Beetle (comics)

The Beetle is the name used by multiple fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. It is also the name of three versions of high tech armor used by seven separate characters.

Beetle
Spider-Man Web of Doom 3.jpg
Spider-Man: Web of Doom #3 featuring Abner Jenkins's second Beetle armor and the version most associated with the name.
Art by Shawn McManus.
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceAbner Jenkins:
Strange Tales #123 (August 1964)
Leila Davis:
Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1 (May 1991)
Three Beetles:
Thunderbolts #103 (August 2006)
Ultimate Marvel:
Ultimate Spider-Man #124 (September 2008)
Janice Lincoln:
Captain America #607 (August 2010)
Hobgoblin's Beetle:
The Amazing Spider-Man #6 (November 2014)
Created byAbner Jenkins:
Stan Lee (writer)
Carl Burgos (artist)
Leila Davis:
Danny Fingeroth
Al Milgrom
Three Beetles:
Fabian Nicieza
Tom Grummett
Ultimate Marvel:
Brian Michael Bendis (writer)
Stuart Immonen (artist)
Janice Lincoln:
Ed Brubaker
Jackson Butch Guice
Hobgoblin's Beetle:
Dan Slott
CharactersAbner Jenkins
Leila Davis
Janice Lincoln

Publication historyEdit

The Beetle debuted in the "Human Torch" segment of Strange Tales #123 (August 1964) with the original incarnation Abner Jenkins using the first armor.[1] This version was beaten by the Thing and Human Torch. The Human Torch had another tussle with the Beetle in The Amazing Spider-Man #21 (Jan 1965), aided by Spider-Man.[2]

This version would be used until the character switched to the second armor in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #59 (October 1981) (which is most associated with the name) and would be in use until Thunderbolts #1 (April 1997) when Jenkins's alter ego was changed to MACH-1. A new version debuted in Thunderbolts #35 (February 2000). This version resembled a walking tank and would be used by Jenkins and the second incarnation Leila Davis. This version was crushed by Graviton, killing Davis who was still inside at the time. After Davis's death, the Beetle armor would go unused until Thunderbolts #103 (August 2006) when all three versions were stolen and used by three college students. The individual names of these characters were not revealed in this initial appearance.

Fictional character biographyEdit

Abner JenkinsEdit

 
Cover to Strange Tales #123 which showed Abner Jenkins's original Beetle armor (in the left). Art by Jack Kirby.

An ex-master mechanic, Abner Jenkins left his career to pursue life as an adventurer seeking wealth and fame under the Beetle name. A defeat at the Fantastic Four's hands sent Beetle into the direction of a life of crime where he was even a member of the Masters of Evil. Years later, Jenkins joined the Thunderbolts, a choice that eventually took him on a more heroic pathway in life.

Leila DavisEdit

 
Leila Davis's Beetle armor on the cover of Thunderbolts #35. Art by Mark Bagley.

The widow of minor supervillain Ringer, Leila Davis began her criminal career as a driver for the super villain Sinister Syndicate team. After Ringer's death, Leila would go on to have her own costumed career, first as Hardshell and finally as the Beetle. She was killed when Graviton crushed the Beetle armor with her still inside.

Leila is introduced as the widow of the Ringer (Anthony Davis). After Anthony is manipulated by Abner Jenkins into a life of crime that included multiple conflicts with Spider-Man, he was shot by the anti-hero Scourge. Leila vows revenge on all three. She joins the Sinister Syndicate team led by Jenkins, in order to get close to him. She also serves as the group's getaway driver.[3]

Once Boomerang is captured by Spider-Man on the group's first mission, she began dating Speed Demon. Eventually, the Shocker engineers a breakout for Boomerang and the team fractures, with Boomerang, Rhino and Leila (using her husband's old weapons) battling the Beetle, Speed Demon and Hydro-Man in the middle of New York City.[volume & issue needed]

After attempting to kill Beetle, Leila is disarmed by Spider-Man and arrested along with Jenkins and Boomerang.[4]

