Blue Beetle #1
Written by: Tony Bedard
Pencilled by: Ig Guara
Inked by: Ruy Jose
Lettering by: Rob Leigh
Colored by: Pete Pantazis
Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99
Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology
Even though I was always a Ted Kord fan, I have had a lot of interest in checking out Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle. They have given him such a terrific character arc in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Jaime seems like a great way to develop the Blue Beetle legacy. Despite this, I have been out of comics for a while, so I haven’t actually read any comics with this version of the Blue Beetle in a major role. When Jaime was announced as part of the new 52, and Tony Bedard was writing it, I was immediately interested.
One thing that I loved right off the bat was how quickly they established the Reach as a threat worthy of the Green Lantern Corps. I know this was an important element in the earlier book too, but Bedard did a great job building them up to seem pretty bad ass in the opening pages. Actually, it sort of reminds me of Bedard’s earlier work on Crossgen’s Negation.
Another thing that worked well was that Bedard did a great job of introducing Jaime, his friends, and the social strata from his high school. It was done in a very smooth way and never felt like heavy handed narration, even though for the most part it was a lot of exposition snuck in. High school status always feels more important at the time than it really is, and Bedard sold this perfectly.
I especially I liked the changes to Jaime’s origin. It definitely feels like a classic Silver Age story. Kid sneaks out to go to a birthday party for the girl he likes. The kid stumbles in the middle of a bunch of villains fighting over a mystical artifact. The artifact fuses itself to the kid and gives him super powers. Tell me you can’t see Stan Lee writing that with Steve Ditko doing the art? The art and writing are updated to make them fit in the current comic market, but at its heart it seems to respect where it came from.
I also loved that the book had a lot of really funny moments. I have a friend I argue with about soccer all the time, so when I saw this panel:
I couldn’t help but laugh. I also loved later on the caption box that said:” Translated from the Spanglish.”
And it was cool to see all the villains that showed up or where name dropped in this one. Warp? Plasmus? Monsieur Mallah and the Brain? There was definitely a lot going on in this comic, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out over the next few issues. I am especially curious to see what happens when Brenda’s Aunt finds out what happened to the Scarab she wanted. This should create a real interesting dynamic for poor Jaime.
Ig Guarra’s art was great here. I especially loved how he drew all the aliens in the prologue and the villains in the brawl for the scarab later in the issue. All the characters felt unique, and it really made for a terrific looking comic book.
One thing I never thought I would have to complain about in a comic book is that a lot of the New 52 books have really odd lettering choices for the credits page. I gave up on trying to figure out how to spell the artist’s name on this book based on the credits box:
Gurra? Gurrr? Guarr? Turns out it is Guara according to the cover of the book. I admit I am being slightly tongue-in-cheek here. I know Ig Guara’a work quite a bit, and have always enjoyed it. But that doesn’t excuse the fact the A’s and R’s were indistinguishable. Not enough to make me downgrade the book, but definitely an annoyance.
That small complaint aside, there wasn’t much else about this comic I didn’t love. It had action, it had characterization, it was fun to read. Yeah, Blue Beetle #1 probably didn’t break much new ground, but sometimes all you need is a good superhero book that uses the classic formula well. You really can’t ask for more than that.
I do admit that I can’t help but wonder “What happened to Ted Kord?” I am willing to give DC a lot of leeway on changes to continuity coming from the New 52, but I have always been a fan so I definitely wanna know what his status is. I actually don’t even think I would mind if he was never Beetle (though I always loved Booster and Beetle together), but I still wanna know.
I just hope that DC markets this book properly. This book could do really well if it has some marketing muscle behind it. DC needs to stop marketing the new 52 as one mass entity and start targeting different books to different audiences. I really think Blue Beetle can do very well with the right push.
Final Score: 8.5 A really solid origin issue. Had a bit of a Silver Age feel to it, which is always a plus to me.
Tags: Blue Beetle, DC Comics Relaunch, Ig Guara, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Ted Kord, Tony Bedard