Blue Beetle is an upcoming DC and Warner Bros. live-action film set to star Cobra Kai breakout star Xolo Maridueña. The news of a Latino superhero is always exciting, but it may have left you wondering who the heck Blue Beetle is. Although there have been a few incarnations of the character, the movie is said to be focusing on young Mexican-American teenager Jaime Reyes, who wears an ancient alien Scarab that becomes sentient armor over his body, enabling Jaime to become a superhero. But that’s not the half of it! Here are a selection of comics and animated shows to introduce you to one of comics’ greatest teen heroes.
Infinite Crisis (2005-2006)
In 2005, DC Comics produced a sequel to their seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths for its twentieth anniversary, calling it Infinite Crisis. Much like the original series, new versions of classic characters would be introduced; in issue #3, not long after the death of Ted Kord (the second Blue Beetle), teenage Texas resident Jaime Reyes finds the ancient Beetle Scarab.
In Infinite Crisis #5, Jaime bonds with the alien Scarab and becomes the newest hero to call himself the Blue Beetle. He joins with Booster Gold, his predecessor’s best friend, along with other DC heroes to help save the Multiverse in this time-and-space-spanning event series. Jim Lee designed Jaime’s Scarab armor for this series, and his cool design made this third Beetle an instant fan favorite.
Blue Beetle: Shellshocked (2006)
In his first solo series, spinning out of the events of Infinite Crisis, Jaime tries to balance life as a teenager in El Paso with the new responsibilities of being a superhero. Unlike most characters who keep their heroic identities from those closest to them, Jaime reveals his secret to his family and friends (like most of us would). But their reaction reminds you why most superheroes keep that kind of stuff a “secret.” The Reyes family freaks out. Ultimately, however, they end up being supportive and proud of their heroic son. The first six issues from the creative team of Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner, who created Jaime, is collected as “Shellshocked.”
“Rise of the Blue Beetle!” (2008)
In the very first episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Jaime Reyes makes his animated debut, just a mere two years after having been created. In this light-hearted romp, Jaime has just recently come into possession of the Scarab, and is unsure of his readiness to be a hero. Batman takes Jaime under his wing, and then the two stop a giant meteor, tumble through a wormhole, and fight an alien bad guy, Kanjar-Ro, on a distant planet. And all in under twenty minutes! A fun animated debut that keeps to the core of the character, and a perfect introduction to Jaime for younger fans.
Young Justice Season 2 (2012)
In the first episode of the second season of Young Justice, “Happy New Year,” Jaime joins the team. Or to be more specific, Jaime had already joined the team in the five-year gap between the first two seasons of the show. He plays a pivotal part in the second season, as for a short time he was an agent of the Reach, the alien race which created his Scarab. In later Young Justice episodes that season, the Scarab is rebooted by the Martian called the Green Beetle, and then Jaime is freed from the Reach’s control. This animated version of Jaime sticks very close to his comic book counterpart’s portrayal.
Blue Beetle DC Rebirth series (2016)
After the events of Flashpoint and then DC Universe Rebirth, the history of the DC Universe was altered. In this timeline, Jaime comes across the Scarab during events unrelated to the death of the former Blue Beetle, Ted Kord; in fact, in this timeline, Kord doesn’t die, he just retires from superheroics. In this new series from Jaime’s co-creator Keith Giffen and artist Scott Kolins, Jaime is still a high school student, but Ted Kord is now his mentor (and sometimes tech support while out in the field).
The dynamic between Ted and Jaime is very “old Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis” from Batman Beyond, and would be a fun jumping-off point for a potential film. As a special bonus, to give fans an idea of what a Blue Beetle live-action movie might look like, we encourage you to check out this brief one-minute presentation for a potential television series, made several years back. The CGI is wonky, but it gives fans an idea of how the character would play out in live-action.
Justice League Action (2016)
In 2016, Warner Animation and Cartoon Network unleashed the first new Justice League cartoon since 2006, with Justice League Action. Aimed at a much younger audience than before, it featured team-ups between beloved DC heroes. And among them was the Jaime Reyes version of the Blue Beetle, voiced by Jake T.Austin . He and Batman teamed up to fight Chronos, as you can see in the video above. Although a tad more kiddified than before, it’s still a faithful and fun rendition of the character.
Images: DC Comics / Warner Bros