This summer sees the arrival of a new DC hero on the big screen.
Jaime Reyes, a.k.a. Blue Beetle, is already breaking boundaries as the first Latinx superhero in the expanded DC Universe, but there are many more reasons to be excited about his upcoming big screen origin story.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Blue Beetle be rest assured – we’ve put together a guide with everything you need to know about the character before the film arrives in cinemas in August 2023.
Comic Book History
Before there was Jaime Reyes, there was Dan Garret, a character who exists outside of the DC universe altogether, having made his debut in 1939 via the now-defunct Fox Comics, best known for making Mystery Men.
That initial iteration of the character bore little resemblance to what he would become – Garret was a police officer who gained his powers via ingesting magical vitamins, which is significantly less thrilling than what would come next.
In 1964, Charlton Comics revamped the character and even rechristened him (he was now Dan Garrett with TWO t’s). This time around, he got his powers from an ancient Egyptian scarab, although two years later he passed on the Blue Beetle moniker to his student Ted Kord – and eventually, the property came under the DC umbrella.
This take on the character had more in common with the original Garret, with one crucial exception: he didn’t have any superpowers of his own, despite carrying on the Blue Beetle legacy.
This didn’t stop Kord from joining the Justice League (much like Batman, he has plenty of inventions to stop bad guys with) however, his eventual death in 2005’s Countdown To Infinite Crisis helped usher in the most recent iteration of the Blue Beetle.
Comic Book Origin Story
Jaime Reyes is the third incarnation of Blue Beetle and made his debut in issue three of Infinite Crisis back in February 2006.
After Ted Kord was given Garrett’s Egyptian scarab (which he couldn’t use himself), he passed it along to Shazam. However, he was soon killed and the scarab was blasted back into space, eventually landing in El Paso, Texas, where teenager Reyes picked it up.
Whilst he was sleeping it fused itself to his spine, giving him several powers – and when he couldn’t hand it back, he was recruited by Booster Gold to work alongside Batman on a mission. Talk about fast-tracking entry into the Justice League guys.
This isn’t the full story however, as the Blue Beetle series (starting in 2006) revealed that the scarab’s origins had been retconned.
As it was now alien in origin, it had the unintended effect of making Jaime Reyes go missing for a year when it arrived into his stratosphere, ready to merge with his body.
Powers And Weaknesses
For his first year as the Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes had no control whatsoever over its powers. Instead, it activated whenever Jaime was in danger, generating a high-tech suit of armour which covered his entire body (each time it would then deactivate and go back inside his body which was pretty painful for poor Jaime).
The suit itself features an energy cannon, sword, shield, grappling hook, flight wings, and foot-long powered blades that can chop down trees.
However, one issue revealed that the suit tries to avoid harming nature – Jaime had to convince it to attack some tree monsters that were chasing him down as it didn’t want to harm our natural world. Greta would love it.
In addition to all of this, the suit has various surprising functions: it can translate any language, help Jaime perceive extra-dimensional objects, and best of all, take care of his digestive system while he’s wearing it. That’s right, he doesn’t need to go to the toilet when the scarab is in control.
When desperate times call for desperate measures, Jaime can let the scarab take over in infiltrator mode, in which it can fight more brutally. This makes the suit, taller, more muscular, and covered in spikes.
Big Screen History
We’ve seen iterations of Blue Beetle on the small screen before with animated projects, but this live action origin story is our first taste of Jaime Reyes on the big screen.
Originally intended for a HBO Max debut but bumped up to a theatrical release, 2023’s film Blue Beetle will star Xolo Maridueña (Cobra Kai) in the lead role.
He will be facing off against villain Carapax The Indestructible Man (played by Raoul Trujillo, Apocalypto), while the one and only Susan Sarandon will be playing Victoria Kord, another nemesis of the Beetle.
Early reports have suggested that the origin story will devote equal time to Jaime’s family life – however, in the comics they’re immediately alerted to his secret identity, so don’t expect this to mean any compromising on the superhero shenanigans.
Blue Beetle is currently scheduled for release on 18th August.