart and the Fantastic Four. The Exiles teleported to the Baxter Building to rescue her. They brought Beak along with them so that he wouldn’t reveal their presence to anyone and complicate matters further.

Once they arrived at the Baxter Building, Beak volunteered to talk to the Fantastic Four. He reassured them that the Exiles meant no harm and got them to release Namora. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to convince Mr. Fantastic before the Thing and the Human Torch attacked the Exiles.

Nocturne eventually managed to stop the two groups from fighting by possessing the Invisible Woman and using her force fields to disable the Exiles. The Fantastic Four then agreed to listen to the Exiles. Mr. Fantastic hypothesized that their mission to “leave your possessions and earn your wings” meant that the Exiles had to leave Nocturne behind and take Beak with them.

Beak objected vehemently, saying that his place was at Xavier’s Institute with his family. But the Tallus confirmed that Mr. Fantastic was right.

Timebroken

The Timebroker himself appeared to explain that Beak had an important task ahead of him one day. He added that the fate of several worlds would hang in the balance. The Timebroker further explained that Beak needed to live the harsh life of an Exile to prepare him for the ultimate test.

Beak protested again, saying that he couldn’t leave Angel to raise their kids alone. But the Timebroker informed him that he’d just been unhinged from time and that the only way to get his family back was to become an Exile. The Timebroker also told him that by doing this, he’d be saving his family’s lives and the lives of everyone he knew.

Beak begged Blink to take him back to the Institute, but when he got there, he found out that his family thought he’d run away and that none of them could see or hear him anymore.

Resigned to his fate, Beak decided to go with the Exiles and try to earn his life back. The Exiles tried to comfort him, saying that they’d fix things for him so that he’d be able to go back one day. After saying goodbye to Nocturne, the Exiles blinked out, with Beak and his trusty bat in tow. [Exiles #46-48]

Beak planet

Beak’s experience as a new Exile was strange and difficult for him at first. His inexperience and lack of powers meant that the other Exiles often had to protect him themselves. Heather Hudson (a.k.a. Sasquatch) often looked out for him, while Mimic took the time to educate him on the life of an Exile.

In one of their missions, the Exiles landed in a reality where Earth had been infected by Ego, the Living Planet. Believing humans were parasites that needed to be destroyed, Earth created countless antibodies to purge them from itself. Mr. Fantastic tapped into Earth’s newly awakened mind and tried to convince it to fight off Ego’s influence.

Mr. Fantastic found that he couldn’t reason with Earth’s childlike mind. But a frantic Beak told him to stop thinking and start feeling, to use his more powerful paternal instincts to break Ego’s control over Earth.

Realizing that failure on his part would mean the death of his son, a newly motivated Mr. Fantastic was able to influence Earth’s emotions. He convinced the planet that humans were children it needed to protect rather than parasites. Earth then turned against Ego.

With the combined help of Earth and the Celestials, the Exiles were ultimately able to defeat the evil planet. Before they left for their next mission, the Celestials warned the Exiles: “Beware the Timebreaker. He is not what he seems.” [Exiles #51-53]

Into the mystic

Beak began to question the trustworthiness of the Timebroker when the Exiles arrived at a reality where nothing seemed to be wrong. Though they did end up saving the world through a seemingly innocuous act, the next reality they jumped into had far more dire consequences for the team.

The New York of that reality had been transformed by the evil wizard Kulan Gath into a dangerous medieval world of mysticism and sorcery. As soon as the Exiles stepped into that reality, they were transformed into medieval versions of themselves and forgot everything about their former lives and their mission.

They eventually regained their memory with the help of Illyana Rasputin and Spider-Man. But they found that their combined enemies were too much for them to handle.

Heather, who had been weakened by an unknown ailment the moment they blinked into the new Hyborean world, was eventually forced to transform into Sasquatch to save her teammates. But what appeared in place of the familiar white Sasquatch was Tanaraq, an ancient and evil spirit who had lain dormant within Heather in exchange for saving her life many years ago.

Tanaraq had completely taken over Heather’s body. He defeated the Exiles’ enemies and immediately took over leadership of the team.

Led by the Great Beast

In the next world they jumped into, Tanaraq accomplished their mission by massacring the workers at a fuel cell factory where an accidental explosion was expected to happen. Horrified, the Exiles tried to take Tanaraq down but found that the Great Beast was too powerful them.

Tanaraq subdued the Exiles and ordered them to gather the world’s most brilliant scientific villains to help him trace the Timebroker. His intention was to force the Timebroker to return him to his world so that he could rule it.

While the rest of the Exiles recruited villains under duress, Beak, on a secret mission from Blink, went to Alpha Flight’s headquarters to ask Shaman for help against Tanaraq. Shaman drew Heather out of Tanaraq and banished the monster to the plane where the true Great Beasts lived.

During their next mission, the Exiles found themselves in the reality where they had left Blink’s foster father Sabretooth. They were surprised to find that Heather had not made the jump with them, and were even more shocked when they heard their new mission: “Kill Mimic.” The Exiles refused.

