Comic Book Review: Blue Beetle #1

Why did we bother to get Blue Beetle #1 after ripping DC for this character back in February? Well, we all learned from our mothers that you can’t criticize something until you have tried it. So, we are trying this title.

Creative Team
Writer: Keith Giffen & John Rogers
Penciller & Inker: Cully Hamner

Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Total Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The comic starts with Blue Beetle crashing on planet earth. Hot on his tail is Guy Gardner who blasts him in the back. Guy keeps ranting that he is going to kill the Blue Beetle. (Oh, please do! What a great beginning and end to this character and comic!) The fight fades away and we have traveled back in time a little bit. We are in El Paso and Jamie (Blue Beetle) is walking with his two friends Paco (I swear I am not making this up) and Brenda. We sit through several pages of Paco and Brenda bickering over nothing important when Jamie stumbles across a blue scarab.

We cut back to the fight between Guy Gardner and Blue Beetle. Blue Beetle’s armor instinctively fights back and Guy continues to pound away.

We then cut back to earlier and Jamie is now at home talking with his kid sister, Milagro. We see Jamie talk to his mom and then visit his Dad at his business, Reyes Gas and Service station.

We then cut back to the fight between Guy Gardner and Blue Beetle. During the fight, Blue Beetle’s armor around his face melts off and Guy sees that he has been beating the crap out of a kid. Guy says he heard from Booster that there was a new Blue Beetle. Guy then says he can’t deal with Blue Beetle right now and that nothing that feels as bad and wrong as the Blue Beetle is ever over. Guy promises to be back. Then the Blue Beetle’s armor disappears and the blue scarab burrows into Jamie’s spine as he passes out buck naked.

We then flash back to a little earlier with Jamie sleeping in his room and the blue scarab burrowing itself into his back and suddenly Jamie wakes up speaking an alien language and sees alien runes on his palms.

The next morning he tells his friends, Paco and Brenda about this dream. He then sees a mysterious woman with a blue scarab tattoo on her arm. She has no eyes.

We then cut back to the present with Jamie standing naked in the desert saying “I’m the Blue Beetle.” End of issue.

The Good: Oh c’mon, the Revolution is expected to find something good about this issue!!? Ok, let’s see. Hmmmm. Well, we did get to see Guy Gardner kick this new Blue Beetle’s ass all up and down the desert. That was pretty cool. Ummmm. There was no Supergirl in this issue? That’s it. We give up. We can’t think of anything positive to say about this issue.

The Bad: Just where do we start first? So many options! Ok, lets’ take the art first. It sucked. Hamner’s style could be described as sloppy. Even if the story was good, Hamner’s art would make the comic a chore to read. His inks are very flat and drab. His style is very static. Even in the action scenes his art isn’t dynamic at all. Hamner’s art gives this issue a very boring and drab look.

Next up, Giffen and his story. Both are less than impressive. This was a completely boring and unentertaining issue. For a first issue, this comic did absolutely nothing to hook me as a reader and get me to want to buy the next issue.

A first issue of a new series should always be an extremely strong issue. You need some good action, some direction to the story and then plant the seeds for some interesting plotlines for the future. Blue Beetle #1 failed on all accounts.

The fight between Guy Gardner and Blue Beetle was not very exciting. The story itself just wandered around without any direction at all. The only plotlines for the future pertain to where does the blue scarab and his powers originate from and who was the chick with no eyes. None of them particularly interested us or make us want to tune in next issue for more.

Absolutely none of the characters were interesting. Jamie seems very bland. His two friends are just a waste of space. The mother, father and sister are all pretty generic. As a matter of fact, all the characters had a “paint by numbers” feel to them. It came across that not much time had been spent on creating interesting and unique characters.

The Revolution has never thought that Giffen was much of a writer. He has some talent at writing a gag style comic, but that is about it. Anything more than that is well beyond his limited range as a writer. Kids, if you have ever wanted to be a comic book writer then be encouraged. If Keith Giffen can be a comic writer then so can you.

Unfortunately, it appears that our original concerns were true. DC was just taking an older established white hero, killing him off just so they could replace him with a young minority character. Believe us, the Revolution has been clamoring for more of our hermanos to be represented in comics. But, not in this manner. And for crying out loud, nobody names their kid Paco! Any rate, the better idea would have been to take the time and energy to create a brand new character that happened to be a young Hispanic.

But, no, instead DC pisses all over a legendary character with a long and rich history. The original Blue Beetle was created way back in 1939. Yeah, that puts him right up there with the Spirit, Superman and Batman. In the 1950’s, Charlton Comics purchased the character. In 1966, Steve Ditko created Charlton’s new Blue Beetle: Ted Kord. DC Comics then bought all of Charlton Comics’ characters in the mid 1980’s. Ted Kord was then reduced to a joke by Giffen during his Justice League days. Then Ted Kord was killed like a total bitch in Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

This new Blue Beetle is a joke. The comic, between the story and art, is practically unreadable. It may do well on the sales charts, but we here at the Revolution wouldn’t waste our hard earned money on it. It may get some good sales initially since all #1 issues sell well. Plus, the fact that it is new may help it for the first 6 months. However, once people realize that the art and story are both substandard, I think the title will fail. The new Blue Beetle will probably end up being cancelled inside two to three years.