Christopher Sebela takes over the scripting of Blue Beetle with this issue. Scott Kolins remains on the art, so it isn’t completely jarring compared to what has come before, but the book does take on a different feel.
Gone are the witty banter and crazy plots that Giffen so excels at. I will admit, I missed his writing, but there is little point in attacking one writer for not being another writer. Would Neil Gaiman write Ambush Bug as well as Giffen did? Is that how he ought to be judged? Of course not.
So, looking at the issue on its own merits, Sebela does a very good job getting us into the lives of Jaime Reyes and his friends as they head out on a road trip. It is a week before they enter their last year of high school, and the kids alternate between planning for their futures, and making the most of the present.
Ted Kord wants Jaime to stick around, and essentially bribes him with a massive paycheque. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more conflict around this point. Yes, Ted does have what he considers Jaime’s best interests at heart, but is he really acting for Jaime’s benefit. Naomi, Jaime’s girlfriend, isn’t so sure.
The latter part of the story takes the group out to New Mexico, and an encounter with an alien ship. The story doesn’t so much kick into high gear, as it does give Jaime an opportunity to get into costume.
It’s hard to really gauge where Sebela will take the book from this issue. It’s good, but not great. His skill with the interactions of the main characters is enough to make me keep going for another issue, though, which is really all that matters.