DC Comics
Blue Beetle Rebirth #1
By Avi Weinryb
August 29, 2016 - 09:49

DC Comics
Writer(s): Keith Giffen
Penciller(s): Scott Kolins
Inker(s): Scott Kolins
Colourist(s): Romuli Fajaroo Jr.
Letterer(s): Josh Reed
Cover Artist(s): Scott Kolins

After a multi-year hiatus, DC Comics has another Blue Beetle series on its publication schedule. This relaunch brings together the long-time carrier of the mantle, Ted Kord, pairing him up with relative newcomer Jaime Reyes. The result is an odd pairing reminiscent of Doc Brown and Marty McFly of Back to the Future fame. A tinkering scientist and a high school student, thrown together on a unlikely mission. But that’s as far as the comparison runs. Jaime has a mystical scarab fused to his spine, giving him special powers, including a blue exoskeleton with a mind of its own. Ted Kord, oblivious to Jaime’s needs, wants to use his tech, explore the scarab’s limits, and have a good time. When a famous DC Comics character makes a fateful cameo, everyone will soon learn that this adventure will be taking a surprising turn outside the world of science, veering into the magical.

As a jumping-on-point for new readers, writer Keith Giffen makes this easy by offering the protagonist’s heavy narration on the opening page. A reintroduction to the title character and his life in El Paso throws readers into Jaime’s world and the reveals the strange hold his predecessor (and the mysterious scarab) have on him. We are offered an understanding of Jaime’s struggles and the peculiarities of his superpowered exoskeleton. Two flavor-of-the-month villains appear, more henchmen than threat, but just as they seek to analyze and test Blue Beetle’s powers, new readers will seek to do the same, taking in Jaime’s abilities as he both wields and resents them, wishing to be a normal teenager and not the carrier of a mystical legacy. With an unwanted mentor looking to perhaps reclaim former glory, Jaime succinctly rejects this relationship, informing Ted, “I’m not looking to play Batman and Robin.” That’s for the best. Robin sought to be a sidekick to the Dark Knight, but being a hero is the last thing on this Beetle’s mind. And that’s what makes this series refreshingly unique.

The art in this issue is serviceable, but seems somewhat flat on occasion. This lack of depth falls away during action sequences, when Scott Kolins’ illustrations truly come to life. This may be intentional, meant to demonstrate the mundane daily existence of the protagonist compared to his unwanted superhero career. The vibrant blue of the Beetle’s suit always pops off the page thanks to strong colour choices. Overall, the work is easy on the eyes, with its own character and distinct style.
There are few titles out there with the potential this one carries. Previous titles featuring this character have come and gone, but an earnest continuation of this tale looks poised to honour the legacy of former series while delivering on the promise of something fresh. This iteration is worth a shot.

Rating: 8/10

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