Bumblebee: One Year Later.
Art by Tony Daniel.
|First appearance||As Karen Beecher:|
Teen Titans #45
Teen Titans #48 (June 1977)
|Created by||Karen Beecher:|
|Alter ego||Karen Beecher-Duncan|
|Team affiliations||Teen Titans|
|Abilities||Shrunk to insect-like size. Her solar-powered suit enables her to fly (via bee-like wings), fire sonic force blasts, and unleash electrical 'stings'.|
Bumblebee (real name Karen Beecher-Duncan) is a fictional character, existing in DC Comics' main shared universe. She was a member of the Teen Titans and of the Doom Patrol. First appearing in Teen Titans #45 (December 1976), Karen adopted the Bumblebee identity three issues later.
Historically, Bumblebee is sometimes considered DC Comics' first Black woman superhero character, though this distinction is also accorded to Nubia, Wonder Woman's twin sister (and a less traditional costumed crimefighter than Bumblebee) who debuted in 1973.
Fictional character biography
Scientist Karen Beecher is the girlfriend of Teen Titans member the Herald (a.k.a. Mal Duncan). In order to help make Herald look good in front of the team, Karen secretly made herself a bumblebee-themed supersuit and attacked the Teen Titans. She escaped without her true identity being revealed.
When she later explained to Mal and the Titans what she had done, they were impressed enough to offer her membership, which she accepted. She and Mal subsequently moved to the new Titans West team, having relocated to San Francisco. When the Titans team dissolved for a time, Karen and Mal married and 'retired' from superheroics. Karen took a job with S.T.A.R. Labs, where she designs non-lethal weaponry.
They have returned to crime-fighting from time to time to assist the team, most notably during a short-lived revival of Titans West and the JLA/Titans event, which reunited everyone involved with the team. A fight broke out over the fate of Victor Stone, Cyborg. Bumblebee personally fought Zauriel, a member of the Justice League. Despite the assistance of the current Supergirl, Bumblebee was swiftly defeated.
Following this, Mal and Karen briefly joined the latest incarnation of Titans West (now called Titans L.A.), but this incarnation of the team never really got off the ground, and the heroes returned to their lives of semi-retirement.
Several years later, Mal and Karen briefly returned to action as part of a team of over two dozen past and present Titans who were called in to stop a rampaging Doctor Light.
Infinite Crisis and One Year Later
Bumblebee and her husband are among the heroes recruited by Donna Troy to help avert a coming crisis that threatened the existence of the universe. After a battle in space, most of the heroes were trapped by a Zeta Beam Ray that Adam Strange was hoping to use for teleporting away the heroes from the rift in space. Due to the ray interactions with the rift itself, the Zeta Ray altered Bumblebee's physiology, apparently transferring her body mass to Hawkgirl. This left Bumblebee approximately six inches in height and temporarily left Hawkgirl some 25 feet tall.
In Teen Titans vol. 3, #34, Bumblebee is shown to have joined the Doom Patrol sometime in the past year along with her husband (now known as Vox) and Beast Boy. She must now take medicine developed by Doom Patrol leader Niles Caulder to prevent her heart from going into cardiac arrest, due to her tiny form.
Much like Beast Boy, she now strongly resembles her animated counterpart in costume and hair style.
Per Birds of Prey #100, Karen—along with numerous other DCU heroines—was contacted by Barbara Gordon and asked to join the expanded roster of the latter's team, the Birds of Prey. However, the team disbanded before she participated in any missions.
Karen is a member of the Doom Patrol. Due to medicinal efforts from Dr. Caulder, she has grown to a height of seven inches, and she can live in a dollhouse.
As of Doom Patrol (vol. 5) #1, Karen is now a divorcée. In issue #18, Karen rejoined the team after months of inactivity due to her divorce from Malcolm. Now sporting a new costume and a Beehive hairdo, Karen returned to active duty just in time for a confrontation with the Secret Six, who had come to the team's home of Oolong Island in order to claim it in the name of a teenaged crime lord. In the ensuing battle, Bumblebee inexplicably vanishes after a brief tussle with Bane, while her teammates ultimately fight the Six to a draw. As the members of the Secret Six are being forcibly deported from Oolong, Elasti-Girl stops Rag Doll and forces him to empty out his pockets, where Karen is found tied up with her mouth duct-taped shut. Ragdoll reluctantly returns Bumblebee to her teammates, telling them that he had wanted to keep her as a "souvenir".
In the DC Rebirth continuity, Karen is the pregnant wife of Mal Duncan. She later reveals that she has the power to fire energy blasts from her hands, which comes in handy during the former Teen Titans' battle with Mister Twister. At the end of the fight, she goes into labor and eventually gives birth to a daughter.
Eventually, Karen is taken by Mal to Meta Solutions to evaluate her powers, as it was the same company that took his powers away. Unlike her husband, Karen likes her super powers and wants to find a way to control them. Unbeknownst to them, Meta Solutions is run by Psimon and the Fearsome Five, which Mal realizes after spotting Mammoth in the lobby. Though the Fearsome Five claims to have changed, the Titans investigate their headquarters and come under attack. Karen suits up using a special suit designed for her by Meta Solutions and discovers she has the ability to fly and shrink. She manages to rescue the Titans, but Psimon manages to take away her memories of Mal and her child. She decides to stay with the Titans as Bumblebee until she got her memories back much to Mal's displeasure. She eventually regains them when the Titans battle H.I.V.E. and Donna Troy's evil alternate future counterpart, Troia. She quits being a super hero after the Justice League disbands the Titans to be with her family.
