Review: Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Keith Giffen
Artist: Scott Kolins

The story starts by reintroducing us to the Reyes family. It seems a little time has past since the last Blue Beetle series. Jaime’s sister is now a tween, which adds to Jaime’s mother’s worries.

Then we are reintroduced to Jaime’s friends Brenda and Paco. Jaime suffers through their bickering until he gets a phone call from Ted Kord. Ted informs him that there is a situation requiring Blue Beetle’s intervention.

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Jaime arrives at the scene, where a pair of villains called Rack and Ruin have taken the patrons of a coffee shop hostage, demanding that Blue Beetle come and face them. Jaime fights the villains, while getting sometime dubious advice from Ted Kord.

The villains flee when they realize they are facing more than just the Blue Beetle, so Jaime and Ted return to Ted’s workshop. The two argue over whether Ted is actually doing anything to help Jaime’s career as the Blue Beetle.

After Jaime leaves in a huff, Doctor Fate appears and informs Ted that the Blue Beetle scarab is not an alien weapon as they had thought, but rather is a dangerous magical artifact.

Finally, we see Brenda returning to the home she shares with her Aunt Amparo, who is revealed to have hired Rack and Ruin to confront Blue Beetle.

The Positives

It is great to see Ted Kord back among the living. It’s great seeing Ted back in action and driving the Bug. We are given some tantalizing hints, but little information is given about his role in this title.

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First off, the opening caption of the issue describes Ted as a “sidelined superhero”. Was Ted a superhero at some point in the past? Was it as the Blue Beetle or something else? He doesn’t seem to recognize Doctor Fate, who was his teammate in the Justice League in the pre-Flashpoint universe.

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Also, the same caption says of Ted and Jaime that “together they are the Blue Beetle.” As far as this issue shows, Ted is acting in a supporting capacity for Blue Beetle, so does this statement foreshadow a change in their relationship.

Which brings up another mystery. Last we saw Jaime, Ted wasn’t part of the story. We have yet to be told how Ted managed to become Jaime’s mentor.

It is also interesting to note that Doctor Fate appears in his classic form and not as he appears in the Doctor Fate title. Is this Khalid Nassour or Kent Nelson under the helmet of Fate? Does this hint at DC’s plans for the character after that title ends?

Also, it’s good to see that they are continuing the story of Jaime from where the previous title had left off. One of the problems with the New 52 Blue Beetle title was that it rebooted the character too quickly after he had just been established, so it felt like we were basically being told the same story over again, just slightly different.

This ties in with DC’s Rebirth philosophy, to keep the story moving forward while trying to recapture the heart of past stories. By bringing back Ted Kord while carrying the story of Jaime Reyes further, they have made an admirable start.

The Negatives

There isn’t much to complain about here, other than having to wait while all the mysteries hinted at are resolved. This special acts as an appetizer, but we have to wait a whole month for the main course.

The Verdict

This issue gives us a fun and exciting first look at Jaime and Ted’s adventures. If Giffen and Kolins can maintain the quality shown here, then Blue Beetle will be another success for DC’s Rebirth initiative.

4outof5

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.