This Character Needs a Comic: Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)
It’s not everyday that a major comic book publisher wants to wipe their continuity slate clean and rewrite the history of their beloved franchises. While initially (and temporarily) outraged, fans everywhere assumed that DC’s New 52 initiative would allow the publisher to revive long dead characters without the rigmarole of convoluted resurrection story arcs. Among other heroes and villains, many of us crossed our fingers in the hope that the wildly popular Ted Kord—the second Blue Beetle—would make his triumphant return... only to be presented with a lukewarm ongoing series focusing on the third Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes. Still, here’s why we want ol’ Ted back from the dead!
Who is the Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)?
Before DC Comics had purchased the rights to the character (and others) from the long defunct publisher Charlton Comics, Ted Kord made his first appearance as a back-up feature in Captain Atom #83 and was created by legendary Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko. A veritable savant, Ted excelled in all his fields of study and soon found himself working in the employ of his uncle Jarvis Kord—a madman using his understanding of advanced robotics in the pursuit of world conquest. Learning of his uncle’s twisted endeavors, Ted enlisted the aid of his archeology professor, and the original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett! While the pair emerged victorious it wasn’t without its sacrifice—Dan had died as a result of the strenuous conflict, but not before passing the source of his abilities, the alien Blue Beetle Scarab, over to Ted.
Regrettably, Ted couldn’t get the Blue Beetle Scarab to function, but vowed to carry on the legacy of his predecessor regardless. Training his body to peak physical condition and relying solely on his sharp intellect and vast array of technological gadgets, Ted became a one-of-a-kind hero that didn’t need to use an esoteric piece of alien equipment to enhance his crime fighting abilities. After the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event that combined the many separate worlds of the DC Universe into one streamlined and manageable continuity, Ted found himself among the ranks of the newly formed Justice League International alongside greats like Batman, Martian Manhunter, and, the second half of the most epic bromance in comic book history, Booster Gold!
Ted met a tragic end at the hands of the JLI’s founder and benefactor Maxwell Lord when he tried to stop Lord’s insidious plan to exterminate the world’s hero population in Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1.
Why He Deserves His Own Series
Remember that moment in your childhood when you wanted that one particularly awesome gift for your birthday—the one you couldn’t be any more specific about—and yet your parents get you a lackluster imitation? Well same thing happened when DC announced that the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle would be getting an ongoing series and not Ted Kord. If you really think about it, it’s almost insulting that Ted was given the New 52 shaft considering his less-than-noble death by bullet to the head followed by his being resurrected as a malicious Black Lantern zombie during the “Blackest Night” event. Really, was it so hard to give Ted a fresh start and new story? I mean, his murderer was given a second lease on life, why not Blue Beetle?
What made Ted so memorable and endearing was the fact that he was the everyman in a world of super-powered beings. He never let his role as a sentinel of justice turn him into a stern and pedantic square (he likes to crack a joke or two), nor did he ever express a holier-than-thou attitude when among the common man—he’s a hero for the people! And if you factor in his beetle-themed arsenal of gadgets and conveyance of choice (The Bug), and the fact that he has no actual powers, he’s basically a lighthearted Batman. But most important of all, Ted has a true hero’s heart, something one might not expect due to his jovial nature.
There is one way Ted can be introduced in the New 52, and it lies in the recently released Earth 2 series. DC could actually use that opportunity to make Ted the Blue Beetle of that Earth and use his appearance as a testing ground for a possible ongoing. Besides which, who wouldn’t want to see Ted become a part of the Justice Society?
Would you read a Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) ongoing?