The DCEU said its farewell to fans with ‘The Flash’ (2023), and now, they are turning a new page with the revamped DCU and James Gunn at the helm. And the first movie in the new DCU will be – ‘Blue Beetle‘. Now, if you’re not really an avid DC Comics reader, you’ll probably ask – what and who in the world is the Blue Beetle?
Well, if you ARE a comic book reader, you’ll know that this movie has real potential – at least story-wise, as the DCU Blue Beetle – Jaime Reyes – is actually the third character to don the mantle, each one cooler than the other.
So, to get you acquainted with our new DCU superhero – or if you just wish to refresh your memory a bit – here are the ten best Blue Beetle comics for you to read before watching the movie. This list is not ranked, but I did order it to get you acquainted with the character in the best way for you to know everything you need to enjoy the film to the fullest.
1. ‘Blue Beetle’ (1964)
What it’s about: Dan Garrett is an archaeologist who travels to Egypt on a job. He sort of has a secret, however – Dan can use magic to turn into the Blue Beetle – a superhero that fights enemies all over the world. Today, his enemies are – mummies!
Why you should read it: This one might be the least important storyline for you to read before the movie, as today’s Blue Beetle is totally different from these first Dan Garrett-led storylines. The guy fights mummies here and turns into the Blue Beetle every time he screams its name.
It might be a bit silly, yes, but these are the beginnings of the Blue Beetle (well, the finishing years of the first Blue Beetle, but it’s far back into its history enough), so if you want to go through the Beetle’s beginnings and early history, I suggest you start right here.
2. ‘Captain Atom’ #83
What it’s about: The almighty Captain Atom, of course, appears in this issue, but another character takes center stage. Ted Kord – a wealthy fellow with outstanding technology – takes the mantle of the Blue Beetle and fights local crime to the best of his abilities.
Why you should read it: While perhaps it didn’t seem so initially, this was the beginning of one of the most beloved DC heroes – Ted Kord, aka the second Blue Beetle. Kord didn’t have superpowers like Garrett, but instead, he used his wits – and incredible resources – to develop equipment and become the Blue Beetle himself.
As you progress further from this particular issue and get to know Ted Kord, you’ll see why I’m saying the beginning was so interesting for Ted Kord. One would never say he’ll become such an incredibly important figure in DC Comics…
3. ‘Booster Gold: Blue & Gold’
What it’s about: Booster Gold, aka Michael Jon Carter, is a long-time friend of Ted Kord. He’s a time-traveling superhero that has known Ted for years – and their unique friendship stemmed this collaboration storyline. The best friends are like two sides of a medal – one is shiny and competent while the other is funky and silly.
However, together they form one and work incredibly well as a duo. After all, they fight for the same goal – to help people and save the world.
Why you should read it: Although it didn’t seem so at first, the friendship between Ted Kord and Booster Gold increased dramatically until they became best friends. You’ll learn more about the Blue Beetle and his relationships while also reading some awesome stories and probably crying in laughter at some of the situations Booster gets them in.
4. ‘Countdown to Infinite Crisis’
What it’s about: Ted Kord notices that something just isn’t right; someone easily stole a ton of money from his company without even leaving a trace… He shares his concerns with the Justice League, but nobody decides to help. After taking things into his own hands, he finds way more than he had bargained for…
Why you should read it: This might not be a classic Blue Beetle story, but it does revolve almost solely around Ted Kord and his endeavors to find the truth. Despite not having help, Ted’s investigation leads him all the way to Switzerland, and, well… let’s just say that this storyline is much more serious and heartbreaking than the one we talked about before.
It also sets up the arrival of our third and final Blue Beetle nearly perfectly.
5. ‘Infinite Crisis’ #3-5
What it’s about: Jaime Reyes is a young high-schooler who finds a mysterious blue scarab right by a stream near his home. It latches onto his spine and connects, making him the new Blue Beetle – the host of incredible power. However, it takes Jaime a while to grasp the situation, and it isn’t really a cakewalk to learn how to be the Blue Beetle…
Why you should read it: These simple three issues are the origin story of how the scrawny high school kid from El Paso, Texas, found the blue scarab to become the Blue Beetle. You still won’t learn much about Jaime and who he is as a person, but it’s an absolutely crucial entry to this list to learn about Jaime’s origin story and more about him.
What it’s about: After a while of being in a cocoon, so to speak, Jaime finally decides to let his family know that he has superpowers and that he is the Blue Beetle. Of course, everyone freaks out, but things get better as time passes…
Why you should read it: Many consider Shellshocked to be the best Jaime Reyes storyline to this date, but I tend to disagree. It can get a bit too dull for me, but one can’t deny that it’s a funny yet deeply important entry on this list.
It’s the moment when Jaime fully embraces the Blue Beetle and his newfound responsibility for donning that mantle.
What it’s about: Jaime struggles to control the scarab, who tries to take over its host. As we learn throughout the issue, the blue scarab wants to destroy the world while Jaime fights it with all his might, trying to keep the world safe.
Why you should read it: I loved Metamorphosis despite the fact that it was canceled only six issues in. It was the first Blue Beetle storyline in the New 52, and I believe it depicted who Jaime is and what he does perfectly. He wants to do good, no matter the cost, but the duality of the scarab starts taking him apart…
8. ‘The More Things Change’
What it’s about: Things change. Who is kind today doesn’t have to be tomorrow. Jaime Reyes goes through all kinds of physical and mental changes as he slowly but surely takes over from Ted Kord. He might not be the same hero – but he sure can try.
Why you should read it: I really enjoyed ‘The More Things Change’ storyline because it showed you who Jaime is, isn’t perfect. He isn’t always a pure moral vertical and a sinless good guy. He’s still young, trying to find himself and figure out where he belongs. He makes changes.
As great as Ted Kord was, Jaime isn’t Ted. Still, he does everything he can to honor Ted’s legacy and be the best he can be: a must-read storyline.
What it’s about: As an alien invasion threatens the Earth, Jaime has to deal with the aliens and his own problems on Earth. How can Blue Beetle navigate between his personal life and superheroism?
Why you should read it: If you love the Blue Beetle as a character, then you’ll love this little run. ‘Boundaries’ look absolutely amazing – even if it is a bit cartoonish at times – but what I love the most is how it presents Jamie as the hero who both fights cosmic-level threats and deals with down-to-Earth issues like the situation on the border between Mexico and the US.
That’s why I love the Blue Beetle – he can be serious and goofy in the same issue – and I bet you’ll love that dynamic, too.
10. ‘Blue Diamond’
What it’s about: Jaime Reyes, aka the Blue Beetle, is on a space voyage, teaming up with several other superheroes and dealing with multiple different threats. We will learn more about Jaime as the Blue Beetle and the blue scarab that turned him into a superhero.
Why you should read it: Last but not least, the Blue Diamond storyline consists of about a dozen collected issues, and they are kind of a classing superhero adventure, with lots of different villains and several team-ups with other heroes, such as the Green Lantern.
Now, it’s not something remarkable, but the one issue I found quite cool and important for you to read is Issue #0. It’s a sort of a prequel to everything – giving you a better insight into the history and origins of the blue scarab himself, aka Khaji Da.
After reading this one and the other storylines mentioned above, you’ll know more than enough about the Blue Beetle to be able to enjoy the movie to the fullest and compare what’s going on in the movie with comic book events to see which version of the story you like better.
Blue Beetle (2023) comes out in theaters on August 18, 2023.
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