One-Beetle Origin – This Monstrous Blue-Beetle Ate Justice League Because Of His Inferiority Complex

    Crisis. The term alone conjures up ideas of both wonder and dread in the imaginations of DC fans. On the one hand, the prospect of epic crossovers and never-before-seen team-ups excites us about a Crisis Event. Superman teaming up with other Supermen to defeat the powerful Anti-Monitor? Please, yes! Bruce Wayne being zapped into primordial Earth by Darkseid?

    There will be more of that! The Infinite Crisis, which saw the survivors of a wrecked Multiverse try to restore it to its former grandeur, and die in the process, had to be the biggest Crisis-level event before Scott Snyder’s Dark Knights: Death Metal. This occasion was significant because it signified the reintroduction of the Multiverse; sort of.

    And, while Alex Luthor’s reality-altering “vision quest” ultimately failed, it could have been halted before it gained traction by the most unlikely of heroes: Blue Beetle. Ted Kord’s heinous murder set in motion a chain of events that reshaped DC continuity; but what if he hadn’t? What if, rather than being ignored as he had been, Ted Kord decided he needed to take action? What if his deeds resulted in the annihilation of the entire universe? In this video, Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis – Explored, we shall answer those questions.

    Universe Unmade, Multiverse Reborn: How Blue Beetle Uncovered the Original Infinite Crisis

    Universe Unmade, Multiverse Reborn How Blue Beetle Uncovered the Original Infinite Crisis

    So, we keep talking about the significance of the Infinite Crisis, but what exactly happened during the event itself? We’ll break it down for you. See, in the 1980s, DC came up with a massive crossover event for all its creations dubbed Crisis on Infinite Earths. During this event, the Anti-Monitor sought to re-make the Multiverse in his own image, but he was thwarted by the combined might of the JSA & JLA, especially their respective Supermen.

    But the fall of such a cosmic entity is bound to have ripple effects, and Anti-Monitor’s death caused the Multiverse to fold in on itself and ball up into a single Positive Matter Universe with the Anti-Matter Universe “below it”. Because every other Earth that wasn’t the central Earth was destroyed, Multiversal survivors from this event were sent into a pocket dimension meant to represent Heaven. Instead, they bore witness to what they deemed to be hell.

    Kal-L & Lois Lane of Earth-Two, Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three, and Superboy-Prime from Earth-Prime, all saw the effects of the Crisis unfold on this “New Earth” and decided that it needed to be culled from existence. To that end, Alex Luthor devised the infamous cosmic tuning fork and intended to trap the Superheroes of this New Universe to re-create the “perfect Earth”. But he ends up proving that Lex Luthor can never be “good” in any world, and betrays his comrades by revealing his scheme to re-create the Multiverse.

    In the end, Alex’s plans fail and he’s shot in the head by New Earth’s Lex Luthor, while Superboy-Prime goes on a rampage that kills Earth-Two’s Superman and cements him as the craziest DC supervillain, ever. But all of this could have been avoided if the Justice League had listened to one of their “lesser” comrades.

    For an entire week, Ted Kord had been investigating seemingly random instances that, when taken together, revealed a horrifying cosmic master plan; stolen money & Kryptonite deposits, cryptic meetings with Shazam, the onset of a war between Rann & Thanagar, and the fact that someone was after his own life. Blue Beetle was elusive & intelligent enough to keep his tracks clear and locate the Earthly source of these disturbances; his old friend & the new Black King of Checkmate, Maxwell Lord.

    Kord confronts Max about his plans and is offered the choice to either join him or die; Ted chooses the latter and has his most-iconic comic book moment when he tells his former friend to rot in hell before getting shot in the head. If Batman or Martian Manhunter or even Wonder Woman had taken Blue Beetle seriously when he came to them with the information he had, they could’ve helped him stop all of this from happening; but they kept treating him like second string, and he paid for it with his life. At least, that is, in the Positive Matter Universe. Things played out very differently in the Dark Multiverse, and it was absolutely for the worse.

    “Once you kill a man, there’s no going back” – The day Ted Kord changed forever

    “Once you kill a man, there’s no going back” – The day Ted Kord changed forever

    Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Infinite Crisis begins, as all of these issues do, with Tempus of the Fuginauts scouring the lifeless domain for a ray of hope. He peers within the Dark Multiverse hoping against hope that he could find some hero here that would help him prevent the Crisis about to unfold in the realms above.

    This time, he has turned his eye to a Universe that truly knew the meaning of a “Crisis Event”; one where the Anti-Monitor had been slain and Alex Luthor’s machinations to re-forge the Multiverse were in full effect. Tempus could warn the heroes of this world of the coming darkness if he wants to, but he doesn’t; because he doesn’t need to. You see, in this world, instead of “facing his death like a real man”, for the first time in his life, Blue Beetle truly felt like a bug.

    Maxwell Lord’s O.M.A.C.s were too strong for someone like him to tackle head-on, and Ted Kord felt the full weight of the futility of his fight for the first time. It looked like he was about to give up and embrace his fate here as well, albeit it’d be a much more tragic death considering he was berating himself at the end. Only, this doesn’t end up happening.

