Blue Beetle writer Keith Giffen not only co-created the current Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes and brought him back for his own "Rebirth" series, but he and co-writer J.M. DeMatteis with artist Scott Kolins have introduced the current version of former Blue Beetle Ted Kord into the "Rebirth" era.
And in April's Blue Beetle #8, the two expanded Ted Kord's history to include part of his continuity from before the "New 52," leaving fans speculating about his time as Blue Beetle and whether he'd served previously on the Justice League.
In August, readers will find out at least one answer to that question as Giffen, DeMatteis, and Kolins bring guest star Batman into Blue Beetle. Will he remember Ted from their post-Crisis time together?
Unfortunately, according to Giffen, the answer is no.
As Newsarama talked to the writer about his work on "Rebirth"'s Blue Beetle, he said that they're not reviving their stories from Justice League International for the current continuity, but he talked about what actually does happen when Batman comes to town.
Newsarama: At the end of last week's Blue Beetle #10, Jaime has the scarab on his back again, and this storyline seems to have resolved. What comes next for the title?
Keith Giffen: To me, this first story arc went on a little too long, so for now, we're going to focus on Jaime as a regular teenage kid - dating, relating to his parents, and the superhero thing getting in the way - with Ted as a mentor figure. Our stories will surround his adventures and his relationships.
Nrama: You brought in a lot of supporting characters during that first arc as well. Were you trying to get an almost team-up vibe?
Giffen: Exactly, yes. Scott Kolins and I were talking and we thought, let's do a team book that doesn't feel like a team book. Let's have a team of heroes going against the main guy and just team up a bunch of characters - Jaime, Ted, OMAC, Doctor Fate, and Teri as the Flash.
With Doctor Fate, I wanted to get Kent Nelson back in the gear. But if you look at the characters there, you've got OMAC, the big Hulk-like character; you've got Doctor Fate, the mystic; and you've got Jaime and the major female character as well - we were doing The Defenders.
But now we're switching gears a little bit and getting back to Jaime. One-and-done stories. One issue; boom; next adventure.
Nrama: One of the things you established in Blue Beetle was that Ted Kord has functioned previously as Blue Beetle, and that his heart attack is canon. An appearance of his Bug in "The Button" crossover implied maybe he was in the Justice League in the past? Is that your understanding of his history?
Giffen: Not currently. They may work that into the conversation at some point - that's up to DC. But when I first came on Blue Beetle, I talked to [DC Comics' co-Publisher] Dan DiDio and [DC's Chief Creative Officer/President] Geoff Johns, and they wanted Blue Beetle and Ted.
And I said, "Well, Ted had the heart attack, but has he ever been Blue Beetle?"
We went back and forth on it and we decided, yes, Ted was the Blue Beetle.
But in my mind, it was only for the Charlton Comics adventures. Then he had his heart attack. So in my world, there's no confirmation that he was in the Justice League, only that he's had a superhero past.
Nrama: So maybe the Bug we saw in "The Button" was just something the Justice League discovered, but not necessarily a member's mode of transportation?
Giffen: If somebody wants to establish that he was in Justice League - fine. That is certainly still a possibility.
But as far as I know, he has not been in the Justice League.
Nrama: OK, but you have Batman guest-starring in Blue Beetle #12, correct?
Giffen: Yes. 12 has Batman guest-starring. And my fans might be interested to know there's a "one punch" moment in there.
Nrama: Does Ted know Batman?
Giffen: No. I actually had to redo the scene. I had Bruce Wayne show up. But if we keep with the idea that Ted doesn't know that Bruce Wayne is Batman, that won't work. So now I have Batman showing up. It's actually a creepier scene.
The funny thing is that Teri, being from the 31st Century - she knows.
Nrama: Because it's history for her.
Giffen: Yeah, and I'm playing with that. As a matter of fact, the weird thing is that, in issue #13, I take Blue Beetle and Teri and shoot them into the future and finish my Justice League 3001 series that I left open.
Nrama: I wondered if you'd get back to that, now that you have Teri in the book.
Giffen: Yeah, we're having fun with it. Ultimately, with Blue Beetle, we're having fun with it. We don't agonize over it.
Nrama: I think people will honestly be surprised that Ted doesn't know Bruce. I think there were a lot of hopes for that to be back in continuity.
Giffen: It might be one day. But I am not going to have that moment happen when Batman comes into Blue Beetle. At this point, they do not know each other. I don't know what their future plans are, and even if I did, it wouldn't be my place to say.
Nrama: Let's talk about what happens when Batman comes into town. I assume Jaime knows who Batman is?
Giffen: Yes, and he's nervous as hell. "What is he doing here? Why is he involved with this?"
I think he actually says, "I just got rid of Doctor Fate! Now I've got Batman?"
We try to remember that Jaime is a young hero, and if he ran across Superman or Wonder Woman or The Flash, there would probably be a little bit of that hero worship.
If Batman knocks on your door, your first thought is, "Oh f@#k, what did I do?" He's not a character that you should be comfortable with.
And by the way, a lot of credit to Tom King and the Batman group, because I put word around at DC that the twelfth issue of Blue Beetle, I wanted a guest star from the DCU, and they said, hey, "Fine - use Batman!" They put him forth. I didn't have to fight for him at all. I thought that was really gracious and shows a certain amount of faith in what we're doing. And I get along with Tom really well, so I'm not going to screw up his Batman.
But again, we're having fun with it, especially over the next few issues. I think after the last story arc, with the big threat and team-up, we need a little break and some quicker stories. Our next three issues of Blue Beetle are especially focused on Jaime and his life and his adventures, and we're just having fun with it, and we hope the readers do too.