Ray: Alright, the combatants are set. Let’s settle this debate once and for all.
Steel: It’s time for a DEATH BATTLE!!!
New York City, NY
In the just-now-darkening streets of the city, a crook ran as though his life depended on it. Someone had caught him with his hand in the cookie jar and, if he was caught in this little chase, he would get the sharp end of the stick for sure.
Something flew right over his head and he fell flat on his face to avoid getting scooped up like the hapless victim of a bird of prey. He eventually found refuge in a dark alleyway. It wouldn’t hide him for long, but would at least let him have a few seconds’ worth to plan his next move.
Something behind him moved and he only had time to turn around and scream in fright as he was jerked off the ground.
The flying figure touched down on his target’s last known location. Mentioned figure was of average height and build, and appeared to have pitch-black skin, glowing eyes, and a series of blue, armor-like patches on places like his back, shoulders, shins, and chest.
The third Blue Beetle looked around. Not a soul was in sight.
“Khaji, you have anything on his wearabouts?” he asked, showing a surprising amount of youth in his voice.
Two spike-like appendages from a beetle-like structure on the boy’s back flashed and emitted a series of beeps. Inside of Jaime Reyes’ brain, though, he received a message as clear as someone talking to him.
“Look up.” It said.
Jaime did and jumped slightly. The crook he had been tailing for a while now was suspended high in the air by...even he didn’t believe this, a spider web.
“Hey, rookie, you need to be faster than that to catch the bad guys!” a voice came.
Blue Beetle turned to see a person, not much older than himself, wearing an all-too-familiar red-and-blue spider-themed suit.
“By the time YOU showed up, I just went and did, like, ninety percent of your job for you.” the figure said, jabbing a finger at him in a smug manner.
Blue Beetle felt a twitch in his eye. This guy was smug enough to give Booster Gold a run for his money, yet he had just worked up the urge to just deck him when a slightly-deeper voice spoke from behind the new guy.
“Mind telling me what you’re doing here?”
Both turned their gazes and Blue Beetle’s jaw dropped. Just behind the guy was another in almost the exact same costume, save that this guy looked a little more well-built.
“Okay, I’ll bite. Who the hell are you?” the more lightly-built of the two asked.
“Maybe you haven’t heard, but I run the town around here.” the second guy answered. While not being as talkative, he appeared to be about as impressed as Beetle was earlier...which was, put simply, “not the least bit”.
“YOU run the town? Sorry, but I’ve been doing your job just fine, lookalike.” the first one stated, crossing his arms.
The Beetle was just about to interject, or at the very least ask what the crap was going on, when ANOTHER voice came down (in particular, performed by voice actor Josh Keaton)..
“Oh, will you two just cut it out already?”
Blue Beetle looked up to see a third figure...lowering from a webline and wearing the EXACT SAME COSTUME. He touched down, detached the web, then jabbed a thumb at himself.
“I am the real Spider-Man.” he stated, then jabbed a finger at both, “I thought we promised that I would be the one that Beetle-boy here faces.”
“But promises you can’t keep…” the first one started, but was quickly cut off by the newcomer.
“If you finish that sentence, I’m going to put so much web in that Twilight hairdo of yours that you’ll have to shave your head!” Needless to say, that shut the first guy up real fast.
It should be noted that, during this whole time, the look on Blue Beetle’s face seemed to say “what the heck am I looking at?” and “Wow. I didn’t think I’d see this today: three people in the same costume arguing over who was going to fight me.” And, considering that this young man lived in a universe where the Greek pantheon was all-too-real, men existed who could blow up entire planets with their fists, and there lived a race of sentient, technologically-superior gorillas...the latter saying really meant a lot.
Jaime had to ask. “Khaji, do you have ANY idea on what we’re seeing here?”
The suit answered, and appeared just as confused as Jaime. "Negatory."
The argument soon came to a close as the third Spider-Man pointed to each in turn and pointed out a few things.
“So, let me sort this out.” he stated, then pointed at the first Spidey to show up, “I’m not a smug and smarmy jackass…”
He then pointed to the second, “But I’m not a bland and broody crybaby either.”
He pointed back to the first, “I have a better sense of morality and responsibility than you…”
Back to the second, “But I have a better love life than you.”
