Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Miscellaneous Non-Spoilery Thoughts: The Blue Beetle

Well, it was interesting. At first I was annoyed by the way they used Guy (bit too easy to choose him for that sort of role, like Hawkman), but Giffen managed to pull out an explanation that makes sense.

The premise is interesting enough, the armor and plot twists. Jaime's cute and funny. And it's neat to have a hispanic hero.

But I don't really get why this is called the Blue Beetle...

Yeah it's the Scarab, but it never did that for Dan. The powers/abilities have no resemblance to Dan or Ted...the character has no (as yet revealed) connection to Dan or Ted.

The "I'm the Blue Beetle" line came out of nowhere because Ted's never been in that position that I know of, nor has Dan. So what exactly about the situation makes the name fit...?

I just don't get why it's the scarab. Why not a brand new magic item? Why is he being pulled into a legacy that's not remotely connected to him. At least Kyle was brought very quickly into ties to Hal and Alan. What does Jaime have?

I'll keep reading for a few issues at least because it's an interesting start but I just don't get it.

And honestly, the mysterious origin plot only tends to work in a miniseries, IMO. Once you know what's going on, the rest of the series tends to feel lackluster after such a start.

Still, too quick to really judge.

And it had Guy, so I'm happy. Guy!


  • At March 30, 2006 9:10 AM, Blogger jamawalk said…

    It seemed like a magical Iron Man comic.

    With jokes.

    A Blue Beetle comic could be everything Batman can't be anymore. A funny, light-hearted, non superpowered athletic guy who busts heads with the use of his skill and his gadgets.

    But this thing, with the Iron Man Beetle armor... good lord, man. What the hell IS this book?!?

  • At March 30, 2006 9:34 AM, Blogger Jim said…

    I enjoyed the book not for it's Blue Beetle connection, but for the character of Jaime and his life circumstances. Seemed genuine and unique to the DC Universe pantheon of heroes. And, in my opinion, if they need to make him an established hero like Blue Beetle rather than Any Other Hero Man which might seem more sensible, I'm all for it, because it might help him to survive than if he was someone no one had heard of.

  • At March 30, 2006 9:49 AM, Blogger joncormier said…

    This may be spoilerish but then again it could simply be coincidence...

    I got the first Animal Man trade a little while ago and there's a kid that asks for his autograph - the kid's name is Jaime.

    Duhn duhn duuuuhhhh!

  • At March 30, 2006 10:08 AM, Blogger Steve Pheley said…

    I don't know my BB history too well -- were Dan and Ted particularly connected either? I'm kinda hoping they don't get too heavily into the "legacy" -- I'm not sure we need another "I must live up to my name to honor the two dead guys before me!" kind of hero.

    Anyway, I thought it was pretty decent. Old-school charm without really feeling "retro".

  • At March 30, 2006 12:35 PM, Blogger CalvinPitt said…

    Regarding the Iron Man thing. I remember when I first saw it, I was completely confused. Tis scarab is mystical I thought, why does he look like Iron Man?

    In talking to the guys at the store, an explanation was provided. They said that scarab responds to the users needs, or something like that. It manifests in the way the character feels it should. So Jamie, a kid, thinks of it as some cool kind of anime/tech thing. The original Blue Beetle got it to just give him superpowers outright.

    And the reason it never gave ted Kord anything was because he didn't need it. He was able to do the job with what he had already.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there.

  • At March 30, 2006 1:10 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    jamawalk: Yeah, I thought it was pretty good. But NOT Blue Beetle.

    Jim: I get what you're saying, I'll be glad to see Jaime staying around too. I guess it's just, to me, like making a Green Lantern that wears a mecha suit and shoots stuff. It's just...discomfiting. Besides, I'd like to think Jaime's a strong enough character to go around on his own.

    (And the whole Ted-death spectre might end up screwing him over too, if irritated fans start disliking him just for that.)

    jon: Hee.

    Steve: Dan was Ted's whole reason for becoming the Blue Beetle. When Ted's eeevil Uncle tricked him into helping him make killer robots, Ted went to his archeology professor (I don't know why, Ted's a strange boy) for help. Dan helped, but died in the process. Ted became Blue Beetle in his memory.

    I guess I just buy into the legacy stuff pretty heavy, but I want a connection of some kind. Even if it's just "the Blue Beetle was my favorite hero, as a kid."

    calvin: Thing is, Dan's scarab was a lot more mundane than that. His powers were basically just strength and flight and lightning. Dan could certainly have used iron man armor when being crushed by debris in Uncle Jarvis's exploding fortress.

    And Ted didn't get anything because he didn't have it most of the time. And then yeah, didn't need it. (The armor might have been useful when getting shot in the head though)

    I guess I just wish Jaime were also a character who didn't need it.

    But I'm being tetchy. I'm still gonna give the series a few issues to win me over. :-)

    And it had Guy being pretty cool once they understood what was going on. I was a bit concerned that Giffen never wrote an undamaged Guy, so I'm glad to see it.

