Blue Beetle by Ian Sta Maria

Characters: Blue Beetle
Publishers: Charlton Comics / DC Comics
Artist: Ian Sta Maria
Reviewer: Chris Arrant

Based on the Steve Ditko’s redesign for the debut of Ted Kord under the mantle of Blue Beetle in 1996, Ian Sta Maria’s work here ties into the roots of the Kord character as a genius-level inventor. With Ted Kord having no superpowers of his own and a thriving technology-bent creative mind, one could easily see Ted Kord taking his costume to the next step with this more armored and functional costume.

While not going into the full-armor treatment of Marvel’s Iron Man, this redesign leaves room for Kord’s trademark acrobatics when these new Beetle wings removed. The wings themselves are the major component of this redesign, and one would assume that they would be functional for flight and for added armor protection from attacks.

Much has been made by the recent redesign of the new Blue Beetle by Cully Hamner; you can count me of the many who really enjoy it. But the key to Hamner’s redesign is that it is to a new person under the mask, and resultant of the return of the Blue Scarab that has powered Blue Beetles prior to Ted Kord. Hamner’s redesign is so distinct that it would be at odds with the Ted Kord character, but fits perfectly natural with the new person under the Blue Beetle mantle and DC’s new direction with the character. The redesign shown here by Ian Sta Maria is intended and more befitting the long running Ted Kord Blue Beetle.

17 comments to “Blue Beetle by Ian Sta Maria”
  1. Assuming the wings fold in, I think this is absoultely gorgeous. It works on so many levels and if Ian didn’t see the Cully Hamner redesign, you’d have to agree that great minds think alike.

    I really think this one is killer…one of the best I’ve seen so far on PR.

  2. I dig it. I think it looks like a special ‘battle suit’ Ted could pull out in emergency situations, rather than a standard uniform, but it’s really cool.

  3. dean dude, that was exactly what i was gonna say. It’s so awesome and…. space ready. I also really like how the beetle is hinted at in the helmet, chest and obviously the wings. It’s more Ted Kord than Ted Kord

  4. to me it actually looks lower tech than the old costume, because I always assumed the old costume was armoured, just flexibly. If it has to look like armour it therefore must be lower tech.

    I do not like the bug wings. He already has a bug for flying.

    Also, this Beetle wouldn’t need to get carried around by Booster, and where’s the fun in that?

  5. Yeah, assuming the wings fold in, this is very cool. You couldn’t picture him standing around for one of those “Super Guy Group Shots” with his wings like this, or even sitting down, for that matter. The armor itself is very nice, though.

  6. Very well drawn, but too busy. The wings look very thick and heavy, and the legs look like blue cotton slacks with knee-pads instead of armor(note the crease in the legs, indicative of well-pressed pants). The Ted Kord Beetle was well-designed and simple. I’d leave the classics alone.

  7. This one looks a lot like the artwork in Wizards of the Coast’s d20 Future RPG books. Did the artist work for them?

    As to a previous poster who said obvious armor is lower tech than flexible armor: Not neccessarily. Take a look at Stormtrooper armor from Star Wars. Using official numbers, their armor can stand up to every modern weapon short of artillery fire (which packs as much punch as a single blaster bolt). This is also ignoring the many other advantages of the Stormtrooper armor, like the enviromental seal (rendering them immune to the chemical and biological weapons the Empire uses so cavalierly) and the built in HUD and computers.

  8. Back in the day, Ted was designing suits for Booster left and right. I always wondered why he didn’t do anything for himself. Flash forward to today, I can almost imagine someone finding this in Ted’s workshop.

  9. I… really don’t like this costume. It reminds me of a blue version of THE Batman Firefly costume, without the large light-butt.

    The wings as they show doesn’t look at all practical. And as another poster said, it’s more fun to have him being carried by Booster

  10. I love it! I’m guessing the wings are detachable, right? Kord is too much of an acrobat to start fighting from a holding-pattern above the action.

    It always struck me as weird that a genius inventor hero like Blue Beetle limited himself to a hovering beetle ship and lame utility belt knockoffs from Batman. Ted Kord can afford to be a half-robot hero, and I love how this costume plays up that aspect of his personality.

  11. Beautiful.

    I love the armor look, the wings, and the way that the armored legs still manage to look a bit like pants.


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