    As Blue Beetle reflects on his second-string status, he tries to tell himself that he did it so he wouldn’t have as much blood on his hands. But now, as he creeps closer to his own demise, he realizes that he was out of his depth. He had severely over-estimated himself and was now paying the price Batman had always said he would. And as Maxwell Lord gloated about “always knowing” that Ted would be the one to find him and offered him a place in Checkmate as his equal, Blue Beetle finally realized what he had to do.

    His whole life, he had avoided taking direct actions because there would be direct consequences for them that he was too unbothered to deal with in the past. Not anymore. Ted had worked too hard and lost too much to uncover the Infinite Crisis conspiracy, and he couldn’t turn back now. He faked joining Checkmate so Max could release him and then proceeded to kill him in cold blood, breaking his oath of never taking a life.

    As soon as he did this, Brother One sprang into action and tried to initiate the King is Dead Protocol; which would have spelled disaster for Earth’s metahuman population. But something about his coding system gave Ted Kord an idea that would seal his fate as a man who no longer cared about being a small fish in an ocean.

    The Black King’s “Crusade of Justice”: Blue Beetle starts “fixing” the Universe

    The Black King’s “Crusade of Justice” Blue Beetle starts “fixing” the Universe

    Killing Max effectively made Ted the new Black King of Checkmate, and with all of his new toys, he couldn’t sit behind and let the Universe tear itself apart. So, he got to work. Blue Beetle uses Brother One to track down the stream of black money flowing out of Checkmate & Kord to a secret society; more specifically, Lex Luthor’s Secret Society of Supervillains.

    Kord is able to cut off their resources by having Brother Eye hack their seemingly impenetrable systems. He also notices the Secret Six tracking Luthor’s organization and puts them under his direct employ, giving him his own team of superheroes. Next, he stops Jean Loring from acquiring the Heart of Darkness, which contains within it the powers of Eclipso; thereby thwarting the former Spirit of Vengeance from seducing The Spectre and destroying every magical being in the cosmos.

    Ted Kord travels to the Rock of Eternity in this Universe as well, but not by mistake; by choice. He communes with the Wizard Shazam and figures out a way to stop The Spectre’s mindless rampage. After doing that, he uses O.M.A.C technology and zeta beams to stop the Rann-Thanagar War before it even begins. At present, his teams are pursuing the mysterious figure sponsoring the Secret Society which was known only by his code-name – Mockingbird.

    Ted Kord basically manages to solve every threat that the Universe faces in the lead-up to the Infinite Crisis, gaining unprecedented footing in the intergalactic community. And these developments highly disturb Batman, who is hearing all of it from the mouth of one of Blue Beetle’s most-devout followers.

    Bruce, being the high-and-mighty snob he is, tells his “contact” that this is a priority because he doesn’t think Ted Kord of all people should have this much power and that he will bring it up with the League. That’s when Blue Beetle steps out of the shadows and basically threatens Bruce to leave him alone; while hinting that it was his darkness that gave Brother One sentience in the first place.

    Batman rejects this theory and insists that there is foul play involved, but Blue Beetle has been ridiculed and trampled upon enough for one lifetime. He gives Bruce an ultimatum; he would either let Ted fight this war his way or risk getting his secret identity exposed to the world. Only with Beetle, it will come with the receipts. Batman is forced to re-treat as Blue Beetle continues his “crusade of justice”.

    Goals Achieved & Relationships Destroyed: Ted Kord’s apotheosis

    Goals Achieved & Relationships Destroyed Ted Kord’s apotheosis

    Since becoming Checkmate’s Black King, Ted Kord has become a busy man; at any given point he is coordinating between 6-10 strike forces, and monitoring all the peace deals he helped negotiate; all in the name of the greater good. In fact, so absorbed by his newfound purpose in Blue Beetle, that it’s the only reason he contacted his closest friend Booster Gold. Context: Before infiltrating Checkmate’s HQ, Ted’s home was blown up and Booster was badly injured in the incident.

    And after he became the Black King, he just…never returned. Booster went to the JLA Watchtower to demand answers from the league as to why they weren’t looking for their comrade, but all he got was the same lame excuse that the Trinity gives to small-fries like them. He stormed off telling them that whatever Ted Kord did next would be on their heads; and little did any of them know just how true those words would ring in the near future.

    At the present, though, Ted is trying to get the band back together! He wants to put together Team Blue & Gold for one last adventure; all Booster has to do is help him find Mockingbird, as in the good old days. But Michael can see that his best-friend Theodore is no longer the man he once knew; and he refuses, saying Beetle can “handle it himself”.

    Dejected and enraged, Kord zeroes in on the location of Mockingbird and attacks it with his Secret Six only to find everyone…dead. Turns out, that the Mockingbird signal was coming from Lex’s armor, and someone has ripped Black Adam in half. The very next instant, Blue Beetle’s unit is massacred by Superboy-Prime, and Alexander Luthor reveals himself as the mastermind of all everything that had happened.

