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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Blue Beetle Modern Age Key Issues Part 1

We are ending Part 1 of this Blue Beetle Modern Age key issues with the end of the Ted Kord era. While these are key issues that are mostly specific to Ted Kord as Blue Beetle, they aren't exactly primo keys.

They do track the events of the character until his apparent demise, which would then see the mantle being taken up by Jaime Reyes. Here's the first keys to kick off Blue Beetle in the Modern Age.

Blue Beetle leaves team

It was bound to happen. All families and teams have squabbles.

The last straw happened with the death of Ice or Tora Olafsdotter at the hands of Overmaster in Justice League Task Force #14. Although the team united and swore not to talk to the media about it, Blue Beetle betrayed the team and spoke to reporters on TV.

Upset at how the media had been portraying the Justice League International in the past, Blue Beetle refused to let that happen to his good friend Ice. He wanted them to report that she was a hero and sacrificed her life to save the world. Beetle wanted his friend to be remembered in a good light and not just some clown with freaky powers and a strange costume.

The team is divided about whether Kord was right in his decision. Captain Atom backs up Blue Beetle, but Wonder Woman disagrees. Blame over Ice's death is thrown around.

Finally, Blue Beetle and Captain Atom leave the team due to the team's tense association with the United Nations. Captain Atom would form Extreme Justice and Ted Kord and Booster Gold would join that team. August, 1994 is the cover date for Justice League International #67 volume 2.

1st appearance of Extreme Justice team

Extreme Justice was another Justice League spin-off title at the time. The team never referred to themselves as such, and Blue Beetle in this very issue calls the team simply the Justice League.

Extreme Justice was a short-lived comic series, lasting only 19 issues. The team's original line up consisted of Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Maxima and Will Evert III as Amazing-Man.

The team would have cross-overs into Justice League America and Justice League Task Force, but there was very little unity between the teams. A sense of rivalry was more felt between the factions.

Booster Gold still rocks his Ted Kord designed armor that first appeared in Justice League America #80 in this series but it was destroyed. He got a new costume/armor that resembled his more iconic look in issue #14. The armor is  once again designed by Ted Kord.

1st mainstream appearance of Wonder Twins

Wonder Twin powers activate! Sorry, had to do it and was too tempting not to.

Yes, these characters are actually based off the cartoons where they first debuted. Most of us remember first seeing these two characters in the Super Friends animated series. 

In comics, they first appeared in Super Friends #7, but the Super Friends comic series was not considered part of canon or mainstream continuity. Same deal for Harley Quinn's 1st appearance in comics and her first appearance in mainstream continuity.

Some source this as the 1st Post-Crisis appearance of the Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna, and that's technically true. The Wonder Twins would finally make their debut in DC mainstream continuity in this issue here, and the characters would be revised for more modern times.

Powers are kept the same. Jayna is a shape-shifter and Zan can still turn his body into the form of water or ice. Despite being well-known characters, these modern versions in mainstream continuity have a few appearances here and there, but they aren't utilized all that much over-all.

Kind of a shame, but it is what it is. The pair would be in the Extreme Justice comic series for a little bit. Published August 8, 1995 with the cover date of October, Extreme Justice #9 is probably the only other key worth mentioning from the series.

THE L.A.W. #1
1st appearance of Living Assault Weapons
Blue Beetle joins team
1st appearance of Mitchell Black Peacemaker

This series was not well-liked by critics or fans and was widely panned. It tried to spotlight the Charlton heroes into a team called the Living Assault Weapons.

The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade, Judomaster, the Peacemaker, and Sarge Steel. The team did first appear in the "profile pages" of DCU Heroes Secret Files #1, but they debut in an actual story in this issue.

Mitchell Black's version of Peacemaker also makes his 1st real appearance in this issue as well. The original Peacemaker or the Charlton version debuted in Fightin' 5 #40.

Judomaster's 1st appearance in Charlton comics was in Special War Series #4, and his sidekick Tiger, whom is code named Avatar and a villain in this series, debuted in Judomaster #91. 

Nightshade first debuted in Captain Atom #82 and Ted Kord the following issue. Living Assault Weapons has a low print run estimated at 25,429 with the cover date of  September, 1999. The series ran for six issues.

