Blue Beetle: Can This 80
Will DC's tactical move to revitalize a long-dormant character prove a clever strategy in increasing their devotees?
The Blue Beetle is certainly looking well for his age! Nine out of ten moviegoers attending the titular character's premiere in Blue Beetle (2023) will have little to no idea of the vast, rich history of the character. And that's perfectly fine – in fact – that's kind of the point! In a brilliant tactical move, DC has decided to revitalize a long-dormant character in their canon. The question then is; will DC succeed in capturing a new demographic to invigorate its youth market?
As streaming subscriptions plummet amid the ongoing writers' and actors' strike, DC is poised to make Marvel's ongoing series appear fatigued and overwrought (such as 2023's Guardians of the Galaxy 3). Blue Beetle is the fresh idea that the superhero genre has been waiting for, and we'll explain why!
Related: Blue Beetle Review: A Latino Infusion to the DC Universe
Despite obvious visual cues taken from the more recent Spider-Man suit as seen in the more recent incarnations of Marvel's titular webhead (Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023), etc.), Blue Beetle has been around for nearly a century.
Don't let the extra four pointy limbs fool you; Blue Beetle used to be part of an entire collection of forgotten superheroes that DC acquired from Charleton comics alongside EC's horror properties back in 1986. Savvy comic connoisseurs will recognize the now-popular Peacemaker (2022) as a leftover from this bygone comic era. With the first reviews from Rotten Tomatoes trending positive, the outlook for Blue Beetle and his ancient kin looks good.
Related: DC's Blue Beetle Gets Positive Debut Boost on Rotten Tomatoes
These days, the big boys on the block are Marvel and DC. When Blue Beetle was born in the late 1930s / early '40s, there were a plethora that included the aforementioned, as well as independent workshops that came along later, such as Kitchen Sink Press's Crow (2022) and Image/Valiant's Bloodshot (2019). But these outcroppings are few and far between. If Blue Beetle deems fan-worthy enough for further endeavors, how far down into history can the bug's rabbit hole go?
Much like Cheech and Chong, Sonny and Cher, or Freddy Vs. Jason (2003), Blue Beetle used to be part of a double act. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, similar to Batman and Robin, stretched all the way back to before they were DC properties. Strangely enough, Booster Gold has appeared sans his better half, Blue Beetle, in DC's Extended Universe.
Played by Donald Faison in both DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Season 7) as well as The Flash (Season 8), the appearance of Booster Gold – nee 'Mike' was a surprise to fans, to say the least. This incredibly deep dive into DC's past was welcome, taken with the appearance of other popular but underground characters such as Stargirl's (2020-) Solomon Grundy.
Naturally, DC fanatics wonder if Donald Faison's (best known for Scrubs) Booster Gold will interact with the new Blue Beetle, similar to how Ezra Miller's Flash interacted with Grant Gustin's Flash from the CW series. It's an intriguing idea and perhaps one which will be explored in the inevitable sequel. For now, new fans can't wait to learn about the incredible powers and interstellar responsibilities of this – the 3rd Blue Beetle!
The ingenious concept of reviving the Blue Beetle property to appeal to a more inclusive audience is a masterstroke in keeping with American consciousness trends. Most of the middle of the United States is the melting pot that the founding fathers intended, and to see Latino and Latina citizens of rich Mexican descendency is a nod to the open-minded majority in the public spectrum that DC hopes to appeal to. Attempted to a greater or lesser extent in other recent media like Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Blue Beetle includes a more diverse range from the Latinx community.
Xolo Maridueña leads a stellar cast, including (spoilers!) Susan Sarandon and Raoul Max Trujillo as Victoria Kord and Carapax, respectively. As old-school fans of the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold will note – the second carrier of the Blue Beetle mantle was named Ted Kord.
What, if any, ominous and open-ended futures will this lead the new Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle to? The first Blue Beetle was a rescue from another comic universe that was about to implode. DC saved this wayward hero, and despite a lack of mainstream success, it appears as if, almost a century later, it's time for this dog (er, beetle) to have his day. The only thing to keep in mind when checking out Blue Beetle in theaters? Don't forget to buy a second ticket – you'll need to see it twice!
Zak MT Standridge is the author of 'Conquerors of Titan' available from Saga Press. In 2021 Standridge was chosen a "Best Barista Audio-Books of All Time" winner by BookAuthority, and Zak has been a #1 Kindle author as well as an Audible bestseller. First gaining notoriety in the pages of 'Chromakey: the Magazine of Sci-Fi & Cult TV', Standridge further cemented his career as an anime and manga writer for 'Nation X'. Currently a featured writer on MovieWeb.com, Zak pens science fiction novels when not practicing self-defense.Blue Beetle