Review: Blue Beetle #3

Blue Beetle #3

I know that someone out there is going to read this next sentence and laugh at me, but here goes: I think that John Rogers’ run on Blue Beetle is one of the best superhero comics of the last decade.  And it wasn’t grim, it wasn’t gritty, it wasn’t ultraviolent.  It was a smartly-told book about a fundamentally good kid trying to live up to the impossible standards he set himself.  All that in a book that also just happened to include evil exploding electro-magnetic penguin creatures.  When I heard that Jaime Reyes would be the star of Blue Beetle in the new 52, I got very excited; when I read the first issue, my excitement was a bit dampened.

Bedard seemed to be telling a very, very similar story to the one Rogers told – Jaime Reyes, a Latino teen living in New Mexico, finds a mysterious Blue Scarab that attaches to his back, transforming him into the ultra-powerful Blue Beetle.  However, unbeknownst to him (or the crime lord aunt of his best friend Brenda, who also wants the scarab for herself), the scarab is actually a sentient weapon crafted by an ultra-advanced society dedicated to conquering Earth.  The difference between the two was that Bedard ditched the ‘legacy’ angle and told it as straight action-drama.  Three issues in, Bedard has maintained that voice and idea and turned it into a solid teen adventure story (fans of Spider-Man, reach for your wallets), but it still feels like a remake, rather than a fresh idea.

Ig Guera’s art is a very good fit for the book – less cartoony than the artists on the previous book, but exaggerated enough to have recognizable, solid facial expressions and body language – though he isn’t given a lot to do here.  Still, slowly but surely, Guera and Bedard are making the book their own.  Including the Reach was probably a mistake, particularly bringing them in this soon, but I’m hoping they will just condense Jaime’s fairly epic origin adventure into a short couple arcs before taking the book in a more novel direction.  What’s here is solid, though, and could definitely serve as a good introduction to a great character.

Cal C.

read/RANT

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8 thoughts on “Review: Blue Beetle #3

  1. There will definitively be no repeats as you say next issue, since we got Silverback, who is entirely new. And I thought the first three issues were awesome! Gotta remember that there are many new readers who need to know his origin. It’s as awesome as the last series.

    • I like it, it just leaves a sour taste in my mouth that they seem to be essentially retelling a story from five years ago, with most of the ‘fun’ bits removed. Guera’s art is VERY solid, and I’m still reading – I’m excited to see where they go, and Bedard and Guera seem like a good fit for the characters. But this opening arc has seemed iffy to me.

      Jaime is a great character, and I think Bedard and Guera will do him justice. But I don’t think they’ve grown into it yet.

      Thanks for reading – and for being polite with your comments! I definitely seemed harsher on the book than I intended to. I sometimes miss grades – this probably would have been a B+, despite my negativity. Sorry!

  2. I can see your point about rehashing. Having not read the earlier stories, I’m enjoying these issues. The book has been incredibly consistent, in my opinion. I can’t think of much negative to say about it.

  3. Yesterday DC announced that 4 titles are ending with the 16th issue:
    Blue Beetle
    Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
    Grifter
    Legion Lost
    2 of them will be replaced with a JL spinoff (Cal was right) and a new Superman title (it’s so ironic that DC replaced C-list titles with A-list ones, like when they replaced Mr. Terrific and Men of War with Earth 2 and Batman Inc). The other 2 replacements are an enigma. What do you predict?

    • Well, there’s the already-announced THRESHOLD, which is a title by Keith Giffen for DC’s non-GL cosmic heroes… Blue Beetle included.

      The last title is a mystery, though a Lemire SHAZAM book is not out of the question. We’ll see how things end up panning out, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the lineup was JLA, Shazam, Man of Steel and Threshold.

      Actually, GI Combat was canceled as well, I believe, so that does leave one more opening. I’m BETTING something involving Gail Simone, but that may just be idle hope talking.

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