Ted Kord meets Barbara Gordon
Ted Kord discovers Barbara is Oracle

Before the two actually met, they had a secret cyber friendship online. Secret as in they kept their real names and true identities secret from each other while cyber chatting.

In this issue, the two finally meet and reveal their real names. 

Later in the issue, Barbara reveals that she knows Ted is Blue Beetle, and Ted realizes that the only person who could uncover that is Oracle. 

The two would grow a strong friendship hereafter. Ted would frequently guest star in this comic series.

Kord was inactive as the Blue Beetle a while, but Barbara's friendship would reignite his desire for super-heroics. He would suit up as the Blue Beetle once again in issue #25 of the Birds of Prey comics series and would continue to suit up whenever needed by Oracle or Black Canary.

Ted would hint several times that he had a crush on Barbara, and after his death, Black Canary admitted that being in the Justice League was only fun when Blue Beetle was there. Barbara also admitted that she once had a cyber crush on him.

Scenes from Birds of Prey #96
Low print run for Birds of Prey #15, cover dated March, 2000, and estimated at only 23,741 copies. 

1st appearance of the Super Buddies

Yes, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold were in a team known as the Super Buddies, and they first appeared in this six-issue limited series created by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis, and artists Kevin Maguire and Joe Rubinstein. The Super Buddies consisted of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Elongated Man and his wife Sue, Captain Atom, and Mary Marvel.

The team was put together by Maxwell Lord, but the team ended up being highly inept and no real help to anyone, especially the Justice League. Also, the team could not get along in this series and even Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are at odds with each other and trying to prove how they've grown up and matured.

Fire runs a website on the side which has sensual pics of her available for download for a price. Because of this, her and the more innocent Mary Marvel do not get along great. 

This series definitely has more of a comedy bent and was pretty popular among fans back in the day. The sequel to this story arc, I can't Believe It's Not the Justice League, ran through JLA Classified #4 through issue #9.

Estimated print run of Formerly Known as the Justice League #1 is around 41,420 with the cover date of September, 2003.

Death of Blue Beetle

Usually key issues involving the death of a character are pretty much ignored since they mostly seem to find a way back. While Ted Kord does eventually come back for a short while and then is alive in the whole Rebirth stuff going on, his death in this issue did pave the way for another to take up the mantle of Blue Beetle.

The character of Jaime Reyes does not debut in this issue, but it is revealed that Max Lord was spying on the Justice League to get to know metahumans and their weaknesses. He considers metas a threat and continually sabotaged the JLI to make them seem as inept as possible.

Max tries to recruit Blue Beetle, but when Kord refuses, he kills him.

The Blue Beetle Scarab is seen being left with the Wizard Shazam in this issue, which would eventually find it's way to Jaime Reyes. There is a variant of sorts for this issue, and I'm not sure if this one without the price on the cover is 2nd printing or what the print run is.

This comic event was the biggest of 2005 and 2006, so the print run is pretty large. Estimate print run is 199,456, and I'm not sure if that's a 50/50 split for both covers or not.

There are Dynamic Forces signed editions. One is signed by both Jim Lee and Alex Ross and are limited to 999 copies. Another is signed just by Alex Ross and limited to 999 copies, and another is signed by Michael Bair but not sure how limited that is. All come with numbered C.O.A.s

The Infinite Crisis event would bring back the multiverse in DC Comics and was a sequel to 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths. As most fans know, the Infinite Crisis event would see the debut of the new Blue Beetle. Countdown to Infinite Crisis hit the shops in March and has the cover date of May, 2005.

Not the most sought out of key issues for sure, but the events that take place in Countdown to Infinite Crisis does pave the way for a new Blue Beetle for sure. Part 2 to this Modern Age Blue Beetle key issues series will definitely start off with the Jaime Reyes version.

Just in case, you were interested in the other Charlton characters from the L.A.W. series and their Charlton debuts, here's the covers to those. 

Space Adventures #33 1st Captain Atom | Captain Atom #82 1st Nightshade | Fighin' 5 #40 1st Peacemaker
Special War Series #4 1st Judomaster | Judomaster #91 1st Tiger | Sarge Steel #1 1st Sarge Steel


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