How do you fight a man who is indestructible? Jaime Reyes had better figure out the answer fast, because Carapax is coming for the young hero and he’s out for blood. Raoul Trujillo is portraying super-villain Conrad Carapax in the upcoming Blue Beetle. He’s Victoria Kord’s personal enforcer, and if you’ve seen the trailer, then you know just how scary he can be. To help prepare us for Trujillo’s menacing performance (and to help Blue Beetle prepare for his fight), let’s breakdown who Carapax is, and what makes him so deadly.
A Beetle Baddie From the Beginning
The interesting thing about Conrad Carapax is that he is linked to all three Blue Beetles. In the comics, Conrad Carapax was an archaeologist before he became a super-villain. He had an intense rivalry with Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle. However, since Garrett never mentioned Carapax, you really get the sense that this is one of those situations where most of the rivalry was one-sided.
Conrad Carapax made his first appearance in 1986’s Blue Beetle #1, where he journeyed to Pago Island. Carapax learned that Garrett had lost his life on the mysterious island and he was determined to find whatever treasure his rival had missed.
Let’s take a brief detour for a moment and discuss what really happened to Dan Garrett. The original Blue Beetle had been on the island battling a mad scientist named Jarvis Kord. The villainous inventor had built an army of indestructible robots, hoping he could use them for world domination. Dan Garrett and Jarvis Kord both died in the battle, leaving the laboratory in ruins. Jarvis’s nephew Ted Kord then became the new Blue Beetle, hoping to honor Dan Garrett’s memory and atone for his uncle’s sins. (You can read all about it on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE, if you want to see how all this went down.)
The only problem was, Ted Kord left some of his uncle’s tech behind. In fact, if you look at the end of 1967’s Blue Beetle #2, we see an indestructible robot in the ruins and a caption promises that one day it will be a threat. This small bit of foreshadowing took almost twenty years to play out!
In 1986, Carapax found Jarvis Kord’s old laboratory…and the giant indestructible robot. So, he did what any highly educated archeologist would do in this situation—he put on a completely untested helmet that was connected to the robot, which proceeded to—and we’re using the scientific term here, since Carapax is a scientist—flambee his melon. Carapax’s human body was toast, and his brainwaves were sent into the indestructible robot.
This was a bit of an adjustment for him, and he reacted by rampaging through the island, killing anyone who set foot on its shores. This got Ted Kord’s attention, and he soon journeyed to Pago Island to investigate.
Blue Beetle had a tough time fighting Carapax, since the android was built to be indestructible. The battle ended when he tricked the villain, causing Carapax to sink underwater. Since the robot was too heavy to swim, Kord figured it was Aquaman’s problem now (1987’s Blue Beetle #15).
Seeing Red Again
But keep in mind that his name is Carapax the INDESTRUCTIBLE Man. This was merely a setback. Carapax simply walked until he reached land. The mechanical super-villain was out for revenge, and during his rampage he destroyed the Kord Industries building, wrecked Blue Beetle’s headquarters, and forced Ted to destroy his Bug aircraft. After this, Carapax made a few appearances around the DC Universe. He fought Superman and Firestorm in Action Comics #841, and a corporation called Haake-Bruton attempted to create an army of Carapaxes in 2008’s Suicide Squad #6-8.
In 2009’s Blue Beetle #39 Carapax returned in an upgraded body. Along with a group of Ted Kord’s former villains, he attacked the new Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes. Carapax and his evil buddies felt that since they couldn’t get revenge on Ted, they might as well go for his successor. Jaime infuriated Carapax by…um, calling him “Crapapax” and defeated him in two pages.
A Cinematic Carapax…ic
Something tells me that Jaime’s big screen counterpart might have a tougher time than he did in the comics. Especially since he’s still learning how to use his Scarab and Carapax in the film is much more formidable from the get-go, charged up with alien tech derived from Jaime’s and armed with the most cutting edge weapons on the market. He’s also a highly decorated military officer with plenty of combat experience, ensuring he knows how to take down his target.
An Indestructible Man against a teenager who is still learning how to control his powers? Yeah, it’s going to be a tough battle, but it will surely be an entertaining one. Watch Blue Beetle take on Carapax in theaters this week.
Blue Beetle, directed by Angel Manuel Soto and starring Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, lands in theaters this Friday, August 18th. Visit our official Blue Beetle hub for more news, features and videos about our newest big-screen hero and share your thoughts on the film right now in the DC Community!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.