Blue Beetle #1 review

Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes is having recurring nightmares. He's in Egypt and Dr Fate is fighting a giant Blue Beetle. What could it mean? Pal Brenda isn't much use, she's too busy thinking of her next snarky line. 
Their chum Paco, meanwhile, is interested in Career Day at school, and who should be a guest speaker but Ted Kord, madcap scientist and Jamie's self-appointed - and so far pretty useless - mentor in superheroing. 
After failing to impress the students with his inspirational words, Ted is spotted chatting to a member of local gang The Posse. His assistant tells Jaime the boss would like a word. Soon Ted has Jaime in his Bug and is pointing him in the direction of a mystery. 
And missing schoolmate Roger turns out to have previously hidden talents. Talents which remind Ted of someone else's abilities.  
Following on from the Blue Beetle: Rebirth, this is more of the same... in a good sense, what with its blend of teen soap and superheroics. Jaime is enjoyably irked by Ted's apparent refusal to walk him through an adventure; the kind interpretation is that Ted wants to let Jaime find his own route through superheroing, and if things get really crazy, he's there in his Bug. 

Paco and Brenda continue their 'won't they, won't they?' non-romance, while antagonist of the piece Blot (oh dear) makes for an entertaining challenge. Better still, he gives writers Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins a chance to slide a bit of DC history back into the Rebirth puzzle. Has Ted Kord's former Charlton Comics stablemate Nightshade had so much as a mention in the last five years of the New 52? I hope this means she'll be popping up soon. 

The Ted who was around intermittently in the New 52 never became Blue Beetle - well, so far as I know - but here's a direct reference to him having been a proper superhero. Add that to the Rebirth mention of a heart attack and that's a whole chunk of classic Ted Blue Beetle we get back. 

And that's not all this issue has to offer in the way of returning characters, check out Ted's assistant...
Don't recognise Teri Magnus? This is how she was best known to readers of the recent Justice League 3001 book, on which Giffen and Kolins were key contributors. 
That series ended with Teri - the 31st century Flash - being sent back to our time (along with future Robin Tina Sung) and look, here she is! I wonder if the irrepressible Tina is rooming with her... she could meet Brenda in an 'irritant-off'. 

The most surprising thing this issue is that Jamie's hometown has a resident super-team of semi-thugs and no one bats an eyelid. That's the DCU, I suppose. 

Giffen's script is very Giffen - full of smartarses but, happily, I have a high tolerance for same; it's also got the best aspect of Giffen, the unpredictability... I never know where a Giffen book will go. As for Kolins' illustrations, they're as delightful as I've come to expect from this DC veteran. The storytelling is as succinct as it is stylish, with appealing characters moving dynamically through a well-drawn world. Points to Kolins for reflecting today's age, in which people are constantly looking down at screens rather than at one another.
And I adore his transformation sequences. 
And it's all so nicely coloured by Romulo Fajardo Jr, who does an especially fine job setting a dreamy mood for the opening Egypt sequence. Also making a nice contribution is Josh Reed, whose fonts have personality. 
Kolins provides a tremendously attractive main cover, and Cully Hamner's spacefaring variant is equally good. 

So that's two for two, DC have got off to a thoroughly start with Blue Beetle and I look forward to a great run of super-solid superhero comics. 


  1. I read it this morning....And randomly about 3 hours later, I realized it was Teri from JL3000/3001! Great callback by Giffen.

    1. I still dream that we'll get an ending to the book, and with Teri around, I'm considering that possibility open. Fool that I am...

  2. I was on the fence about getting this book. My pull list is pretty packed. Incredible that the inclusion of Teri is what might push me over the edge to pick it up. Thanks for great review!

  3. Hey Martin,
    In part because of your positive reviews and my faith in Giffen and enjoyment of his past work on Justice League, 52, Suicide Squad and Doom Patrol, early issues of Justice League 3000, I gave this and the Rebirth issue a shot. Love the premise. And Kolins' artwork is fantastic. Really like his take on the modern Blue Beetle as well as on Ted and his gadgets.
    But - and this is coming from someone who has enjoyed some of Giffen's "banter" in the past - the dialogue in some of those scenes is atrocious. It is not funny or even cute and really has no purpose other than providing a lot of "blah blah blah blah blah" to fill up word balloons. I just don't understand what is going on with Giffen here. I know this is his style, but it's never bothered me as much as it does on this book. It's really over board. Maybe he just is having a hard time writing modern teenagers? In the issue you just reviewed two different characters - one of Jaime's friends and a member of this superpowered gang - utter the line "no moss growing on him/that one." Who talks like that? And it's not even a character quirk since two people say it. Again, I'm just kind of astonished at how poor these interactions are.

  4. Also - "Bust him a good one." You have the panel with that comment featured above. Again, who talks like that? What does it even mean? Sorry to go off on a rant. But it's so frustrating to want to read this book, but be so turned off by such a key element of it - the dialogue. And it's frustrating that Giffen is the writer.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience - I think I owe you a drink! Maybe I have a blind spot for US Teen dialogue, heck, it's likely inevitable, me being a Brit sos a long way from my teenage years. I'll try to be more awake in that area so I give fewer bum steers...

      Still, it's great to hear from you!

  5. Not blaming you, Martin. I enjoy your reviews!
    I may give it another issue or two to see if either I grow more accustomed to Giffen's writing or if he cuts back on the snark. Take care.

  6. Gotta love the new Posse's designs an love that Ted rolls in a sick Limo like that


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