My history with the Blue Beetle consisted of an old 1980’s issue of ‘Justice League’. But that Blue Beetle was Ted Kord and entirely different. Ted Kord was killed several years ago in past DC continuity and my only experience with Jaimie Reyes, the new Blue Beetle, was watching a couple of episodes of ‘Batman: Brave and the Bold’. With so little knowledge of the character, I was leery of how much of Jaime’s history I’d need to know going into this book. Luckily, this is one of the DC titles that has scrapped all of the past continuity and started 100% from scratch. For new readers, that’s great because it completely eliminates the need for any pre-existing knowledge of these characters of the DCU in general.

With this new series, Blue Beetle is again Jaime Reyes. He’s a teenaged kid living in Texas. He has his own problems with family, bullies, and his pining after the niece of the local big bad businesswoman. ‘Blue Beetle’ #1 is a frantic action-packed origin story with just a few lulls tossed in to let the reader catch his/her breath and be introduced to some of the Beetle’s supporting cast. However fast the issue moved, writer Tony Bedard still managed to setup the players in the Blue Beetle universe. We meet the hero, his love interest, the main villain and some of her cohorts, and get some hints as to the history of a mysterious artifact that gives the Beetle his power (which Jaime doesn’t actually pick up until the last few pages of the issue).

It may be a mark against ‘Blue Beetle’ if you’re a long-time fan of the character, but Bedard has written an opening tale that seems to exist outside of  the regular DC Universe. In this issue, other than a brief appearance by a Green Lantern in the prologue scene, there’s no other mention of DC’s other heroes like Superman, Batman, or the Justice League. The Beetle’s villains are totally new and have a cool non-DC Mexican vibe to them. I hope that a few of these guys stick around as part of the Beetle’s own rogues gallery because they were definitely very cool visually. My personal favorite was a guy dressed in a skeleton outfit with a Day of the Dead skull for a face.

The artwork, with Ig Guara on pencils and Ruy Jose on inks, is perfect for the action of Blue Beetle. The highly detailed pencils are mixed with just the right amount of cartoon-like expressions and they compliment Bedard’s story wonderfully. As I read, I couldn’t help thinking that if this version of ‘Blue Beetle’ were a new cartoon show, it’d be an instant hit. It just has that feel to it.

‘Blue Beetle’ #1 is a great first issue and looks like it’ll be a fantastic series for people looking for something a little different than DC’s mainstay superheroes.

[Warning: space age spoilerly recap below!]

This first issue opens on an intergalactic battle many eons ago that ends with a piece of alien technology buried beneath ancient ruins on Earth. Cut to modern times where Jaimie Reyes is facing the usual teenage hurdles of dealing with bullies and trying to get a girl to notice him. The story gets more intriguing as we’re shown that the aunt of the girl that Reyes has eyes for is really some sort of business tycoon super villain (a la Lex Luthor) and that she is searching for the ancient technological artifact. While trying to get to a party, Reyes accidentally intercepts a package carried by the villainess’ goons. The package (naturally) contains the artifact. When Reyes is attacked by the villains, the artifact bursts to life and Reyes is engulfed in alien armor. Thus the new Blue Beetle is born.

Written by TONY BEDARD