Welcome to the 31st century, Jaime Reyes, hope you survive the experience.
Given he’s teleported up the timestream into a battle royale between the future Justice League and a mind-controlled Legion of Super-Heroes, there’s no guarantee he’ll make issue 14 of his comic... especially as it’s the last hoorah for writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis and artist Scott Kolins.
But boy, do they go out with a bang. The story has Jaime flung into the future as he tries to help JL members Teri and Tina resume their freedom fighter roles as the Flash and Robin (or did she insist on ‘Batman’? Go buy Justice League 3000/3001 on ComiXology, then put me right). This produces a rather fine piece of wordplay.
Teri makes it on a Blue Beetle-Power Cosmic Treadmill, but Tina is left behind, with Jaime having to take up the slack. Unfortunately, the Wonder Woman of the future assumes he’s yet another of galactic dictator Lady Styx’s lackeys.
For her part, Teri must face brother Terry, a bad egg to start with and now under the influence of the dark god Eclipso.
This issue is a reward for those of us who stuck with the Justice League 3000/3001 series, which was as great as it was shortlived. It does have real relevance to the Blue Beetle series, though, with a prophecy as to his future and a big, surprising, but perfect connection to the world of Justice League 3001 - I just hope the coming creative team does something with it.
It’s terrific to see that, once again, Jaime, while taken aback by the odds against him, triumphs, and grows. I’m delighted to get what is likely the last look at the heroines of JL3001, featuring Guy/Gal Gardner, a mystically powered Ice and a Supergirl fair glowing with the hope Kara Zor-El embodies.
It’s a long shot, but I’d love Jaime to lead the greatest heroes of the 21st century back to the future - a film nodded at by letterer Josh Reed on the credits page - to help their counterparts free the Commonwealth from Lady Styx’s influences.
Speaking of nods, after another fine 20 pages of sequential art Kolins sneaks in background thanks to Blue Beetle Ted Kord’s Sixties handler.
I’d not be surprised if in a few decades’ time Kolins finds himself immortalised on a comic book wall for his part in making Jaime Reyes a hit hero - sure, his series tend to get cancelled, but the character shows a sticking power other legacies lack, and Kolins’ always engaging interpretation of the scarab costume must be playing a part in that.
While every panel is pleasurable, my favourite visual is the double page splash introducing Jaime to the future.
Josh Reed letters, Romulo Fajardo Jr colours, both contributing to the success of the comic. I’m not sure whether it’s Kolins or Fajardo who applies the textures to the 31st century costumes, but they look great.
The regular cover by Kolins is an explosion of fun, while the alternate by Tyler Kirkham is a Hamlet-inspired mini-masterpiece.
I’ve enjoyed Blue Beetle by Giffen, DeMatteis and Kolins hugely. I don’t know who’s taking over, but ‘tough act’ and ’follow’ come to mind.
Blue Beetle #13 review, Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, Scott Kolins, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Josh Reed, Tyler Kirkham, Justice League 3001