We’re four issues into “Blue Beetle” now, and poor Jaime Reyes isn’t having a good go of being a superhero. Normally, I find series relying on the “woe is me, being a superhero is making my life miserable” aspect a little tiring. But it’s to Tony Bedard and Ig Guara’s credit that they’ve found a way to make it work for “Blue Beetle.”
It helps that in the case of “Blue Beetle,” this isn’t just a case of, “My powers make my life horrible” but rather, “I’ve been fused with a parasitic sentient armor that keeps trying to take me over.” Under the circumstances, Jaime’s got every right to be a little upset at his predicament. But despite that (or perhaps because of it), I’m enjoying watching his struggles. I think it’s in part because Bedard lets Jaime slowly succeed as the series progresses. He’s able to fight back against the scarab, and I like seeing him slowly bend it to his will. Sure, he’s not at 100% control (and I doubt he ever will be, because it removes a great story potential) but this issue gives Jaime a bit more leverage over the scarab, and it gives the reader the feeling like “Blue Beetle” is genuinely going somewhere.
Bedard is also doing a good job of keeping the other elements of “Blue Beetle” in the picture; namely, Jaime’s school, family, and personal life. His family’s reaction to the mark of the scarab on his back is fun, and his friend Brenda just gets more and more awesome with each issue. Brenda’s confrontation with Joey is great (both in her threat and his response), and I’m glad she’s such a central part of the comic. Jaime is a well-rounded character — a rarity in superhero comics — and it’s what grabs my attention here.
Guara’s pencils continue to shine. I love how he draws the kids at school (especially Brenda, who is the sort of “plain jane” character that just dazzles on the page), but Guara’s good with superheroes too. Phobia in particular looks visually appealing, with all of the swirls and curves of black lines on her robes and mask. And the look from Jaime’s mom when she sees the “tattoo” on his back? Yikes! I’m never crossing Mrs. Reyes, thank you very much. Guara has rapidly gone in my mind from, “that ‘Pet Avengers’ guy” into someone that’s a strong match for Bedard’s scripts; the two work well together.
“Blue Beetle” continues to bring the fun; Jaime Reyes’ struggles are entertaining, the villains are catchy, and the plots are strong. Bedard and Guara were definitely the right creators for this re-launch, and hopefully this book will get the attention it deserves. “Blue Beetle” is a solid, entertaining comic.