Black Beetle (DC Comics)
|First appearance||Booster Gold (vol. 2) #5
|Created by||Geoff Johns (writer)
Dan Jurgens (writer)
Norm Rapmund (artist)
Matthew Sturges (writer)
Carlo Barberi (artist)
|Team affiliations||Time Stealers
|Notable aliases||Joshua, Djo Zha, Drawur|
|Abilities||Alien suit of powered armor that grants him flight, energy blasts, time travel, protection from the effects of time portals, and other abilities|
Black Beetle first appeared in Booster Gold vol. 2 #5, (December 2007) and was created by Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Matthew Sturges and Carlo Barberi. He was featured in the Blue Beetle backup stories in Booster Gold and in the Booster Gold stories themselves. Regarding the development and utilization of the character, creator Matthew Sturges commented:
|“||He’s very much about the future, and what’s GOING to happen. That’s something I really like about him. So much of the Blue Beetle ethos is anchored in the past, it’s nice to see a new piece of it evolving from the other direction.||”|
Fictional character biography
Originally posing as a Blue Beetle from the future, the Black Beetle appears to Booster Gold in a time sphere, and offers him a chance to go back in time and save his best friend Ted Kord from death at the hands of Maxwell Lord, despite Rip Hunter's claims that Ted's death was a point of unalterable "solidified" time. Booster agrees to go with Black Beetle, who has also recruited the first Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett), and current Beetle (Jaime Reyes) for the mission. The group is successful in saving Ted. Upon their return to the present, however, they learn that the timeline has been altered, and that Max and his OMACs are policing the whole world. When Booster and Beetle, gathering some of their old Justice League International teammates, attempt to fix the timeline, they are attacked by Black Beetle, who reveals his affiliation with the Time Stealers, a group consisting of Despero, Per Degaton, the Ultra-Humanite, and Booster's father (the latter under the control of Mr. Mind). As the battle rages, Ted realizes that the only way to fix things is to return to the past and allow himself to be murdered. Black Beetle attempts to stop him, revealing that he is "Jaime Reyes' greatest enemy", and that Jaime took away someone very close to him. He also reveals that he followed the Time Stealers' plan to prevent Ted's death so that Jaime would never have become the Blue Beetle and "she" would never have died. Both he and Ted enter the Time Stealers' time sphere, which then activates. In the next issue, Ted is revealed to have restored the timeline. The where (and when)-abouts of the Black Beetle, however, are unknown.
The "Origins and Omens" backup story in Booster Gold #17 hinted that Black Beetle would return and that his true identity would be revealed.
In the final issue of Blue Beetle (vol. 2), Nadia, one of Jaime Reyes' tech supports, is killed by the Kahji Dha Revolutionary Army, a subversive group of Reach Infiltrators inspired by Jaime's Scarab. Hector, Nadia's brother, angrily blames Jaime and leaves the country. It is revealed that Hector has bonded with Reach technology taken from the invaders, potentially granting him the same powers as Jaime, and that he has taken the alias "Joshua" based on "Djo Zha" the previous owner of his scarab, and a member of the KDRA. Joshua is the name used by the Black Beetle in his earliest appearances. The use of Hector is intended to cause speculation regarding the Black Beetle character, as future storylines evolve regarding the character. When Black Beetle finally confronts Jamie, he claims that he is indeed Hector, blaming Jamie for Nadia's death, but instantly retracts this statement, instead stating that he in fact killed Hector and stole his technology. In the following issue, he claims to be Jaime's future self, driven mad after being attacked by a brain-damaged Milagro.
The Black Beetle returns in the present day, attacking Booster and the new Batman, Dick Grayson, in the Batcave. After a brief altercation, Black Beetle escapes into the past, changing events in a way that causes Dick to die during his days as Robin. Booster follows the Black Beetle into the past, finding that he has allied himself with Grant Wilson, attempting to change the outcome of his disastrous battle with the Teen Titans. He is also shown working with an unknown person who desires the destruction of the Justice League (later revealed to be T.O. Morrow). He briefly appears in the present, revealing himself to Jaime and absconding with the body of a gynoid the hero had just defeated. Black Beetle is then shown in a new future he created by killing the Teen Titans where Raven's father Trigon is able to take over the world in the absence of both the Titans and Batman. It is then shown that his true purpose for creating this future is to use the distraction of Booster, Rip Hunter, and the resistance attacking to steal a Red Scarab from Trigon's trophy room. He claims the Red Scarab is more powerful than his own and bonds it to himself in addition to his current tech. Rip manages to track Black Beetle to his base, using one of his devices to overload the armor with chronal energy, seemingly destroying the Black Beetle. He is also shown in the present in El Paso, attempting to take Jamie's Blue Scarab. Jaime manages to stop him by blasting him with tachyon particles, paralyzing him. However, due to wounds his little sister suffered at Black Beetle's hands, Jaime is forced to let the villain escape.
In the Time Masters: Vanishing Point limited series, the Time Stealers learn that the Vanishing Point fortress was destroyed. Black Beetle takes his allies to the destroyed Vanishing Point and sees that Rip has locked the Linear Men in a cell because they never agreed about how to handle time. The four villains find the cell and tear it open, finding Matthew Ryder and Liri Lee. Black Beetle asks the Linear Men to help bring Waverider back to life. But Supernova prevents Black Beetle from creating dystopia and he sends the Time Stealers back to the present, although Black Beetle escapes and the Linear Men choose to go with him since he freed them from imprisonment. After they find Waverider's corpse in the desolate wasteland of Earth's future, Black Beetle double-crosses the Linear Men and tries to use Waverider's power to become invulnerable. Black Beetle attempts to fuse Waverider's corpse power but is thwarted by Supernova, which allows Liri to fuse with Waverider's corpse to become Linear Woman. Black Beetle attacks Supernova but when Superman and the rest of the Time Masters arrive, he escapes, telling them they will see him again another time.