  • At March 31, 2006 10:48 AM, Anonymous Athelind said…

    The "I'm the Blue Beetle" thing didn't QUITE come out of nowhere. The framing sequence with Guy "Kill You Kill You Kill You" Gardner* takes place after Jaime's appearance in Infinite Crisis, where Booster keeps introducing him as "The New Blue Beetle".

    The idea of being PRESSURED into a legacy that you don't quite grasp is kind of a new idea, even amongst Legacy Titles.

    I loved Ted, but it's been a long time since we've gotten a good "Ordinary Person Given Powers That Toss Him In The Deep End Way Over His Head" book, especially one that had the emphasis on the hero's day-to-day life like this book seems to be developing.

  • At March 31, 2006 10:56 AM, Blogger jamawalk said…

    I've read Watchmen too many times. Somewhere along the line i kind of started using the NiteOwl/NiteOwl II connection as the Blue Beetle 1&2 connection.

    I would love it if Ted hadn't died. But he did. I just don't get the idea that we should have to have another one. One that has a stupid-ass suit of armor that speaks alien or whatever. If i want that nonsense I'll read Marvel comics, thanks.

    Seems to me, they should let Ted rest in peace. At least for a little while. If you're gonna take all the characters from JLI and either kill them or change them so they are unrecognizeable, then don't expect fans of the the originals to spend cash on the books.

    As much as I love Giffen, I hope this book tanks. Hard.

  • At March 31, 2006 2:36 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    athelind: I guess, it still seemed like Giffen meant it to be an impactful just fell flat to me though.

    The pressured thing is an interesting conflict, but I tend to prefer to see it in characters that at least bear some resemblance to one of their predecessors. If Jaime just flew and had lightning powers like Dan, I wouldn't bitch so much.

    I also tend to think it's lazy writing to do the "everyone hates the new guy" thing. One of the things I liked about Kyle is that really most people were skeptical but accepting. The outright hatred just is an easy way to give a character a persecution complex.

    Though Giffen did explain it, which puts him a step above Loeb.

    I'm still gonna give the series a chance, but I'm not terribly optimistic.

    jamawalk: I love legacies, this one though, well, I'm skeptical.

    And Fire and Guy are still around at least...damn that *is* kind of a bad track record. (Guy is kind of unrecognizeable too, being that he's sane and reasonably intelligent under the bluster now. But that change was more organic feeling to the character...)

    I'll give the book a few more issues to wow me. I do like Jaime.

  • At March 31, 2006 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Okay,I am soooo lost here...I remember this character from Atlas Comics....and there was nothing about any"scarab"....reality check,anybody?

  • At March 31, 2006 8:24 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'll bite. :-) From what I know the DC Blue Beetle originated in Charleton Comics. (There was one in the 40s I'm told that was a cop, but I know nothing about him, and he doesn't seem to have been added to DC Continuity, so I don't count him).

    Anyway, the first Blue Beetle was Dan Garrett, an archeology professor who found a mystical scarab that gave him some pretty basic superpowers. I don't know if the Charleton origin stories are the same, I'm going by the DC Secret Origins version, so there may be inaccuracies.

    They never actually brought Garrett to DC except in flashback (and once undead) form. Ted Kord was the Blue Beetle after, and he just was really smart and a good martial artist. In the DC story, he was Dan's student, and when his uncle was building evil robots (and using him to do it) he went to his old professor for help. Dan wins, but dies in the process, and his scarab was lost. (Though in Countdown, they say Ted somehow recovered it).

    Ted takes on the Blue Beetle name in Dan's honor. And in his own comic had something of a shrine to him, with newspaper articles and pictures that he'd talk to when really unhappy. It was a little creepy in a sad, cute way.

    The Blue Beetle's first appearance though was Ted on "Earth-4" in the Crisis of Infinite Earths in the 80s, so it's not really surprising that the scarab isn't really common knowledge as it didn't tend to get mentioned terribly often, as Ted Kord didn't have/need it.

    It didn't cause sentient body armor though.

  • At April 01, 2006 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said… ARE good...

  • At April 09, 2006 12:25 PM, Blogger GiantKillerMantis said…

    Something has definitely happened to the scarab. Either it has changed or been embued with more magical power, or it always had these "new" powers but they weren't "unlocked" before. Or something.

    Someone pointed out to me the intro to the 'Day of Vengence' trade. It gives a brief history of the magical side of the DCU. In that, it says that the scarab is a major artifact created by the Lords of Chaos and Order. It...combines their powers? I can't quite remember. It's a big departure from or addition to what the scarab was previously.

    So...maybe that kinda sorta helps explain what's going on with all the anime-tech powers.

    I liked the issue, and agree that Jaime is a great character.

  • At April 09, 2006 2:02 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    That's an interesting perspective. The Chaos/Order stuff could be pretty interesting if that's what's behind this.

    And yeah, Jaime himself is pretty entertaining.


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