Review | Blue Beetle #1

Jaime Reyes is back, and here we get some origin storytelling for both him as Blue Beetle and the intelligent armor that makes him such. The first few pages show the armor in action, engaged in battles for The Reach, an alien force that ships the armor to foreign planets, where it fuses with one of the citizens, turning it into a super-soldier hellbent on conquering its own people. Many tactons later, the scarab—the world-destroying alien armor—has landed in El Paso, of all places. We see Jaime in a soccer match, dealing with friends and girls, and arguing with his parents, before sneaking out to get to a party. When a battle over the scarab overflows into the street, Jaime gets caught up and fuses with the armor.

At first I was skeptical of Bedard's aggressive use of Spanglish in the text, it felt like the writer was calling attention to it more than reflecting the way people actually talk to each other. But the rhythm of the language settles down, and the relationships of all of the characters felt real. Even when Joey Gonzalez, the "blonde Puerto Rican," yells "Back off, Paco Taco—I ain't scared of no dropout!" there's a wink-wink nature to the dialogue. Bedard is basically telling us that Joey's the James Spader villain of this little '80s movie.

Aimed at teenagers, this one really hit the mark for me. It's like an updated Archie comic, and perfectly balances the space opera with the teen soap opera. And Ig Guara deserves major credit for handling a variety of scenes, from domestic drama to space wars to karate kicks. And the two have designed some cool new villains (at least they were new to me)— especially Rompe-Huesos, which I believe translates loosely to "Bonebreaker," a very cool looking Día De Los Muertos baddie.

There's a great confidence running throughout this story, that both Bedard and Guara know these characters, what they're doing and where they're going. And I'm happy to be along for the ride.

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