Let’s return to the world of the Blue Beetle with Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord. Jaime was last seen in Threshold and Ted at the very end of Forever Evil, so it’s been a while. How does their Rebirth kick off? Is it good?
Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
It’s another day in El Paso, Texas. Jaime Reyes is on his way to school with his best friends, Paco and Brenda. However, he gets a call from Ted Kord, the owner of Kord Industries and the man who could help him with a problem. You see, Reyes moonlights as superhero Blue Beetle, a hero who has this piece of alien technology grafted onto his back. And while he uses it to save the day, Jaime would rather just have a normal life.
Along with Supergirl, this is easily one of the best Rebirth issues I’ve read so far. It really does what a first issue should do as far as introducing us to the plot, the characters, and getting a few things going. It was easily accessible for me as a new reader (I’ve only read some of the New 52 run and have a passing familiarity with the series that existed before the reboot) and it should hopefully appeal to old fans for different reasons as well.
If this is how she’d responded to someone saying “god bless you” instead of gesundheit, imagine her reaction if you say Merry Christmas to her.
We meet Jaime Reyes and see where he is in his dual lives, trying to balance his normal life with his superhero one. We briefly meet his parents, his sister, and his friends, who have a bit more personality than his actual family (Paco is a bit more spiritual while Brenda reacts badly to any mention of God). We also meet Ted Kord, who seems to be really into doing some superhero work with Jaime. The issue starts up a few storylines, like the true nature of the Blue Beetle scarab. It’s basic setup, but it’s done well and is accessible for almost any audience.
There are some questions that were raised after reading this issue, mostly having to do with the last Blue Beetle series. Brenda and Paco now seem to know about Jaime’s identity, but when did that happen? The scarab was trying its best to prevent him from telling the truth about who he was before. When did La Dama, aka Brenda’s aunt Amparo, return? She and her house disappeared after she tried attacking Jaime early on in that series, so when did she get back? Why is the scarab really magic-based instead of alien technology? I’m not against the idea of it being magic-based, but we’ve seen the alien world where the scarab was from and the aliens that made it. Is it magic alien technology? All of these things and more just raise a lot of questions on how exactly this series is supposed to work alongside the previous run. It’s problematic right now, but hopefully things are addressed in the main book soon so that the continuity is fixed.
I’m sure that’s God calling to let you know he’s taking you soon like you asked.
While both Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins wrote the story, the writing duties were primarily done by Giffen here, and overall I thought he did a decent job from beginning to end. The pacing and storytelling were solid, keeping the story moving at a good speed without dragging or moving too quickly. The characters were all enjoyable to read (Brenda was a bit annoying though), even if some don’t have much characterization at the moment, like Jaime’s family. The dialogue was well written and there was a lot of personality to it, such as the banter between Jaime and Ted–though what I liked the most was how tonally different it felt. The last series was very moody and dour; Jaime never caught a single break and everything always seemed so dedicated to making him miserable. It was draining and tiring after a while. This issue was able to be both upbeat and serious at the same time with how its characters interacted, how the villains were portrayed, and how the plot played out. Everything just came out really good here and it made me eager to read the next issue.
The artwork is done by Scott Kolins, with Romulo Fajardo Jr. providing colors. While I feel this book could have benefited from a brighter color palette that Fajardo usually provides his books (see Midnighter for example), I have very little to complain about with the art on the book. Kolins’ style is not one I’m usually that big of a fan of, but it works really well here. It’s energetic in how it portrays the action, the characters are very expressive and distinguishable from one another, the layouts flow well from panel to panel, and there’s a lot of good detailing. I even like some of the redesigned elements of the Blue Beetle outfit, going even more insect-like in some areas. The only problems I had were an accidental miscoloring of one character’s hair, some odd word balloon placements, and the many featureless, void backgrounds that stick out like a sore thumb. They really don’t look good when compared against the more detailed backgrounds at all.
How do you speak with only three dots?
Is It Good?
Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 was a great start to a brand new series, setting everything up and introducing the characters and the plots that we’ll be following. It’s accessible for all readers and the artwork is quite nice and appropriate for the book. There are some questions around continuity with previous series, but they don’t really detract too much from the overall experience. If you wanted to get into the Blue Beetle, this is a great way to jump on in.