“It’s been my experience that meta-human abilities change people, and not in the obvious ways. I mean, it’s not so much what you can do as what you decide to do with it.”
The Blue Beetle is back! While the recent Rebirth issue played it safe, Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins’ Blue Beetle #1 is an exciting launch for the mighty scarab. Jaime Reyes is just another High School wanderer. The only thing that separates him from his funny group of friends is the superpower-granting scarab attached to his back and the billionaire mentor that advises him. Without spending any time introducing the concept, Giffen and Kolins jump right into the action with some explosive fights and great set pieces. Kolins brings his A-game to Blue Beetle, creating some of his best work while maintaining the lighthearted tone that Giffen’s script demands. Some of the jokes are dated but Giffen has never shied away from his particular sense of humor.
Keith Giffen and the Blue Beetle have quite the history together. Giffen’s JLA run with J.M. DeMatteis established Blue Beetle and Booster Gold as a hilarious duo. Their ability to make supporting characters standout helped put Booster and Blue on the map. The two heroes were also featured in the recently concluded Justice League: 3001, once again written by Giffen and DeMatteis. In Blue Beetle #1, he gets a reinvention. Jaime Reyes is now our Blue Beetle, coached by none other than Ted Kord. It’s an interesting concept that works well thanks to Giffen’s light hearted script. A billionaire and a high school student make for a nice odd couple, especially considering the Egyptian-power granting scarab between them. Their dynamic is the cornerstone of this series and remains one of the highlights.
Reyes himself is a bit of a letdown. Though he’s clearly intelligent and a little funny, there’s little else that distinguishes him from any other student. We get a glimpse of his family life, but without any details or exploration it feels pointless. Kord is by far the more interesting of the two and the comic seems to be aware of it.
While Kord and Reyes’ friendship delights, the scenes without them fall flat. It’s important for us to see Reyes in his normal life, but neither he nor his friends have the charisma to match his mentor. The billionaire is the perfect foil for Jaime. The comic is at its’ best when the two are together. Giffen finds unique ways to have them interact, but with the almost-slapstick humor and sarcasm the setups can feel forced and ridiculous. However, when these mismatched goofballs are working as one, their partnership and the Blue Beetle is a success.
Scott Kolins returns to form. The opening sequence is especially terrific, featuring epic action and some of Kolins’ best work. He and Giffen have collaborated on several series and it shows. The script is perfectly translated with Kolins’ careful work. The battle sequences are vivid and detailed as Kolins and colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. clearly have a knack for all things mystical. Everything from the costumes to the settings seem to glow with some sense of magic. The two seamlessly switch from an everyday neighborhood to an Egyptian temple with ease, making each as interesting and complex as the last.
Blue Beetle #1 is a great improvement over the Rebirth issue. Both Kolins and Giffen improve to give a fun and entertaining look at the mystical side of the DC Universe. Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes and his mentor Ted Kord are certainly fun to watch. Though Reyes seems to be a typical student, Kord more than compensates with his particular sense of humor. Their back-and-forth is the highlight of the comic. Unfortunately, any scenes without the two interacting drag and affect the pacing. Without a lot of action outside of two sequences a lot depends on their dynamic. Thankfully, Scott Kolins has brought his A-game. Said action sequences, though few, are engaging enough to keep you interested. The opening sequence alone features a powerful and captivating exchange of magic that is sure to be a series highlight. After a moderate Rebirth, Giffen and Kolins have made Blue Beetle #1 a step in the right direction.
- Light hearted Tone
- Vibrant Art
- Hilarious Dynamic
- Uninteresting Protagonist
- Some Stale Humor