Review: Blue Beetle #4

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

Writers: Keith Giffen & Scott Kolins
: Scott Kolins

Reviewed By: Derek McNeil

In 2015, just across the Mexican border from El Paso, Texas, a mysterious man drives his vehicle. He is talking to someone on the phone, telling them that some unknown thing has drawn him there. From the conversation, we learn that the person he is talking to is a superhero and is named Ted.

As he crosses over a bridge, Doctor Fate appears, knocking his vehicle into the water. Fate follows, opening a wooden case in this man’s possession to find it empty. Fate then departs, leaving the man to drown.

In El Paso in the present, Jaime Reyes finished his last class for the day. Brenda introduces a girl called Naomi to Jaime, and the two have a bit of shy conversation.

Later Jaime undergoes some testing by Teri Magnus, an employee of Ted Kord’s. Teri asks how Jaime ended up with the scarab, so Jaime begins to recount the story.

A few months previous, Jaime, Brenda, and Paco had been at the river when they spotted something floating. Paco attempted to fish it out, but it gave him a shock. When Brenda followed, a giant Beetle appeared, knocking Paco unconscious and causing Brenda to speak in an alien language.

When Jaime touched the giant Beetle-shaped object, he suddenly found himself clad in the Blue Beetle armour.

After Jaime leaves, Teri calls Ted and their conversation reveals that the scarab is mutating his skeletal structure and that the scarab can’t be removed without killing Jaime.

Then we see a flashback with Ted in a basic black superhero outfit. Ted is trying to think of a superheroic identity to adopt. Returning home to his apartment, Ted runs into his neighbour, Dan Garrett. Garrett is shown to be the man killed by Doctor Fate at the start of the issue. He also carries the same wooden case, which he opens to show Ted a Blue scarab. The scarab give Ted the idea for the name Blue Beetle.

Back in the present, Jaime runs into Naomi, and after a little conversation, asks her out on a date.

Well, we got confirmation that Ted did have a career as a superhero named Blue Beetle. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see him in action or the final version of his costume, but hopefully we will see more later.

Also, long time DC readers might recognize Dan Garrett as the name of the original Blue Beetle. It doesn’t look like his tenure as Blue Beetle is being reinstated into DC canon, but he definitely has some tie to the Scarab. And what is Doctor Fate up to?

The biggest problem with this issue is that it merely gives us a taste of Ted’s background a the past Blue Beetle. However, it isn’t really an origin story other than telling us how he came up with the name. We don’t get to see any of his back story or his motivations for becoming a superhero. I hope we will get to see more of Ted from this time period before long, or maybe even seen Ted go into action with Jaime, giving us a team-up of both Blue Beetles.

This issue was a fun look at the DC’s Blue Beetle history, but it still leaves a lot unsaid. I hope this is merely an appetizer and that DC is planning on giving us the full story soon.

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