In this article, Evan Narcisse laid out his argument for why Warner Bros. should make an Icon film in order to replicate the success of Black Panther. I respectfully disagree — I think Blue Beetle is a much, much better option.
First, let me explain which Blue Beetle I’m talking about, because, like a lot of characters in the DC Universe, there are multiple superheroes who use the name: I am referring to the third Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, who first appeared in Infinite Crisis #3 back in 2006. The “magic” scarab that gave the original Blue Beetle (Dan Garret) his powers fell from the broken Rock of Eternity and attached itself to Jaime, who was just a normal kid from El Paso, Texas. The scarab attached itself to Jaime’s spine and grew a suit of armor around him that could, well, do a lot of things.
So why would Blue Beetle be better than Icon? Well, for quite a lot of reasons:
- Icon is mainly from the Milestone Universe (or the Dakotaverse), which...hasn’t really integrated well into the main DC Universe. Narcisse even mentions that there might be legal problems if the WB wanted to make an Icon film. Meanwhile, Blue Beetle is neck-deep in the DC Universe and has been for decades. In fact, there have been three Blue Beetles in the DC Universe, each one connected to the other and connected to other heroes.
- Icon, as a concept, is intriguing — an immortal superhero who has lived through slavery — but it’s also something we’ve seen in the DCEU: Wonder Woman is an immortal superhero who lived through World War I (and everything that came after). Having an Icon movie might feel like a retread, only replacing “woman” with “black person.” Blue Beetle, on the other hand, is about a young kid learning responsibility and protecting his home town with his new superpowers. Yes, that’s right: it’s DC’s version of Spider-Man.
- While Icon would give us two more black characters (Icon and Rocket), Blue Beetle would actually be the first superhero film to have a cast made up of 90% Latinos. In fact, Jaime Reyes and his entire family are Mexican-American. Most of Jaime’s friends (excluding Brenda) are Latino and Hispanic. In fact, El Paso, Texas, where Jaime lives, is made up of eighty percent Hispanic and Latino people.
The big thing, however, is that Jaime Reyes’ story as the Blue Beetle is just amazing. The first twenty five issues of Blue Beetle vol 8 (which is Jaime’s first volume) constitute a long story arc in which Jaime learns about the creators of the scarab, an alien race called the Reach who come to Earth, and his fight against them.
And it’s awesome.
You see, the Reach aren’t trying to invade like so many other aliens — no, they tried doing that a long time ago and the Green Lantern Corps stopped them. So now, instead of invading, they do something else: they infiltrate. They appear to a planet and offer them help while slowly studying them for weakness and gifting them with infiltrator scarabs that eventually give the planet over to the Reach. Fortunately, the scarab that Jaime wears was damaged by magic and so it works...differently. And while it’s fun watching Jaime beat the Reach with his intelligence, it’s even more fun when his family and friends beat them, too (usually with sticks). Because, oh yes, his friends and family are awesome, too.
In fact, pretty much every character is awesome and does awesome things. Even characters that only appear for a panel or two in the climax end up having their own awesome moments.
By adapting the Reach storyline into a movie, Warner Bros. could easily have on their hands a huge hit with a demographic that really hasn’t seen themselves in many superhero films. Or, you know, any superhero films.
Plus, come on: he’s basically a combination of Spider-Man and Iron Man, with a little bit of Green Lantern. Don’t tell me that wouldn’t be a sure thing money maker.