Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)


Jaime Reyes is a  character who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appears in Infinite Crisis #3 (Feb. 2006), and was created by writers Keith Giffen and John Rogers, and artist Cully Hamner.  In Infinite Crisis #5 (March 2006), the character became the third incarnation of the superhero Blue Beetle. His own monthly series debuted a month later, with Blue Beetle (vol. 6) #1 (May 2006).

Fictional character biography

Jaime lives in El Paso, Texas with his father, mother and little sister; his father owns a garage. Jaime has offered to help his father out at the garage, but his father has turned him down so far, feeling Jaime should focus on his studies and enjoy his childhood for as long as he can. Jaime has an acute sense of responsibility for his family and friends, though he complains about being the one to sort out any messes.

 

Infinite Crisis

Infinite Crisis

The mystical Blue Beetle scarab which had given Dan Garrett his powers had been thought destroyed. When it was found intact, it was given to Ted Kord, who was never able to use it. After an attack by Brother Eye, the scarab appeared energized, and Ted brought it to the wizard Shazam, who took it and sent Ted away. Shortly thereafter, in the Day of Vengeance storyline, Shazam was killed and the scarab was blasted across the globe, along with shards from the Rock of Eternity.

The Blue Beetle scarab came to Earth in El Paso, Texas where it was picked up by a teenaged boy named Jaime Reyes. Not long after, Booster Gold appeared at Jaime’s house to retrieve the scarab, only to discover that it had fused itself to Jaime’s spine while the teenager had been sleeping. Booster recruited Jaime for Batman’s assault on the Brother Eye satellite, since the scarab was the only thing that could see the satellite. Using the scarab’s powers, Jaime was able to find the satellite and reveal it to Batman’s group, enabling them to defeat it. Once Brother Eye was sent plummeting Earthward, Jaime disappeared from the ship, apparently teleported away by the scarab, which sought to escape the Green Lanterns on board.

 

Blue Beetle

Jaime was next seen fighting off Green Lantern Guy Gardner, who had been driven to rage by his ring’s reaction to the Blue Beetle scarab. A flashback expanded on Jaime’s initial discovery of the scarab, revealing how the scarab bonded itself to Jaime and showing his first encounter with a metahuman. After the fight, Jaime found himself alone and naked in the middle of the desert, and had to hitch-hike home. Upon his return, Jaime discovered he had been missing for a whole year. One unusual part of the series is that unlike most superheroes who keep their identities hidden from all but the closest of associates, Jaime’s family (portrayed as a traditional Mexican-American family) and friends know Jaime is the current Blue Beetle.

He has since began a career as a superhero, meeting Oracle, the Phantom Stranger, and the current Peacemaker during his early adventures. He often associates himself with a group known as the Posse, a street gang of local superhumans with powers of magical origin. Blue Beetle’s support team have also recently agreed to help Jaime keep track of crime and natural disasters in the Midwest via the Internet.

Contrary to Jaime’s initial belief, the scarab is revealed to be a piece of extraterrestrial technology. However, magical influences involving the first contact with Earthmen left the scarab “corrupted”, and unable to be controlled by the Reach of Space Sector 2. Guy Gardner returned and revealed to Jaime how the Reach and the Green Lantern Corps had battled in the past, forcing the Reach into a truce. The Reach however continued pursuing their invasion plans offering the Scarab as a “protector”, and then forcibly turning his host into the vanguard of their attack. This would imply that the Scarab’s fully functional A.I. acts as an agent for the Reach. As Jaime’s scarab has only a partly functioning A.I., falling more and more into his control and forming an alliance with him, the Reach changed their agenda into feigning friendship with Jaime and the Earth, attacking him in a more subversive manner.

 

The Reach

The Reach are ancient enemies of the Guardians of the Universe; however, their pact with the Guardians forbids them from invading any new cultures, including Earth.[2] Jaime has recently sought help from S.T.A.R. Labs in order to find out about the scarab’s full power. The Reach also appear to be enemies of the Controllers; Jaime’s scarab suit is seen reacting violently to a Darkstars uniform worn by the current Manhunter Kate Spencer.[3]

In a Countdown to Final Crisis tie-in, Jaime assists Traci Thirteen in foiling Eclipso’s attempt to kidnap a baby with great magical potential and use it as a new, uncorrupted host. In the aftermath, Jaime and Traci kiss, hinting at a relationship starting between the two.

