Legacy & Comics Origins Of ‘Blue Beetle,’ Explained: What Can We Expect From DC Film?

It is a shame that despite the title of the superhero Blue Beetle existing since the Golden Age of comics, right since the debut of biggies like Superman and Batman, even the franchise fans don’t know much about him. Fans of DC comics have an idea about the importance of legacies in the franchise, and Blue Beetle is one of those characters who exemplifies that perfectly. Since the beginning, three distinctive versions of the character have been created for three different generations of readers, all unique in their own way yet connected by a defined lore at the same time.


Although, on paper, Blue Beetle is the fourteenth entry of the DCEU, it is largely disconnected from the near-defunct universe’s world-building and instead will be treated as an unofficial entry of the upcoming DCU. From that aspect, the introduction of Blue Beetle early in the newly formed universe becomes important for live-action DC movies due to the fact that going forward, there will be ample scope to explore the rich history of the character. Even though the upcoming movie will revolve around the third and most popular, Jaime Reyes’ version of Blue Beetle, we will go through the origin tales of each of the iterations of the characters to learn more about the legacy carried by the mantle and also because the trailers have hinted that all three versions will be vital to the plot.

Dan Garrett: Two Origin Tales Of The Golden Age Hero

The journey of Blue Beetle began with Dan Garrett, who made his debut in the first issue of Mystery Men Comics in 1939, created by the legendary Will Eisner and Charles Nicholas. After his cop father was killed by miscreants, Dan swore to uphold the law by acting as a vigilante. Donning a unique cellulose protective suit and empowered by a physical ability-enhancing concoction known as Vitamin 2X, Dan began his crime-fighting career under the Blue Beetle moniker. The scarab beetle symbol has been prominent since the beginning of Blue Beetle lore, where Dan used to threaten wrongdoers and mark them with the beetle symbol as identification, much like how another vigilante, Phantom, used to mark miscreants with an iconic skull ring.


After Charlton Comics acquired the character during the sixties, the origin of Dan Garrett was reworked to make him a more superpower-oriented hero. According to this iteration, while venturing into the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh,  archaeologist Dan Garrett discovers a mystical azure Scarab artifact that imbues him with superpowers. Garrett uses these newfound powers to operate as the Blue Beetle. During his tenure as the Beetle, Garrett undertook some Black Ops missions where he paired up with Peacemaker as well. Later, one of his genius students, Ted Kord, gets involved in a conflict between his villainous uncle Jarvis Kord and Blue Beetle and learns about his mentor’s secret identity. The conflict ends with Garrett saving the day but getting mortally injured in the process. During his final moments, Garrett requests that his protégé Ted uphold the legacy of Blue Beetle.

Ted Kord: Blue And Gold

The second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, created by legendary writer-artist Steve Ditko, started his journey in Charlton Comics when he first appeared in the series of another seminal character, Captain Atom #83, during the sixties. Later, DC acquired both Beetles and a bunch of significant Charlton characters and included them in the prime universe. During the initial years, Kord was portrayed as a brilliant scientist, inventor, and peak-level athlete whose major issue was not being able to find a purpose in life. After meeting Dan Garrett and studying under him, Ted learned about his identity as the superhero Blue Beetle. When the aforementioned conflict with his uncle Jarvis resulted in Dan Garrett’s death, Ted Kord took it upon himself to carry on the legacy of the Beetle.


However, the scarab that gave superpowers to Dan did not work for Ted, and he decided to use his intellectual prowess and technical expertise to become a superhero. Aside from making super suits and gadgets of his own, Ted’s most remarkable achievement was the creation of the flying vehicle he dubbed Bug, which mimicked the appearance of the Scarab as well. In the very first issue of his comics, he is seen swinging down his Bug through a cable to launch an attack on miscreants, an image that has been iconic ever since. In fact, the character Nite Owl II in Watchmen was inspired by Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle, even the Owlship ‘Archimedes’ being a substitute for Bug.

Ted Kord’s presence in DC Comics is known for his funny antics with his best pal, Booster Gold, and the duo’s participation in Justice League International. During the mega-event Infinite Crisis, Kord was killed by Maxwell Lord but was later resurrected thanks to multiple retcons and acted as a mentor to the third and arguably the best one to hold on to the title, Jaime Reyes.


In the trailer for the upcoming Blue Beetle, the costumes of Dan Garrett and Ted Kord have been displayed, and an extensive sequence of the airship Bug has been shown, establishing the importance of legacies quite firmly.

Jaime Reyes: Latino Heat

The Scarab of Ted Kord gets lost during the Infinite Crisis and ends up with a Mexican teenager in El Paso, Texas, named Jaime Reyes. For the first time, the full potential of the Scarab is unlocked, and unbeknownst to Jaime, it attaches itself to his spine and creates a techno-organic protective armor around him. The Scarab introduces itself as Khaji Da, part of an alien hive mind of living weapons known to have been genetically modified by a super-advanced alien species known as the Reach. Long ago, the galactic peacekeeping forces known as the Green Lanterns were pitted in an everlasting battle against the aggressor Reach, who had already invaded and conquered thousands of universes by then. The battle ended in a truce after the Reach agreed to refrain from attacking any more universes, but they secretly programmed the scarabs to act as covert infiltrating mechanisms loyal to their cause of world dominance. A Scarab functions to attach itself to the dominant living species of an environment, control its physical and intellectual functions, and grant fantastical abilities so it can bypass the defenses of the given environment and colonize it.


Like numerous other scarabs, Khaji Da was sent from Reach to colonize Earth, but due to some malfunction, Reach’s control over it gets broken, and it gains freedom. Dan Garrett wielded the Scarab first, but even though he was imbued with superpowers, he was never able to unlock his full potential. At last, with Jaime, the Scarab’s potential was unlocked as it completely bonded with its host, and after a few initial hiccups, Jaime was able to control most of the alien technological perks offered by Khaji Da and take on the role of the third Blue Beetle. As a relatively new version of the character, Jaime Reyes’ version has immense potential, some of which has been showcased in the animated series Young Justice.

From what we have seen so far in trailers and released updates, it seems that the origin and legacy of Blue Beetle will be treated with due respect in the upcoming movie. Hopefully, someday in the near future, we could get a glimpse of three versions of the character fighting side by side, honoring the brilliance of the creators whose vision has enriched the comic-book fraternity for so long.


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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