As punishment, they were sent by an enraged and distinctly evil-looking Timebroker to the alternate reality of the Age of Apocalypse. This time, Beak did not make the jump with them.

Into the panoptic

As it turned out, Beak, along with Heather and all of the Exiles’ fallen comrades, had been imprisoned in a gigantic crystal wall in Panoptichron, the headquarters of the Timebroker. The Exiles discovered them when they used the reality-bending M’Kraan Crystal to travel to Panoptichron.

There they also discovered the truth about the Timebroker. He was only a virtual construct created by a race of insect-like alien scientists to communicate with the Exiles.

The aliens had discovered Panoptichron, a vast crystalline observatory that monitored every existing timeline and alternate reality, and during their explorations did something that “cracked all creation.” Thus, they were forced to recruit the Exiles and Weapon X to fix each of the realities they’d accidentally damaged.

Whenever an Exile was killed during a mission, the aliens retrieved them and placed them in the crystal wall to prevent further damage to the timestream.

Against Hyperion

One of these was an evil version of the unimaginably powerful Hyperion, who began to regenerate inside the crystal wall. Before the alien insectoids were aware of what was happening, Hyperion recovered, broke free of his prison and took over Panoptichron.

It was he who, in revenge against the Exiles, began sending them on increasingly perilous missions, trying again and again to disrupt the team and kill them. The Exiles were then forced to flee from Hyperion. While he gave chase, one of the sovereign insectoids gave a worker drone instructions to “awaken the operative who can save multiverse from Hyperion.”

That operative turned out to be Beak. As the worker drone explained to a newly awakened and disoriented Beak, the Panoptichron had selected him as the most probable candidate for defeating Hyperion. At first, Beak was bewildered as to how he was supposed to beat such a powerful being.

But an idea came to him when the worker drone reminded him of how he helped defeat Tanaraq by running for help.

While Hyperion gave the Exiles a merciless beating, killing Namora in the process, Beak used Panoptichron’s transporters to recruit two new allies: good versions of Hyperion. The three Hyperions fought it out furiously, causing major structural damage to Panoptichron.

When the two good Hyperions finally managed to subdue their evil counterpart, Mimic asked the sovereign insectoids to transport the evil Hyperion back to his empty homeworld instead of allowing the good Hyperions to kill him.

The masters of time

Afterwards, the good Hyperions informed the Exiles that they’d decided to assume control of Panoptichron in order to keep its amazing technology from being misused. Blink assured them that there was no one more qualified than the Exiles to guard the crystal palace.

The Hyperions, however, did not believe they could take her word for it. The only one they would trust was Beak, since their realities would have been at the mercy of the evil Hyperion if it weren’t for him. Beak vouched for the Exiles, and the Hyperions returned to their realities, secure in the knowledge that “at least one true hero” was looking after Panoptichron.

When Blink asked if that meant Beak was staying with the Exiles, Beak protested that he’d only said those things so the Hyperions would leave, and that as soon as Mimic and Morph were recovered, he’d be going home to his girlfriend and children.

No more mutants

After hunting the mutant known as Proteus, Beak was present in his own reality just as it changed back to normal state from the “House of M” alteration. As a result, he lost his mutant abilities, becoming human, and could finally live in peace with his family.


Alternate Beaks

“A world away, just around the corner…”. Considering the fact that Beak has traveled between several different realities, it is useful to know of other versions of Beak out there on alternate Earths.

Age of Apocalypse (Earth-295)

There appears to be a version of Barnell that exists in the Age of Apocalypse reality. This Barnell differs radically in appearance from the Barnell of the mainstream reality. Though it is mentioned that he still has a birdlike mutation, Age of Apocalypse Barnell has no talons or beak to speak of. His skin is green and his nose seems nonexistent.

Barnell was once a prisoner in Sinister’s laboratories and was presumably rescued by the X-Men. He is good friends with Xorn and Rahne Sinclair, a.k.a. Wolfsbane.

Weapon X: Days of Future Now (Earth-5700)

In a possible future 24 years from the present time, most of the X-Men are dead and the Sentinels are running free in New York City. In this future, Beak is a member of Gene Nation, a terrorist mutant cell that has tangled with Wolverine and his X-Men.

Among Beak’s teammates are Frenzy, Penance and their leader Sunspot. It is not revealed what caused Beak to join this incarnation of Gene Nation.

Here Comes Tomorrow (Earth-15104)

In the future, alternate world a century and a half from the present time, there is a timeline called Here Comes Tomorrow. Here, an adult, muscular version of Beak is a member of the future X-Men, along Bumbleboy, E.V.A., Ernst/Cassandra Nova Xavier, Mer-Max, No-Girl/Martha Johansson, Three-in-One/Stepford Cuckoos/Celeste, Mindee, Phoebe and Wolverine/James Howlett.

This Beak is, in fact, the grown-up son, Tito, of the original Beak.


