Warning: SPOILERS for Nightwing #99Above even the likes of The Joker and Bane, one Batman villain has been a persistent thorn in Nightwing’s side for the past few years: Anatoli Knyazev, better known as KGBeast. Despite showing up every few months, however, it’s been a while since The Beast has done Nightwing any true harm. Now, after getting defeated by just about every hero in the Bat-Family, KGBeast is being given one more try to solidify himself as one of Nightwing’s most brutal enemies.
KGBeast’s biggest act against Nightwing occurred in Tom King and Tony S. Daniel’s Batman #55. In the issue, The Beast shot Nightwing in the head on a mission from Bane to “break the Bat” by destroying him psychologically. As a result, Dick Grayson loses his memory for a time, adopting the persona of cab driver Ric Grayson. Since regaining his memory, Nightwing, his friends and other Bat-Family members have gotten revenge on KGBeast multiple times over, with several of them going out of their way to teach The Beast a lesson.
Now in prison, it appears KGBeast has yet another chance to assert himself as one of Nightwing’s greatest villains. Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo and Geraldo Borges’ Nightwing #99 ends with a figure approaching Knyazev in prison and offering The Beast a role in a new plot against the former Boy Wonder: “Anatoli. The KGBeast. Be ready. A chance for revenge is coming.“
KGBeast Has Become Nightwing’s Nemesis
The offer carries with it a sinister tone that KGBeast seems to have lost in recent appearances. While his initial act of shooting Nightwing shook up the DC Universe by drastically altering one of its biggest characters, Knyazev has since been played as something of a joke rather than a true threat. In his numerous appearances since Batman #55, it seems DC is using The Beast to be in on the joke of fans hating the Ric Grayson era, having multiple heroes beat him mercilessly since he’s the one at fault for the character change. This changed KGBeast from a true threat to more of a meta punching bag. Nightwing #99‘s appearance of The Beast ditches this conceit completely, hinting at the return of Anatoli as the true threat he was when he was hired to shoot Nightwing in the first place. It’s a brief tease, but the lone panel depicts Knyazev lying in wait, his face covered in shadows, intent on getting revenge on the superhero who turned KGBeast from an assassin to a punchline. Whatever this mission is, it’s a chance to elevate The Beast from a Batman D-lister to a Nightwing nemesis.
Through his numerous appearances in Nightwing and Nightwing-adjacent comics, DC made KGBeast a recurring foe for Dick Grayson, a reminder of the time the first Robin lost his entire identity. Despite getting put through the ringer in recent fights, KGBeast’s latest panel hints at a brutal return for one of Nightwing’s most personal enemies.
Nightwing #99 is available from DC Comics now.