Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle

As a huge Ted Kord fan I was excited once I heard about Showcase. At the cost of losing the colors and the book being a bit big (almost 600 pages long) you get the entire 24 issue, 1986-1988 series and a secret origins issue. The series takes place in Ted’s home town of Chicago where he fights crime under the guise of the Blue Beetle. He fights against such villains as a guy who hate firefighters, a living drug dispenser, an alchemist, and a couple guys in colorful jumpsuits. Along the way he teams up with The Question, Mr. Miracle, and the Teen Titans.

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Ted is like DC’s version of Spider-Man, he has quick wit and a bug costume, but he doesn’t have the superpowers. He relies mostly on his BB Gun, which is loaded with pressurized air and a strobe light. He also has his trusty Bug, which has multiple functions which are added throughout the series. The great part about the series is the amount of subplots that they build up. Ted’s girlfriend, Melody, starts to have problems when Ted is never around, his assistant is stealing from him behind his back to support her uncle who turns out to be Chronos, a man named Carapax is searching the island where Dan Garrett died to find a weapon, and a detective is trying to figure out who the Blue Beetle is. Most subplots are brought up for about eight issues until they become the focus of the next three issues. My favorite part is from issues 11-13 where Ted teams up with the Teen Titans to fight the Hybrid, an X-Men parody.

While the writing is pretty good in general, it does have an eighties problem where everything is explained too heavily. The eighties references are also confusing to me in this day. The action scenes are pretty well drawn, because Ted is a very gymnastic fighter. There’s also a couple of tie-in issues to two DC events, Legends and Millennium which have a much darker tone than the rest of the series. The ending is very good, with the best use of a movie reference I’ve seen in a long time.

Rating: Full Price

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