Sometime later, she is paroled from prison and immediately returns to her old ways. Donning a new red and black suit of weaponized armor and referring to herself as "Hardshell", she allies with Boomerang, Rhino and the Vulture. The group becomes involved in a massive fight that also involves Stegron, Doctor Octopus, Swarm, the Answer, Jenkins and Spider-Man, with each party trying to gain control of an experimental gun. Spider-Man eventually stood victorious and most of the costumed criminals are taken into custody. Leila is teleported away by her husband Anthony, who had survived being shot by Scourge and had been turned into the cyborg Strikeback by the criminal organization A.I.M..[5]

She reappears years later taking on the Thunderbolts team (which a reformed Jenkins helped found), ironically now referring to herself as the "Beetle". She is wearing a tank-like exoskeleton painted in the same paint scheme as both of Jenkins' previous Beetle costumes—a new iteration of the Beetle armor that Jenkins himself had designed while working for the Commission on Superhuman Activities.[6]

As the second Beetle, Leila eventually joins the group known as the Redeemers, which includes former members of the Thunderbolts.[7] When her true identity is revealed to the rest of her teammates, she tells them that her husband Anthony died some time earlier, his body breaking down due to his cyborg enhancements.[8]

The group soon encounters the powerful super villain Graviton, and quickly into the fight he nonchalantly uses his gravity powers to crush the Beetle armor - with Leila inside - into a small cube, killing her instantly.[9]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

As Hardshell, Leila wore a powered suit which granted her superhuman strength and durability, and a variety of weapons.

As the second Beetle, her suit possessed artificial wings which allowed her to fly while also giving her superhuman strength and durability and different weapons.

The three BeetlesEdit

Three college students stole the previous incarnations of the Beetle armor during Marvel's Civil War event.[10] The individual piloting the first version was called Joaquim and the person in the second version was revealed to be female. No other information was revealed about them in their subsequent appearances in Thunderbolts.[11]

In those issues which made up a storyline named the "Guardian Protocols", they defend the city of Dallas against a plot by the Grandmaster as members of an enlarged Thunderbolts team recruited by Baron Zemo and consisting of numerous supervillains.[volume & issue needed] When the Overmind lets the full power of the Wellspring (the source of power the Grandmaster is using) loose when he attempts to revive Baron Zemo, the defenders of Sydney and Dallas are overrun, with the three Beetles presumably among them.[volume & issue needed]

In 2007, the three Beetles were identified among the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book Avengers: The Initiative #1.[12]

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5 revealed that the three college students that wear the three Beetle armors are named Joaquim Robichaux, Elizabeth Vaughn and Gary Quinn.[13]

Janice LincolnEdit

 
Janice Lincoln's Beetle armor.

A new female Beetle attacks Captain America and Black Widow.[14] The two managed to defeat her and remand her to The Raft.[15] As part of the Marvel NOW! event, Beetle returns as a member of the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six. In this appearance, her first name is revealed to be Janice,[16] and is later revealed to be the daughter of Tombstone.[17]

Beetle features as one of the main characters in Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Janice's origin is later recounted, where it is shown that as a child, she idolized her father and his criminal activities, but was forbidden to take part in them. After building a successful career as a defense attorney, she was appointed to defend Baron Zemo, at which point she volunteered to work for him as the new Beetle. Janice's armor is also revealed to have been built by the Fixer.[18]

Hobgoblin's BeetleEdit

Roderick Kingsley had sold one of Abner Jenkins's old Beetle armors and gear to an unnamed criminal. He was seen at the Bar With No Name attending the wake of Electro's servant Francine Frye. Beetle was later seen at the Bar With No Name among the patrons who want the Black Cat to be the Queen of the Criminal Underworld.[19] The Hobgoblin later regained the services of Beetle.[20]

Other versionsEdit

Marvel UKEdit

The Beetle name was used by an armored S.T.R.I.K.E. superhuman restraint squad in the Jaspers' Warp story arc[21] published by the Marvel UK imprint.

