Beetle (comics)

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Beetle
Spider-Man: Web of Doom #3 featuring Abner Jenkins in 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 Beetle debuted in the "Human Torch" segment of Strange Tales #123 (August 1964) with the original incarnation Abner Jenkins using the first armor. 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 armor (which is most associated with the name) and would be in use until Thunderbolts #1 (April 1997) when Jenkins's alter ego was changed to MACH-1. A new version debuted in Thunderbolts #35 (February 2000). This version resembled a walking tank and would be used by Jenkins and the second incarnation Leila Davis. This version was crushed by Graviton, killing Davis 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 Beetle into the direction of a life of crime. Years later, Jenkins 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 minor supervillain Ringer, Leila Davis began her criminal career as a driver for the super villain Sinister Syndicate team. After 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 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 Lincoln,[7] and 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]

Hobgoblin's Beetle[edit]

Roderick Kingsley had sold one of Abner Jenkins's old Beetle armors and gear to an unnamed criminal. This Beetle was seen at the Bar With No Name attending the wake of Francine (Electro's servant). Beetle was later seen at the Bar With No Name where he is among its patrons who want the Black Cat to be the Queen of the Criminal Underworld.[10]

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[11] published by the Marvel UK imprint.

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Beetle is a mysterious mercenary from Latveria with a completely revamped armor as well.[12] Spider-Man first finds Beetle robbing a sample of the Venom symbiote from the Roxxon company. Beetle later breaks into Bolivar Trask's lab where Eddie Brock is held, leading to Venom chasing after Beetle. Just as Beetle is cornered, Venom is stopped by Spider-Man. When the Venom symbiote leaves Brock and attaches to Spider-Man, Beetle escapes in the confusion. When Brock least expected it, Beetle later captures Venom to deliver to Latveria.[13] Beetle's suit is later seen being repaired by the Tinkerer (Elijah Stern) when the Ultimate Six arrives for weapons to kill Spider-Man.[14]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • The Ultimate incarnation of Beetle appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series, voiced by Steven Blum. This version is depicted as a highly capable criminal mercenary and his notable trademark is the unusually large amount of fold-out rocket launchers hidden all over the surface of his armor. In the episode "Beetle Mania", he targets J. Jonah Jameson for a campaign that exposes the mercenary's criminal dealings with various supervillains (i.e. springing MODOK from prison and dealings with Doctor Doom) to which the S.H.I.E.L.D. trainees enter the Daily Bugle to stop Beetle's assassination attempts and is eventually knocked out by Power Man (although Jameson was on monitor renderings the whole time unlike Mary Jane Watson actually being in the office). 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 Phil Coulson for being '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 (with help from May). In the episode "Hawkeye", Beetle went to destroy the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Tri-Carrier 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. When the S.H.I.E.L.D. trainees arrive, Beetle fights with Nova but is defeated by Iron Fist after Spider-Man's teammates switch opponents and is later detained in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. In the episode "Agent Venom", Beetle is hired by Taskmaster to obtain a sample of the Venom symbiote, leading to a fight with Spider-Man and then Agent Venom. While Spider-Man deals with Taskmaster, Beetle is eventually defeated by Agent Venom. In the episode "New Warriors", Beetle is among the escaped supervillains along with Doc Ock, Scorpion and the Green Goblin during a showdown between Taskmaster's team and the New Warriors. Along with Doc Ock and Scorpion, Beetle is eventually defeated by the New Warriors.

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.
  • The Ultimate incarnation of Beetle appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, voiced by Tucker Smallwood. This version 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 Sandman and freeing Norman Osborn. He also battled Spider-Man shortly after freeing Osborn but escaped by ducking into the nearby Latverian Embassy. Concept art in the game's special edition shows Beetle giving Sandman's vial to Doctor Doom. Beetle is later sent to capture a sample of the Venom symbiote, however, Eddie Brock 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 2005, the Leila Davis version of the Beetle received an action figure in the "Spider-Man Classics" line, series 14.
  • 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. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #6
  11. ^ Alan Moore (w), Alan Davis (a). "Among Those Dark Satanic Mills (or Madwar)" The Mighty World Of Marvel 9 (February 1984), Marvel UK
  12. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #124
  13. ^ Brian Michael Bendis (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade Von Grawbadger (i). Ultimate Spider-Man 128 (January 2009), Marvel Comics
  14. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #158

External links[edit]