From the man who brought you Spiderman and Doctor Strange comes, well basically Batman without the brooding angst. No not Green Arrow.
‘The Blue Beetle’.
Originally invented way back in 1939 The Blue Beetle was a popular character in the day, drawing in events at the worlds fair, radio serials and Jack ‘The King’ Kirby. Yet like most superheroes he went out of vogue in the forties and faded from view. Yet once they began to return so too did ‘The Blue Beetle’ ready to fight crime once more. Though now played by Ted Kord, protégée to Garrett and the child of aforementioned Steve Ditko. From the swinging sixties onward Kord fought crime as the wise cracking superhero, teaming up with various branches of the Justice League and even going mano a mnao with Superman killer ‘Doomsday’ (he was knocked out cold). That is until 2005 when he met his end via bullet in the brain pan, squish. This was the life of Ted Kord. That is until today, well 2012, when Ted Kord returned in……………
Okay so it seems Ted is getting worse and worse at staying dead, but this web series could be one of the stranger cases. From the company ‘Rumblespoon‘ who have made nothing else and Donald Mckinney, who has also apparently made nothing else; comes Blue Beetle:TKR where Ted comes back to life for, uh, some reason.
If you haven’t heard of Ted Kord before then tough luck I guess, same goes for if you’d miss the traumatic news of his death.
Well that’s not quite true because it turns out at least one member of the crew can draw so each episode is preceded by a short comic book style intro that lets you know that Kord was dead and, uh, now he’s not. For some reason.
For those hoping for a dark, gritty, serious take on the super hero life style then look some place else. Same goes for those looking for a person suffering from the trauma of coming back to life. After all this ain’t no hit show on the CW. Instead Ted monologues on a rooftop for a few minutes before deciding he’s kind of peckish and the whole coming back from the dead bit can wait.
Unfortunately nobody thought to stuff a few bills in his coffin and with no pockets on his costume it’s up to his new friend Richard Kimball, still on the run and in clear and present danger after all these years, to show him the ropes of being homeless. After sorting out the sign Ted starts to provide enough to feed him and his new friend enough to get him to stay and listen to his tale.
Granted once he’s told his story he remembers that he has apartments dotted all around the city and is in fact several feet from one right now. At this point Kimball realises that being on a potentially hit web show isn’t such a good idea for a Fugitive and high tails it out of the series never to be seen again. Fortunately for us he is replaced by a hooker. Sorry an S&M style hooker, who lives next door.
From here Ted can start to try and figure this whole mess out, well when he isn’t following trails of keys, visiting cyber-cafes and being attacked for visiting strip clubs.
His trail will lead him to some of the biggest names in the criminal underworld ‘The Scarecrow’, ‘The Joker’ and ‘Dr Hypnovert’. However, *spoiler*, it won’t lead him to many answers. Hypnovert becomes the real second string to the series, a zed list super villain who would make Dr Insano feel pity. It’s a shame because I don’t think he’s the best character going in the series to back up Teds antics and of course no where near the best partner for Kord. But he provides a few laughs and he’s decently played though I would have preferred homeless man or hooker, or some kind of homeless hooker. Even the guy who thought he was Spiderman could have given us a few more miles.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t a few super heroic cameos coming your way however, with Batman popping up to show how bad he looks dressed like a leather rodent in broad daylight and John Stewart confident in the knowledge that no matter how low the budget he probably still won’t look as bad as Hal did in his own movie.
The series is short and plays to its budget meaning it’s not exactly big or epic in any way. What it is however is funny and smart and able to play to its strengths. It could have done with leading us a little closer to the answer if it wanted to ensure it would draw us back even if it was adamant that it didn’t want to spill all just yet.
Blue Beetle:TKR, is currently available for free on youtube and is well worth a look, especially seen as they are now rolling out season three.