Description

Barnell is a mutant that looks like a humanoid chicken. He has birdlike arms, feathers, talons and beak-like mouth. Thus, his ironically chosen mutant name “the Beak”.


Personality

Barnell is a young, good-hearted lad. He is mild-mannered, well-meaning and sensitive. Due to his young age and uncertainty about his worth and path in life, Barnell had some trouble finding his place even among the other mutants at Xavier’s.

However, he grew up fast and gained confidence and experience. When agitated, he is very melodramatic in his speech, and may even act rash in panic. He is also clearly a family man. Nowadays, he prefers to spend his time with his wife and their many kids, all of whom he deeply loves.

Bohusk won’t impress anyone with his personality. Yet people, including major heroes, often soften up to him over time, as they sense a hidden greatness within him. He is not courageous, but tends to think outside the box and come up with odd and useful, yet straight-forward ideas about situations that nobody else thought about.

Thus, Beak can be useful and has a real knack for befriending superhumans.

In addition to some of his class-mates, Beak is friends with the Beast and Professor Charles Xavier. He was a great fan of his teacher Xorn and his teachings, until he was revealed to really be Magneto in disguise. Barnell still keeps Xorn’s helmet as a souvenir and will wear it if threatened or when in need of extra confidence.

Within the Exiles, Sasquatch felt that she had to protect Beak, and Mimic acted as sort of a mentor and big brother to Beak. Morph often cracked jokes at his expense, but this served only to bond the team together more effectively.


Quotes

“Waaaukk !!”

“Keep your beer and cigarettes – I’m straight-edge hardcore. My body is a temple.”

“Hello Universe. This is the greatest day of my life.”

“I’m totally naked, self-conscious and crazy in the head. Please, I deserve pants as a basic human right.”

“It is not really my helmet – it belonged to mister Xorn. Turned out he was really Magneto, but back when he wore this, he was so cool… I guess I hoped some of that cool would rub off on me.”


DC Universe History

There is an old story where an orphan gains powers very similar to those of Hawkman, and is attacked by Matter Master. That youngster could have been Beak, who then befriended Hawkman, and later met up with the Justice League of America.

Beak’s story could parallell that of the contemporary Snapper Carr, and his story would continue in that he later join in with the Blasters after the Dominator-led invasion of Earth (perhaps substituting Carr from this point on), during which adventures he met the woman that would become his wife.

Beak, like Snapper Carr, would later befriend the third Hourman, and, at that point, reluctantly have started his reality traveling. His travels would continue until the Infinite Crisis, when he finally found his way home and to his wife and kids.

A different take would be to have Beak being sent through time with the Team Titans for being prophecized as being important to the fall of Monarch during the Total Chaos storyline.

After Zero Hour he would have been placed back into Jordan’s new reality back with his wife and children as a normal human with only the knowledge that he had played a part in some cosmic event that saved the world. Somewhat like Terra did after ZH.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Beak

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Upholding the Good / Unwanted Power
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Student, Reality Traveler
Inf: 03 Aur: 05 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 010 HP: 020

Powers:
Dumb Luck: 06, Flight: 04, Gliding: 02, Skin Armor: 01, Telescopic Vision: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Flight is Winged (-1)
  • Flight and Gliding are both Minor Marginal powers (-1)
  • Skin Armor is only Usable against Falling Damage (-2)

Skills:
Charisma (Persuasion): 09, Weaponry (Melee): 03

Advantages:
Possibly Omni-Connection

Connections:
Hyperion I (High), The Exiles (High), Xavier Mutants (Low)

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance (Human chicken), Married (Angel Bohusk), Uncertainty (earlier only)

Equipment:

  • Prize titanium baseball bat [BODY 09, EV 04]
  • Xorn’s Helmet [BODY 10, Iron Will: 03, Note: helmet provides partial protection as it protects Beak’s head]

Beak – unexpected hero of the day

Although Beak is a weak mutant, his main strength and usefulness is in making new friends. Whenever Beak really needs to enlist the aid of another superhuman for purposes of saving the day, a lenient GM might want to allow him to use the Omni-Connection Advantage as per the standard rules.

When befriending major super-powered individuals, it is also useful to spend HPs on Beak’s meager Mystical Stats, particularly on the AURA, and on his Persuasion Subskill, making the impressions last.

Also, unexpectedly, Beak has another strength in having unusual and working ideas for dire situations. At times when Beak’s bright ideas are to be highlighted, it is useful to make him roll Dumb Luck and use the RAPs for Perception Checks and ideas.

Beak is just generally incredibly lucky in his ideas, with the folks he happens to meet and with the actual outcome of things, even if he himself doesn’t realize that. In game terms, be sure to often roll for Beak’s Dumb Luck power.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen

Source of Character: X-Men and Exiles comics (Marvel)

Helper(s): Mike Winkler, Dr. Sean MacDonald, Frank G. Murdock. The History section is our back-up of a text that used to be on www.barnellbohusk.com before that site closed.

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