Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Blue Beetle #4 Review and *SPOILERS*

New Beginnings

Written By: Keith Giffen
Art By: Scott Kolins, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Josh Reed
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 28, 2016

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

While I'm still not sold on this Blue Beetle title, what with it's over the top dialog that just seems to fill every panel to the brim, I do have to say that I go into this title every month with an open mind and the hope that the comic will come around and "Wow" the hell out of me.  It's hard to think that this series will just up and out of nowhere change, but a boy can still dream.  In the previous issue we saw our hero being led by the scarab armor to a hole in the ground that was infested with beings that called themselves the Horde and while I understand that this might have been a traumatic experience, we then saw Jaime go through the rest of the issue just telling everyone he could get a hold of about it.  Ultimately, it led to Jaime agreeing to let Ted Kord test him so that they can possibly find out if Jaime could be separated from the scarab and with that, give him a normal life again.  Let's jump into this issue and see what old Teddy boy finds.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our issue begins with Jaime, Brenda and Paco just running out the clock to school and immediately I don't understand what's going on in this issue because the bell rings at four o'clock and I don't know if school has changed since I went, but that's way too late to be getting out....... Hell, that even seems late to get out of detention.  Anyway, after the bell rings, Jaime gets ready to go over to Kord's building so that Teri Magnus can begin his testing, but before that we have to have ourselves some awkward teenage moments with Brenda introducing her friend Naomi to Jaime and just blurting out the fact that Naomi wants Jaime to ask her out.  I would have turned bright red myself in embarrassment, but Jaime seems to take it all in stride and as we find out later, even skips the part where he asks her out........... which leads to a bit of stalking from Naomi, but either way, it's not a bad scene and I wouldn't mind seeing Jaime with a love interest in this. 

During the testing, Jaime tells Teri his origin story about how Brenda, Paco and him were hanging out by a river just killing time on the last day of summer vacation, when they came across the scarab floating in the water and for whatever reason, when Paco and Brenda touched it, it seemed to attack them with a sort of electricity, but when Jaime came to help, it bonded to him and made him feel a rush of euphoria.  This is a totally new origin for Jaime from what we saw in the New 52 and it also seems to state that Jaime has only been the Blue Beetle for a couple of months, so really, we're dealing with something completely brand new here and it looks like all the older continuity is thrown right out the window........ Maybe.  This book never tells you that the New 52 didn't happen for Jaime, but I would think that it's all thrown out.  A bit of speculation on my side though, Jaime mentions before his bonding with the scarab that if Brenda and Paco keep up their bickering that he's going to go hang out with Kevin Cho and I don't know if that's a misprint, but it certainly reminds me of the New 52 OMAC, Kevin Kho, who in the previously continuity attacked Jaime and sent him out to space.  I don't know, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

In the end, Teri reports back to Ted about Jaime's tests and we find out that the scarab is not only bonded to him, but it's also mutating his skeletal structure.  That's about all we get from this before Ted goes and has himself a flashback about when he first became Blue Beetle and was struggling with what he would call himself.  It's at that point he would have a chance encounter with his neighbor Dan Garrett, who had just gotten back from an archaeological dig and discovered the scarab.  This all wraps around to the beginning of the book, where someone........ maybe Dan, I don't know the art was kind of sketchy at that part, was driving back to El Paso and being hunted by Dr. Fate for the scarab.  The man is forced to swerve into the river and when Dr. Fate went to open the box that contained the scarab, it was gone......... most likely leading to Jaime's origin tale.

That's it for this issue of Blue Beetle and while we did get the re-imagined origin of Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord in this story, there really wasn't much to it and didn't answer any big questions that we have about the now mystical properties to the scarab.  Just two guys being at the right place at the right time and maybe that's enough for some because you could say that this was all part of the magic, making it so these two men would eventually find each other because of the scarab, but that's just speculation on my end.  The art seemed a little down to me in this issue, since it was hard for me to really tell what was going on in the opening flashback scene and ultimately, this is another Blue Beetle issue that kind of disappoints.  The wanna-be witty banter continues and just annoys the hell out of me because it feels forced more than anything and in a comic that's full of characters that don't really have anything to do, we now introduce another one in the form of a would-be love interest for Jaime.

Bits and Pieces:
While we do get the new re-imagined origins for both Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord in this issue, it really doesn't feel all that important because the situations just seem to be glanced over and then we simply move on to more of the same that this book has been offering since it began.  The art didn't seem as polished as it usually does and in the end I felt like I do at the end of every issue....... disappointed.  


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