Who Is Jaime Reyes, aka Blue Beetle?
Jaime Reyes is the third hero to call himself the Blue Beetle. Once an ordinary teenager from El Paso, TX, Jaime was inducted into a larger universe when the Blue Beetle scarab fused itself to his spine. This alien artifact gave him incredible powers, which Jaime uses to protect his family and the entire world from all manner of threats. Whether alone or fighting alongside groups like the Teen Titans, Blue Beetle is a powerful force for good, even if his scarab initially has darker motives.
Blue Beetle’s Comic Book Origin
While the Blue Beetle character dates all the way back to 1939, Jaime Reyes himself didn’t come along until 2006. He was introduced in 2006’s Infinite Crisis #6, shortly after the death of the previous Blue Beetle, Ted Kord.
Jaime unwittingly becomes the new Blue Beetle when he discovers the scarab and brings it home, only to have it fuse to his spine while sleeping. This rookie hero plays an important role in the events of Infinite Crisis, helping the Justice League track down and destroy the rogue satellite Brother Eye.
Jaime quickly embraces his new role as a teen superhero, with his story continuing in the pages of the monthly Blue Beetle comic. Unlike characters like Spider-Man, he makes no effort to hide his secret identity from his parents. Not that he has much choice, as one of Jaime’s early adventures causes him to spend an entire year away from Earth. It’s hard to come up with a cover story for something like that.
The new Blue Beetle quickly develops a rogues gallery of his own, battling various villains in service of the crime boss La Dama. He also comes into conflict with the Reach, an alien race who oppose the Green Lantern Guardians and who created the scarab in the first place. The scarab is revealed to be part of the Reach’s plot to invade Earth, though due to its growing bond with Jaime it eventually develops a mind and personality of its own and breaks free of its programming. It even has a name – Khaji Da.
Though DC eventually canceled the Blue Beetle series in 2009, Jaime continued to play a role in books like Teen Titans and Justice League: Generation Lost. He also went on to star in two more short-lived monthly series in 2011 and 2016. The latter revamped the Blue Beetle mythos by more closely tying Jaime to his predecessor, Ted Kord, and revealing the scarab to be magical in origin rather than extraterrestrial.
Blue Beetle’s Powers and Abilities
As Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes is easily among the most powerful of DC’s teen heroes, with his suit’s abilities limited only by his lack of experience and confidence. The scarab can summon a full bodysuit at will, greatly increasing Jaime’s strength and durability. The suit can also transform itself, summoning all manner of weaponry like energy cannons, blades and shields. The suit also generates energy wings that grant Jaime both flight and added protection. On top of all of this, the Blue Beetle suit can manipulate energy and vibration to neutralize magic and make invisible objects visible.
Again, Jaime’s own inexperience is the greatest hindrance to his powers, and early on he struggles to bond with the scarab and realize his true potential. But over time, the two become a unified fighting force. In emergencies, Jaime can even activate “infiltrator mode,” which allows the scarab to take control of the suit and dispatch enemies with brutal efficiency. Picture Spider-Man’s “Instant-Kill” scene from Avengers: Endgame and you’ll get the idea.
Blue Beetle’s Movie Debut
Jaime Reyes quickly branched out into various animated DC projects following his comic book debut, appearing in both shows like Young Justice and Justice League Action and films like Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and Justice League Dark Apokolips War. He even had a live-action appearance in Smallville, where he was played by Jaren Brandt.
But only now is Blue Beetle appearing in a live-action film. The Blue Beetle movie stars Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, Bruna Marquezine as his love interest, Penny, Belissa Escobedo as his sister Milagros, George Lopez as his Uncle Rudy and Raoul Trujillo as the villain Carapax the Indestructible Man.
Following the example of DC’s New 52 comics, the movie appears to be downplaying the elder Blue Beetles and focusing solely on Jaime. However, we do know that Susan Sarandon is playing a character named Victoria Kord, so Ted Kord could still enter the picture at some point.
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