Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1

Posted August 25, 2016 by Alexander Handziuk in Comic Books

Written by: Keith Giffen

Art by: Scott Kolins

Publisher: DC Comics

When DC announced their  Rebirth initiative back in February, they promised to bring back relationships and instil a sense of much needed fun into the DC Universe. Flash forward to this week and one of my all time favourite heroes, and for my money, most fun, arrives in an all new debut issue that lives up to the rebirth moniker, by delivering a book for new and old Blue Beetle readers to enjoy.

This issue actually features not one, but two Blue Beetles, and their differing personalities. Jaime Reyes is very much a reluctant hero, as he wants nothing more than to be a regular high schooler. Unfortunately for Jaime he has a piece of supposed alien technology attached to his spine and an overly eager billionaire philanthropist in Ted Kord. Speaking of Ted, it’s a treat to see him doing Beetle-e things again and his enthusiasm and child-like sense of wonder is very contagious.

This book’s concept is over the top but it works because Giffen and Kolins lean into the zaniness. This issue also smartly decides to focus on establishing character as its main objective and all but does this to perfection. Jaime’s sister appears on one page, as do his parents, and yet they are all established as likeable characters, and ones that are easily relatable to. Giffen brings the comedy with basically all the characters, even the coffee drinking, body splitting mercenaries that go toe to toe with Jaime in his beetle garb. They have some great one liners that cover such topics as chatty superheroes, the proper way to drink coffee and they even find the time to show off some spelling skills. Less relatable unfortunately are Jaime’s friends, Brenda and Paco who’s dialogue comes off as unnatural and static, as all they do is squabble for no real reason.  The twist at the end of the book does seem to give some hope to them as interesting in the future, as family drama tends to spice up even the most insufferable characters. Thankfully, they are the only characters introduced who fall flat, and considering the amount of people introduced that is a feat.

Along with the great quips and laughs this issue also builds towards the future plot wise, as a mystery involving the nature of Jaime’s scarab and a potential lead villain are introduced in the final couple of pages. While there isn’t much page time given to these mysteries, they are presented in an interesting enough manner that warrants their inclusion.

Scott Kolins art fits the fun tone of this book perfectly, as this issue reads as one nonstop joy ride. His action scenes are chaotic, and the way in which he throws facial expressions in feels natural, while also lending to the comedy that makes this book such a treat. The chaotic, energetic feel of the book is furthered by the way Kolin’s constructs his panels, as almost every page has a different configuration that adds to the feeling of motion that the script and pencils convey.

Unlike many other rebirth specials, Blue Beetle hits the ground running, setting a fun tone full of intriguing characters, bombastic visuals and great one liners. If this debut is any indication of the quality of this book going forward, then it’s a good time to be a comic reader, regardless of whether you like the colour blue, or beetles.

About the Author

Alexander Handziuk

Alex is a comic aficionado who loves Aquaman, Overwatch, the musical Hamilton and medium length strolls on beaches. Check him out on the Comics Dash Podcast, on twitter at @axehandziuk and in real life patrolling the borders of Canada.