Blue Beetle #18 – Christopher Sebela, Writer; Scott Kolins, Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Missed Opportunity
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Blue Beetle, the original John Rogers run, was one of my favorite DC books in the last decade-plus, but successive versions of the property never recaptured that unique vibe and were quickly canceled. The Rebirth edition only lasted two issues more than the New 52 version, and while the characterization was better, it was hamstrung from moment one by poor villains. Now, in its final issue, it gets closer to what a Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle title should be than it has before. Picking up in the aftermath of the road trip battle that ended with Naomi finding out Jaime’s secret identity and reacting…poorly, Jaime is trying to keep his life together as Naomi freezes him out and his new job with Kord Industries keeps him busier than ever. Naomi eventually does contact him and agree to hear him out (although I do wish comics would stop raising the specter of domestic abuse as a comedy thing – she doesn’t have the right to punch him if she’s angry).
But before Jaime can put his relationship back together, he’s called in on the weekend by Ted, who needs his help to retire an obsolete AI. They talk about retiring the obsolete AI in front of the AI, while it’s still plugged into the mainframe. This is not going to go well. Soon enough, the AI has taken control of every bot in the building and is walling them in. The evil computer is a typical plot, but it works here because this villain doesn’t just hate humanity – it just doesn’t want to be shut off. We can relate! So it’s up to Jaime to show some compassion – even for crazy computer programs – and find a better path. Jaime’s relationship with Ted is oddly adversarial in places, but overall fun. The final scenes with Naomi are decent, but I wish she was more defined as a character in this run overall. This issue shows that the bones of a great all-ages comic are in this book, but it never quite reached its potential until it was too late.
Corrina: I wonder if there is some meta-commentary going on with the computer that doesn’t want to be shut off for a newer, better model? Probably not, but I can’t help thinking that if DC had just stopped trying to update and “improve” something that was already good, namely the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle that hooked my kids on DC for a time, this title wouldn’t have failed.
This character would have had a chance to survive longer if this had been the first issue, not the last. Instead, the beginning of the series was marred by too many new characters, an odd focus on those from a failed title, and, mostly a failure to concentrate on what makes Jaime a good character. It’s nice, however, that this last issue reminds us why he was successful in the first place.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.