52 Catch Up: Blue Beetle

Blue Beetle52 Catch Up is a series devoted to looking at issues from DC's New 52 and seeing how they're faring now that they're underway, why they're worth reading (or not), and places we hope they will go in time.

 

Concept:

 

Jaime Reyes wants nothing more than to fit in at school and enjoy life with his two best friends, Paco and Brenda, but a powerful Mayan relic changes his life forever.  Caught in the middle of a struggle between villains, the mysterious Mayan relic attaches itself to Jaime’s body, morphing him into a living weapon with a desire for planet-wide bloodshed, but Jaime is able to overcome its control to do what he wants.  Making a mess of his life, but standing up against the bad guys—big and small—he becomes the Blue Beetle.

 

SPOILERS BELOW

 

 

Previously on Blue Beetle: Covering Issues #1 - #10

 


A long time ago, but in the same galaxy, the scarab Khaji-Kai of the Reach helps to bring about the subjugation of another world for his overlords.  His abilities are so great that Command Drone Lu-Kreeza assigns him as his personal enforcer, and they talk about how even now more worlds are being introduced into the Reach by way of scarab drones, including one that runs afoul of a Green Lantern within the Sol star system, crashing on Earth during the time of the Mayans.  Centuries later in El Paso, Texas, Jaime Reyes wants to go to the Quinceañera of his best friend, Brenda, but his parents won’t let him due to her aunt Tia having “mob” connections.  Across town, three meta-human baddies make a play for the “blue beetle” artifact while three more baddies from Tia’s “family” try to make an interception, and caught in the middle is Jaime and his friend Paco on their way to the party.  While trying to run from trouble, Jaime somehow gets the scarab attached to himself and becomes encased in the protective blue armor of the Reach.


Jaime tries to control the armor but has a very hard time and instinctively attacks the baddies and drags Paco away from the incident.  Paco doesn’t know its Jaime and goes kicking and screaming, all the way to the front door of Tia’s compound.  Tia and her guards believe Jaime’s there to attack her, but she eventually works it out that it is really Jaime inside the armor and begins to think of plans to bring the blue beetle to her.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy, Khaji-Kai and Lu-Kreeza pick up a signal that the long-lost scarab on Earth has been activated.  They take their ship into hyperspace and make way for Earth, hoping to find out why the scarab has been out of contact for so long.


Back on Earth, Jaime’s parents are worried since he hasn’t come home yet.  Jaime overhears how they’re worried and convinces the armor to disappear, and then stumbles into his yard where his family finds him.  Meanwhile, in France, the three baddies who originally tried to take the blue beetle report back to the Brain through his intermediary, Silvermane.  Silvermane decides to head to El Paso with the others to take back the blue beetle, while Tia tries to track the artifact down by killing one of her meta-human trackers.  Paco returns to his gang and is immediately attacked by Silvermane and his pals, but runs away to his humble abode of a hotel.  Jaime wakes up and gets ready for school but is shocked to find that the scarab is disguising itself as a tattoo on his spine, something that his parents are not happy about.  He’s accosted by some bullies in the boy’s bathroom at high school, but Brenda busts in and saves him so she can talk to him about Paco.  Once he gets the skinny on Paco, Jaime runs out to track him down and comes face-to-face with the Brain’s baddies.  After defeating them, Jaime takes off his suit, but Paco sees him and the suit takes over, stabbing Paco to protect Jaime’s identity.


Jaime orders the suit to give Paco medical attention, but it refuses; however, Jaime somehow controls the medical repair function of his suit.  He then interrogates Silvermane to learn more about why everyone wants the blue beetle, and then goes to visit Paco in the hospital.  While waiting in the hospital, Tia approaches Jaime and says she needs to talk to him at her private office, and up above the Reach ship is being recalled to plan a new assault (as seen in
Green Lantern: New Guardians).  Jaime visits Tia, and immediately is bound to his chair by a binding circle.  He’s able to finally break free of the binding spell and creates an implosion that swallows Tia’s entire compound, along with herself.  Meanwhile, Paco recovers . . . by turning into a red scarab soldier who wants to take out the blue beetle.  Back at Jaime’s house, Brenda busts in to talk about Paco, but they’re interrupted by Paco ringing the doorbell.  When Jaime tries to talk to him, he suddenly turns into the red scarab and Jaime turns into the blue beetle to take him on.  The red scarab feels that the blue beetle is not invested in its mission to take over Earth, so Jaime backhands Brenda so as to convince the scarab that it’s not being influenced by its host.