Back to the first, “I’m not a borderline-perfect girl toy…”
Back to the second, “But I’ve got a little more personality than you.”
After all was said and done, he folded his arms, “So, there! I’m the real deal, I’ll be fighting this guy, you won’t. Now that that’s all sorted out, just run along now.”
The two Spider-Man look-alikes stood in shock for a brief moment, then hung their heads and trudged off. Though, before they disappeared from sight, one of them asked, “Wanna get a milkshake at Stan’s place?”, to which the other happily obliged.
Spider-Man rolled his eyes (though one couldn’t tell under his mask), then said, in disbelief, “Kids. What’re you gonna do?” He turned his attention to his beetle-themed opponent, then asked, “Sorry for the wait. Wanna get this show on the road?”
Blue Beetle, who had been in a confused-looking trance for a time now, snapped back to reality. “Hm? Oh! Yeah! Let’s get this party started!”
Spider-Man put a bit of distance between the two, then took the iconic pose of his own self-created martial art: the Way of the Spider. Across from him, the Beetle put up his own dukes. He had waited long enough, but the fight between arthropod-based superheroes could finally begin.
Spider-Man’s infamous “spidey sense” warned him of oncoming danger and he acted just as Blue Beetle raised his arm. From each fingertip on Jaime’s right hand sprang a beam of bluish-white energy, but thanks to Spider-Man’s incredible reflexes, they missed by the ten feet that Spider-Man had leapt to avoid them.
Latching onto the side of a building behind him, Spider-Man sprang further up to avoid another attempted blast, then dove off to land on the ground and sweep the ground with his foot. This attack proved about as effective as Beetle’s lasers, for a pair of energy-based, insect-like wings sprang from his back and left him levitating in midair.
Spidey took a running start down the alleyway, blue energy blasts searing away at the ground around him as they missed him by inches. Once in the clear, he raised an arm and a web shot from his wrist-mounted webshooter and ziplined him into the air.
Blue Beetle gave chase and the two were soon racing through New York City like a pair of drag-racers in the air. In this little chase, Blue Beetle had the edge in raw speed, his alien-tech rockets able to propel him faster than Spidey could ever hope to web-sling. That said, Spider-Man could outmaneuver his opponent and was much less predictable. Whenever Blue Beetle got in close, Spidey would either drop altitude at the last second or suddenly fly to the side with a sharp jerk of his wrist.
One time, he actually psyched the Blue Beetle out. Jaime had tried intercepting a swing by rocketing forward to catch Spider-Man at what he thought would be the peak of his swing. One could imagine his surprise when Spider-Man actually severed the web and went into a freefall. Spidey then shot a web up, latching onto a building ledge and using it as a bungee cord to rocket himself back up. An instant later and two webs flew out and latched onto two different buildings. Spider-Man used these as a makeshift slingshot, rocketing forward and landing atop a gargoyle. Blue Beetle flew to a halt, hovering just in front of him.
“Thought we were supposed to be fighting.” Beetle said, getting a little agitated.
“Oh, right! Totally forgot!” Spider-Man said, then added, “Let’s get to it, then!”
The red-and-blue hero sprang and Blue Beetle fired. To the blue bug’s surprise, Spider-Man twisted in midair in a corkscrew fashion, the blasts of blue energy missing him completely. Beetle swerved in midair to avoid the oncoming web-head, yet even as Spider-Man soared past him, he twisted in midair again and fired a web. It latched onto the Blue Beetle’s chest and, before Jaime could even guess what was going to happen next, he was jerked downward as Spider-Man landed on a building and pulled as hard as he could.
Beetle fell out of the air, but righted himself enough to clench a fist. A pair of six-inch energy blades burst from his knuckles and, with a quick swipe, the web was sheared in two like yarn encountered with a pair of scissors. Spider-Man performed a quick backflip up the wall just as the Beetle flew at him and attempted a swipe.
Needless to say that, when Spider-Man saw the fire-colored shear marks down the sides of the building, he was extremely thankful for his Spider-Sense. Before he could crack some joke about the weapons being crosses between Wolverine’s claws and lightsabers, a set of rockets on Blue Beetle’s back actually rocketed him upward, where he collided with Spider-Man, sending both of them skyward.
