Black Beetle is an agent of the Reach. He was given that sobriquet by Wonder Girl, a designation that the Reach later used as well, along with his class, warrior. He was the chief of security for the Reach's invasion of Earth.
Black Beetle is a cold, sadistic being that cares little for humans—which he derogatorily calls "meat"—other than as test subjects or slaves. He ruthlessly neutralized beings that were no longer useful to his purposes, engaged in mass murder, and took particular pleasure in physically brutalizing his enemies.
Black Beetle's alien exoskeleton is similar to Blue Beetle's, with the exceptions of its color and bulkier appearance. Underneath the armor, he is of the original Reach race, a humanoid alien with light green skin. He has red eyes, no nose, and is bald.
Black Beetle infiltrated the Malina Island base while the Kroloteans and Manta Troopers were locked in battle with the Justice League and the Team. He planted a bomb at the lower levels of the base, close to the Krolotean spacecraft. When Kaldur informed him that the base was infiltrated and the operation should be aborted, he informed Kaldur that the bomb was already primed, and that he had five minutes to evacuate before the bomb exploded.
Beetle and the scientist controlled the Neutron experiment from a warehouse in Central City. The scientist closely monitored the energy values and the Meta-Gene, and feared the power overload could crash the mode.
After Flash, Impulse and Kid Flash attacked Neutron, the control device the Reach had implanted in Neutron was damaged. Now no longer able to control him, they decided to abort the test and retreat.
In a Reach ship, Black Beetle arrived in the laboratory housing Jaime Reyes and his scarab. He joined in the discussion between the scientist and the ambassador, noting that the scientist enjoyed playing with the "meat". Later, he suggested that the scientist reboot the faulty scarab implanted on Jaime's back. Doing so would necessitate a forced excision which would kill Jaime, but was not a concern to Black Beetle as there were plentiful hosts.
When the Team invaded the ship to liberate the abductees, Black Beetle accosted them in the docking bay and sealed them in. He sadistically laughed at Wonder Girl's threats to rough him up. He proceeded to take out the assembled Team members Wonder Girl, Superboy, Robin, Lagoon Boy, and Bumblebee. He was about to engage Batgirl when Blue Beetle opened the hatches. Both beetles fought evenly, but their final exchange blasted both combatants apart. By then the room was flooding with water, forcing Black Beetle to allow Blue Beetle to escape when he rescued Shimmer from drowning by sealing the ship.
After Lex Luthor was alerted to the presence of several Team members in one of the hydroponic domes, Black Beetle showed up to confront them. He had the upper hand for most of the confrontation, although Arsenal was able to use his laser to do some damage to Beetle's armor. The Team members ultimately escaped the dome, but Black Beetle caught up with them. Another individual in Reach armor showed up and battled Black Beetle, who gained the upper hand, until the Team was able to distract Black Beetle long enough for Blue Beetle and the other individual, identified by the Team as Green Beetle, to coordinate a strategy to take Black Beetle down and allow them to escape.
Black Beetle and the rest of the Reach detected a giant satellite called the Warworld approaching Earth. The ambassador wondered why "he" would come, hailing the individual controlling the Warworld and demanding he leave Earth. When his request was turned down, the ambassador turned to Black Beetle, who offered no response.
Black Beetle and the rest of the Reach observed through Blue Beetle's eyes as the Team ultimately took down Mongul, the alien controlling Warworld, with Blue Beetle taking the crystal key that controlled the satellite. However, the Reach had been forced to send its fleet of ships that had been hiding in the Mariana Trench in order to protect its investment, losing two-thirds of the fleet. Blue Beetle then turned on the rest of the Team, taking them down and giving the Reach possession of the key.
Having occupied the Warworld, Black Beetle and the scientist discussed recent events, as they put the crystal key into a stasis chamber. Beetle was disgusted the ambassador would not allow them to attack the Leaguers guarding the key chamber, and blamed Mongul for the loss of two-thirds of their fleet. The scientist attempted to pacify him, noting that the heroes had lost far more.
The Warworld May 29, post-23:36EDT
Black Beetle attacked the group of meta-powered runaways who had arrived at the stasis chamber to free the Team. He took them down quickly and easily, but was caught off-guard by a surprise attack from Arsenal. Arsenal instructed the others to keep Beetle off balance rather than face him head-on. Frustrated by the teens' hit and run tactics, Arsenal was able to free Mongul from his stasis chamber. Furious at the Reach for making him lose the Warworld, Mongul immediately attacked Beetle, who was equally bitter over the losses sustained by the Reach fleet. Distracted in combat, Arsenal and the runaways freed the Team and made good their escape.
Black Beetle and Mongul continued to brawl, until Green Beetle arrived. The two Beetles easily placed Mongul back into stasis. Black rushed to the crystal key's storage chamber, and found it missing. With the key gone, and the ambassador refusing to allow an attack on the Leaguers guarding the chamber itself, the Beetles were forced to guard the key chamber from the outside against the thieves, much to Black's chagrin at being a mere security guard.