    He invites Ted to check out his massive, Anti-Monitor-themed Tuning Fork and informs him of his plans to re-create the Multiverse but, to his utter astonishment, Blue Beetle turns the tables on him. He cleverly manipulates Superboy-Prime into turning over to his side by telling him that if he, a second string, can accomplish all this, then Prime doesn’t need Luthor to “create the perfect Earth”.

    Luthor kills Kal-L & Lois, Superboy kills Luthor, and now Prime & Blue Beetle are left with a Multiversal Tuning Fork-sized problem on their hands. But Ted Kord knows just what to do with it; and if he wants to save the universe and make it “perfect”, he’s going to need Superboy’s help. The pair agree to help each other and Prime deposits the Tuning Fork at Checkmate HQ. They think they’re going to save lives; little do they know they’re about to doom their entire reality.

    Ted Kord becomes Brother Blue Beetle: The Evil Biomechanical God of this Universe

    Ted Kord becomes Brother Blue Beetle The Evil Biomechanical God of this Universe

    After reaching base, Kord requests Brother One to interface itself with the Tuning Fork because he has a plan. Everything he has done so far has been in service of preventing the next Crisis. He has forsaken his ideals, his closest friends, and his family for this. So you can imagine how horrified he must have been when Brother One reveals to him that the cause for the next Crisis Event is the very heroes who fight to defend the world; with the chief cause being the Justice League.

    Ted Kord argues with the AI, stating the League’s case on their behalf even after being treated like second fiddle his entire life. But in his drive to prove himself worthy of being an A-List hero, he seemed to have forgotten that it was Alexander Luthor who gave Brother One his sentience; and that in the end, Batman was right, and his AI had been severely compromised.

    But it was too late to do anything about it now because, in his bid to prove himself correct, Ted Kord had taken the final steps towards giving in to his own malice. First, he instructed Superboy-Prime to attack his counterpart from this Earth, and then move on to the Teen Titans. Second, he integrated the Anti-Monitor’s cosmic armor with the O.M.A.C nano-bots; and then infused the end product with himself, thus becoming Brother Blue Beetle: a cyborg worse than Cyborg himself.

    Using his newfound mechanical body and his technopathic powers, Beetle infiltrates a Trinity meeting and attacks them. Batman taunts him that he can’t defeat them with his level of power; but Ted points out that he’s here to recruit, not destroy. Suddenly, the O.M.A.C nano-bots encase Trinity’s bodies as Blue Beetle reveals that he had reconfigured them to meet each individual JLA member’s genetic code, thus ensuring complete servitude.

    Kord then checks in with Superboy-Prime, but turns out he’s gone against his orders and is using lethal force; Ted turns him into an O.M.A.C bot as well for that betrayal. After doing this, he instructs his legion to assimilate all metahumans on Earth as quickly & bloodlessly as possible, but he’s confronted by the one person he could always rely on Booster Gold. Michael pleads with Ted to stop his madness but when that doesn’t work, he threatens to kill him; at which point Blue Beetle’s self-aware armor blasts a hole in Booster’s chest, working to “protect” its wearer.

    Maddened by grief & rage, Ted Kord allows Brother One to kill his emotional centers in order to accomplish his mission on a much more rapid scale; but it’s all for nothing in the end. As soon as Ted Kord gives up control, Brother One switches his legion from assimilation to lethal sanctions and immediately attempts to take over the world. After an unknown amount of time has passed, Ted Kord is strapped into a chair at the Checkmate HQ, seemingly serving as the nucleus of Brother One’s AI hivemind.

    He reminisces that he had always been a bug, but he used to feel angry at that. Now, connected to his O.M.A.C brothers & sisters, he felt freer than he ever had. The last full-page spread of Tales from the Dark Multiverse shows Brother Blue Beetle hovering over the ravaged field of battle, with dead gods at his feet & dead gods falling from the skies, declaring that finally, he was in control; and this time, there was no one who could take it away from him. Well, no one in this corner of the Dark Multiverse, anyway.

    Why Dark Multiverse Blue Beetle is DC’s Worst Nightmare

    Why Dark Multiverse Blue Beetle is DC’s Worst Nightmare

    You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain. Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face might have said this line, but the person who truly embodies this concept is Ted Kord from the Dark Multiverse. Emboldened by the fact that he was doing something much bigger than the petty squabbles he had been solving as part of the Justice League International, he grew arrogant; and his arrogance bred ignorance.

    In the Positive Matter Universe, Blue Beetle was a scrupulous detective, no matter how hard he was ridiculed. Here, though, he let the most-important detail about his closest ally slip through his mind; and it ended up costing humanity its very existence. Blue Beetle set out to protect the Multiverse when he first stumbled across the Infinite Crisis Conspiracy.

    In death, he was remembered as a martyr by the world above, and perhaps that was for the best; because in life, his ego & confidence, only leads to the destruction of everything he holds near & dear; including himself.

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