Jaime takes the fight to The Reach, using the time-warping qualities of the Bleed to attack three of their machines at once. When this fails, Jaime attacks the Reach’s flagship, but the Reach use their weapons to attack Jaime’s home. Jaime’s emotional outburst at this attack allows the Reach to shut down the scarab and remove it from Jaime. Jaime is thrown into a holding cell while the Scarab is taken for examination on the bridge. However, the scarab transfers its knowledge into Jaime before removal, allowing the young hero to break out of his cell. Meanwhile, Jaime’s family, having escaped the attack, are protected from further Reach assault by Peacemaker, the Posse, Traci Thirteen, La Dama, and later, Guy Gardner, Fire, and Ice. Attacking several guards and taking their armor, Jaime heads for the engine, forcing the Reach to shut it down, revealing their ship. Once captured and brought to the bridge, Jaime shouts “Khaji Da!” [4]. He then reveals that during the time spent with him, the scarab has gained a personality of its own, and fully detached itself from the Reach hive-mind. Claiming Khaji Da (the combined utterance of Khaji, the codeword for Infiltrator and Da, its own serial number) as its name, the scarab has sided with Reyes against the Reach. As the battle continues, and the Reach Negotiator in retaliation for his defeat unleashes a doomsday device on Earth, Jaime and the scarab agree to sacrifice themselves to stop the superweapon from destroying Jamie’s home planet. At the last moment, Booster Gold appears and saves them both. The bond with the scarab stronger than ever, Jamie is left to wonder if other scarabs will gain a personality due to Khaji Da talking to them about individuality. [5]

 

Teen Titans

Jaime first teams up with the Titans in Teen Titans #50/Blue Beetle #18, fighting Lobo along with the group to ensure the launch of a satellite armed with anti-Reach technology. The Reach themselves apparently hire Lobo to keep their facade as benevolent protectors; however, at last, Batman and the Teen Titans believe Jaime. Although Jamie is criticized for his lack of formal training, the Titans extend an invitation to visit and perhaps at a later time join the team. The Reach later attempt to remove Jaime from the equation, combining the missing A.I. of Jamie’s scarab, a new scarab, and a Sinestro Corps Power Ring into the Peacemaker, forcing him to cut the scarab (which in truth is Jaime’s A.I.) from his spine in order to ensure that his scarab could not be used as a weapon again.

Jaime comes face to face with the Spectre, along with Luis, the man who had been responsible for Jaime’s father being crippled. After a visit from his quasi-girlfriend Traci Thirteen, Jaime realizes that he cannot stop the Spectre from executing the inmates. Jaime is forced to forgive Luis and try to reason with the Spectre. Partially successful, The Spectre warns Jaime that if he ever lets the Scarab kill, The Spectre will come for him.

During the “Titans of Tomorrow, Today!” arc in Teen Titans, Jaime takes the Titans up on their offer to visit, only to find that an alternate future version of the Titans have attacked the Tower and managed to kidnap key members of the Justice League. He later proves instrumental in the Titans’ victory against their future selves and proves himself to be a competent hero by incapacitating the Future Flash, and freeing the Justice League. He also aids the Titans in defeating Starro (thanks in large part to his scarab having prior experience with Sinestro Corps rings). During much of the conflict with the future Titans, Jaime is actively attacked by the adult version of Kid Devil, Red Devil, who claims that Jaime cannot be trusted.

Jaime is recruited by Black Beetle (who originally identifies himself as a Blue Beetle from the future), and Dan Garrett to go into the past with Booster Gold in order to prevent Ted Kord’s death. After saving Kord, and sending Jaime and Garrett back, the future is revealed to be a dystopia ruled by Maxwell Lord, who was now never exposed and defeated. Black Beetle is also revealed to be a future enemy of Jaime’s, who tries to create this future so he will never have to deal with Jaime, and so he “wouldn’t lose her”. In Booster Gold #10, seeing the damage that was already done by their actions, Ted decides to accept his death and returns to the past, seemingly to the exact moment where he was murdered by Maxwell Lord, returning the time line to equilibrium and thus preventing the future they had witnessed, however, in the epilogue for Booster Gold #1.000.000, a figure with a scarab enters a Kord Industries building which contains a Bug and a picture of Kord´s enemy Overthrow among other things. It is hinted by his trademark laugh “Bwa-ha-ha” that it is actually Ted, who somehow escaped death but managed to fix the timestream and return to the present.

