Jaime Reyes returns in a starring role and this time he’s partnered up with the most famous Blue Beetle Ted Kord. Read on for our spoiler free review of “Blue Beetle: Rebirth” #1.
Written by Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins
Illustrated by Scott Kolins and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Lost in the desert with no memory of the past few years, teenager Jaime Reyes must find his way home again—but when he reaches his town, he’s shocked to find it abandoned and in the hands of government officials…officials who are very interested in the Blue Beetle and the scarab that gives him his power! How can Jaime find his family and uncover the secret behind the town’s seizure—and why Kord Industries is helping keep the world from learning the truth?
Jaime Reyes, the third Blue Beetle, is one of those unsung fan favorite characters that never really seems to get the attention he deserves. As a big Ted Kord fan (mostly cause of his friendship with my boy Booster Gold), Jaime has had his share of solo adventures. With Rebirth, DC has seen the chance to combine the two most popular incarnations of this character into one series in a hope to cater to longtime fans and those who may only know Jaime from his recent New 52 series.
Contrary to what the solicit would have you believe, Jaime is not lost in the desert, he’s living in El Paso, Texas trying to not be Blue Beetle. However as is the case with being a superhero, once you’re in, you’re here forever. Teaming up with Ted Kord, Jaime has to uncover even more secrets about the Scarab and deal with a sinister force that’s got it out for him.
The premise of this new Blue Beetle series actually honors the idea of a legacy character. Legacy doesn’t mean we forget the characters who came before because we want everything to always be from a youthful point of view. There is value in the old guard and I think Giffen and Kolins understand that here. Ted and Jaime have a relationship that we’ve seen before but there’s a playfulness in it. When they communicate with each other, things feel light and just snarky enough without being annoying. The issue with the dialogue becomes Jaime interacting with his friends Brenda and Paco. Who talks like this? The attempt at humor with the teenagers is completely off and totally unbelievable. I don’t know if this was an attempt at unresolved romantic tension but it almost takes you completely out of the book.
For all my nitpicks at the dialogue being a little off, this is probably the best constructed Rebirth one shot. Instead of being a rehash of Jaime’s origin story it delivers that in the context of an actual plot that will have implications for the first arc. If you are a genuine fan of this character and had every intention of adding this series to your pull list, this isn’t a one shot that feels throwaway. It is a cohesive plot that is a ton of fun and I really want to see this evolve into more.
Kolins art is serviceable but not anything extraordinary. His work is fine enough but his weak points are definitely in how his characters emote in non action scenes. Some of the faces get lost in translation and again, with the teenagers, there’s this weird anger that comes through that feels severe. The body language feels off and there’s just no chemistry between these three. What’s strange is that all this goes away when the story shifts to Jaime and Ted. They have chemistry and Kolins does a great job illustrating the differences between them. There’s almost a mad scientist, dad feel to Ted’s design. His heart in the right place but he’s doing too much and Kolins captures this in the tech Ted is using and in how Ted reacts visibly.
The action sequences take up the bulk of the second half and what I really like is how the art still breathes while a hefty amount of banter takes place. The fights are dynamic with Jaime really having moves that fit what his powers are and what he can realistically do as a teenager. There’s danger but there’s also a kind of fun mood that feels like classic superheroics from a different era of DC. Fajardo Jr.’s coloring is typically something I love but this wasn’t his very best. Like Kolins, he does an amazing job once we get into the heavy superhero stuff but early on, things feels a bit flat. Fajardo Jr.’s best work is when he colors Jaime. His suit is bold and he’s instantly the star of the book from a visual standpoint.Continued below
Final Verdict: 7.0 – This has a lot of potential going forward if Giffen and Kolins can figure out how to write teenagers.