Publisher: DC Comics
First Appearance: Blue Beetle v6 #1 (May 2006)
Created By: Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner
Bianca Reyes had a good life: a job as a nurse, a loving husband, and two wonderful kids. That is, until her son Jaime went missing and her husband was shot, leaving him dependent on a cane to get around. Then Jaime returned after a year of being gone, full of wild stories of fighting evil satellites in space with the Justice League, and with an undetectable piece of alien technology bonded to his spine. That allowed him to fly. And shoot things. And get shot at.
Did I mention the aliens who owned the tech planned on invading Earth?
Bianca coped as well as any mother could, laying down ground rules (if you’re going to be out late fighting monsters, call first) and cowing various sketchy superheroes who showed up to mentor or hassle Jaime. When the Reach, the aliens who’d messed with her son, attacked the rest of the Reyes family, she fought back along with her husband and Jaime’s friends and helped repel the Reach’s attempted invasion of Earth.
The last we saw of Bianca, she was still supporting her son in his new life as a superhero, and though we haven’t really seen her since Jaime’s solo series ended, I think it’s safe to assume she’s still doing just that.
So What’s So Great About Her?
Comic books are full of extreme personalities. The characters are larger than life, and so mothers, for example, veer wildly between the Greatest Mother Ever (Ma Kent) and the Worst Mother Ever (hoo boy, some steep competition there). But every so often I come across a mother who reads as real to me; a mother who, if I ever make my own mother happy, marry that Jewish doctor, and crank out the babies, is the kind of mother I’d like to be.
Bianca Reyes is that kind of mother.
Bianca was a woman with a hard job to do raising two kids and then the Reach went and made it harder by sticking their scarab in her son’s spine. And as hard as she tries, she doesn’t always get it right. When Jaime first shows her the Blue Beetle armor, she accuses him of not being her son anymore. She struggles with guilt over that reaction, along with frustration at not being able to help Jaime in a medical capacity despite being a nurse, and fear that her son will be killed or lost to her now that he’s fighting the neverending battle.
But she copes with all that, and she copes admirably. She’s nurturing and loving: she makes sure Jaime knows he can tell her anything, whether it be scarab- or sexuality-related, and she’s the one he turns to when his best friend Brenda is emotionally devastated and needs somebody she can trust. She’s fun, teasing and bantering with her kids and getting as many laugh-out-loud one-liners as the rest of the cast. But she’s anything but a pushover: Jaime is subject to the same rules about not attacking guests and watching his language that he was before he got his fancy-pants bugsuit, and homework still comes first.
And badass? Everyone loves the scene where Bianca backs down an enraged Guy Gardner with nothing but her angry face, but I prefer the scene where she coolly sedates Peacemaker, who’s attempting to strangle her, then snarks at him. And let’s not forget that when the Reach tries to wipe out Jaime’s family, Bianca makes sure her daughter is safe, then picks up a gun right alongside her veteran husband, a gang, and a handful of superheroes, and kicks some alien ass all while quizzing her son’s new girlfriend on her college prospects. Way to multitask, Bianca!
Bianca was the coolest mom in town before her son got superpowers, and she remains the coolest mom in town after he gets them. If that hypothetical Jewish doctor and I ever make my mother a grandmother, I would prefer my kids not have dangerous extraterrestrial tech hooked up to their nervous systems…but other than that, I want to be just like Bianca.
Bianca was a regular supporting character in Blue Beetle v6. She doesn’t appear in all 36 issues, but you should read them all anyway, because they’re great.
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