The Jaime Reyes version of the Blue Beetle has only been around in the pages of DC Comics since 2006. But since then, he’s made quite an impact. A legacy hero, Jaime Reyes is the third to wear the heroic mantle of Blue Beetle. Jaime Reyes, nevertheless, has appeared in several of his own comic series, and team books like Teen Titans, and appeared as Blue Beetle in both animated series (Young Justice, Batman: Brave and the Bold) and live-action shows (Smallville). Now, he’s starring in his own live-action film, Blue Beetle, starring Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña. But just who is Jaime Reyes? Here’s the lowdown on Blue Beetle, the Texas teen who is the new DCU’s first superhero.
Jaime Reyes’ DC Comics Origins as Blue Beetle
In DC Comics’ 2005-2006 event series Infinite Crisis‘ third issue, readers met Texas teenager Jaime Reyes. Months after the tragic death of Ted Kord (the second Blue Beetle), Jaime Reyes finds the ancient and powerful Beetle Scarab. It was in the keeping of the Wizard Shazam in the Rock of Eternity, and when that was destroyed, it crashed to Earth. Not long after, teenage Jaimie found it in El Paso, Texas totally by chance. The alien scarab bonded with Jaime Reyes in his sleep, and he was able to activate its powers, his first step toward becoming Blue Beetle. Even though, at first, Jaime had a tough time controlling his new abilities.
Thanks to Booster Gold, his predecessor Ted Kord’s best friend, Jaime was recruited to help Batman and others save the Multiverse. During this time, the Dark Knight saw much potential in Jaime Reyes, and took him under his wing helping him to become the Blue Beetle. But this isn’t Jaime Reyes’ only DC Comics Blue Beetle origin story. No, Jaime had quite a few.
In the 2011 New 52 reboot continuity, Jaime finds the scarab in a backpack he managed to steal away from some criminals, instead of just by sheer luck. And in the 2016 Rebirth re-reboot (DC does these a lot), the comics tweaked Jaime Reyes’ origin yet again, and this time DC revealed the scarab to be magical in nature and not just an alien artifact.
Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle has been around less than 20 years, and DC Comics has already altered his origin story three times! But the core facts about his backstory tend to remain the same throughout the different iterations.
Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle Comics Highlights
The previously mentioned event series Infinite Crisis, by Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez, was the introduction of Blue Beetle, and even though largely retconned away now, serves as a great jumping-on point for the character. Following Infinite Crisis, Jaime got his own ongoing Blue Beetle series from creators Keith Giffen, John Rodgers, and artist Cully Hamner. That Blue Beetle series ran for 36 issues from 2006 to 2009. Following the New 52 line-wide reboot of 2011, Jaime got yet another new ongoing book from the creative team of Tony Bedard and Ig Guara, which lasted 17 issues in total.
Jaime Reyes’ most recent ongoing series, from returning writer Keith Giffen and artist Scott Kolins, came in 2016, and that third Blue Beetle volume lasted 18 issues. it ended in 2018. Since then, Jaime has appeared in the recent mini-series Blue Beetle: Graduation Day. That book came from the creative team of Josh Trujillo and Adrián Gutiérrez. In this story, Jaime graduated high school at last and moved from El Paso to Palmera City. The fictional town of Palmera City also appears in the upcoming live-action Blue Beetle movie.
What Are Blue Beetles’ Powers and Abilities?
All of the Blue Beetle’s powers emerge from the Scarab, which grafted itself to Jaime Reyes’ spine. Whenever Jaime is in any kind of peril, the Scarab activates and protects him by covering his body in the form of armor. This armor is strong enough to withstand energy blasts and even re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere from outer space. The Blue Beetle armor also has the power to transform into a wide variety of weapons, including an energy plasma blaster arm, as well as blades and shields. The armor’s wings allow for the power of flight, and they enhance Jaime’s strength and durability while he’s wearing it. However, Jaime Reyes’ enhancements are nothing quite approaching the levels of Superman or Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, when the Scarab’s armor retracts back into his spine, it’s quite a painful experience for poor Jaime despite his Blue Beetle abilities.
Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle Suit, Explained
The powers of Blue Beetle’s suit are tied to the Scarab attached to his body. The Scarab is a form of technology that originated from an alien civilization known as the Reach. Centuries ago, the Reach conquered worlds with their advanced tech. The idea behind the Scarab was that it would take over the mind of the person it attached itself to. Thus, allowing the Reach to conquer primitive worlds remotely. The Infiltrator Scarab Jaime has is known as Kahji Dha. But once left behind on Earth, ancient sorcerers used magic to alter its ability to control the person who wore it. The Blue Beetle scarab became the property of a Pharoah, who locked it with him in his tomb until archeologists discovered it in the 20th century.
The suit worn by actor Xolo Maridueña in the Blue Beetle movie is very accurate to the DC Comics suit designed by Jim Lee. it also has the name Kahji Dha. In fact, Jaime Reyes’ live-action Blue Beetle suit is one of the most comic-accurate costumes we’ve seen in any comic book movie so far. It is far closer to the original comics than the first live-action Blue Beetle, seen back in Smallville. Jaime Reyes’ live-action Blue Beetle costume functions the same as the one in the comics. Jaime can create many similar weapons for himself, just like his comics counterpart.
Who Is Blue Beetle’s Main Villain?
In the pages of the comics, Jaime Reyes’ main adversaries include local crime boss La Dama, who made Blue Beetle’s life miserable in El Paso. And of course, the alien Reach themselves. In the Blue Beetle movie, the big bads are Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), sister of Blue Beetle II, Ted Kord.
Although created for the Blue Beetle movie, Victoria Kord, the CEO of Kord Industries, actually made her debut in the comics—very recently, in fact. Victoria Kord first appeared in DC Comics as a part of the Blue Beetle: Graduation Day series. This is a callback to how DC created Batgirl for the Batman ’66 TV show, but she actually made her comic book debut months earlier. The other villain Jaime fights in the Blue Beetle movie is the cyborg known as Carapax. Carapax was the first villain Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle fought in his first DC Comics issue in 1986.
Will Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle Be in the DCU?
Although The Flash rebooted the DCEU into what will be James Gunn’s new DCU, and Blue Beetle came out after, the movie is not technically the first film of the DCU. However, James Gunn has confirmed that the Jaime Reyes we see in Blue Beetle, portrayed by Xolo Maridueña, will transfer over to his DCU. What that means is a mystery. A sequel film if the first is successful? A part in a team movie? We really have no idea. But expect to see this Blue Beetle flying next to Superman and the Batplane at some point in the future of the DCU.
Blue Beetle is now in theaters everywhere.
Originally published July 28, 2023.