The Green Lantern Corps Podcast

The true hero, Ted Kord

Posted in Profiles by mrread7 on March 24, 2008

Continuing from yesterday with Blue Beetle week, is Ted Kord. Ted is probably one of the most fan favorites around even long before his death that kicked off Infinite Crisis two years ago. Ted was technically the poor man’s Batman, even though he had his own company and plenty of money and success. However, a lot of heroes didn’t take the guy seriously, considering what happened during the Justice League International (thanks a lot max). The one thing that made Ted stand out was that he never gave up. No matter how stupid or hard the case, he would stick to his guns and find a way to solve a crime or mystery. It was these same ethics that forged such a strong friendship with Booster Gold. Since Ted wast he only one to really believe in him and later with Wonder Woman. Here’s Ted’s story:

Ted Kord was a genius-level inventor and a gifted athlete, sharing much more in common with the Fox original than did Charlton’s earlier reimagining of the character.
Kord’s signature equipment was his bug-shaped personal aircraft, which he entered and exited typically with a cable suspended from the cockpit. He also generally eschewed personal weaponry except for a pistol that made a blinding flash of light and, additionally, a strong airblast to gain the advantage when he closed in for hand-to-hand combat.Ditko is best known as the co-creator (with Stan Lee) and original artist of Spider-Man at Marvel Comics. While Blue Beetle and Spider-Man have some similar characteristics, such as being wise-cracking, acrobatic, arthropod-themed urban heroes, they evolved into very different characters. Both characters are accomplished inventors (Ted Kord is considered one of the premier minds of the DC Universe), great athletes, and skilled acrobats. Both characters also have strong, if sometimes ill-timed, senses of humor that they use to mask their insecurities — more so in the case of the Beetle, who has no powers of his own (and in later years has to deal with occasional weight gain). On the other hand, the Beetle has none of the angst associated with brooding vigilantes like Batman. Unlike Spider-Man, Blue Beetle usually operates in a group rather than alone, but like Spidey, he is a loyal friend. In fact, Beetle has been the best friend of the slightly selfish superhero Booster Gold when the two were paired in the Justice League, and they would continue to feature as a double act until the end of said superhero team.
The Ted Kord Blue Beetle ran as a backup feature in Captain Atom #83-86 (Nov. 1966 – June 1967) before getting his own title, which ran from #1-5 (June 1967 – Nov. 1968). A sixth issue was produced, but published in the Charlton Portfolio by CPL/Gang. The Question ran as a backup series, with the fifth issue featuring a quasi-team-up in which the Blue Beetle story continues in part in the Question tale.
An origin was given in #2, linking Ted Kord to the previous Blue Beetle. Ted was revealed as a former student of Dan Garrett, and when they were investigating Ted’s Uncle Jarvis, they learned Jarvis was working to create an army of androids to take over Earth. Garrett changed into Blue Beetle, but was killed in the battle. As he died, he passed on the responsibility of being Blue Beetle to Ted, but wasn’t able to pass on the mystical scarab, a convenient means for Ditko to explain his preferred power-free character. There was a hint that one android was still left in stasis, but this would remain unresolved until the DC series of the late 1980s.
In the early 1980s, the first issue of Charlton’s anthology comic Charlton Bullseye, featured a team-up of the Blue Beetle and the Question. Later, AC Comics would publish a story intended for Charlton Bullseye in Americomics #3, and a one-shot of a team-up of all the Charlton “Action Heroes”, as the company called its lineup.

DC acquired the Charlton heroes in the mid-1980s, and used the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event to integrate them all into the DC Universe. During this period Blue Beetle had his own series, written by Len Wein. Also published during this time was Secret Origins #2 (cover illustrated by Gil Kane), which explained the origins and careers of the Ted Kord and Dan Garrett Blue Beetles in the post-Crisis continuity. They would also follow up on the hinted android in stasis from the Charlton series, which would eventually become ‘Carapax, the Indestructible Man’.
Ted Kord was sometimes shown as an industrialist, the owner of Kord Industries; more often he was short on money, leading to his entering “get-rich-quick” schemes with Booster Gold.
A brief appearance in JLA: Year One showed the young Ted working in Kord Industries R&D, where he designed the JLA HQ security system. Upon meeting the heroes he thought, “Screw the family business. I want to be one of those guys”, possibly explaining the company’s fluctuating status since he took over. In recent comics, it has been implied that Kord Industries has become a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, headed by Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman. Blue Beetle is probably best known as the wisecracking member of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’s lighthearted, five-year run on various Justice League of America titles (notably Justice League International), where he was memorably partnered with fellow third-string hero Booster Gold, and the two quickly became best friends. Among fans, they were known collectively as the “Blue and Gold” team. For a while, Beetle grappled with a weight problem, but with sheer determination and coaching from the hero General Glory, he defeated it. After Giffen and DeMatteis left, Justice League America continued to run until #113. Dan Jurgens tied the “Death of Superman” storyline into JLA, in which Doomsday left Blue Beetle in a coma during his murderous rampage and a six-inch scar on the back of his skull. Beetle and Booster both subsequently joined the short-lived Justice League offshoot known as Extreme Justice.
Blue Beetle then entered a period of relative obscurity. The miniseries The LAW (Living Assault Weapons) reunited Blue Beetle and the other heroes acquired from Charlton, but the series met with critical disfavor.