Both struggled, Spidey grappling at his opponent’s face and limbs to break his grip and Beetle struggling to maintain a hold on his foe. Soon, the web-slinger put a hand forward and a wad of web fluid shot from his wrist, latching onto the Blue Beetle’s face and obscuring his vision. A moment later and Spider-Man’s fist collided with the side of his opponent’s face. Beetle’s grip finally gave way and Spider-Man went into a free-fall, eventually firing a webline to turn his fall into a graceful swing.
Blue Beetle jerked the webbing off his face, then took off after Spider-Man, who was now swinging through the city like Tarzan, his rockets roaring like miniature beasts as he rocketed through the air. When he honed in on his red-and-blue adversary, he didn’t attempt to get closer, but instead consulted Khaji Da.
“Have anything we can use on this guy?” he asked.
The suit was quiet for a time, then sent the answer to his brain. "No energy signature. Only technology on him are the devices he uses to shoot webs and a device on his belt. Detecting spider DNA on him, possible weakness being spider pesticides."
“Great. Got any on you?” Beetle asked.
"Will set to work on it, but it will be a while."
“Don’t worry. I’ll keep him busy.” Beetle promised, then soared off after Spider-Man.
Spidey reached the height of a good swing and made a spectacular leap to land on the side of a building, latching on like his namesake. Something was curious about this picture.
“It’s quiet...too quiet.” Spider-Man said to himself, “Nothing’s tried to kill me in minutes.” Just then, something flashed in his head: the spidey-sense whispering a warning to him. “Oh, great, I hate it when this happens: my sense goes off, but I can’t see what’s going to hit me.”
The window that Spider-Man had latched onto shattered. Blue Beetle charged from one side of the building straight through the other. Spider-Man was either very lucky or good with last-minute decisions because he had avoided the spikes emerging from the Beetle’s shoulders. Had they been more centered, Spidey would have been impaled.
With the wall-crawler now hooked into his spikes like a bull’s horns, Beetle rammed him headlong into an opposite building. Upon stopping on impact, Spider-Man pulled back his arm and drove his elbow into the Beetle’s back, stunning him long enough to plant a knee in his midsection. Beetle flew back a bit, but reached up in time to catch Spider-Man’s fists before throwing a punch of his own. Spidey caught this fist in return and, for a brief moment, both pushed, until Blue Beetle was starting to show signs of wearing him down.
Spider-Man was not going to rely entirely on brute force, though, and surprised his insectoid opponent by momentarily releasing his opponent’s fist and swerving to the side like a snake. Blue Beetle’s fist cracked the concrete, and Spider-Man flexed his hand in his traditional web-firing handsign. A sphere of web shot out and smacked Beetle across the face, having the same consistency of a human fist. It didn’t hurt the Beetle too much, but it did stun him and avert his gaze, allowing Spider-Man to fire another web. This one was a line that he aimed upward and, just before he jerked his wrists to fling himself upward, he used his legs to hook onto Blue Beetle’s midsection.
Both shot upward like they were fired from a catapult, but Spider-Man let go and allowed the web to halt his ascent before falling back down. Blue Beetle, on the other hand, went flying upward and only a quick opening of the energy wings slowed him down and turned his fall into a dive-bomb aimed to turn Spider-Man into a red splotch on the ground.
Spidey swung through the city once again and knew he had to think of something. “Okay, open areas are like me standing in a field with a ‘shoot me’ sign. Gotta take this where there’s less room for him to fly around.”
He knew just where to go, but getting there proved to be the hard part. A blue streak flew over his head and, next thing he knew, he was in a free-fall. He cast another web-line to catch himself before he hit the concrete and had just latched on when a blast of energy came at him, forcing a desperate twist of his body to avoid getting vaporized. He didn’t wind up turned into ash, but part of his costume was singed from avoiding the blast.
Spidey landed on the side of a building, then pointed at Blue Beetle, “Hey! Do you see me messing up YOUR costume?” He thought back on that, remembering the times he punched, kicked, and webbed the guy, “Uh...Never mind! Retraction!”
Blue Beetle, obviously, didn’t care and instead merged both his hands together. A blue, metallic cannon formed in their place and a sphere of blue plasma burst from it. Spider-Man sprang higher up on the building and the sphere exploded on impact, leaving a crater of smoldering stone and metal. Spider-Man had evaded it so narrowly that his feet were just above the crater it created.
