DON’T LOOK AT THE COVER!

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Issue #25 concludes a huge story arc that begin two years ago when Jamie Reyes became the latest in a growing list of heroes who would be the Blue Beetle. And oh, what an adventure it has been! From the opening page of issue #1 to the closing page of issue #25, Blue Beetle has proven itself to be one of the best titles coming out of DC.

But damn it if the story isn’t potentially ruined by the cover.

bluebeetle25cover.jpgBlue Beetle #25: End Game Part 4
Writer: John Rogers
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Swands

To be honest, I didn’t even pay attention to the cover when I was scrambling for something to read in the reading room. I saw Beetle on the cover, said, “that’s for me” and made the mad dash flipping open the cover and devouring the contents within.

If you thought the scarab was dead when it was ripped from Jamie’s spine, guess again. The duo of scarab and Reyes had this attack planned far in advance to the point it is hinted they hoped the parting of the two would happen so the scarab would have access to the Reach’s computer systems. While many comics, like The Flash, introduce the story with a inner monologue from the hero, John Rogers decided to flip the situation and introduce us to this concluding chapter from the point of view of the scarab, who we also learn has a name – Khaji Da! Even the build up to the splash page reveal is done in the same way The Flash has introduced himself for years.

Last year at this time, the dictate from on high was each issue had to begin with a splash page, which kinda killed the story telling process in my opinion. The two pages of panel leading up to the splash in this issue is a welcome return to great story telling that features the re-teaming of the scarab and Jamie as the Blue Beetle.

I mentioned previously the cover could ruin the entire issue for someone who is waiting for a heck of a lot of “Oh Hellz Yeah!” moments. Take for example the first Hellz Yeah moment that happens as the extended Reyes family (featuring nearly everyone who has come in contact with Jamie since issue #1) battle the Reach storm troopers. When things look like it is the darkest, light comes to the rescue in the form of “the crazy one”. Yes boys and girls, none other than the mighty lantern himself – Guy Gardner! The layout of this issue is about as perfect as it can be as the final panel on page 7 only hints at the full page reveal on page 9.

Of course the cover kinda told us Gardner would appear.

And Guy brought along a friend; Ice! Yeah, it’s good to see the two together again, and if you are confused as to why the lovers are featured in the same issue, the return of Editor’s Notes answers all.

But again, Tora appearance is kind of spoiled by the cover.

With Checkmate acting under United Nations orders, it’s great to see Guy and Tora reunited with Fire, but again, that darn cover…

Oh yes, there is some romance between the central Blue Beetle characters, there are more Hellz Yeah moments as Jamie uses some of Ted Kord’s battle tactics to overpower the Reach ship to the point Senor Poopy-Pants and Blue Beetle could die in a huge explosion, only to be saved by the greatest hero the world has never known. Yeah, Booster’s save is lessened by the cover.

I keep comparing Rogers’ run on Blue Beetle to some of the greatest seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When you tell a huge story that spans years of character development, features at least 20 characters (some from other titles), forces you to pay attention to every appearance of the characters in other titles (Teen Titans, Birds of Prey, Infinite Crisis), then brings everything full circle in a four part story that rivals any season finale, it sends shivers down your spine as you wonder if this wrap was something planned recently, or from the beginning. In either case, kudos to Rogers for sticking with this character and delivering one of (if not the) title you should be reading month after month.

The Good

  • Hellz Yeah!, after Hellz Yeah! moment
  • The movie like climax of the issue
  • Rogers writing
  • Albuquerque art
  • Green Lantern, Ice, Fire, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle – it’s as close as we are going to get to a real JLI reunion.
  • Finally understanding the scarab

The Bad

  • If you haven’t guessed, the cover
  • Last issue for Rogers

If you haven’t been reading Blue Beetle since the beginning, be thankful there are plenty of collected trades for you to read. Unfortunately, if you have read the first 25 issues and are waiting with baited breath for the next issue, you might be disappointed as Rogers is taking a break from the title. I don’t know how long the break is, but it is at least the next three issues.

Sometimes it is very hard to review single issues of a serialized comic as one slow issue could make you hate an entire series, when in actuality it is simply moving the overall story along. It’s only when you sit back and look at the big picture that you realize how great Blue Beetle is as a series. As a stand alone issue, #25 earns 5 out of 5 Stars, while the huge 25 issue arc receives a solid 4.5 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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3 Comments

  1. Rowan
    March 30, 2008 at 5:45 pm — Reply

    it would be sweet if the people on the cover got together and made there very own JLA yay !

  2. March 30, 2008 at 7:44 pm — Reply

    It should also be noted that “Khaji Da!” was the magic word that Dan Garret used to transform into his version of Blue Beetle back in the day… So, in essence, he was calling the scarab by name.

  3. Ransom
    March 31, 2008 at 3:44 pm — Reply

    So the scarab works like Shazam? That’s kinda weird to me. Actually, the entire idea of the scarab being alive when it was just an epic item of power back in Day of Vengeance kinda disturbs me. If that’s true, the helm of Fate would have worked just as well.

    Let’s chalk it up to history punching, I suppose.

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