Blue Beetle is finally in theaters and for fans, it’s been a long time coming! After a decade and a half of small-screen appearances in Smallville, the animated series Young Justice and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the popular young hero is leveling up in a highly anticipated new film that also marks the start of DC’s new cinematic universe.
Created in 2006 during the reality-altering saga of Infinite Crisis, Blue Beetle is not-so-secretly teenager Jaime Reyes, a recent college grad living with his working-class parents and kid sister. When he finds the mystical scarab originally used by the first Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, Jaime’s life changes forever when the alien device grafts itself onto his spine, imbuing him with an array of powers and abilities, communicated through a language only he can hear and understand. From that moment on, Jaime’s life is turned upside down, sharing his mind and body with an extraterrestrial techno-organic lifeform designed to help conquer worlds.
With the scarab, Blue Beetle can conjure up a wide variety of offensive and defensive abilities, but often has no idea what to anticipate or how his powers even work. Throughout much of his original series—as well as the film—Jaime discovers the scarab’s abilities in the heat of battle, in the craziest scenarios for which he could never predict. Let’s look at five of his wildest abilities!
1) Clothes Creation
When the scarab first fused itself into Jaime Reye’s body, it replaced all of his clothing with the blue alien armor, becoming a sort of second skin. While Jaime still exists separate from the armor, he’s not in control of it. The armor is utilized by the scarab as an automatic defense mechanism, so jeans, t-shirts and underwear aren’t factored into consideration. This was especially awkward when Jaime—after being drafted out into space by the Justice League before falling back down to earth after a battle with Guy Gardner—rose up naked in the middle of nowhere, miles away from his home of El Paso.
The armor would eventually create replacement clothes for Jaime, so that he wouldn’t always be left in a state of undress after a battle. Just don’t ask what the clothes are made out of!
In the film and in the comics, one of the first things that happens to Jaime after he’s fused with the scarab is he takes flight, far up into the atmosphere. What’s unique about Jaime’s ability to fly is that he has at least two different methods. The armor can give Jaime a large set of wings, at which he can glide at high speeds. However, on occasion the need for faster, more powerful forms of flight presents itself and the scarab is more than up to the challenge of providing it, creating a jet-pack which Jaime uses to soar across the skies and space.
3) Energy Cannon
Arguably his most well-known superpower, Jaime’s energy cannon definitively sets him apart from his predecessors in Dan Garrett and Ted Kord. While Garrett did have superpowers that included energy projection, Jaime’s armor literally turns his limbs and other parts of his body (such as his chest) into cannons of pure firepower. This ability can level an entire block and blast enemies far away. Let’s not forget, after all, that the scarab is an alien weapon of mass destruction, even though Jaime forces it not to use its powers to kill. Still, that doesn’t mean that his energy cannon hasn’t accidentally leveled a building or two.
4) Tracking and Sensing
The scarab is a creation of an alien race called the Reach—an ancient, militaristic species that eons ago battled the Green Lantern Corps. Seeking a truce, the race quietly sent the scarab to Earth as a scouting device to attach itself to a host for future invasion. As such, an important capability of the scarab is to imbue the wearer with as much knowledge and intel as possible. One example of this is the scarab’s ability to track anyone close to Jaime. The scarab gives Jaime super-enhanced sight and hearing that allows him to zero in on the whereabouts of his friends and family.
5) Vibrational Shifting
One of the more harrowing abilities of the scarab. Vibrational shifting not only took Jaime away from his family shortly after he became the Blue Beetle, it sent him out into space away from the Justice League! In Infinite Crisis’ battle against Brother Eye, Jaime is recruited by Booster Gold to assist Batman and the Justice League with attacking the Brother Eye spaceship, as only the scarab’s sight could detect it. Once the battle had ended, however, Jaime began to fade out of existence, to the utter confusion of the League. With no way to find him, the superheroes returned to Earth, unaware that their young recruit was not too far away.
Jaime had merely faded out of sight, drifting away from the ship and into open space. Although he was protected by the scarab’s armor, he was rendered invisible to everyone around him. This would later be revealed as a defense mechanism that was initiated when the scarab detected the presence of the Green Lantern Corps.
The result was a dimensional shift that took Jaime back to Earth…but with one major drawback. What felt like minutes to him was in actuality a whole year. His family thought he went missing and wouldn’t believe his story until he transformed into the Blue Beetle in front of him. This drastic move to avoid danger made Jaime all the more determined to find out as much as he could about the scarab and its mysterious origins.
Fortunately for Xolo Maridueña’s Jaime, this last power isn’t one that he seems to possess…so far. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Blue Beetle’s mysterious scarab, it’s that it never fails to surprise and always has a new trick up its sleeve. Make sure you check out the movie this weekend to see what other powers it may manifest!
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!
Donovan Morgan Grant writes about comics, graphic novels and superhero history for DC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @donoDMG1.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Donovan Morgan Grant and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.