Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Profile: Blue Beetle 2

Ted Kord, Blue Beetle 2
First appearance: Captain Atom #83, November 1966. He was the second superhero to take this role after the first Beetle, Dan Garrett. In Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985-86, he and some of the other Charlton characters were merged more fully with the DCU.

Current status: dead

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in 2005’s “Countdown to Infinite Crisis”, he was targeted for death by an otherwise out-of-character Max Lord, the businessman who’d sponsored Justice League International years before.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Plenty! The whole story, co-written by Geoff Johns, Judd Winick and Greg Rucka, was done as part of an editorial mandate, but then those three writers themselves seem to be part of the inner party, which could explain why they’ve gone along in lock-step with almost everything DC Comics has done. Aside from that, there’s also the story, which depicts Ted, instead of trying to fight back boldly against his pursuers even one-man-army style, trying to telephone a couple other superheroes for help, and finding none. Worst was the part where Barbara Gordon puts him on hold, one of a few things that signals that this was done as an insult to the well-regarded miniseries Formerly Known as the Justice League, a reunion of several of the lower-ranking characters who appeared there during the late 80s-early 90s. And violence-wise, the worst part was the slaying itself, with Max blasting Ted Kord through the skull in a bloodbath.

It would seem that the message they were trying to create with this was that it’s wrong to be a hero by acting in your own defense, and that superheroes are crummy too. Not to mention that, if anything, Ted went down here without even trying to fight back.

They may have shown him turning up in the afterlife in recent publications (yes, really), but how does that counteract the bad taste the assassination story left behind? I’m afraid it does not.


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