Jaime fired once again only to see Spider-Man perform a graceful backflip over the searing projectile and landed on a street lamp, standing as well-balanced as he would while standing on the floor. Blue Beetle gave chase, but had just summoned the urge to fire when Spider-Man fired a web. This one wasn’t a line or a projectile weapon, but spread out between two lampposts, forming a wall of sorts.
And Beetle had flown right into it like a reckless fly.
For one brief moment, Jaime Reyes couldn’t believe what had just happened. Who could blame him? It was almost like it was right out of a cartoon.
After that brief millisecond of nursing his pride and wondering if what had happened HAD actually happened, he set to freeing himself. At first, he thought he could just snap the web like cheap rope, but his struggles proved in vain as the webs held together like solid iron.
“Okay,” Beetle said to himself, “Plan B!”
A foot-long energy blade burst from his wrist and, with a twist of his body and a pull of his arm, the blade severed a few strands of web, freeing the Beetle’s arm. With a few expert twists and swings, he found himself falling back to the streets with a crash. Just as he had gotten to his feet, he looked to his right just in time to see a pair of red-soled feet slam into his midsection. Spider-Man had used his web-slinging abilities to gain momentum in order to plant a solid kick on him.
Beetle flew backward, skidding across concrete until he slammed into a car. He regained his senses in time to see Spider-Man land on another car not far from him, then picked up the car he slammed into. He heaved the vehicle clean over his head, used his energy wings to gain some altitude, and heaved it at Spider-Man.
Spidey simply spun up another web and the car fell into the web-net, its momentum halting with an almost-comedic bounce. Yet just as he finished the web, the Blue Beetle was in his face again, the fingers on his right hand forming into lethal-looking black talons. He swung at Spider-Man, but that proved a huge mistake when Spider-Man simply raised a forearm to intercept the swing and plant a solid punch across his face. Beetle retaliated and his entire left arm turned into a blue, metallic spike, which he thrust in an attempt to gut Spider-Man like a fish.
Spider-Man quickly released his opponent and jumped clean into the air to land behind Blue Beetle, the spike hitting only air. Beetle turned and charged, using rockets to amplify his speed before swinging at Spider-Man again. While a street lamp clattered to the ground like a felled tree, Spider-Man was now clinging to a wall, completely unscathed.
Just across the street was an alleyway that would be perfect for his plan. He sprang and, with a good webline, he swung across the street and disappeared into it with the Blue Beetle in hot pursuit.
Spider-Man ducked into the alleyway and decided to scrap web-swinging. It was a little too narrow to allow good maneuverability, so he went for wall-crawling with the occasional moment where he jumped between walls. Blue Beetle, surprisingly, proved just as maneuverable, darting in and out of any obstacles such as pipes and sharp turns.
"I’ve recreated the chemical ethyl chloride," the suit said to its host, "Ready for deployment."
“Perfect.” Beetle said, shifting his left arm into a cannon.
Spider-Man’s ever-reliable spidey-sense whispered a warning and he sprang to the next wall. A quick glance back and he saw that the energy Blue Beetle was firing now had different properties. Where it once merely burned away the wall, now it clung like a strange, blue paint that radiated a strange steam.
“O-kay, ignore what looks like glow-in-the-dark slime.” Spidey said, making a mental note to himself.
Blue Beetle continued his chase, firing at Spider-Man and always just missing him. Both of their eyes widened when the alley came to a very narrow passage that stretched on for a few yards and was laced with pipes for the buildings’ plumbing. Both knew it would either spell disaster or prove advantageous to limit the other’s movement and range of options.
Spider-Man trusted his Spider-Sense and advanced into it, springing headlong into the narrow maze while Blue Beetle adjusted his thrusters and flew straight up until he cleared the building tops and tailed Spider-Man from above. To his utter astonishment, he could only watch as Spidey actually navigated the pipe-ridden passage with agile swings, jumps, and dodges like a monkey in a rainforest.
Blue Beetle rained more of the ethyl-chloride energy blasts down on his web-slinging opponent, but if anything, the passage only made his task a little more difficult. Yes, it was less area to aim around in, but it was chock-full of obstacles that Spider-Man would use as makeshift shields, letting walls and pipes take the blasts while he scrambled away unscathed.
