“You’re not playing with Extra-Terrestrials. You’re playing with Magic.”
A tech-savvy billionaire with some heroic tendencies; a high school student “blessed” with powers he can’t quite control. While the premise behind Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 isn’t new to comic readers the product is a mostly fun and entertaining glimpse into another successful Rebirth relaunch. Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes are new to this superhero thing. Ted seeks to mentor Jaime through his newly acquired powers, brought to you by a spine-fusing scarab stuck to Jaime. Writer Keith Giffen is known for bringing out the hilarity in any superhero and he continues to do so here. Having been half of the team that put heroes Blue Beetle and Booster Gold on the map, with co-writer J.M DeMatteis, Giffen shows his talent for comedy with a slapstick interpretation that works well with artist Scott Kolins. Though not without its problems, Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 has the kind of humor and intrigue to delight any reader.
Jaime Reyes is a not-so-simple high school student just trying to get by. Though the story begins with a quiet walk to school, he quickly gets pulled into a superheroic brawl by mentor Ted Kord. The dynamic is fun to watch,with almost a Doc Brown and Marty balance of optimism and reluctance. The team clearly aren’t seasoned warriors. Villains Rack and Ruin come out swinging and easily throw Reyes for a loop. But the technology and luck of our hero manages to neutralize the dastardly duo. What’s odd is Reyes’ willingness to let said criminals escape. After a hard fought battle and a few injured bystanders you’d think the Blue Beetle would give chase. But no, Ted and Jaime “regroup” and almost immediately forget the encounter.
Odder still is their reference to the “Bat Cave”. The New52/Rebirth Justice League is a small and exclusive club. When would either of these characters have met Batman, and why would he reveal one of his most well-kept secrets? A seemingly minor problem, but one of several that manage to pull the reader out of an otherwise entertaining story.
Artist and co-writer Scott Kolins and writer Keith Giffen have collaborated over the course of several series and several years. The pages of Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 are yet another testament to why this partnership works. Giffen’s sense of humor is always matched well with Kolins’ framing and facial expressions. Yet again, the two craft a vibrant world worthy of exploration. When dealing with magic, technology or superheroics the art is captivating. The Blue Beetle himself is the most eye-catching aspect of the issue, with his ship coming in a close second. However, most of the character designs and backgrounds aren’t as complex as his work in Larfleeze or Justice League: 3001, causing some of the settings and pages to seem bland and rushed. If only the simple, down-to-Earth setting of the overall story were as striking as its protagonist.
DC’s Rebirth is about cultivating new stories with old ideals. Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 is another comedy call-back to ever-aging 90’s. Thankfully, Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins are comic veterans. Here, they create an interesting world of magic and modern technology. When delving into said depths of magic, or the tech-oriented lair of a billionaire, the pages are captivating and the writing is engaging. Unfortunately, the issue is rough around the edges. The decision making process of our heroes is questionable at best, leaving us with unsympathetic main characters and some peculiar dialogue. The art can also seem rushed and forgettable. Unclear settings and motives do little to distinguish Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 from DC’s stellar lineup, but brief glimpses of a grander work should have most readers coming back for more.
- Fun and Entertaining
- Alluring Costume and Technology
- Unique Team Dynamic
- Logic Problems
- Bland and Forgettable Settings