In July 2003, Giffen, DeMatteis, and original JLI artist Kevin Maguire reunited for the six-issue miniseries Formerly Known As The Justice League, where many of the original JLI characters re-teamed with a storefront office. Beetle, who had grown in maturity, was an important member of this new team, the “Super Buddies”. A sequel story arc, I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League, was initially slated as a second miniseries but instead ran, delayed, in JLA: Classified #4-9.
Ted made several appearances in Birds of Prey, at first as Oracle’s internet friend and later in person. It was hinted in several issues that Ted had a crush on Oracle. Ted had gone back to his company, but still had many, many problems with it, problems Oracle tried to help resolve. During this time, it was revealed he had a heart condition, but this did not stop him from assisting when it was needed. After his death (see below) the Birds Of Prey visited a statue in Valhalla Cemetery (built in his honour, Birds of Prey #96). Black Canary revealed that being in the JLA was only fun when Blue Beetle was there. Oracle revealed that she had had a cyber crush on him.In the 80-page special Countdown to Infinite Crisis, published on March 30, 2005, Blue Beetle discovered a renewed Checkmate organization led by Maxwell Lord, former bankroller of the JLA, headquartered in a Belgium castle fortress, where Beetle was captured. Lord revealed to Blue Beetle that his intent was to use the organization to ensure that metahumans, including superheroes, would be kept under surveillance and control by humans. Lord then gave Beetle an ultimatum to join his organization. When Kord refused, Lord murdered him with a bullet to the head.
That same story had earlier reiterated that Ted Kord had thought the scarab destroyed back in Blue Beetle vol.6 #18 (1987); however, it had been rediscovered, untouched, in a temple in Egypt, and handed over to Kord. It is unclear as to whether or not this is the same scarab created from a piece of future technology magically infused by Nabu the Wizard in the Time Masters mini-series featuring Rip Hunter. Shazam took the scarab upon encountering Kord, fueling speculation about the possibility of the character’s return during DC’s Infinite Crisis series. This possibility was dashed when it was asked in the Wizard World convention if Kord would ever return. Writer Greg Rucka stated, “There was a breeze blowing through his brain, and he was incinerated. How much clearer can it be?”
It should be noted, however, that particular situation occurred before the arch-villains of Infinite Crisis succeeded in altering reality and reforming Earth and the universe with a slightly different history.

The death of Ted Kord precipitated the events of Infinite Crisis.

The reorganization of Brother Eye and the OMAC project.

Max Lord is revealed as a villain and takes telepathic control of Superman, which led to Wonder Woman being forced to kill Lord.

Shazam warns Ted about Lex Luthor, who supposedly straddled the worlds of magic and science. Events in Infinite Crisis #3 revealed this to be Alexander Luthor, Jr. in disguise.

Booster Gold returns to the 25th century. He later returns to the present with Skeets to help find Brother Eye. The success of the mission puts Booster back into the spotlight and sets in motion the events of 52.

The young teenager Jaime Reyes would later discover the scarab and become the new Blue Beetle. J’onn J’onzz has a statue of him in his memorial to fallen Justice League members. When recruiting members for the new Justice League, Superman suggests Booster Gold, and Batman responds “There are better ways to honor Ted.”
An individual that looks like Ted as Blue Beetle has shown up in Manhunter vol. 3 #27 (January 2007), before Wonder Woman’s trial for the death of Max Lord. Claiming to be amnesiac, and have forgotten all about his trip in Switzerland, he manages to gain Manhunter’s trust. Fooling Wonder Woman’s lasso with evasive remarks as answers, he’s finally discovered by Batman’s DNA test as Everyman, the cannibalistic shapeshifter of Infinity, Inc. and subdued by Manhunter herself.
In Geoff Johns’ 2007-08 ongoing Booster Gold series, Booster agrees to help Rip Hunter set right the timeline, but at a cost: Rip must help Booster go back and save Ted. Rip Hunter, however, tries to shock Booster Gold into acknowledging his inability to change past “solidified” events, tricking him into witnessing Barbara Gordon’s crippling assault over and over again. As Booster Gold is going to accept his fate, a futuristic Blue Beetle appears with Dan Garrett and Jaime Reyes in tow to show him how to turn the time around Ted’s death into “malleable time.” Booster Gold betrays Rip Hunter, and with the other Beetles’ help, rescue Ted Kord from death at the hands of Maxwell Lord.[5] The four Beetles escape together in time, the technology used to save Blue Beetle preserving the future events the way they were meant to unfold (thus enabling Jaime to keep his powers and his role as the “new” Beetle), with the world at large still believing Ted Kord to be deceased. The story arc, “Blue and Gold” reveals that this act has altered the present, creating a timeline where Max and his OMAC’s have turned the world into a police state.

There’s a lot going on with Ted right now and depending on how Blue & Gold wraps up this summer will reveal the final fate of the Blue Beetle. If you ask me, Ted is going to do what he has always done, be a hero.


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