The biggest reason for me picking up a copy of the new Blue Beetle would have to be my interest in the Blue Beetle from Young Justice. I am a huge fan of the show and anyone that has watched Invasion can tell you that Blue Beetle has become kind of a focal point in the current arc. The origin and purpose behind Blue Beetle was recently revealed and it made me want to learn more about him as a hero since all signs point to Young Justice not continuing after this season. Luckily, I got what I was looking for when I bought the first volume of this series because we get talk of the Reach and their goals right away. Not a bad thing to read if you are a fan of Young Justice and are in need of more Reach Apocalypse.
Don’t you hate it when your parents tell you that you can’t go somewhere for reasons that seem to have nothing to do with you? I mean, why should you have to miss out on the biggest party of the year, that just so happens to be for a special lady in your life, because your mom has a problem with someone’s Aunt? Well, when we get older, we often realize that a lot of the things that our parents did turned out to be good for us. Jaime learns that lesson a little bit faster than your average teenager. It turns out that this Aunt is a mob boss with a strong footing in the mystical items trade business. The armed guards at a birthday party should have been a tip-off honestly. After sneaking out, Jaime and his best friend Paco get caught in the middle of a scuffle between some super goons that results in the loss of a car and Jaime getting an unwanted parasite. The scarab known as Khaji-Da has fused with Jaime and is using him as an organic host in order to prep the Earth for invasion. However, the scarab was damaged and Jaime has maintained control of a good portion of his faculties. Jaime Reyes is embarking on a journey that is showing him fully well why playing hero doesn’t allow you a lot of options when it comes to human interaction.
Well, we didn’t really get a chance to meet a lot of important characters in this volume. What we got was mostly an introduction to groups that will be playing a big role moving forward. Of the important characters that we have seen, they are mostly of Latin decent. Our story takes place in El Paso, Texas which houses a large Latin American population, so anything else would not really make sense. Jaime Reyes is our main character and the host body of the very vocal Khaji-Da. Jaime is your average high school student and that is really all that we got from this volume. Aside from your cliché desire to avoid killing people and having strong bonds with both friends and family, we didn’t really get to see a lot of Jaime. I am hoping that we get more moving forward. Khahi-Da is the malfunctioning scarab that has attached itself to Jaime. The scarab acts as a power suit that is connected directly to Jaime’s nervous system allowing the two to mentally communicate. Khaji-Da’s original goal was to gain a host and disable a planet’s defenses in preparation for invasion. However, an encounter with a Green Lantern halted this plan which allows Jaime to maintain some control over his faculties. Khaji-Kai is an enforcer of the Reach that took control of a host and destroyed said host’s home planet. Khaji-Kai now serves Lu-Kreeza who is a commander of the Reach forces. The Reach is a group that sends parasitic units to planets in order to gain new energy sources. They are very technologically advanced and they are basically at war with the Green Lanterns who are the only force strong enough to take up arms against the Reach. The Green Lanterns are guardians of the universe that utilize the energy source known as “will” in order to supply their enforcers with great power. Anyone that has read up on the Green Lanterns in other DC material will already know a great deal about them. Paco Testas is a high school drop out and a gang member. When Khaji-Da almost killed him, Jaime used the scarab’s medical unit to help his best friend. Unfortunately, the medical unit made Paco a new host that I think will be known as Black Beetle moving forward. Doña Cardenas is a mafia boss that has been collecting mystical items. She is the Aunt of Brenda who Jaime has a crush on and is someone who the local people do not mess with. Miss Cardenas is after the scarab and is prepared to send super goons after Jaime to get it back. The mafia and two warring powers from beyond the stars? Well, Jaime has his work cut out for him.
I was pretty happy with Blue Beetle volume one. As a stand alone series, I was a little disappointed with some of the character specific development that we got, but I guess I can wait on that. The cool part about this story is the higher level stuff that is going on. We have the Reach which is using their higher level technology to take over worlds at war with the Green Lanterns which is interesting in and of itself. They even brought in something that I am a big fan of which is the multiple Lantern Corps such as the Blue Lanterns. We are getting some interesting micro vs macro story telling which is something that I like. I will say that one of the biggest reasons that I enjoyed this comic was the fact that I enjoy Blue Beetle from Young Justice. I love DC’s hero teams, but it is nice to get a chance to read about the individual heroes. The art was pretty nice and the humans actually look like humans which is something that shouldn’t require recognition even though it does. The graphics really shine when you see the beetles which are very cool and I think that is hard to argue with. However, I will say that I had an issue with the dialogue choices made in this comic. Of course it makes sense that Latin Americans that live in El Paso, Texas will speak some Spanglish. So when they added that to the dialogue, I thought that it was fitting. However, as I continued to read, I realized that it would be difficult for people who have not been introduced to Spanish. I will not say that every single word and/or phrase that the author chose to write in Spanish is in need of a direct translation for you to get the gist of what is going on, but I can see how it could be frustrating to some people. I grew up in California and took Spanish in high school so I was fine, but they didn’t just stop at Spanish. Other minor characters such as a French and German hired hand speak in broken English. Once again, this makes sense in the real world and little phrases in insignificant dialogue aren’t in need of over analyzing, but it can get to you. Before someone tells me that I am a lazy reader, I will let you know that I don’t have a personal issue with it, but I will once again state that I can understand if others hold issue with it. Jumping between multiple languages without a translation can be confusing. That was honestly my biggest issue with the series.
The volumes of the DC comics feature quotes from there more prominent reviews. “This series is off to a good start” is something that was said by a member of the New York Times. I hate to jump onto someone else’s thoughts in my own review, but that pretty much sums up my feelings regarding this series. The first volume of Blue Beetle was a good start. I need to see more and get used to the author’s writing style, but the series is showing some really good potential and I am looking forward to more. I am really excited about the possible war between the Reach and the Lantern Corps because the Green Lantern story is my favorite part of DC. You can pick up the single issues and volume one of Blue Beetle at your local comic book provider.