"The blood in my veins went hot and cold with every beat of my heart. My spine felt as thought someone were wringing it like a sponge, and every nerve in my back began to scream in silent agony."
Damien Kane
"The Nature of the Beast"
American Freak 1.jpg
American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men
Title: "The Nature of the Beast"
Volume: 1
number: 1
Cover date: February, 1994
Cover price: $1.95
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
Executive editor: Karen Berger
Writers: Dave Louapre
Pencilers: Vince Locke
Inkers: Vince Locke
Cover artists: Gaz; Richard Bruning
Cover inker: Richard Bruning
Cover colorist: Richard Bruning
Colorists: Chris Chuckry; Digital Chameleon
Letterers: Clem Robins
Assistant editors: Shelly Roeberg
Editors: Karen Berger; Alisa Kwitney
Next: American Freak #2

"The Nature of the Beast" is the story title to the first issue of the comic book limited series American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men, which was published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. The story was written by Dave Louapre with interior artwork by Vince Locke, who also inked the series. The cover illustration was composed by photographer Gaz with design elements created by Richard Bruning. The issue was colored by Chris Chuckry of Digital Chameleon and lettered by Clem Robins. It was edited by Karen Berger and Alisa Kwitney with Shelly Roeberg as assistant editor. This issue shipped with a February, 1994 cover date and carried a cover price of $1.95 per copy (US).

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A U.S. Army cargo plane brings twenty-three year old Damien Kane to Lafayette Air Field in Louisiana. He meets scientist Doctor Hutcheson who drives Damien an isolated scientific research station. Damien has been demonstrating bizarre physical ailments, and the scientists have taken a great interest in his health. Hutcheson provides Damien with a room, then goes to a lab to speak with his colleague Doctor David Manguy. After running a series of tests on Damien's blood, the scientists discover that the cells of his body are beginning to mutate.

Manguy later visits Damien's room. Overwhelmed with guilt, Manguy tells him about his true origins. Damien is the offspring of two deformed mutations known as Un-Men. In 1968, Manguy had developed a serum, which he had hoped would cure physical deformities. Damien was the only one of thirteen test subjects to survive the process. Now however, it appears as if his body's cells are going into regression. Damien doesn't know what to make of all of this, and has difficulty believing a single thing that Manguy tells him. To prove what he says is true, he brings Damien to a restricted section of the lab and introduces him to his "parents" - two Un-Men locked in suspended animation tanks. Damien loses his composure and collapses to the floor.

Doctor Manguy gives him a mild sedative and returns him to his room. Hours later, Damien awakens to the sound of a strange, disembodied voice beckoning him. Answering the summons, he unlatches the window to his room, climbs out and runs off into the night.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Supporting characters[edit | edit source]

Antagonists[edit | edit source]

  • None

Minor characters[edit | edit source]

  • Crassus
  • Miss Haas
  • Faux Mister Kane
  • Faux Mrs. Kane

Organizations[edit | edit source]

Races[edit | edit source]

Locations[edit | edit source]

Items[edit | edit source]

  • None

Vehicles[edit | edit source]

  • None

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men is a five-issue limited series published under DC's Vertigo imprint. Each issue includes a "suggested for mature readers" warning on the cover.
  • The tagline for this series is "A Post-Modern Metamorphosis".
  • Scott Babashak is the cover model for this issue.
  • An eight-page preview for this issue was featured in Sandman #57.
  • Series writer Dave Louapre hosts this months' "On the Ledge" spotlight.
  • First page includes a quote by W.B. Yeats.
  • First appearance of all characters.
  • The creatures presented in flashback in this issue are referred to as "Un-Men". Un-Men are genetically bioengineered humans created in a laboratory by Bavarian scientist Anton Arcane (a recurring foe of Swamp Thing). The New Orleans Un-Men were first seen in Swamp Thing, Volume 1 #10 though the flashbacks from this issue take place many years prior to the events from Swamp Thing #10.
  • First appearance of the second generation Un-Men.
  • The voice that Damien hears at the end of this issue is identified as Crassus in issue #2.
  • First and only appearance of Miss Haas.
  • The faux Mister Kane and Mrs. Kane appear in a photograph only.

Recommended Reading[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

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