The most well-known and painful memories for fans that collected during Infinite Crisis was how profoundly it would impact fan-favorite Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle. By 2005 Ted Kord had largely fallen into limbo, but prior to that he, along with Booster Gold, had become fan favorites during the late 1980’s/early 1990’s Justice League, later turned Justice League International, then Justice League: Europe, and then back to Justice League. The pair brought comedy under the skillful script writing and pencils of Keith Giffen and J.M. Demattis.
As with so many things, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but that is only one part of the puzzle as to why it was so traumatic when Maxwell Lord, former benefactor, leader, and teammate of Ted Kord, puts a bullet in his head in Countdown to Infinite Crisis.
However, without the second ingredient – a healthy dose of nostalgia – Blue Beetle’s death would have been regardless, however Johns knows how to turn the emotional screws on long time collectors. In the months preceding the release of Countdown on Infinite Earths, Dan Didio was featured in a Q&A in Wizard Magazine, during which he hinted that both Blue Beetle and Booster Gold would be making a grand return to the DCU. While Booster would survive the Crisis and go on to become a major player in the post-Infinite Crisis DCU, Blue Beetle was unceremoniously executed, alone in the Swiss Alps, at the headquarters of Lord’s repurposed Checkmate organization.
By the end of Countdown on Infinite Earth’s Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, had met his end, but a new inheritor of sacred scarab would be found before the end of the blockbuster event. Young, Latin American, Jamie Reyes from New Mexico would have the mantle of Blue Beetle thrust upon him, however, unlike the previous Blue Beetle this one was decidedly different. With the scarab fused to his spinal cord, Reyes activates a never before seen exo-skeleton armor that, lucky for all the heroes involved, is the only means of discovering Batman’s lost Brother MK-I satellite