Writers: Keith Giffen and Tony Bedard
Penciller: Ig Guara
Colourist: Pete Pantazis
Inker: J.P Mayer
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Previously, in Blue Beetle: Jaime Reyes, a teenager from El Paso, discovered a blue scarab beetle, which subsequently bonded to his spine and gave him the ability to call upon an alien exoskeleton that protects him from harm and allows him to function as a superhero, now called the Blue Beetle. The scarab, known as Khaji-Da, is a creature created by the Reach, a species from across the galaxy who conquer all the planets they can find, using the scarabs as advanced scouts.
We know pretty much everything about Jaime at this point. We’ve met his friends and family, and even his grandma. Jaime has overcome villains such as the Blood Beetle, the minions of La Dama, Director Bones and the DEO, and even Booster Gold of the Justice League International. But what happened before Jaime was the Blue Beetle, and how did the scarab come into being?
We’re now halfway through DC’s Zero Month, and I’ve read a fair few of their issue zeroes, including this one. Like Marvel’s Point One initiative, these issues were supposed to be good jumping on points for new readers to the series, show the origin of the main character(s) of the book, and possibly lay seeds for the future. Of the ones I’ve read so far, Blue Beetle does all three of these the best, without compromising on any of the three points.
Jaime doesn’t even appear in this issue until the final few pages, and the bulk of the issue is dedicated to looking at the creation and first mission of Khaji-Da, the Reach scarab that has bonded to Jaime’s back to create the Blue Beetle. Those of you who read the pre-Flashpoint Blue Beetle series will be fairly familiar with the Reach and their operations, but this issue offers a slightly altered take on the scarab’s origin, allowing it a bit more free reign and resulting in the creation of a character who will play a part in the upcoming Reachworld arc that begins next issue. As well as this, there’s some time spent with the scarab’s first proper host on Earth, and this section of the book ends fairly ambiguously too. This allows us as readers to find out some of the background facts whilst still having an enjoyable story to follow along with, rather than just an exposition dump, and leaves some unanswered questions to entice us back.
The last few pages of the book deal with Jaime’s recent developments, giving the reader a rundown of the last 12 issues, keeping it concise enough to not bore those who have read them, but vague enough to entice new readers to go back and check out his past adventures. This all leads up to the cliffhanger of the issue, which is a stinger, and should definitely grab the attention of all readers, new and old.
There’s something to be said about the fact that an important plot point has been missed out here; Jaime ends this issue in Reach space, floating around in the middle of nowhere, listening to the scarab’s story. He was thrown here by OMAC during the events of the Justice League International Annual that was out last month, and whilst there were some hints in issues of Blue Beetle that this would be a good idea to pick up, it seems like having a big development like your main character thrown into space occur in a completely different book is a bit daft. It is covered in the recap of past events near the close of the book, but this isn’t really the point.
Despite this, Blue Beetle #0 does everything it’s supposed to do, and does them well. It catches up new readers on what happened before, gives us the origin of our main character’s body armour, and even manages to set up the next arc without breaking a sweat. I didn’t mention much about it this time around, but Ig Guara’s art continues to be superb, full of detail and with a great grasp of facial expressions. I know I’ve said this before, but Blue Beetle is a solid, enjoyable, and above all, reliable superhero book that everyone should check out, and this zero issue is the best place to start.
GO Rating: 3.5/5