The alleyway finally widened a bit and, just as Spider-Man cleared it, he was hit with his Spider-Sense again. This time, it wasn’t some whisper, it was a siren blaring in his head. He hit the brakes and the Blue Beetle’s fist just missed his face. Spider-Man sprang for a flying kick only for the Blue Beetle’s arm to shift into a round, disc-shaped shield akin to a certain Star-Spangled Man’s iconic weapon.
Just as the Blue Beetle formed his hand into a giant spike again, Spider-Man actually propped his other foot against the shield and used it as a springboard to propel himself backward, the spike missing him so narrowly that it nicked his suit and shed blood.
Spider-Man’s retaliation? To smash the heel of his foot into the Blue Beetle’s midsection, knocking the wind from his lungs and forcing him backward. He had just run forward for a flying kick when Blue Beetle’s armor began to shift, making Jaime increase in size and mass. When it was finished, he resembled the renegade Juggernaut, complete with a dome-shaped, neckless head. When Spider-Man’s foot connected, it didn’t budge the Beetle in the slightest. With a smirk, Jaime seized Spider-Man’s ankle and smashed him between the alley walls before turning and tossing the web-slinger behind him.
Spider-Man landed, cat-footed, on the ground. He was sore all over, but if anything, the pain showed him he was still alive. He looked up to see the Beetle charging and sprang away, the boulder-sized fist smashing the concrete into pebbles.
"Looks like I’ll hurt myself more than I’ll hurt him if I hit him." Spider-Man thought to himself, "Let’s test his agility, then. Maybe I can get on his nerves enough to change tactics?"
Spider-Man sprang down to land on Blue Beetle’s back, then sprang off as Blue Beetle made to backhand him. He was gone again when Blue Beetle tried knocking his head off his shoulders, then he was on a lamp post when Beetle hit thin air again. It seemed that, while this bulky armor enhanced Blue Beetle’s strength and defense, it gave him the speed of the tank he now was: JUST. TOO. SLOW.
Blue Beetle was starting to catch onto how bad an idea this was. Sure, he couldn’t be harmed, but in return, he couldn’t catch his foe. Before, he was almost on even ground, but now he seemed at least three steps behind him. This was proven when Spider-Man sprang back down from the lamppost, which Blue Beetle had bent in half with his fist, then evaded another downward punch from the guy. He then latched onto Blue Beetle’s chest, heaved him clean into the air, then smashed him headfirst into the pavement. Blue Beetle wasn’t hurt, but could do little more than fall on his back with a loud “crash”. As he got up, Spider-Man had already used his web to spring him up onto a building, where he sat perched like a gargoyle.
Blue Beetle growled in disdain. Odds were that he could fly in this form, but it would need excessive amounts of propulsion to do so. And the added bulk would make it harder for him to accelerate and maneuver properly.
The armor shrunk back down until Jaime was back to his original self, then took off after Spider-Man. His response was to send out a webline that latched onto the Beetle’s chest and proceed to jerk him forward. Yet before Beetle was in Spider-Man’s range, one hand formed into a claw and the other into a cannon. The claw severed the web while the cannon glowed with energy. Spider-Man leapt into the air, the blast passing just under the soles of his feet, then sent another sheet of webbing at Blue Beetle. It hit him smack-dab in the face and acted as a blindfold, allowing Spider-Man to make a quick getaway. He saw an ideal building that would be great for an attack position and shot a web to swing over. At the peak of his swing, he was about halfway there and let go before aiming again…
“OH, COME ON, WRITER!” Spider-Man said with panic. His web-shooter had run dry and, considering he was hundreds of feet in the air by now, the landing would hurt. BADLY.
Just as Spider-Man began a quick descent, he aimed his other web-shooter. A line of white webbing latched onto another building and he was soon in another graceful swing.
“Oh.” Spider-Man said with every hint of relief, “That one’s still got some in it. Good save there, writer.”
Spider-Man was now in range of the building and, with a graceful leap, landed on the side. He then set to work on replacing his web cartridges, removing the empty one, tossing it aside, then pulling a spare from his belt and putting it in. He decided to do it with the other device, too. Odds were it didn’t have much left in it either.
