Rot in Hell, Reach!

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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 DC’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.

bluebeetle24.jpgBlue Beetle #24: End Game Part 3
Writer: John Rogers
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Travis Lanham

The last time we checked in with Jamie Reyes the Reach had bombed his family’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 Jamie’s spine (That Bastard!), leaving him a heap on the floor.

I didn’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 Jamie’s family isn’t dead – that’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 – “Hi My Name’s Traci 13. I’m dating your son. I brought cookies.”

How can you not love her character?

To keep the Reach from attacking again, everyone piles into Paco’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 didn’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 Jamie’s surprise when he discovers his scarab is dead, and their is no way for the two to rejoin. That being said, imagine the reader’s surprise when it is revealed the scarab downloaded everything into Jamie’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 wasn’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 ship’s system that no one can crack. I don’t know if this is intentional on Jamie’s part or something the scarab planted in Jamie’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, Jamie’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 we’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 hasn’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 Jamie’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 Albuquerque’s work in other titles!

The Good

  • 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

The Bad

  • 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. He’s stepping away to work on another DC title, and to continue his scriptwriting work in H’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 can’t wait.

I’m giving Blue Beetle #24 5 out of 5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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1 Comment

  1. March 13, 2008 at 4:06 pm — Reply

    This sounds just great…plus, I’m always thrilled when I hear that the latest issue is a multiple of six…it means there’ll be a new trade coming out shortly!! (There’d better be, DC…I just love me some Jaime Blue Beetle!!)

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