Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciller: Ig Guara
Inker: J.P Mayer
Colourist: Pete Pentazis
Letterer: Steve Wands
Previously, in Blue Beetle: After transforming his best friend Paco into the Blood Beetle whilst trying to save his life, Jaime heads to New York City in order to spare his friends and family the fallout from his antics as the Blue Beetle. He searches in vain for a superhero mentor who will be able to help him work out how to be a hero.
Despite running into Kyle Rayner, Jaime doesn’t find anyone who will help him out. After an encounter with the Department of Extranormal Operations and their director, the sinister Mister Bones, he decides that mentoring isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Meanwhile, Booster Gold of the Justice League International, Paco and Brenda, and even Jaime’s grandmother have all decided to try and make contact with him.
I finally worked out where DC have been going with this title after reading this issue—this is their Spider-Man title. Jaime is the hero we all want to root for, and the one we can identify with, but who manages to find himself in completely crazy situations without meaning to, and having to roll with it all. This issue firmly delivers on this kind of storyline, whilst building on everything that has gone before, and barrelling towards the second arc’s conclusion next issue with a worthwhile cliffhanger too.
The main problem I’ve heard thrown at this issue is that Booster Gold and Jaime don’t hit it off right away. Whereas in the pre-Flashpoint universe, Jaime and Booster had a sort of hero/mentor relationship, and Booster was of course the previous Blue Beetle’s best friend, their first meeting in the New 52 has them at each other’s throats.
There’s a good reason for this, spinning out of Booster’s origins, and it ends on a note that does suggest that there will be some kind of friendship between them in the future. But of course, fans will jump to conclusions, and not give anything time to develop, so of course, they will dislike this issue to begin with. However, I believe that given time to boil, this plotline with Jaime and Booster may become more to people’s tastes. The whole point of the New 52 is to try something different, and I welcome it in this case.
Carrying on from this point, this issue will apparently continue the Booster/Jaime plotline in the upcoming Justice League International Annual, and for the first time, a little asterisk box in a comic book has actually pushed me towards picking up an issue I wasn’t intending to nab, because I want to see where the story goes next, and I’d definitely call that an achievement, given that I don’t tend to listen to the asterix boxes when they do that. This shows how compelling the storyline was, at least for me personally.
As I mentioned, there’s also the other storylines in this issue that work together nicely to move towards a conclusion next issue, as Paco and Brenda arrive in New York and run afoul of the DEO. I was surprised that Director Bones continued to play a role here, but it was a nice surprise – I was expecting him to not appear again for a while, and the way in which this sets up the final few pages has me waiting with baited breath for the next issue. The issue is of course stolen by Jaime’s grandmother, but I will mention nothing else other than to say I hope she sticks around for a very long time, since going into any detail about her scene would spoil it entirely.
This is perhaps the best issue of Blue Beetle so far. With a clever combination of Jaime and his supporting cast, this issue serves to bridge everything to the conclusion next issue whilst still being thoroughly enjoyable on its own. Having now found its place in the scheme of things, I can only see this series going from strength to strength, and will definitely be following it as it does so.
GO Rating: 4.5/5