Now to put his plan in action.
Blue Beetle finally ripped the web free of his face, then looked around. Spider-Man was nowhere in sight. Khaji Da, on the other hand, was a different story.
"I found him. He’s just on top of a building due north of here."
“Got it.” Blue Beetle said, then took off.
After a few seconds, the building was soon in sight, but there was no sign of the wall-crawler anywhere.
He got closer...
He could just now make out a red-and-blue dot. He appeared to be backing away slowly. Probably had nowhere left to run.
He got closer…
Wait...he had all the city to run or swing through. Why was he backing away very slowly now?
He got closer…
Spider-Man had attached a web to two corners of the building and was backing away to pull them back. The tension built up at this point had to be great, for when he took his feet off the building roof, he rocketed forward, feet-first.
Blue Beetle had gotten too close and Spider-Man was moving too fast for him to get out of the way. The soles of Spider-Man’s feet smashed into Blue Beetle’s face. The difference was that now, he had hit him with almost all of his strength.
A series of bright spots appeared in Beetle’s vision and he fell out of the air. Yet, before he could land, Spider-Man swung back around and seized him around the midsection. He released the now-unconscious Blue Beetle when he neared a building and, with a few flicks of his wrist, sent a few webs at him to latch him to the side of the building.
Spidey whipped a camera from his belt, then attached a series of webs to it to hold it in place before setting a timer on it. He then hopped over to the wall, crawled just right next to the webbed Beetle, and gave a thumbs’ up.
When the camera flashed, Spider-Man looked at his fallen foe. “If I were you, I wouldn’t read the next Daily Bugle.” His work done, Spidey swung off through the buildings of New York.
Later that night…
Blue Beetle slowly returned to the world of consciousness to meet a familiar face with a black cowl and pointy-eared mask.
“Oh, thank god.” Batman said, his voice as dark and blunt as always, “You’re alive.”
Blue Beetle looked at his current predicament, being webbed to a building like the hapless victim of a spider’s trap, then said to Batman, “Please don’t tell anyone else about this.”
“You’re lucky.” Batman said, setting to work on trying to deconstruct the webs, “You're far better off than I was when I fought him.”
Blue Beetle sighed. This was NOT a good day for him.
Steel: HEY! What kinda battle is this?! There’s no blood and no death!
Ray: Just exploring new territory. Anyway, this was a pretty close match. Spider-Man’s superhuman physicality and Blue Beetle’s alien technology went hand-in-hand of making the two appear evenly matched.
Steel: But there’s no death in a show called ‘Death Battle’! C’MON! I WANT GUTS AND BLOOD ALL OVER THE PLACE!
Ray: Steel? SHUT UP AND GET TO EXPLAINING!!!
Steel: (suddenly frightened) Sorry. A-anyway, both had to use different ways of adapting to the other. Spider-Man had to constantly strategize and find new ways to outmaneuver and trick Blue Beetle while Blue Beetle could physically adapt to boost his attacks, defenses, and maneuverability.
Ray: So, why did Spider-Man win? First of all, while Blue Beetle could potentially replicate ethyl chloride, he has to get it in Spider-Man’s body first. That’s where that pesky Spider-Sense comes in, making him extremely difficult to hit and making him incredibly unpredictable.
Steel: The second factor is experience. Spider-Man has been in the superhero business longer than Blue Beetle and, as a result, he has faced many foes that share many powers with Blue Beetle. Put simply, he has faced more varied foes, single-handed, than Blue Beetle has.
SUPER STRENGTH AND DURABILITY…
Ray: Also, while Blue Beetle does possess armor, other characters in the DC Universe have managed to damage him while he was wearing it. Who’s to say Spider-Man can’t do the same?
Steel: And how do you like that? We even avoided the lazy-writing thing of having his web-shooters break or run out.
Ray: The winner is Spider-Man.
+Much more maneuverable and creative
+Has dealt with foes that have similar powers to Beetle
+No easily-exploitable physical weaknesses
+Spider Sense makes him incredibly hard to hit
+Fighting prowess and physical strength make him truly formidable
-Couldn’t really counter the Spider Sense
-Knowing weakness and exploiting it are two different things