Beetle (comics)

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Beetle
Spider-Man: Web of Doom #3 featuring the second Beetle armor and the version most associated with the name.
Art by Shawn McManus.
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Strange Tales #123 (August 1964)
Created by Stan Lee
Carl Burgos
Characters Abner Jenkins
Leila Davis
Janice Lincoln

The Beetle is the name used by multiple comic book characters owned by Marvel Comics. It is also the name of the three versions of high tech armor used by five separate characters.

Publication history[edit]

Cover to Strange Tales #123.
Art by Jack Kirby.

The first version of the Beetle armor debuted in the "Human Torch" segment of Strange Tales #123 (August 1964) as Abner Jenkins's creation. This version was beaten by the Thing and Human Torch. This version would only be used for a few years before the character switched to the second version, which is the armor most associated with the name. This version would be in use until Thunderbolts #1 (April 1997) when Abe Jenkins's alter ego was changed to MACH-1.

A new version of the Beetle armor debuted in Thunderbolts #35 (February 2000). This version resembled a walking tank and would be used by Jenkins and Leila Davis, the second person to use the Beetle identity. This version was crushed by Graviton, killing Davis who was still inside at the time.

After Davis's death, the Beetle armor would go unused until Thunderbolts #103 (August 2006) when all three versions were stolen and used by three college students. How, why and exactly when the third version of the armor was rebuilt was not made clear. The individual names of these characters were not revealed.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Abner Jenkins[edit]

Main article: Abner Jenkins

An ex-master mechanic, Abner Jenkins left his career to pursue life as an adventurer seeking wealth and fame under the Beetle name. A defeat at the Fantastic Four's hands sent him into the direction of a life of crime. Years later, he joined the Thunderbolts, a choice that eventually took him on a more heroic pathway in life.

Leila Davis[edit]

The third version of the Beetle armor on the cover of Thunderbolts #35.
Art by Mark Bagley.
Main article: Leila Davis

The widow of the minor supervillain Ringer, Leila Davis began her criminal career as a driver for the super villain team the Sinister Syndicate. After the Ringer's death, Leila would go on to have her own costumed career, first as Hardshell, and finally as the Beetle. She was killed when Graviton crushed the Beetle armor with her still inside.

The three Beetles[edit]

Three college students stole the previous incarnations of the Beetle armor during Marvel's Civil War event.[1] The individual piloting the first version was called Joaquim and the person in the second version was revealed to be female. No other information was revealed about them in their subsequent appearances in Thunderbolts.[2]

In those issues which made up a storyline named the "Guardian Protocols", they defend the city of Dallas against a plot by the Grandmaster as members of an enlarged Thunderbolts team recruited by Baron Zemo and consisting of numerous supervillains.[volume & issue needed] When the Overmind lets the full power of the Wellspring (the source of power the Grandmaster is using) loose when he attempts to revive Baron Zemo, the defenders of Sydney and Dallas are overrun, with the three Beetles presumably among them.[volume & issue needed]

In 2007, the three Beetles were identified among the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book Avengers: The Initiative #1.[3]

"The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update" #5 revealed that the three college students that wear the three Beetle armors are named Joaquim Robichaux, Elizabeth Vaughn, and Gary Quinn.[4]

Janice Lincoln[edit]

Main article: Janice Lincoln

A new female Beetle attacks Captain America (Bucky Barnes) and Black Widow.[5] The two managed to defeat her and remand her to The Raft.[6]

As part of the Marvel NOW! event, Beetle returns as a member of the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six. In this appearance, her first name is revealed to be Janice.[7] She is later revealed to be the daughter of Tombstone.[8]

Beetle features as one of the main characters in Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Janice's origin is later recounted, where it is shown that as a child, she idolized her father and his criminal activities, but was forbidden to take part in them. After building a successful career as a defense attorney, she was appointed to defend Baron Zemo, at which point she volunteered to work for him as the new Beetle. Janice's armor is also revealed to have been built by the Fixer.[9]

Other versions[edit]

Marvel UK[edit]

The name Beetle was used by an armored S.T.R.I.K.E. superhuman restraint squad in the Jaspers' Warp story arc[10] published by the Marvel UK imprint.

