Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back in Blue!

Well folks, what begin as an idea for an April Fool's joke turned into a pretty interesting month's worth of posts. And much in the same way a Teaser Tuesday panel inspired the start of this, another signaled the end.

Are we done here? For now...I had fun with it, and I hope you did too. There's still plenty more to cover...Vertigo's "Scarab", Marvel's Scarlet Scarab II, and as reader Matt Celis pointed out AC's Scarlet Scorpion, a character created to fill Blue Beetle's void when he moved to DC. Yeah, plenty more "almost Beetle's" we could cover, but it seems a good time to get back to basics.

Why? One word...Convergence! With DC's big event we get two, count them two Blue Beetle returns! "Convergence: Justice League International" and "Convergence: Blue Beetle". Look for coverage on these very soon! As for the Scarabs...who knows? There's always next April?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues!: Galactus Vs. Infinity, Inc.

The amazing Ross Pearsall has done it again...another awesome Super-Team Family post with Silver Scarab and Infinity Inc!

Hop over to his page to check it out!

Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues!: Galactus Vs. Infinity, Inc.: I remember being frustrated when Infinity Inc. , first came out.  The new characters were introduced in the pages of All-Star Squadron , a...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Return of the Scarab!

In 2008, Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, along with several other artists, brought us Dynamite's "Project Superpowers" series, and with it the return of quite a few golden age heroes. One of them was updated version of the Scarab! And in "Project Superpowers: Meet the Bad Guys" #4, the he really got a chance to shine! The main story was plotted by Alex Ross and Joe Casey, with art by Jackson Herbert.

Twenty thousand miles above the Earth, a clandestine meeting is taking place among the members of mysterious Supremacy...a group bent on world domination. They don't even trust each other enough for a face to face meeting, so they're all present via holographic projections. One member, Black Baron, reveals his suspicions that there is a traitor among them. 

The other members dismiss him, more concerned about the super powered heroes that oppose them, but one member, Amon Khadul, seems to share Black Baron's concerns. 

Some time later, down on the ground, Khadul arrives at the Baron's base for a face to face meeting to further discuss the possible traitor. 

The Baron assures him that his security drones are quite capable of dealing with any threat the Supremacy may face...and urges Khadul to be just as vigilant.

Still later, the Scarab arrives at the villain's desert hideout, attacking the Baron's drone defenses! The drones look a lot like ED-209 from the original "RoboCop" film. 

The hero easily takes on the robotic drones, until one blasts him with some type of dark liquid, presumably oil, which then ignites the hero. He's not down for long though! The raid is brought to the attention of Black Baron, who personally takes control of one of the drones...essentially taking on the Scarab in one on one combat. The Scarab, still burning, uses his wings to clear the fire from his own body and use it against the drone. 

Then as the Baron tries to remove the drone, the Scarab reveals a new power of his own...he can shut down electronics! And he does, finally disposing of the Baron's drone.

Back at the satellite, holo-Black Baron meets again with holo-Emperor Seng to discuss this recent turn of events. They believe the Scarab's attack was actually a recon mission, an attempt to gather information, as it served no other obvious purpose. The Baron argues that not only that...the attack is further proof that they have a spy in their midst!

The issue closes with the origin of this new Scarab, written by Jim Krueger with art by Doug told by the original ScarabPeter Ward.

Amon Khadul found the scarab ring that gave Ward his power, but the new owner wasn't aware of the magic it contained. Instead, he sold the gem for a fortune and used his new wealth to build a life of power. He became a member of the Supremacy, but once he saw how corrupt they were he built a suit of super-armor to combat them as the new Scarab. 

Ha! So there was a spy after all!

Pretty interesting, all that mystery and intrigue. So it's been a while since I reread "Project Superpowers", but I seem to recall the Scarab taking a back seat to some of the other characters, which is too bad. When he was on the page he was a bit of an enigma, and pretty bad ass one at that! With his origin revealed it makes more sense now. He was a spy...a double agent. In some ways he reminds me of the Scarlet Scarab, at least in attitude, definitely not appearance his look puts me in mind of a certain blue insect from the alternate future known as "Kingdom Come". Both were designed by Alex Ross, so I guess it makes sense. Odd, it's like I never stopped covering that character at all, huh?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Sensational Silver Scarab!

Roy Thomas must really love bugs! Last week we took a look at Marvel's Scarlet Scarab...created by Mr. Thomas. This week we look at the introduction of DC's Silver Scarab...also created by Roy Thomas.

First up, lets look at "All-Star Squadron" #25, written by Roy Thomas with art by Jerry Ordway and Mike Machlan. In Washington DC, the All-Star Squadron learn that the Ultra-Humanite has challenged them over a radio broadcast. Hawkman points out that several members are already rumored to have been captured, and Sandman confirms that Atom, Dr. Fate and the Spectre are all MIA, so Wonder Woman suggests splitting up to track the villain down. 

