DC Comics fans found themselves with a double helping of good news late last week, and with a surprising connection between the two. Following a flashy new trailer for returning beloved series Young Justice: Outsiders, news dropped that one of the next DC heroes to receive the big screen treatment would be Jaime Reyes, resident teen and the most current Blue Beetle.
Jaime has only existed for the better part of 12 years -- created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hamner and first appearing in Infinite Crisis #3. While he was a recurring character on Batman: The Brave & the Bold, it was post Young Justice that he really seemed to blow up, leading to him showing up in the Teen Titans animated movies and other DC cartoons, and most recently being playable in Injustice 2.
Set five years after the first season, Invasion saw a large roster change to the team; Jaime had stumbled upon the Scarab after Deathstroke and Sportsmaster killed previous Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. No one really knows what his deal is, as he's just a kid with a weird Scarab on his back who talks to himself. He's got friends in some of his teammates, but he's lonely in a way that's recognizable for anyone who grew up as the odd one in their friend group.
The combined revelation that he'll eventually help the Reach take over the Earth and that the Scarab can't be removed from his spine without killing him puts him in a deeper spiral of fear. Desperate for any help he can get, he falls in with the wrong crowd and gets duped by the Reach-controlled Green Beetle to reboot his Scarab and fall completely under their control. They don't just use him to betray the heroes, they hijack his body and steer him like a puppet, knowing the teen can't do anything but watch helplessly as his body attacks and tries to kill his friends with zero restraint.
Despite all the moving pieces in this season, all of it inevitably comes back to Jaime. He provides a central protagonist in this season that the first didn't really have, and the Invasion subtitle takes on a double meaning with both the Reach on Earth and Jaime's own fears. It's never explicitly stated in the show itself, but he certainly has a lot of anxiety thanks to everything he goes through.
It's a boneheaded move when he falls for Green's duplicity, but understandable because he's afraid of becoming the monster Impulse describes him to be. Green is the only one who really seems to understand what he went through in that moment, and because the rest of his teammates already have solid relationships with one another and their mentors, that loneliness is what makes him want to try Green's way of a hard reboot.
Jaime is a unique character among legacy heroes in that his predecessors don't really have to appear or be brought up. With other legacy heroes, such as the Green Lanterns, the Flashes, or Marvel's various Spider-Heroes, the original hero eventually has to show up. Not so with the Blue Beetle.
Each owner of the mantle really has different adventures with different tones. Invasion uses this to its advantage and avoids bringing up Kord, or original Beetle Dan Garret until the very end, letting Jaime's short history with the Scarab take center stage. That kind of clever reworking is what makes it all the more satisfying to see the two finally share control and work together to shatter Black's Scarab in the final episode.
It's going to be a while before Jaime's film drops, likely longer than most would prefer. It's a good thing, then, that Jaime and Young Justice will return in about a month to scratch our collective itch for a kid with an alien war machine only the series can provide.