WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Infected: Scarab #1, by Dennis "Hopeless" Hallum, Freddie E. Williams II, Jeremy Colwell and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
The latest victim of the Batman Who Laughs is Jaime Reyes, the teenage Blue Beetle serving as the superhero for El Paso, Texas. Corrupted by the cackling villain's twisted technology from the Dark Multiverse, Jaime battles the growing darkness within himself as he faces increasingly violent urges and reduced inhibition that impacts his relationship with his friends, leads to a shocking betrayal of his mentor Ted Kord and a pitched battle against an established enemy that has Jaime cross the line in a monstrously shocking way.
The Batman Who Laughs has used poisoned Batarangs from the Dark Multiverse to transform even the most noble superheroes into his sinister minions, with Blue Beetle among the infected. The infection's corrosive effects have melded with the extraterrestrial scarab implanted within Jaime's spine, from which he generates his powers and abilities to transform into Blue Beetle at a moment's notice. Initially, the infected Jaime's actions are simply a short temper and flagrant use of his powers in public but, as the latest one-shot special focusing on his corruption continues, the disturbing extent of the Dark Multiverse's influence on him is shown in terrifying display.
After secretly incapacitating Ted Kord with a strange, blackened ooze that he can now generate as a result of the infection, Jaime takes the Blue Beetle ship for a joyride over El Paso. Spotting the villainous Ghostfire attacking a car lot after it impounded his car, Blue Beetle leaps into action while his concerned friends observe the battle from the safety of the hovering Beetle. Ghostfire was one of the first major villains created for Blue Beetle during the superhero's relaunched series at the start of the DC Rebirth era, nearly killing the teenager before the timely intervention of Batman to save the day.
With Batman presumably preoccupied by the Batman Who Laughs' activities elsewhere and Ted Kord neutralized by his own protege, Jaime heads into the fight without any expectation of backup. He proves to immediately have the upper hand in his rematch against Ghostfire and savagely beats the villain within an inch of his life before attempting to eat him as the feral urges of the infected scarab begin to overtake him. As Jaime's friends watch in horror, Jamie spits up Ghostfire against the windshield of the airship before retreating to grapple with the insidious implications of what he has become.
The attack on Ghostfire and Blue Beetle's subsequent transformation into a more monstrous being mark the scariest corruption among those infected by the Batman Who Laughs to date. As Jaime attempts to recover in an abandoned building, the issue veers into body horror as he continues to secrete the unusual substance he had previously used to imprison Ted within his own home before stealing his airship. However, before Jaime can gather himself, a recovered Ghostfire tracks him down and resumes their battle, leading to Jaime seemingly transforming into a villainous version of himself for good as he pummels the fiery antagonist into submission.
Ever single figure corrupted by the Batman Who Laughs has descended into gleeful violence before joining up with the Dark Multiverse villain as their latest loyal minion. Jaime Reyes' transformation is the most tragic and shocking yet, with the teenage superhero haunted by his own actions before succumbing to the feral urges of his infection. Nearly consuming Ghostfire, the corrupted Blue Beetle is the wildest, most animalistic recruit of the Batman Who Laughs yet and will likely traumatize Jaime...should he ever be cleansed of the Dark Multiverse's influence.