Ultimate Beetle[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Beetle debuts in Ultimate Spider-Man #124. Spider-Man first finds him robbing a sample of the Venom symbiote from the Roxxon company. Beetle breaks into the building that Venom is held in and Venom chases after him. Upon cornering Beetle, Venom is attacked by Spider-Man. When Venom seizes Beetle with his tentacles, Spider-Man saves Beetle who escapes. After Eddie Brock becomes Venom again, Beetle captures him and ships him to Latveria.[11] Beetle's suit was later seen being repaired by the Tinkerer (Elijah Stern) when the Sinister Six arrives looking for weapons to kill Spider-Man.[12]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Beetle appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series, voiced by Steven Blum. In addition to the character's identity being unknown, this version's notable trademark is the unusually large amount of fold-out rocket launchers hidden all over the surface of his armor and depicted as a highly capable criminal mercenary. In the episode "Beetle Mania", he targets J. Jonah Jameson for a campaign that exposes the mercenary's criminal dealings with various supervillains (springing MODOK from prison and dealings with Doctor Doom) to which Spider-Man and his team (Nova, White Tiger, Power Man and Iron Fist) enter the Daily Bugle to stop Beetle's assassination attempts and is eventually defeated by Spider-Man's team (although Jameson wasn't in his office but on monitor renderings the whole time). In the episode "The Attack of the Beetle", Beetle is shown having a penchant for holding grudges against Spider-Man for their pervious encounter as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson as they're 'sparring partners'. During his first fight with the two, Beetle decides to use May Parker as a hostage. While May manages to escape, Beetle is eventually beaten by Spider-Man and Coulson. In the episode "Hawkeye", Beetle went to destroy the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier but is defeated and captured by Spider-Man and Hawkeye. In the episode "The Sinister Six", Beetle appeared as a member of the Sinister Six alongside Doctor Octopus, Electro, Rhino, Kraven the Hunter and Lizard. Along with the group, he fought Spider-Man. Beetle then fought Nova but is defeated by Iron Fist after Spider-Man's teammates switched opponents and is later detained in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. He returns in episode "Ultimate Venom", hired by Taskmaster to hunt down the symbiote.

Video games[edit]

Beetle in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game.
  • The Abner Jenkins version of Beetle was the first boss in the 1995 Super Nintendo game Spider-Man: Lethal Foes, a game only released in Japan.
  • Beetle appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, voiced by Tucker Smallwood. Technically making his Ultimate continuity debut, he acts as an agent for the Latverians, collecting genetic information from superhumans to allow them to genetically engineer super-soldiers. The notable actions he took in the game were stealing a vial of sand (which it is implied Sandman has a connection) and freeing Norman Osborn. He also battled Spider-Man shortly after freeing Green Goblin but escaped by ducking into the nearby Latverian Embassy. Concept art in the special edition of the game shows Beetle giving the Sandman vial to Doctor Doom. Beetle is later sent to capture a sample of the Venom symbiote. Venom eventually chases and defeats Beetle.

Toys[edit]

  • In 1997, the Abner Jenkins version of the Beetle received an action figure in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series line, despite not appearing on the show.
  • In 2013, the Ultimate version of the Beetle received a figure in the Ultimate Spider-Man "Daily Bugle Showdown" play set from Lego.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Taking Civil Liberties" Thunderbolts 103 (August 2006), Marvel Comics
  2. ^ These appearances were in:
    • Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Taking Civil Liberties" Thunderbolts 104 (September 2006)
    • Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Power Full" Thunderbolts 107 (December 2006)
    • Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Power Full" Thunderbolts 108 (January 2007)
  3. ^ "''Avengers: The Initiative'' #1 Character Map". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  4. ^ The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5
  5. ^ Ed Brubaker (w), Mitch Breitweiser (p), Mitch Breitweiser (i). "No Escape Part 2" Captain America v6, 607 (August 2010), Marvel Comics
  6. ^ Ed Brubaker (w), Butch Guice (p), Rick Magyar (i). "No Escape Part 3" Captain America v6, 606 (September 2010)
  7. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #1
  8. ^ Superior Foes of Spider-Man #6
  9. ^ Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7
  10. ^ Alan Moore (w), Alan Davis (a). "Among Those Dark Satanic Mills (or Madwar)" The Mighty World Of Marvel 9 (February 1984), Marvel UK
  11. ^ Brian Michael Bendis (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade Von Grawbadger (i). Ultimate Spider-Man 128 (January 2009), Marvel Comics
  12. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #158

External links[edit]