Jaime has recently been seen battling Shockwave, who reveals that Kord Industries is now owned by the 100. He again came into conflict with Kid Devil, who still harbored a grudge against him because of both the future Titans incident and his status with Ravager. Jaime tries to mend fences with Kid Devil, but to no avail at first since their squabbling allowed Shockwave to escape. But during their second battle with him, Kid Devil managed to tap into his demonic powers and partially melted Shockwave’s armor, enabling both boys to defeat him in a concerted effort. This seems to help squelch the ill feelings between them. Then Kid Devil asks Jaime if he’s heard from Ravager, and Jaime replies that he’s faced down an entire alien race, but Ravager scares him. Kid Devil finally realizes that Jaime is being sincere and they shake hands and tell each other their real names. Later at Titans Tower when Kid Devil officially takes the new name of Red Devil, Jaime deals out some good-natured teasing about his new costume, calling him the “Crimson Aerobicizer”. Red Devil chases after him, both of them with smiles on their faces.[6]

 

Powers and abilities

The Blue Beetle scarab is grafted onto Jaime’s spine, and can manifest a number of powers at its own volition, an act usually accompanied by blue energy emitted by the scarab’s “antennae”. Over the course of the first year of his ongoing series, Jaime had little, if any, control over those powers, but slowly began to assert himself over the suit after this first year. When Jaime is in danger, the scarab activates, crawling out on to Jaime’s back and generating a high-tech suit of powered armor around his body. The armor is resilient enough that it can protect Jaime against atmospheric re-entry from Earth’s orbit. When the danger passes, the scarab deactivates, dissolving the costume and retracting back onto Jaime’s spine, causing intense pain.

When in use, the suit can reconfigure itself to produce a wide array of armaments. Common functions include an energy cannon, a sword and shield, a grappling hook, an advanced satellite of some sort, and a set of foot-long powered blades that can shear through tree trunks. In addition, the suit can produce a set of wings for flight, which can also act as shields. The suit can also adapt its technology to different situations: such adaptations include producing energy discharges from the hands that can neutralize magic, discharging Kryptonite radiation, negating “vibrational frequencies” of extra-dimensional objects to make them visible, and other assorted functions. The suit has been observed to create armaments of different composition and style. The wings, for example, were initially composed of the same blue opaque armor of which the rest of the suit is composed, but beginning with Blue Beetle #12 (April 2007), they began manifesting themselves in the form of a colorless, translucent material. Whether this is due to changes in the suit’s capabilities or Jaime’s intent has not been made clear. Jaime alludes to weapons which may be powerful enough to harm even the Spectre, one of DC’s more powerful characters. Jaime says that the scarab “offered him option after option after option each more jacked up then the last, real W.M.D. type stuff.” Jaime’s refusal to use lethal force seems to be the only thing keeping these weapons from coming into play.[7] The scarab also apparently has the ability to track anything or anyone it has previously encountered.

The scarab has at least one power it can manifest whether dormant or active; it can give Jaime a peculiar form of “sight” to perceive extra-dimensional objects. This sight is apparently intended to give the scarab’s user information on adversaries. The scarab is able to communicate with him in a more comprehensible fashion if need be. The scarab’s language of communication has slowly morphed into a format resembling English, claiming Khaji Da as its own name and Jaime as its first real friend.[5] However, it has reverted to communicating in its original language.[5] The suit is capable, through some unspecified mechanism or process, of compensating for the digestive system of Jaime’s body, so that he does not need to expel waste materials when the suit is in use.[8]

The scarab appears to be unwilling to harm nature, as evidenced in Blue Beetle #4, in which Jaime was attacked by a pair of animated, anthropomorphized trees, and attempted to defend himself, only to be told by the suit, “We won’t damage nature”. He is almost killed as a result of this, until he convinces the scarab that his life is in danger and wrests control over the suit. Jaime destroys the trees, though the scarab continues to express its displeasure at the destruction.

 

Bibliography

Vol. # Title Collected material Pages ISBN
1 Shellshocked Blue Beetle vol. 6, #1–6 144 ISBN 1-4012-0965-3
2 Road Trip Blue Beetle vol. 6, #7–12 144 ISBN 978-1-4012-1361-9
3 Reach For The Stars Blue Beetle vol. 6, #13–19 168 ISBN 1-4012-1642-0

 

In other media

 

Television

Promotional images for the 2008 Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series indicate that Jaime Reyes will be a featured character. [9]

 

References

  1. ^ Irving, Christopher. Blue Beetle Companion: His Many Lives From 1939 to Today. Raleigh: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-893905-70-5
  2. ^ Kiel Phegley (2007-05-06). “Blue Beetle’s Big Picture“. Wizard Comics. Retrieved on 2007-06-22.
  3. ^ As seen in Manhunter #32 (September 2008)
  4. ^ Blue Beetle #23 (Feb. 2008)
  5. ^ a b c Blue Beetle #25 (Mar. 2008)
  6. ^ Teen Titans #61
  7. ^ Blue Beetle #21
  8. ^ John Rogers (w),  The Blue Beetle vol. 7,  #14 ((Jun 2007))  DC Comics (10/1)
  9. ^ The World’s Finest



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