The Blue Beetle film, starring Xolo Maridueña as our titular hero Jaime Reyes, draws from DC Comics lore to give us the villainous Carapax, a.k.a. the Indestructible Man. Carapax is the comic baddie who can truly call himself the Blue Beetle’s arch nemesis …at least the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, anyway. In the Blue Beetle movie, Raoul Max Trujillo brings this robotic bruiser to life and there’s so much to explore with the character. So, let’s dig into the DC Comics history of Blue Beetle‘s Carapax, and how his story comes to life on the big screen.
The ’80s Origin Story of Carapax, the Second Blue Beetle’s Archenemy
Conrad Carapax first appeared in 1986’s Blue Beetle #1, thanks to writer Len Wein and artist Paris Cullins. He fought the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, in what was his first DC Comics ongoing series. Conrad Carapax was an archaeologist who often competed with Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle. Naturally, he had no clue that Garrett was secretly the costumed adventurer. So when Garrett died in a remote location called Pago Island, Carapax assumed it was due to something archeology related. Traveling to the mysterious island, he hoped to unearth what Garrett was trying to find at the time of his death.
On Pago Island, Conrad Carapax found what remained of a secret laboratory once belonging to Jarvis Kord, the evil genius who hid a secret lab there. There, among Kord’s belongings, was a fully functional (and maybe indestructible) robot. It was meant to be part of an army of robots to help facilitate his villainous global takeover. Every villain needs one of those, right? When Dan Garrett (disguised as the Blue Beetle) tried to stop him, Jarvis Kord activated the robot army’s self-destruct, killing them both. Later, Carapax tried to activate the remaining robot he found, but it malfunctioned, electrocuting him to death. Carapax’s physical body died; however, his mind lived on, now merged with the robot’s computer brain. He became Carapax, the Indestructible Man.
Carapax in his new metal form became a literal killing machine. Eventually, a Chicago cop and a crew of people on a ship to Pago Island to investigate Daniel Garrett’s death. Carapax subsequently went a killing spree. During this time, he ended up battling the second Blue Beetle (and Jarvis Kord’s nephew), Ted Kord. Along with the ship, Carapax sank into the Atlantic Ocean. Obviously, Carapax didn’t die during this encounter and became the number one enemy of Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle throughout his ongoing series.
Conrad Carapax Gets an Alien Upgrade and Fights Superman
Eventually, aliens transferred Carapax’s consciousness into a new mechanical body. After several battles with Blue Beetle, he even fought Superman and the Suicide Squad! (The Man of Steel, of course, soundly defeated him.) Conrad Carapax managed to avoid serious prison time when the company Hakke-Bruton paid him in order to replicate his robot form, making an army of Carapaxes. Eventually, in the modern-day comics, the third Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, battled one of the Carapaxes and defeated him by using his own weapons against him.
The Cinematic Version of Carapax in Blue Beetle, Explained
In Blue Beetle, the backstory for Carapax is very different, even though his overall design silhouette is similar to the comics. The film version of Carapax isn’t Conrad, but Ignacio Carapax. He grew up in war-torn Guatemala, during a civil war or local revolution. Kord Industries bombed his village and killed his mother right in front of him. Upon reaching adulthood, he became a freedom fighter and mercenary. However, he stepped on a landmine, losing both a leg and an arm. He’s essentially kidnapped from his home by Victoria Kord. Later, Kord rebuilt him with OMAC (One Man Army Corps) tech, developed and then abandoned by her brother.
Victoria brainwashed him to forget his family and origins, and kept him as her muscle. So, the movie Carapax isn’t exactly a human mind inside a robot body, but he is still a blending of man and machine. Kord used her technology to control Carapax, and wipe his memories of what she did to him. He ultimately turned on her, after Jaime Reyes let him live in an act of mercy after they fought. We love seeing such an obscure DC Comics villain like Carapax get the big-screen treatment. Brainiac, Superman’s iconic villain, has yet to make it into a film. But somehow the Indestructible Man has, and it’s very cool to see.