Black Beetle attended the Reach-Light summit. Though the Light called the summit, the ambassador started, presenting a grievance over the Light allowing the Team access to the Bialyan temple. When Kaldur'ahm asked to speak, Beetle protested, angering Black Manta. Vandal Savage and the ambassador overruled Beetle, and Kaldur told them that the Reach had failed to provide the necessary information to make the temple's importance clear. The scientist quickly agreed, but was cut off by a glare from the ambassador. The Light delegation then picked up where she left off, listing the Reach's various failures. When the ambassador and Black Beetle demanded the humans show them the proper respect (the Earth was the Reach's property, the Light were merely their chosen agents), it snowballed into a stand-off between Beetle and Manta, which Beetle turned into a fight that dragged in other combatants from both sides. Kaldur'ahm soon broke it up before it went too far, reminding them they needed to focus on the true enemy, not petty disagreements. Black Beetle was not pleased with this and freed the trapped Reach guards.
Kaldur moved the conversation on, but the discussion came to a halt as Ra's al Ghul approached Tigress and removed her pendant, revealing her to be Artemis in disguise. The ambassador quickly realized this meant Kaldur must also be a double-agent, as an amused Black Beetle stated that meant Aqualad deceived all of the light, including his own father. The Ambassador then ordered Beetle to kill them and he was ready to comply with the order. Though Manta protested, Deathstroke immediately shot both of them before Beetle could take action. Everyone was shocked when a dead man's switch Kaldur was holding activated a holographic message, detailing how the Light had been manipulating the Reach for their own ends from the very beginning. The ambassador was enraged, and threatened to use the Warworld on Earth. Savage quickly cut him short, telling him he had the crystal key. Upon that revelation both Kaldur and Artemis stood up. "Deathstroke" held Savage at swordpoint, and revealed herself as Miss Martian. Other members of the Team entered the cave. The Brain sealed the cave and called for reinforcements, but hidden amongst them were yet more Team members.
As the battle began, Beetle found himself facing Superboy and Wonder Girl. Neither substantially threatened him and were thrown aside, as Beetle was furious when Savage and Klarion teleported out. Ra's stating they need not resist since the heroes had no jurisdiction was the final straw, and Beetle (while casually tossing Superboy away) declared that members of the Light were cowards as he impaled al Ghul through the chest.
The ambassador and scientist had tried to flee, but found themselves stapled to a wall by Blue Beetle. The ambassador called to Black Beetle for help. Beetle noted the ambassador's pitiful situation, then relieved him of duty under Article 16 of the Reach Planetary Acquisition Code for his numerous failures. Seeing her as potentially useful, Beetle freed the scientist and took her with him as he escaped, but left the ambassador to be captured.
New York City June 19, 05:27EDT
From the Reach flagship, the scientist and Black Beetle watched a news report stating that the United Nations had voted to rescind the Reach's invitation to stay on Earth. Beetle said they would leave. When the scientist asked about leaving behind evidence of their violations of the Reach-Guardian treaty, Beetle assured her that wouldn't be a problem; they were going to destroy Earth first.
As they made preparations to leave Earth, the scientist alerted Black Beetle that the humans had infested the ship. With the ambassador gone, Beetle could finally kill the heroes. Aqualad, Blue and Green Beetle then arrived on the command deck. As Aqualad fought Black, the Beetles made quick work of the support staff. Black Beetle defeated Aqualad, but found himself under attack by Green Beetle. Green made a link with Black in an attempt to reset his scarab, but found himself outmatched. Black was able to reverse the maneuver and destroy Green's scarab. Black lamented that Martian physiology allowed the host to survive losing the scarab, but was happy to kill him by more conventional means. Blue blocked Black's attack. Black then raged that the whole debacle had been Blue's fault as he initiated a link to destroy Blue's scarab. Jaime and his scarab were united, however, and turned the tables, destroying Black's scarab instead. In the process, Jaime discovered Black's plans to destroy Earth.
Superman and Earth's Green Lanterns escorted the Reach flagship into orbit, where it joined the rest of the Reach fleet, ready to be taken to Oa so that the Reach may stand trial before the Guardians of the Universe. Aboard, the scientist once again told the ambassador and now-scarabless Black Beetle that she should have been allowed to complete her research into the scarab going off-mode, but was silenced by their glares.
Powers and abilities
Super strength: Black Beetle has incredible strength, easily overpowering both Superboy and Wonder Girl in battle. He is also capable of going toe-to-toe with Mongul.
Scarab (formerly): Black Beetle possessed a scarab that allowed him a number of combat functions. It was destroyed during his encounter with Blue Beetle aboard the Reach's ship.
Durability: The armor granted Black Beetle enhanced durability. This is supported when he was attacked multiple times by Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Lagoon Boy, who possess super strength; Robin and Batgirl, using their batarangs and tasers; and Bumblebee firing stings, but showed little to no sign of pain. During the latter's fight with Mongul, he showed no sign of pain and continued fighting.
Technological control: Black Beetle's armor was able to manipulate Reach technology upon contact and alter its functions. For instance, when he shifted the density of a door to trap Miss Martian between both sides while she was density-shifting. This extends to the ability to link with other scarabs through tendrils, allowing attempts to reset or destroy the other scarab. This is not without risk, as such attempts can be resisted and even reversed.
Transformation: Black Beetle's armor was capable of transforming instantaneously on command. Notable features included a plasma cannon, electrodes, staple gun, scythe blades, long punching arms from the hips, and a sonic cannon.
In the comics, the name "Black Beetle" is used by a Blue Beetle villain from the future. He is not affiliated with the Reach. This Black Beetle's appearance and function more closely resemble Dawur, the military commander of the Reach invasion in Jaime's first comic series.