Happy Comic Release Day!
I went back to my kids for this week’s choice. Blue Beetle is a series I never would have read if not for my teenage son. I was resistant to the new character because I really liked the previous Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, and I was still nursing a grudge against DC for killing him off in a bad storyline.
No, this was not logical.
But my son persevered and he was right. Jaime Reyes, the new Blue Beetle, is one of the best new characters from DC in a very long time. Given how much they’ve featured him in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold television show, I suspect DC believes the same.
Teenager Jaime Reyes literally has his moment of destiny fall out of the sky in the form of the Blue Beetle scarab that once belonged to the late Ted Kord. The scarab falls into a vacant lot in El Paso, Texas, Jaime retrieves it, and it fuses to his spine, creating the armor that allows Jaime to become the new Blue Beetle.
The beginning of the series focuses on how Jaime copes with being bonded to the armor and growing into being a hero. Later arcs tackle the mystery of what the scarab is and why it chose Jaime. The reason is far different than the creation of a hero.
What Kids Will Like About It:
If they’ve seen the Brave and the Bold, they’ve seen the essence of the character. Jaime is a great kid. He’s smart, he’s determined and he’s endearingly earnest. In a world of cynics, Jaime is just a breath of clean fun. The writers pull a lot of humor and physical comedy from Jaime’s initial inability to control the armor.
Jaime is like what Spider-Man might be without the angst and with a live Aunt May and Uncle Ben.
What Parents Will Like About It:
Like most great comics, Blue Beetle doesn’t just feature one person, it features the community around him.
For Jaime, this includes his best friend, Paco, several potential girlfriends, and both his mother and father, who are determined to do their best to help their new super-powered son any way they can.
The Peacemaker, an old Charlton comics character, is also featured as a mentor of sorts to Jaime. Readers might best remember the Peacemaker as the inspiration for the Comedian in Watchmen. The Peacemaker isn’t quite the black-hearted cynic the Comedian is but he does provide a nice, cranky contrast to the rest of the cast.
In the first trade paperback, Jaime saves a baby from an attacking giant. The baby is just adorable and the expressions on Jaime’s armored face is perfect.
About the Creators:
Jaime Reyes was created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers and artist Cully Hamner. Giffen is a comics veteran, perhaps best known for his work on Justice League International. Rogers created the cartoon series Jackie Chan Adventures and is the creator and executive producer of the TV show Leverage. Hamner was the artist for the Black Lightning: Year One series featured in last week’s comic spotlight.
Sadly, Blue Beetle’s solo series has been canceled but the run has been collected in five trade paperbacks: