It’s never easy to let go, and this issue just makes it that much harder. We all know that “Blue Beetle” is slated for cancellation. This is the second-to-last issue, but it feels like a second-to-first. Sturges brings a sense of fun to this title that just finally seems to be clicking into place now. He had to ramp up a bit from the high watermark set by Giffen and Rogers, but Sturges is definitely getting comfortable with the characters in Beetle’s cast.
This issue sews the legacy of Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes together with appearances by what passes for the Rogue’s Gallery of Ted Kord’s days in the Beetle goggles. The Madmen, Catalyst, Carapax, Squid Gang, Firefist, and Masked Marauder are all accounted for and Jaime is able to make fast time of them, thanks especially to two members of his own entourage — Hector and Nadia, a brother/sister duo and Beetle’s personal version of Oracle.
The rest of Jaime’s supporting crew get some panel time in this issue as well, further proving that this book, and Blue Beetle as a character, has one of the most engaging supporting casts this side of Spider-Man. A specter hangs over this issue, however, as the next issue solicitations have threatened the death of a character. This impending doom makes this issue all the more sweet and enjoyable.
Also contained in this issue, and brilliantly rendered by Carlo Barberi, is the Khaji-Da Revolutionary Army. Sure, it sounds like something from “Monty Python’s Quest for the Anti-Life Equation,” but placed in the context of what has happened in this title, both with Sturges and before him, it all makes sense.
The Army is not Barberi’s greatest contribution to this issue, however, as he is a master at rendering youthful characters, like Jaime and his friends. DC would do well to find a home for Barberi on a “teen” title.
This title has given the readers nearly three years of enjoyment, from pure awesomeness to chuckling points of reflection. There have been a few writers and a few more artists that have checked in, and a greater amount of creators who have pointed to this book as a “critical success.” With his recent appearances and licensing spin-offs related to “Batman: the Brave and the Bold”, it seems odd that this title is drawing to a close now, but it is what it is. For now, it is one of the best titles DC produces and the top of my monthly reading (and re-reading) pile.