When the "New 52" hit the DC Universe, some things stayed the same and others changed. With BLUE BEETLE, we're getting a chance to see Jaime Reyes discover the secrets to the suit while juggling high school, friendships along with deadly enemies while trying to be a hero.
If you've been reading the current series, you saw there is a bit of conflict going on and in the first issue we saw a bit of hatred between the Green Lantern Corps and the Reach, the race that the Blue Beetle Scarab originated from.
Comic Vine: Let's start off with Paco. For those that read issue #4 & 5, they've seen Paco is going through some big changes compared to pre-New 52. Where did the idea come from to give him a different direction?
Tony Bedard: I took a look at Blue Beetle's world in El Paso, Texas trying to find sources of antagonism for him and things that would affect the life of a 15 year-old. Brenda's aunt La Dama gave us a way to deal with drug cartels and organized crime, but there's also the street-level stuff, like youth gangs, so I made Paco a dropout who joined gang. Maybe I watched too many episodes of The Wire or something, but I'm fascinated by gang culture and the lure of such groups when you're young and trying to prove yourself. And I wanted Paco's character to contrast more strongly with Jaime and Brenda. Whenever possible, you don't want your characters all hitting the same note. These three grew up together but now they are growing apart. It's a classic coming of age moment I think most of us can relate to.== TEASER ==
CV: Now that Paco and Tia knows Jaime's identity, will he be able to keep his identity from Brenda or his parents?
TB: Well, Tia Amparo, a.k.a. La Dama, sort of got taken off the stage last issue when Blue Beetle made her spell backfire and swallow up La Dama, her house and her henchmen. So at least Jaime won't have to worry about the Cartel Queen of El Paso for a little while. As for the threat Paco poses, you really have to check out BLUE BEETLE 6 to learn the answer.
CV: Jaime hasn't really had any contact with The Reach, will that be happening soon?
TB: In BLUE BEETLE #9, Jaime will learn that The Reach are invading the Blue Lanterns (also in GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #9), which really brings home the scope of their threat. It's part of Jaime slowly coming to understand that his armor intends to end our world. In our first year of stories we've tried to keep the focus on developing Jaime's character, his supporting cast, and his very difficult partnership with that ultimate weapon fused to his spine.
CV: The Reach has a history with the Green Lantern Corps. What can you tell us about when they clash?
TONY: You'll see a very big Lantern/Reach clash in GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #9 and you'll see Blue Beetle meet Green Lantern Kyle Rayner in BLUE BEETLE #9. It's a mini crossover dealing with the ancient Reach/Lantern feud and setting up an interesting longterm dynamic between Blue Beetle and Green Lantern.
CV: Where do you see Jaime going, if he survives the crossover with the Green Lantern Corps? Would he stick alone or meet up with the Teen Titans as before pre-New 52.
TB: We've been talking about some sort of team affiliation for Jaime, but that's still in the planning stages, and not necessarily with the Teen Titans. Starting with BLUE BEETLE #7 I'm very focused on getting Blue Beetle interacting with the DCU at large. In fact, BLUE BEETLE #7 is the start of a long story arc with Blue Beetle in New York City. I want readers to know that he isn't just the hometown hero of El Paso. Blue Beetle is becoming a major player in the DCU.
CV: Everyone keeps asking, will Ted Kord ever be mentioned? With some changes happening with The New 52, we don't know for sure if Max Lord killed him and Dan DiDio has stated that the different "Crisis" haven't happened.
TB: As far as I'm concerned, Ted Kord hasn't been written out of continuity or anything like that. I have no doubt he will show up in the New 52 some day. But for now Jaime is the only Blue Beetle we want to focus on. It's nothing against Ted, it's just the need to establish Jaime on his own merits, not as someone trying to fill in someone else's boots.
Jaime is a terrific character all on his own -- certainly one of the 10 best new DC characters of the last decade -- and we don't want him overshadowed.
Check out our exclusive preview for BLUE BEETLE #6, on sale this week, February 15.