Ultimate MarvelEdit

The Ultimate Marvel version of Beetle is a mysterious unnamed mercenary from Latveria with a completely revamped armor.[22] Spider-Man first finds Beetle robbing a sample of the Venom symbiote from Roxxon. Beetle later breaks into Bolivar Trask's lab where Eddie Brock is held, leading to Venom chasing after Beetle. Just as Beetle is cornered, Venom is stopped by Spider-Man. When the Venom symbiote leaves Brock and attaches to Spider-Man, Beetle escapes in the confusion. Disguised as a civilian which Brock least expected, Beetle later captures Venom to deliver to Latveria.[23] Beetle's suit is later seen being repaired by the Tinkerer when a group of villains arrives for weapons against Spider-Man.[24]

In other mediaEdit

TelevisionEdit

  • The Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle appeared in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends animated series episode "Origin of the Spider-Friends", voiced by Christopher Collins.[citation needed]
  • The Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle makes a brief appearance in the 1990s Iron Man animated series episode "Armor Wars" Pt. 1, voiced by John Reilly with a Liverpudlian accent evocative of the similarly named band.[citation needed]
  • The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of the Beetle appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Steven Blum.[25] This version is depicted as a highly capable criminal mercenary who is mostly silent, with his most notable trademark being the unusually large amount of fold-out rocket launchers hidden throughout his armor's surface. Debuting in the episode "Beetle Mania", he targets Daily Bugle Communications after J. Jonah Jameson's campaign exposed the mercenary's criminal dealings with various supervillains, only to be defeated by Spider-Man and the S.H.I.E.L.D. trainees. In the episode "Attack of the Beetle", the eponymous character seeks revenge against Spider-Man for their previous encounter and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson for several past encounters, but is ultimately defeated by his targets with May Parker's help. In the episode "Hawkeye", the Beetle attempts to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Tri-Carrier, but is defeated and captured by Spider-Man and Hawkeye. In the episode "The Sinister Six", the Beetle joins the titular team to seek revenge against Spider-Man once more, only to be defeated by Iron Fist. In the episode "Agent Venom", Beetle is hired by Taskmaster to obtain a sample of the Venom symbiote, fighting Spider-Man once more until he is defeated by Agent Venom. In the episode "New Warriors", Beetle is among the supervillains released by accident during the battle between the New Warriors and the Thunderbolts, but is swiftly defeated and re-incarcerated by the S.H.I.E.L.D. trainees. In the episode "Contest of Champions" Pt. 1, the Beetle, the Abomination, and the Executioner are dispatched by the Grandmaster to capture Spider-Man. In the episode "Anti-Venom", Spider-Man, Agent Venom, and the Patrioteer defeat the Beetle before he can be recruited into Doctor Octopus' Hydra-backed Sinister Six.
    • Both the Abner Jenkins and Leila Davis incarnations of the Beetle make non-speaking cameo appearances in "Beetle Mania" within the S.H.I.E.L.D. trainees' imagination.[citation needed]
  • The Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle appears in the Avengers: Ultron Revolution animated series, voiced by Mark C. Hanson.
  • The Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle appears in the Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Fred Tatasciore.[25]

FilmEdit

Janice Lincoln appears in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Far From Home, portrayed by Claire Rushbrook.[26]

