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52apolooza: Blue Beetle

Written by Dan Buckley on Wednesday, September 28 2011 and posted in Reviews

Everyone's favorite Beetle is back in a new ongoing series!  How is it?  Click and find out!

Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!

Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle introduced in Infinite Crisis, is back in his very own series (again!)  How is it?  Read on and find out!

Marvel Reviewer: Dan Buckley

What makes a great story? The most important thing is to ensure that there is an emotional investment in your characters from the reader. The way to do that is to put them in a situation where we can express empathy for their plight, enjoy their victories, wallow in their failures and want them to succeed. To do this, they must emote, be empathic and credible. That is exactly what is done in DC's presentation of one of its strongest B level characters, The Blue Beetle.

Though there are three characters who have donned the Blue Beetle persona over the years with separate entangled origins, DC has chosen to revamp Jamie Reyes, the teenaged boy from El Paso. It is an interesting move considering his character was initially introduced to us in just March 2006. However, it does play right into their apparent drive to push and move toward a younger look for their new characters set in the modern era.

bb2One of the most prevalent criticisms from some fans is the abundance of Spanish, potentially alienating those who don't speak any of it. To be frank, it's a total load. Any use of the Spanish language in the book isn't difficult for anyone who has taken a single lesson in the language, visited a Spanish speaking country, flipped through the channels and left it on Telemundo for 20 seconds or even just lived in the southwestern part of the country.  The infrequent use of Spanish in the book does not add a layer of confusion to the book.  Just read it, use the context and it'll all make sense.

The artwork in this comic is stupendous. All of the perspectives are clear, and all of the proportions fit. The colors are vivid and lively, and at no point do I ever feel as though I am being bombarded or visually assaulted in the pages. Whether it is the Green Lanterns continuing their extermination of the scarabs in space or just little Jamie Reyes playing soccer with his friends, the visuals were genuinely enjoyable and fun to look at.

Unlike every other comic book I've come across thus far, Blue Beetle doesn't just pick up the character as though the story is being continued from something else. This wasn't Batman stalking the Joker through the streets of Gotham or Superman chasing thugs and organized criminals in a building in Metropolis or other established characters doing what they've done for years. This is a teenage boy from El Paso who didn't know what he found that will, undoubtedly, change his life forever. Unfortunately, we won't know exactly how until things continue to unfold until the next issue. For his sake, we can hope that his fate doesn't match that of other people who have been taken by the scarabs sent by the Reach.

Notice the language being used here; hope. It's because whatever is going to happen and is happening to Jamie and his loved ones, we are with him all the way. The writer does an excellent job of invoking an emotional involvement in the characters while the artwork remains pleasing to the eye and urges one to continue. Moreover, there is a promise that the next episode will deliver on the action that this one has been building toward.

The skinny: this is an intelligent comic that, although slow after the initial prologue, spends time developing the characters and making them more real and relatable. I was drawn in by Jamie as a teenage boy trying to get by, and I am anxious to see him as the hero he can be.

Writing: 23/25
Accessibility: 23/25
Enjoyability: 18/25

Total Score: 86/100

Total 52apolooza Score (with One Review In): 86/100

Written or Contributed by: Dan Buckley

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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