Review: Blue Beetle #19

Review

BLUE BEETLE #19

Writer: John Rogers and Keith Geffen

Pencils: Dave Baldeon

Inker: Steve Bird

DC Comics

Blue Beetle is, without question, the best title you aren’t reading. It’s been compared to early Spider-Man and mid-90s Robin, possibly the best teen books ever written. This continues in that tradition of fun teenage-superhero fantasy. This is a particularly compelling, if common, symbolism, allowing the changes in becoming a hero to be contrasted with the changes in becoming an adult, along with the usually small problem of supervillians contrasted with the huge real life problems.

This issue we have a major villain, Giganta, turn up to take on the Beetle as she smashes the local crime lord’s house. Regular readers will know that this crime lord is also the aunt and legal guardian of Jaime’s (The Blue Beetle), who remains ignorant of her aunt’s true character. Naturally, things become complicated when a giant is smashing her house. Remember, the villain is comparatively the smaller problem when placed next to the real life issues these characters face. In this case those questions would be “What do you do when someone you care about is hiding something from you?”

The characterization is, of course, superb. This all comes together because all the characters are so well defined and likable. Even La Dama, a crime boss, is humanized to the point of being sympathetic, not least by a revelation in this issue. Jaime himself continues his development into a strategist that former Beetle Ted Kord could be proud of. He doesn’t have the scientific know how of a Peter Parker, but he sure does manage to get by with good advice and sound strategy. This also allows a good bit of foreshadowing and a tie in from earlier issues. All of this is accomplished completely naturally and nothing feels forced.

The art in this issue is cartoony, but not jarringly so. No one looks misshapen and the action is conveyed in a fluid, fast paced manner. The posture of most characters is worth noting, as are the facial impressions which keep this comic firmly grounded in reality despite the cartoonish nature of the art.

This is a book you absolutely have to read. There is no excuse to not pick up Blue Beetle if you are at all into the superhero genre, a Spider-Man fan, want a nice, light read, or remember what it was like being a teenager. Go get this book! And while you’re at it, get the trade too.