Top 5 comics to read after seeing Blue Beetle
Blue Beetle could make the beginning of a new DC film legacy, much the same way the character has been at the forefront of new comic eras. Read these five Blue Beetle comics after the film to learn how the character defined DC Comics for the past 30 years.
Blue Beetle is the newest hero to join the DC pantheon of film superheroes. The upcoming film releases on August 18 and introduces Jaime Reyes, a young and directionless kid whose life is turned upside down when he’s bonded with a mysterious scarab.
In DC Comics, though, the character has a fascinating history. The most iconic version, Silver Age hero Ted Kord, is actually the second Blue Beetle. He’s also a beloved Justice League member and the template for Watchmen’s Nite-Owl.
Once Ted Kord died, though, the scarab and role passed on to Jaime Reyes. With it also came a shift to a more space opera/slice-of-life storytelling style. The world of Blue Beetle is vast, but these comics will get you into the world after seeing the film.
Five best Blue Beetle comics to read
For fans just being introduced to Jaime Reyes who want to learn more about the character, here are five of the best comics to read if you want to learn about the history of the Blue Beetle.
Justice League: A New Beginning
Blue Beetle joined DC after it purchased the original publisher, Charlton Comics. For much of his tenure, he was a B-lister, usually associated with fellow Charlton outcasts The Question and Captain Atom.
That changed with 1989’s Justice League. Ted joined an incarnation of the Justice League funded by the telepathic Maxwell Lord that included Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern. He also formed a fast friendship with Booster Gold, a relationship defined by the series’ tongue-in-cheek tone.
Through these stories, Ted Kord becomes a beloved everyman in the DC Universe. The run is fondly remembered today as one of DC’s defining Justice League runs, but it made Blue Beetle a star.
Countdown to Infinite Crisis
By 2007, DC Comics was building to another Crisis event. In the build-up came Countdown to Infinite Crisis, a one-shot that set the stage for the event. In a roundabout way, it became Blue Beetle’s most important story – by killing Ted Kord.
Blue Beetle, investigating a series of thefts that have decimated his company, is dismissed or ignored by most of his friends. What he eventually finds is Maxwell Lord spying on superheroes. Ted defiantly pushes back against Lord, and he loses his life for it.
Kord’s death, a panel of his silhouetted body after being shot, is one of the most iconic to come out of the event. Though Infinite Crisis itself is no longer that relevant to DC’s ongoing narrative, this issue still serves as a beautiful love letter to Blue Beetle’s tenacity.
Blue Beetle: Shellshocked
Although Ted Kord had possession of the Blue Beetle scarab, he could never make it work. In Shellshocked, the scarab winds up in El Paso, TX, after Kord’s death, where it came into the possession of high schooler Jaime Reyes.
With Jaime, the character would take a drastic turn. It would be revealed that the scarab had latent powers, ones no previous wielder could tap into. Jaime could utilize its full power, though, revealing it as a tool designed to conquer Earth for an alien race known as The Reach.
Jaime was beloved by fans when Blue Beetle was introduced in Infinite Crisis. While the shift to a more sci-fi slant and the body horror angle of the scarab fused to Jaime’s spine was a huge change, it was one that fans resonated with.
Blue Beetle: Rebirth
DC would eventually go through with its line-wide reboot, The New 52, after which Ted Kord isn’t mentioned for years. By the time of DC Rebirth’s The More Things Change, Ted is ultimately revealed to be an inventor and retired hero whom Jaime comes to for help removing the scarab.
Ted and Jaime become reluctant partners, with Ted offering advice and helping out as a tech guy while Jaime fights villains. Eventually, Ted is reintroduced and becomes more active as a hero, though Jaime remains DC’s primary Blue Beetle.
Rebirth was a great moment for fans who had wanted to see Jaime and Ted interact. The relationship winds up feeling more like two brothers, though the aloof Ted does genuinely display affection for Jaime.
The most recent storyline featuring the character, Blue Beetle: Graduation Day, sees Jaime graduating high school and moving to Palmera City. There, the threat of a new Reach invasion and the appearance of two deadly new Scarab wielders force the Justice League to bench Jaime.
Graduation Day puts Jaime against the wall. Khaji Da is malfunctioning and can’t talk to him, the Justice League thinks he’s a threat, and the Reach invasion makes him increasingly paranoid. However, Graduation Day explores Jaime’s role in the DCU more than any other story.
By story’s end, Jaime is reinvigorated and established as one of DC’s top-tier heroes, even earning the respect of Batman and Superman. It also turns kicks Ted Kord up a notch, setting up Kord Industries as a tech giant in the universe. If that’s not enough, it’s the lead-in to the next event, Scarab War, which promises to push Jaime even further.