While they formulate a plan, another team of heroes (including Batman, Green Lantern, the Tarantula and more) faces off against Amazing Man in New York. Amazing Man got his powers from the Ultra-Humanite, and is loyal...until Liberty Belle reveals his sinister plan to several cities, including Amazing Man's hometown of Detroit. 

That's all it takes to turn him. He quickly swears his allegiance to the Squadron and they all head off to track down Ultra and put an end to his plans!

Meanwhile, in the villain's hidden lab, we learn that Superman, Robotman, and Firebrand have been captured! 

Ultra tells Cyclotron that she plans to place her (yep...this is the female Ultra, not the albino ape) brain in Robotman's body. And with the heroes of America tied up fighting her new minions, no one and nothing will stop her! New minions you ask? Yup...just a page turn later we get the debut of Nuklon and the Silver Scarab, as the duo arrives at a Brooklyn shipyard to destroy US warships. 

Guardian, Sargent Steel, and Liberty Belle are quickly on the scene, but something strange happens! As Belle grabs the Scarab, and Steel wrestles with Nuklon...the heroes disappear, leaving Guardian to wonder how they can be stopped! In Los Angeles, Batman and Tarantula suffer similar fates trying to take down Northwind and Fury...

...leaving Robin and the Phantom Lady behind and baffled. 

Then, in Detroit, Green Lantern and the Atom (guess he wasn't as MIA as Sandman thought) fall to the touch of Jade and Obsidian, and Amazing Man is left to wonder just who these new costumed beings are? Finally, Brainwave Jr. hears a radio broadcast about the All-Star Squadron's defeat at the hands of the Ultra-Humanite and he jumps into action! He has to organize the remaining All-Stars to defeat Ultra! He's travelled back in time from 1983 and if he doesn't act the world's going to go up in smoke!

Silver Scarab and company stuck around the pages of "All-Star Squadron" for a few more issues (26, 27 and Annual #2 according to comicbookdb) before debuting in their own title, "Infinity Inc". This time, even though the creative team was the same, things were a little different. The JSA have recently returned from Limbo and are about to hold a meeting when...BAM! The doors fly open and 4 costumed people leap into the room. 

The team has no idea who these young heroes are, in fact...they're not even convinced they're heroes at all, so a fight ensues. Hawkman, the Atom and Wonder Woman seem to recognize at least a few of them though, and the Amazon lassos them to try and figure things out. At that point the truth is revealed. 

Hawkman recognizes his son, Hector, as the Silver Scarab and his godson, Northwind. Wonder Woman reprimands her daughter, Lyta aka Fury, for interrupting an important meeting. and Atom scolds his godson Al, aka Nuklon...for his mohawk! Turns out the JSA is on edge because ever since their return Dr. Fate has been sensing trouble was fast approaching. The older members, like Hawkman are firmly against the youth becoming full fledged members, but  Robin argues for them getting a shot. As the JSA debates, we get a quick rundown of each youngster's origin. Fairly quickly the JSA comes to a tied vote, with Hawkman as chairman being the deciding ballot...the kids are out! Not so fast...

...two more applicants arrive on the scene.

But as quickly as they arrived, they're out too! The 6 young heroes decide to head off for a meeting of their own leaving the JSA to resume their conference. There's some ruffled capes though. Huntress, Power Girl, Robin and Star Spangled Kid all think Infinity Inc deserved a shot...and the ladies feel so strong about it, they walk out!

So many questions! See what I mean about Roy Thomas and bugs? Scarlet Scarab last week...Silver Scarab this week, both with ties to archaeology and Egypt. It's as if he was a fan of the golden age Scarab...or somethingNo one remembers the events of "All-Star Squadron" #25? I'll be honest, I didn't read #26, 27 or Annual #2 for this write-up. Maybe its made more clear in those issues? Maybe it's the fact that the JSA and All-Star Squadron have huge memberships...but Atom, Green Lantern and Robin were all around in that adventure and faced off against the members of Infinity Inc, not to mention the fact that Infinity Inc working with Ultra-Humanite would bear some kind of mention in the older team's records. The closest we get is during Nuklon's origin, where he mentions his grandfather Terry Curtis, aka Cyclotron, working for Ultra (a very short reference to the story from #25). That's it! Brainwave Jr. showed up, Terminator style in #25, saying he was coming from to the past to protect the future...but is nowhere to be seen in #1 (except on the cover). I guess we'll just have to keep diving deeper! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Scarlet Scarab Strikes!

In 1977, writer Roy Thomas, and the art team of Frank Robbins and Frank Springer, introduced "Marvel's most sensational new super-villain!"...the Scarlet Scarab, in the pages of "The Invaders"! The two part story covered issues #23 and #25 (skipping #24) and saw the Scarab taking on some of Marvel's mightiest heroes...but enough set up, lets jump into the action!

