It's been a while since we looked at Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle...and what better way to do it than with a look at an episode of "Batman: The Brave and the Bold"? I'll be honest, it took me a while to accept someone other than Ted as a Blue Beetle...and seeing Jaime guest star in this animated series is what eventually sold me on the idea. Ted is still "my" Blue Beetle, and I'm eagerly awaiting his eventual return to comics, but the kid is growing on me.
Today we're looking at BTBATB season 2, episode 3...
The episode opens, chuck full of Silver Age goodness, with the Challengers of the Unknown investigating a meteorite crash on Dinosaur Island. Batman shows up (he just happened to be in the area and thought he'd check out the meteorite too) and brings a giant spider with him! Not really, but it does appear shortly after he arrives. After guessing the spider may have been mutated by radiation from the meteorite (no one bats and eye or wonders about the dinosaurs though, hmmm) the quintet team up to take the arachnid down! After they finish their work as exterminators, Bats figures the Challengers have things under control and heads back to Gotham...at which point the meteorite ruptures to reveal Starro spores that quickly attach themselves to the Challengers...
Meanwhile, in space, Blue Beetle (Jaime) is battling Evil Star. His scarab reminds him that Batman didn't think he was ready for a solo mission, but Jaime says he couldn't ignore the distress call he picked up. He does admit he could use a little help though, so he calls...Paco?! Jaime's friend Paco is home playing the new Blue Beetle video game, though he's not sure what BB stands for (philosophically)...Aquaman protects the seas, but Blue Beetle? Jaime hides his frustration and asks Paco how he thinks Blue Beetle would defeat Evil Star. Paco hasn't gotten to that level yet, and before he can say any thing else, Batman calls. Jaime's suit apparently has call waiting and he puts Paco on hold to answer Batman...and gets blasted with a "What do you think you're doing?" When Jaime explains he's trying to save the universe, the Bat snaps back "You'll be lucky if you can save yourself!" Way to inspire young heroes Bruce! No wonder Grayson left and became Nightwing! Jaime hangs up on Bats (way to go kid!) and returns to Paco who reminds him that Evil Star gets his power from starlight. Jaime and the scarab devise a plan to block out starlight with an electromagnetic field, weakening Evil Star. It works, but something's not right. Jaime's eyes go blank and he begins mercilessly beating the downed villain, until Bats steps in to break it up.
The duo gather up Evil Star and head to Oa, in what appears to be Ted's BUG, to hand the criminal over to the Green Lantern Corp. Bats lectures that he's just trying to make sure Jaime is prepared for solo work, that the suit the teen wears isn't just armor...it's a weapon. Jaime is pretty amazed they're going to Oa, and that he'll get to meet the Green Lantern Corp...but neither is prepared for the reception they receive. After one Lantern removes Evil Star, Guy Gardner orders Jaime to "Power down! And turn over the scarab! No one's holding you responsible kid...it's the armor!" Batman sticks his pointy ears in and asks what's going on, but Guy blows him off with a line about "Corp business" before giving the order to blast Jaime. Once down the Lantern's surround the kid and tell him they're taking him to a science-cell "for his own good".
Jaime doesn't like the sound of that and he and Guy start fighting mano y mano...until Bats jumps in to break it up. It's then the Guardians come into the picture and begin explaining that Jaime's armor IS a weapon created by their ancient enemy...the Reach! They explain that the Reach sent the scarabs to various planets, the scarabs bond with a life form and turn them into heroes, build trust, until their true programming kicks in and they're revealed to be the advance guard of a Reach takeover. For once Batman tries to do the right thing! He explains he's been training Jaime, he's a good kid! Guy says if that's the case, it's time to hand over the scarab. Jaime refuses and Guy starts reciting the Green Lantern oath. "Poetry?" asks Jaime. "A sacred oath bug-boy! That's what I stand for...what do you stand for?" Jaime is speechless, and storms away. The Guardians suggest they all allow time to determine if the boy controls the scarab, or if the scarab controls the boy? Sadly, it looks like it's the latter, as walking down the hall Jaime freezes and goes all blank-eyed again. We get a quick glimpse inside his mind as the scarab explains what he's about to do isn't personal...it's just programming. With that the scarab takes control and his first act? Blasting G'nort, the dog-like GL that was once a member of the JLI. (ok, maybe he's not all bad, lol)
After trying to break into a secured section of the Guardians' stronghold, the Beetle is confronted by Bats and Guy. And without Jaime's restraint it takes them out quickly. Kilowog tries to step in, but he too is defeated by the scarab controlled Beetle. Reaching its destination, the main control room, the scarab drops the shields that protect the planet Oa then releases control back to Jaime. Kilowog, Bats and Guy all come to, but too late...an army of Reach controlled Beetles are descending on the planet! Jaime struggles to keep control as the Reach summon him to his "destiny". Guy is convinced Jaime's a traitor, but Bats insists he's not, adding that he had the power to destroy them but he didn't meaning Jaime is still in there somewhere. While the battle rages over Oa between the Reach and the Corp, Bats tries to get through to the again scarab possessed Jaime.
Inside the armor Jaime struggles, but finally succeeds in taking control! He regroups and asks the Lanterns to pour their energy into his armor. After a little hesitation, Guy and the Lanters comply. Using the Green Lantern energy and his own scarab tech Jaime connects with the other Reach Beetles, disabling their armor and returning them to their normal, alien, forms and saves the day! The Guardians thank him on behalf of the universe, but then ask for Jaime to turn over the scarab. Surprisingly, Guy actually sticks up for him and says the kid proved himself and should keep it. Bats even admits he thinks the kid is ready to fly solo! Wow...two birds with one stone...the kid impressed two of his harshest critics!
A fun episode, but it left one question unanswered (ok, two...there's still that Starro opening)...what does Jaime stand for? They brought it up twice...first with Jaime's friend Paco, then with Guy...but they never followed through with a clear answer. Maybe that's in another episode?