Powers and abilities
Bumblebee originally had no true superpowers and her unique abilities were derived from her scientific superpowered high-tech battle suit. The suit greatly increases her strength, speed, stamina, endurance, agility, reflexes and acts as body armor and allows her to fly and create painful electric blasts that sting like actual bee stings. She later gets stuck at a shrunken size and now possess superpowers where she can now fly and produce exceptionally strong hypersonic blasts.
- A toddler version of Bumblebee appears as one of the protagonists of the all-ages Tiny Titans series. Here, she is portrayed as the girlfriend of Plasmus, who is depicted as being more of a gentle giant than an outright villain.
- Bumblebee appears as part of Cyborg's Titans East roster in the Titans Tomorrow storyline. Unlike her canon incarnation, this version of Bumblebee still retained her supersuit and normal height.
In other media
- Bumblebee (voiced by T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh) appears in the Teen Titans animated series as an assertive, highly skilled, and cocky former H.I.V.E. student who was really an undercover agent, enrolling to infiltrate the facility and learn their motives and secrets for Aqualad, having kept track of H.I.V.E. long before Cyborg posed as Stone. Bumblebee was able to resist Brother Blood's mind control powers eventually the first time; "There's not a man alive who can tell me what to do!" she explained to Cyborg. Her abilities as a H.I.V.E. student caused her to be trusted by Brother Blood, but Blood was shocked to find that she was also a spy when she assisted Cyborg in stopping Brother Blood's latest plan.
Unlike her comic incarnation, Bumblebee does not wear a mask or goggles. She also uses two separately carried, B-shaped electric stingers as weapons, and her flight and shrinking abilities appear to be a natural feature, not bestowed by a supersuit. While reduced in size, the stingers lose potency, inflicting only painful shocks, but her strength remains unchanged.
Blood escaped to Steel City where he was followed by Bumblebee and Aqualad. While in Steel City, Bumblebee and Aqualad formed Titans East with Speedy and Más y Menos. Cyborg soon followed and helped the team build their tower, but Blood entered with his new Cyborg copies and beat the Titans East whom he then placed under mind-control to attack and capture Cyborg, whom Blood wanted to examine. Cyborg then battled Blood and won, freeing the Titans East. He then decided to return to his fellow Titans and appointed Bumblebee as the new leader of Titans East.
Also, along with her fellow Titans East members, she watched over Titans Tower in Jump City, defeating Andre Le Blanc without trouble. While fighting Control Freak, she was forced to stop a subway car while remaining in her small stature.
Bumblebee was overpowered by Punk Rocket and Angel in "Calling All Titans". She somehow got rescued by Starfire and joined the Titans' assault on the Brotherhood of Evil's lair.
Bumblebee has made a few appearances in the Teen Titans Go! comic book series (#20, 25, & 29). She also appears in issue #39 and, similar to the mainstream comics, falls in love with Herald - though this is conditioned by an overzealous Larry's actions in playing Cupid for the Titans.
- Bumblebee has made a few non-speaking cameos in Teen Titans Go!, appearing in a flashback in the episode "Starliar" at the Titans East dance party, on a balloon in "Two Bumblebees and a Wasp", and with the rest of the Titans East in a restaurant during "Yearbook Madness" where Robin asks her to sign his yearbook.
- Karen Beecher appears in the Young Justice episode "Targets", voiced by Masasa Moyo. She appears as a normal high school student. She is the head of the cheerleading team named "The Bumblebees" in reference to her comic book incarnation's superhero persona. In episode 18, "Secrets", there is a Halloween party featuring many costumed cameos; one of which is Karen dressed up as Bumblebee. She also seems to be in a relationship with Mal Duncan. In "Happy New Year", Karen has officially become Bumblebee and joined the team at some point within the five-year gap between seasons one and two. She is now the protégé and lab assistant of Ray Palmer, the Atom. In Young Justice: Outsiders, she has left the team and is currently pregnant.
- Bumblebee is set to appear in the DC Super Hero Girls TV series, voiced by Kimberly Brooks.
- An alternate universe version of Karen Beecher makes a short appearance in Justice League: Gods and Monsters, voiced by Kari Wahlgren. She is a scientist that is part of Luthor's "Project Fair Play", a weapons program contingency to destroy the Justice League if necessary. Karen is seen at her house discussing the project with the other scientists involved (consisting of Will Magnus, John Henry Irons, Michael Holt, Pat Dugan, Kimiyo Hoshi, Emil Hamilton, Thomas Morrow, and Stephen Shin) before they are attacked and killed by the Metal Men. She hid under billiards table until the Batdroid sent it's blade through it. Will Magnus survived as he secretly orchestrated the attack.
- Bumblebee appears in Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, voiced again by Masasa Moyo. She is seen as a member of the original Teen Titans along with Speedy, Kid Flash, Beast Boy, and Robin.
- Bumblebee makes a brief appearance in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
- Bumblebee appears as an unlockable character in the Teen Titans console game, voiced again by T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh.
- Bumblebee is a boss in Superman Returns. This version is accompanied by a 'hive' of clones and acts as a villain with no explanation on why.
- Bumblebee appears as a playable character in Young Justice: Legacy, voiced by Masasa Moyo.
- Bumblebee appears in the web series DC Super Hero Girls, voiced by Teala Dunn. She is a student at Super Hero High. Hasbro has sought to block dolls based on this series. The legal dispute has since been settled.
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Bumblebee", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 63, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Doom Patrol", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 109, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Secret Six (vol. 3) #30
- Doom Patrol (vol. 5) #19
- Teen Titans (vol. 3) #99
- Titans Hunt (vol. 1) #2
- Titans Hunt #7-8
- Titans Vol 3. #8-10
- Titans Vol 3. #12-19
- Maddaus, Gene (29 August 2017). "Hasbro Files Suit Against DC Comics Over 'Bumblebee' Trademark". variety.com. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 29 August 2017.