During WWII, Marvel's Invaders fought with the Allied forces for truth, justice, and...uh...well, they helped fight the Axis powers...y'know, Nazis...bad guys! War can be dirty business though, and even heroes suffer casualties. That said, the issue #23 opens with the original Human Torch and the other heroes in Britain as doctors work to save his sidekick Toro who was injured by a Nazi bullet. Things go from bad to worse when we learn that Toro has a bullet lodged next to his heart, and his best chance of survival is a surgeon back in the USA! Then Spitfire arrives on the scene to tell Captain America and the heroes that they're needed. Allied command wants them to rendezvous with Union Jack to prep for their next mission. Torch is none to happy, he wants to stay with Toro, but the combination of Namor offering one of his ships, and Bucky offering to stay with Toro manages to sway him. 

Meeting up with Union Jack the team finds out they're being sent to Egypt, where two political faction are waging war. One sides with the Allies, the other, a group calling itself the "Sons of the Scarab" are fighting alongside the Nazis. In no time at all the Invaders are in Egypt, knowing that if they can't stop the Nazis and the Sons of the Scarab the country, and even all of Africa, may fall to the Axis powers. They quickly meet up with their liason, Major Harrison and an Egyptian archaeologist, Dr. Faoul. The doctor says he knows the fanatics are hiding among the pyramids. Since the pyramids are national treasures Faoul says the Egyptian government has given them permission to go in and find them, and with that they're off!

Faoul accompanies them, to make sure the artifacts remain undamaged as Torch and Namor tunnel into the pyramids. That is, until the doctor's true plan is revealed...he used them to help him locate a sacred talisman, a red beetle which transforms him into the Scarlet Scarab! 

The Scarab is insane with power and believes anyone who is not Egyptian is out to oppress his homeland...and he quickly goes on the attack! Meanwhile, Cap, Spitfire and Union Jack are pinned down my enemy fire. They need back up, and fast...but Namor and Torch are under fire themselves! Talk about a cliffhanger!

Issue #25 picks things right up as Invaders battle the Scarlet Scarab across the deserts of Egypt! Captain America, Spitfire and Union Jack take on the German troops, while Namor and Torch battle the Scarab! With flight, super strength and energy blasts, Faoul is more than a match for the heroes...but add in the fact that at close range the scarab drains the energy of his opponents (something Namor discovers much too late) the villain is down right deadly! 

After gaining the upper hand, the Scarab leaves the fire and water team broken and bruised and goes in search of more "would be conquerors" to vanquish. He decides teaming with the Nazis to take out the Allied forces is the right course of action...but little does he know the Germans only plan to play along while his power suits their purposes. Afterwards? The outlook isn't so good! Cap and the rest of the Invaders regroup and jump right back into the path of the Scarlet Scarab and once again Namor is on the receiving end of an energy sucking beat down! Before his team members can save him though, the Scarab is distracted by German soldiers abusing an old Egyptian man who dared to oppose them. In a flash the tables have turned!

Realizing that the Nazis are "the devilish curse of this land", the Scarab decides it's time to purge his country of the Germans...and the Invaders are ready to fight by his side! When the dust settles though the Invaders learn a hard lesson...Faoul still views them as outsiders, potential enemies of Egypt. He makes his intentions very clear...he'll use his new found powers to act for his country's good, and no one else's..before taking off, leaving the Invaders to wonder if their next meeting will be as friends or foes...

Wow! What a debut! Not entirely sure how I feel about the costume, but the character and his motivation are pretty anti-hero of sorts, and a patriot. Even more interesting to me is the archaeologist, historian, discovering a sacred relic that gives him power. We saw something similar last week with the golden age Scarab...and in the origin of a certain blue clad silver age hero, too. Very interesting...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Scarab!

Travel with me to 1945, when Startling Comics #34, by Better Comics, brought us a brand new hero! Truly ahead of its time, the Scarab's origin is steeped in Egyptian lore. By wearing a sacred scarab ring, and rubbing it, Egyptologist Peter Ward becomes...the Scarab!

(click each page to enlarge)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Scarab United: 1st Thursday with Gwhitmore

Ever wonder what Silver Scarab would have looked like in DC's animated universe? Gwhitmore over at deviantART did...and here's the very cool result!

You can check out more on his deviantART page here!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dawn of the Scarab!

Well readers, you may notice a different banner around here starting today...the Scarab United! After wrapping up things with DC's "The L.A.W." I found myself particularly struck by this panel...

So, just as Ted was giving up being Blue Beetle, I too am giving up being a Blue Beetle least for a little while.

What the Kaji Dha? Yup, you read that right. Way back during year one of this blog, I took a look at how many Beetle/Scarab characters I was aware of (Fab Four?) and I've been thinking about that a lot recently, probably even more so after that above panel struck a chord. I'm in my third year here, and find myself in a rut. I still love the character, but to keep that love I need a break, a little space.

Effective today, welcome to "The Scarab United!" A blog you won't find anywhere else on the web! The golden age Scarab, Marvel's Scarlet Scarab, DC's Silver Scarab, Alex Ross' "Project Superpowers" Scarab...all in one spot!

So, if you love bugs...and I know you do...stick around!