Jaime flies away, feeling that his friends and family would be better if he wasn’t around to endanger them.  He heads to NYC to track down another meta-human for advice, but sees himself as the Blue Beetle (a name he picked) on the jumbo television in Times Square backhanding Brenda.  Embarrassed that he had to do such a thing, Jaime starts searching for food, but the armor suit picks up on a signal that it determines to be bad and Jaime decides to investigate.  While he doesn’t find the actual signal, Jaime does come across someone in an invisible powered suit trying to rob a jewelry store.  Jaime stops the robber but ends up being blamed for the situation by the store’s owner.  Meanwhile, the robber returns to his employer, a man fused with high-level technological instruments and shortly dies due to tachyon emissions.  Jaime decides to investigate further and tracks the robber to a runaway house and enrolls as a runaway.  He eventually works his way to the attic and confronts the man fused with instruments, who wants to use Jaime to create a time machine.  Not enjoying how the other man is using people to his own ends, Jaime destroys the equipment and accidently sets the lab on fire, burning down the runaway house.


Soon after the suit brings Jaime to the apartment of Kyle Rayner and is attacked by Kyle and Bleez.  Within moments Kyle is shot from someone using a Green Lantern depowering bullet, and Jaime saves him from what appears to be an employed bounty hunter.  Bleez attacks Jaime, not knowing that he was helping Kyle, but Jaime is able to get away and bring Kyle his lantern battery to recharge his ring, and together they take out the bounty hunter.  Following the battle, Jaime sits down with Kyle and talks about being a superhero, but Kyle takes off to help the Blue Lanterns in their fight against the Reach (as seen in
Green Lantern: New Guardians).  Soon, Jaime goes to the Department of Extranormal Operations (as seen in Batwoman) to get some help but is instead interrogated and analyzed as a threat to society.  Meanwhile, Jaime’s father calls his mother, who lives in NYC, to help track him down.



High Points


Emotion
: There’s a lot of feeling in the characterization of Jaime; he really is a typical high school student who gets his world turned upside down by something extraordinary, and he really shows a lot of depth.  He’s worried about his own well being—he’s a teenager, after all—but he shows a lot of concern for his friend Brenda and Paco, and the nervousness he expresses over Brenda’s presence seems very real.


Sense of Right & Wrong
: There’s a very clear sense of what is ethically and morally right and wrong in the comic, both along the lines of general society and within the smaller community of Jaime’s household and school.  Even when he goes to NYC—a place renowned for its sometimes surly and inhospitable inhabitants—he doesn’t allow his moral compass to derail.  He is truly a great character in my eyes (says the person who seems to always play Lawful Good in a tabletop RPG session).



Low Points




Nothing: I honestly could not find anything wrong with this comic, and I went in expecting not to like it.  I am ecstatic that this title met and exceeded my expectations, and after reading it thrice, I still could not find anything to label as a low point for me, and that’s pretty rare.



Looking Ahead


Brenda
: What exactly is Brenda going to do now that her aunt is gone, and is she going to find out the full truth about what her aunt’s activities were?  Also, what’s going on with her and Paco?  He asked her out, and she turned him down, but after the events of the last few issues, does she still feel as only a friend toward him, or is more brewing in the air (not to mention Jaime’s apparently latent desire to go out with her, regardless of currently having the “blues”)?

Being a Superhero
: After his brief talk with Kyle, will Jaime look for some more superheroes to help him transition into being a modern hero?  In the meantime, though, he’s going to continue to combat crime when he sees it, but will he try to join up with some others to form a team—perhaps even making an appearance with the Teen Titans?

 

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 17:26

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