Saturday, January 21, 2017

Captain Atom #083 (1966)

Beetlemaniacs...we're going back in time! Travel with me back to 1966! Star Trek and Batman were hits on TV. The USA and the USSR were racing to space...and Charlton Comics was about to launch a character that would go down as one of the greatest superheroes ever! Under the creative eyes of Steve Ditko and Gary Friedrich, and appearing as a back-up story in Captain Atom #083. Wait...I know what you're thinking..."Didn't you already post the first Blue Beetle story?" Yes I did, back in May of 2013, just a few months into this blog...but they were low resolution files I'd found online, and were offered with little context and no's the first adventure of everyone's favorite Beetle...Ted Kord! 

Perched on a rooftop, in the sky above a "sea-coast city", sits the BUG, and inside is Blue Beetle! Using the hi-tech antennae of his flying ship, our hero scans for any signs of trouble...but only picks up the signal of the Late, Late Show on TV, that is until gun shots ring out at a nearby bank. 

Jumping into action, Blue Beetle drops out of the BUG on a rope as the ship glides between buildings before descending on Killer Koke and his gang of bank robbers. 

He announces himself as he begins throwing punches, but the criminals seem confused. This isn't the Blue Beetle they've seen or heard about before! Our new adventurer admits he may not be the man they're familiar with but, with a sock to the jaw of one of them, lets them know his goals are the same! Just when it looks like he's unstoppable though, one of the thugs tosses some sort of explosive that knocks this Blue Beetle down and out! As he lays on the ground one of the gang tries unsuccessfully to tear his mask off, and when that fails Koke draws a gun, planning to end our hero's short career. 

Luckily a cop happens by, and Koke and his gang flee the scene. Placing a fingertip to the beetle insignia on his glove Blue Beetle summons the BUG via remote control and is quickly back in pursuit of the thieves. 

In no time at all he's spotted their getaway car, and does what any self-respecting superhero in a flying insect would do...he picks up their car and takes them for a ride! 

He spins and loops, disorienting the Koke gang until finally dropping them off at Police Headquarters. As he flies away though Koke informs the cops that Blue Beetle was the mastermind behind the crime, and at least one officer seems to take the bait having never trusted "those kooks who run around in costumes!" Back in the BUG, Blue Beetle wonders what Dan Garrett would think, congratulates himself on his tech, and decides taking out the bank robbers was enough for his first night!

So there you have it! The first adventure of Ted Kord the Blue Beetle. It's funny, but as obvious as it is now that this is Ted Kord, Ditko and Friedrich never mention him by name, not even once, in this first outing! Dan Garrett is name dropped, as is the fact that there was a Blue Beetle in action before this one, but no mention of Ted or his connection to his predecessor. It's a very interesting way to introduce the character, and even more so with the hindsight of knowing who and why he is the new Blue Beetle. One thing I was on the fence about when re-reading this though, that didn't really work as well for me, was the over explanation of Blue Beetle's gadgets. I think if Ted was explaining it to someone, or even an editorial caption, I'd have been ok. Instead this is Ted talking to himself, and explaining the why and how of the BUG, his gloves, his mask to himself. He created them...why does he need to explain them to himself? Still, all in all, this is pretty solid first go-round for good ol' Ted.


  1. I love those Ditko-diagram panels focusing on the gloves and the circuitry hidden within them. Great stuff. Hey, when are you guys gonna review Blue Beetle Rebirth #5? And when's the next podcast? I have questions! :)

  2. Jay is editing the next episode, I think we're targeting next Wednesday for release.

    My recap and discussion of Rebirth #5 is set for Saturday 2/11!

    Glad you're enjoying! Feel free to ask your questions and we'll address them here or on an upcoming podcast!

  3. Dang...I thought I posted a reply to this! Anyway, I kind of asked my questions in the original post, and you answered them. However, here's a new one: Do you think the big shadowy bad guy at the end of issue 5 is supposed to be Wotan? The pointy (haired?) shadow and the prominence of Dr. Fate makes me think so.