by Alan Kistler
Little is known about Dan Garrett's past. It is known that by the time he was in his late twenties he was a well-known doctor of archeology, constantly going on expeditions when he wasn't teaching college classes on the subject. It has also been stated that he is a widower, though who his wife was and how she died is unknown.
At some point, the tomb of the legendary evil Pharaoh Kha-Efre was unearthed in Egypt. While investigating the tomb, Garrett discovered a glowing blue scarab gem lying atop the Pharaoh's golden sarcophagus. When Garrett touched the gem, his mind reeled and he suddenly found himself, as if in a dream, standing in the presence of an ancient Egyptian deity. The deity told Garrett that he was a man of courage and honor, and thus had been chosen as a champion for humanity. From then on, Garret would merely need to speak the words "Kaji Dha" and he would suddenly be energized with superhuman abilities and a blue body-suit. Taking some inspiration from the recent debut of Superman, Dan used his new abilities to become a public super-hero. Taking inspiration from the azure scarab gem that had granted him his powers, he called himself the Blue Beetle.
After being in operation only for a couple of months, the Blue Beetle was targeted by the criminal syndicate of geneticists known as Locus. Locus hired the Brotherhood of Evil to capture the Blue Beetle in order for them to experiment a new "gene-graft" ray, a device capable of removing limps from one organism without killing it and then transferring those limbs to another organism. Blue Beetle was used in one of the initial experiments and ended up having his arms transferred onto a mutated creature. Eventually, the original Justice League of America and the original Doom Patrol stumbled onto this operation and thwarted it. When the government investigated the lab where the gene-graft ray had been built, they found the Blue Beetle in his new handicapped condition. Fortunately, they were able to figure out how to use the gene-graft ray to restore his arms. Good as new, the Blue Beetle went back into operation.
The Blue Beetle went on several adventures and aided many other heroes. But a few years after his debut, he came to believe that there were enough heroes now that his mission was not as important as it had once been. He settled down and retired, concentrating once more on his career.
Several months after his retirement, Garrett was contacted by an old pupil of his, young Ted Kord. Ted had discovered that his uncle Jarvis was engineering a plot on Pago Island to dominate the world with an army of androids. Garrett agreed to help Kord investigate this plot and the two went to Pago Island. But upon reaching Jarvis's underground lair, they were immediately ambushed by Jarvis's androids who attempted to kill them. Seeing no other alternative, Garrett transformed into the Blue Beetle in front of Ted. In the course of the ensuing battle, Jarvis was killed and the Beetle was mortally wounded.
On the verge of death, Garrett realized that mankind could never have "enough" costumed protectors. He made Kord promise to take on the mantle of the Blue Beetle. But as the underground lab began to collapse upon itself, Kord was separated from Garrett and his mystical gem. Guilt-ridden, Kord decided that as soon as he returned to civilization he would find his own way to continue the career of the Blue Beetle. After engaging in an intense physical training program, and arming himself with advanced technology provided by his company KORD Inc., Ted Kord debuted as the second Blue Beetle. Ted went on to become a well-liked adventurer in Chicago, even going so far as to join the famous Justice League for a tenure of several years.
But unbeknownst to Kord, Dan Garrett was not dead. He had been kept alive just barely by the magic of his scarab gem, stuck in a state of suspended animation. About a year after Ted's debut as the second Blue Beetle, a case involving Carapax ended up with him returning to Pago Island. The resulting battle awakened Garrett from his long sleep. Still possessing his superhuman abilities, Garrett flew into an inexplicable rage, intent upon returning to civilization so he could destroy Kord, the man who'd usurped his identity.
The two Blue Beetles finally met again and Kord was shocked that he was forced to battle his former friend and predecessor. During the course of the battle, it was revealed that the blue gem which had given Dan his powers years ago was not mystical in nature at all. In fact, it was actually possessed by an alien intelligence, which manifested itself differently with each person. When Garrett had been awakened, his mind had still been weak enough from the suspended animation that the alien intelligence was able to dominate. Thus, it was the alien which sought to destroy Kord, a human who had stolen its identity. Realizing all of this, Garrett fought back and engaged in a savage battle of wills with the alien. In the end, Garret was slain but not before he forced himself to shatter the gem in which the alien had inhabited. Thus, the original Blue Beetle was now truly dead.
Dan Garret was very athletic man and an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. He was a doctor of archeology, well-versed in ancient languages and cultures.
Upon uttering the phrase "Kaji Dha", Dan Garret would suddenly be wearing his special outfit and would now possess superhuman powers. All of his powers stemmed from focusing his internal energies into different outlets. Thus, he could fly and shoot lightning from his fingertips. He also had superhuman strength and enhanced eye-sight that allowed him to see over vast distances.
The original Blue Beetle wore an azure body-suit of chain-mail armor to protect him from small arms fire.
This article is © 1999 Alan Kistler.
All characters are © DC Comics