Powers and abilities
- The Black Beetle wears what appears to be a black version of Jaime Reyes' scarab suit. Black Beetle has so far only been seen utilizing energy blasts and flight abilities. It also allows him to travel through time, and protects from the effects of the time portals.
- Recently he has also obtained a Red Scarab, although it is currently unknown what extra powers it endows him.
In other media
- Black Beetle appears in Young Justice voiced by Kevin Grevioux. In the series, he is an unnamed agent of the Reach, who are the Partners of The Light (Project Cadmus' Board of Directors) and competitors to the Kroloteans. He is dubbed as Black Beetle by Wonder Girl. He appeared in silhouette in "Salvage" when he and Sportsmaster were watching Superboy and Blue Beetle fight an Appellaxian Golem created by Intergang members Bruno Mannheim and Whisper A'Daire. After Superboy and Blue Beetle defeated the Appellaxian Golem, Black Beetle destroys the Appellaxian Golem with a sonic blast. Sportsmaster later tells Black Beetle that Bruno Mannheim and Whisper A'Daire are in a catatonic state to serve as a living warning to anyone who goes against The Light. He makes an official appearance in "Before the Dawn" when the Team tracks their missing members to the Reach's headquarters underwater. He discusses with the Reach Ambassador and the Reach Scientist about the status of the Scarab that is on Jaime Reyes. While checking on the update to the Blue Beetle Scarab situation, Black Beetle suggests rebooting the Scarab, which will then require finding another host since the removing it would kill Jaime. Black Beetle briefly engages in battle with the Team in the Reach's ship. After Shimmer's powers inadvertently causes a flood in the ship, the Team make their escape while Blue Beetle holds off Black Beetle. After Blue Beetle is knocked into the ocean, Black Beetle stops the Reach's headquarters from flooding and carries Shimmer's body away. In "True Colors", Robin, Blue Beetle, Impulse, and Roy Harper encounter Black Beetle at the LexCorp Farms (which was a collaboration between LexCorp and the Reach). Black Beetle goes on the attack and even uses his Scarab Processor to counter Impulse's attacks. Blue Beetle doesn't want his scarab to take control again to fight Black Beetle again. When the Team escapes from the farm and through a cornfield, Black Beetle catches up to them as a green-armored Reach operative (revealed to be the Martian B'arzz O'oomm) arrives and attacks Black Beetle. The Team helps B'arzz O'oomm fight Black Beetle. B'arzz O'oomm tells Blue Beetle that he should fire his Sonic Cannon against the Black Beetle. Black Beetle is taken down by the combined attacks of Green Beetle and Blue Beetle enough to knock him out. In "Runaways," Black Beetle runs into Blue Beetle and B'arzz O'oomm on the roof of Taos Pueblo to get them to help the Reach. In "The Hunt," Black Beetle talks to the Reach Scientist telling them that Warworld is useless to the Reach with the Justice League still watching it. When the soldiers led by Black Beetle are being taken out by their former prisoners Tye Longshadow, Virgil Hawkins, Asami "Sam" Koizumi, and Eduardo "Ed" Dorado Jr., the Reach Ambassador has the Reach Scientist order Black Beetle to terminate them. Black Beetle confronts the four teenagers in the area where the Team, Mongul, and Despero are being held and attacks them. With the strategy from Arsenal, the four heroes start to attack in different ways. When Arsenal frees Mongul, he attacks Black Beetle while Arsenal frees the Team. In "Intervention", Black Beetle receives help from Green Beetle to knock Mongul back into his stasis cell. Black Beetle and Green Beetle patrol Warworld to look for the missing key. In "Summit", Black Beetle accompanies the Reach in a summit with the Light in the caves of Santa Prisca. During the three-way fight between the Team, the Light, and the Reach, Black Beetle manages to stab Ra's al Ghul. When Reach Ambassador and Reach Scientist end up pinned to the wall by Blue Beetle, Black Beetle leaves the Reach Ambassador pinned to the wall yet gets away with the Reach Scientist. When a television advertisement stating about the truth of the Reach and the decree that the Reach must leave, the Reach Scientist tells Black Beetle that Vandal Savage has piloted Warworld away from Earth. When the Reach Scientist stated that the Reach had violated the treaty with the Guardians of the Universe and that the Green Lantern Corps will be heading their way, Black Beetle states that they won't have a world to head to as he plans to orchestrate the destruction of Earth. In "Endgame", Black Beetle states that they must leave as the Reach Scientist states that their ship is infested with the superheroes. When Aqualad, Blue Beetle, and Green Beetle fight Black Beetle, Green Beetle's scarab is destroyed by Black Beetle. Then he tries to do the same thing to Blue Beetle only for him to turn the powers against Black Beetle. When Black Beetle's scarab is destroyed, Blue Beetle learns that the Reach have set their plans to destroy the Earth into motion. In the aftermath, the Reach Scientist, the Reach Ambassador, and Black Beetle are taken to stand trial before the Guardians.
- Blue Beetle (vol. 2) #20 (December 2007)
- Newsarama Blog: Who is the Black Beetle?, Newsarama, July 18, 2009
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #6 (March 2008)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #10 (July 2008)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #1,000,000 (September 2008)
- Blue Beetle (vol. 2) #36 (April 2009)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #24 (September 2009)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #25 (October 2009)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #21 (August 2009)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #22 (July 2009)
- Booster Gold (vol. 2) #23 (August 2009)
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2 (August 2010)
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #3 (September 2010)
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #4 (October 2010)
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #5 (December 2010)
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point #6 (February 2011)