Video gamesEdit

 
Beetle in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game.
  • The Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle appears in both the Super NES and Genesis versions of the Spider-Man video game.[citation needed]
  • The Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle appears as the first boss in the Japan-exclusive 1995 Super Famicom game Spider-Man: Lethal Foes.[citation needed]
  • The Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle briefly appears in the PlayStation exclusive game Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, voiced by Daran Norris.[25]
  • The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of the Beetle appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, voiced by Tucker Smallwood.[citation needed] This version acts as the Latverians' agent, collecting genetic information from superhumans to genetically-engineer super-soldiers. When he first arrives in New York, he steals a vial containing Sandman, and releases the Ultimate Marvel|Green Goblin from his cell on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier as a distraction to allow him to carry out his operations uninterrupted. While flying through the city, the Beetle encounters Spider-Man and tries to escape from him, but the hero chases him to a construction site, where the two have a brief fight. While the Beetle manages to escape by ducking into the nearby Latverian Embassy, Spider-Man learns his location from passing civilians and informs S.H.I.E.L.D. He is later sent to take a sample of the Venom symbiote and lures him to an abandoned warehouse, where he traps him in an energy cage. The Beetle then fights Venom, but the symbiote defeats him and escapes. Concept art in the game's Special Edition depicts the Beetle giving Sandman's vial to Doctor Doom.
  • The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of the Beetle appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced again by Steven Blum.[citation needed]

ToysEdit

  • In 1997, the Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle received an action figure in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in toyline despite not appearing in the show.
  • In 2005, the Leila Davis incarnation of the Beetle received an action figure in the "Spider-Man Classics" line.
  • In 2013, the Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Beetle received a figure in the Ultimate Spider-Man "Daily Bugle Showdown" play set from Lego.
  • In 2014, the Ultimate Marvel incarnation of the Beetle received a figure in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 line of the Marvel Legends series despite not appearing in the film.
  • In 2016, the Janice Lincoln incarnation of the Beetle received an action figure in the Absorbing Man BAF (Build-A-Figure) Spider-Man Marvel Legends line.
  • In 2017, the Abner Jenkins incarnation of the Beetle received an action figure in the Vulture Wing BAF Wave, coinciding with the release of the film Spider-Man: Homecoming.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Manning, Matthew K. (2012). Spider-Man Chronicle: Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. DK Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0756692360.
  3. ^ Thunderbolts #56 (2001)
  4. ^ Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1-4
  5. ^ Lethal Foes of Spider-Man #1-4
  6. ^ Thunderbolts vol.1 #48
  7. ^ Thunderbolts vol.1 #50
  8. ^ Thunderbolts vol.1 #54
  9. ^ Thunderbolts vol.1 #56
  10. ^ Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Taking Civil Liberties" Thunderbolts 103 (August 2006), Marvel Comics
  11. ^ These appearances were in:
    • Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Taking Civil Liberties" Thunderbolts 104 (September 2006)
    • Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Power Full" Thunderbolts 107 (December 2006)
    • Fabian Nicieza (w), Tom Grummett (p), Gary Erskine (i). "Power Full" Thunderbolts 108 (January 2007)
  12. ^ "''Avengers: The Initiative'' #1 Character Map". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-26. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  13. ^ The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5
  14. ^ Ed Brubaker (w), Mitch Breitweiser (p), Mitch Breitweiser, Butch Guice (i). "No Escape Part 2" Captain America v6, 607 (August 2010), Marvel Comics
  15. ^ Ed Brubaker (w), Butch Guice (p), Rick MagyarMark Pennington (i). "No Escape Part 3" Captain America v6, 606 (September 2010)
  16. ^ The Superior Spider-Man #1
  17. ^ Superior Foes of Spider-Man #6
  18. ^ Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7
  19. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #6
  20. ^ Spider-Woman Vol 6 #13
  21. ^ Alan Moore (w), Alan Davis (a). "Among Those Dark Satanic Mills (or Madwar)" The Mighty World Of Marvel 9 (February 1984), Marvel UK
  22. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #124
  23. ^ Brian Michael Bendis (w), Stuart Immonen (p), Wade Von Grawbadger (i). Ultimate Spider-Man 128 (January 2009), Marvel Comics
  24. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #158
  25. ^ a b c "Beetle Voice – Spider-Man franchise | Behind The Voice Actors". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved December 22, 2019. Check mark indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  26. ^ Bacon, Thomas (November 11, 2019). "Spider-Man: Far From Home secretly introduced another Marvel villain". Screen Rant. Retrieved January 10, 2019.

External linksEdit