Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hero Spotlight: Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)

I've talked before about how I have a soft spot for the old Charlton Comics characters, my two favorites being the Question and Blue Beetle. There have been three characters to carry the Blue Beetle mantle, the golden age Blue Beetle Dan Garrett, the current Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes, and my favorite Ted Kord.

Both Dan Garrett and Jamie Reyes possessed the mystical blue scarab that granted them super powers, however, for whatever reason, the scarab never worked for Ted. Despite that he still kept the name of Blue Beetle alive in honor of his friend and mentor Dan Garrett. Ted Kord used his wits, his highly trained physical skills, and various technological gadgets to fight crime as the Blue Beetle. He was sorta like a less dark, less dickish Batman.

I love the costume design on Ted Kord's Blue Beetle. The costume was designed by Spider-man co-creator Steve Ditko and bares a bit a resemblance to Spidey. I actually think all three Blue Beetles have had pretty good character designs, although Ted's is my favorites.

Ted Kord has been written many ways over the years. In his original silver age stories he was written very seriously, but during Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire's Justice League run Blue Beetle became fast friends with the time traveling hero Booster Gold and their sub plots in the book usually took on a buddy comedy theme. Frankly I feel both takes worked in their own ways. In later stories we would see Blue Beetle after retiring briefly struggling to get back into shape even being a little too fat for his costume. It would be easy to criticize these stories as being detrimental to the character, but I feel like they highlight the humanity of Ted Kord perfectly.

Ted Kord would later die in the 2005 Countdown to Infinite Crisis one shot. He was shot in the head when uncovering Max Lord's evil plot. It was Ted's discovery of this plot and subsequent death that alerted the rest of the DC heroes to it in time to stop it. While I was unhappy with him being killed off, and I've never been a fan of his predecessor, Ted Kord died a heroic death.

Despite the dramatic strength of his death I would like to see Ted again. Maybe we can bring him back when DC finally admits it's mistake and undoes this New 52 crap. In fact if it was up to me New 52 would end with Power Girl waking up and finding Ted Kord in the shower.

"Oh Ted I had a terrible dream. You were replaced by a Mexican kid, Superman was wearing armor, and Grifter had his own book again. It was awful."

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