Rot in Hell, Reach!
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! If you thought the last issue of DCâ€™s Blue Beetle rocked your socks off, then you are going to love how everything falls into place in the latest battle with those bastards from the Reach.
The last time we checked in with Jamie Reyes the Reach had bombed his familyâ€™s home (with his family still in it – Those Bastards!), and even worse, Senor Poopy-Pants (aka – the head Reach dude), ripped the scarab from Jamieâ€™s spine (That Bastard!), leaving him a heap on the floor.
I didnâ€™t think John Rogers could top himself after the dramatic build up last issue, but the man has hit on a formula that not only works in this issue, but will work next issue, and in hind-sight has been working since issue #1.
Of course Jamieâ€™s family isnâ€™t dead – thatâ€™s the point of cliffhanger endings – you veer in one direction, but in reality everything is just fine. Coming to the rescue is none other than Traci 13, the magical teenage daughter of Dr. 13. When the dust settles, and everyone realizes her powers have saved the family, she enters the story with one of the best lines from the entire book – â€œHi My Nameâ€™s Traci 13. Iâ€™m dating your son. I brought cookies.â€
How can you not love her character?
To keep the Reach from attacking again, everyone piles into Pacoâ€™s Beetle mobile and head out of town as fast as they can.
I mentioned in my previous review that I dropped Blue Beetle for a while, and I think one of the reasons for this is I just didnâ€™t buy the magical scarab attaching itself to ones spine, only to be revealed that it is alien technology later on. The magical aspect may have worked for the original Beetle, but I grew up on Ted Kord, and everything he did came from his natural abilities. So, imagine Jamieâ€™s surprise when he discovers his scarab is dead, and their is no way for the two to rejoin. That being said, imagine the readerâ€™s surprise when it is revealed the scarab downloaded everything into Jamieâ€™s mind, so that not only can he speak the Reach language, he understands all the Reach technology and how it works.
It is a great twist that I wasnâ€™t prepared to believe at first, but worked as the issue progressed, leading the reader to the engine room of the cloaked Reach ship, where Jamie places a bit of hacker code into the shipâ€™s system that no one can crack. I donâ€™t know if this is intentional on Jamieâ€™s part or something the scarab planted in Jamieâ€™s subconscious, but I think the final part of this story is going to be huge.
The other thing that struck me as being somewhat awesome is how Jamie gets a new uniform. Without the scarab, Jamieâ€™s armor is gone, but a few good punches here and there, and young Mr. Reyes snags himself a blue Reach uniform, and a pair of gold goggles. Hmmm , sound like someone weâ€™ve seen before?
In order to keep Jamie off guard, Senor Poopy-Pants commands his forces to resume their attack on the Reyes family, and this is where the issue becomes very special. Throughout the 24 issue run, Rogers has introduced us to a variety of characters that have shaped how Jamie runs his life. Through these interactions, Jamie has made a connection with each of these people, and when push comes to shove, these people (both good and bad) will stand next to Jamie to fight a common enemy. So when every character from the major story arcs appear to help protect the family, it makes you suddenly wonder if Rogers hasnâ€™t been planning this build up all along.
The sudden reappearance of these characters – especially La Dama coming to defend her daughter from the Reach – reinforce the idea of La Famillia as a central aspect of Blue Beetle. Peacemaker and his crew, along with Jamieâ€™s father, referencing their involvement during the Dominion War only enhance the story, giving all of these characters a backstory that makes me want to read more.
Aside from the story, the art once again blows my mind. I love everything Albuquerque is doing with this issue, from the details of the surroundings to the goofy expressions on the Reach crew, I want to see more of Albuquerqueâ€™s work in other titles!
- La Dama pulling a Scarface
- Jamie creating his own Ted Kord costume
- Everyone coming together to fight the big bad
- Perfect pacing in the back and forth between the story on the ground and the story in space
- Reference to the Dominion attack from the 80s
- More pages please
- I have to wait another month for the end of this magnificent arc.
Not only will the next issue be the end of a major two year story arc, it will also be the last for John Rogers – at least for a while. Heâ€™s stepping away to work on another DC title, and to continue his scriptwriting work in Hâ€™wood. Do I smell a 24 issue hard back edition coming from DC in the near future? Probably not, but i think it would do well as a stand alone trade and could serve as a blueprint for future writers working on the title. On the plus side, Rogers did say he would be back, and I for one canâ€™t wait.
Iâ€™m giving Blue Beetle #24 5 out of 5 Stars.