Buy the book, read the book, love the book, save the book

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I’m sure more than a few readers were a tad apprehensive when John Rogers stepped away from writing Blue Beetle and Matthew Sturges took over.  But now that Sturges has more than a few issues under his belt, it is clear that the title isn’t suffering due to a change in writers.  It’s as strong as it’s ever been.

BLUECv31_solicit.jpgWhen superhero guest stars make an appearance in titles, one has to wonder if it is a ploy to pump up sales.  Is it any wonder Wolverine pops up in nearly every Marvel title?  Had Matthew Sturges brought in one of the big guns (Superman, Batman, and so on), then I might think that is what DC is trying to do with Blue Beetle, but when the guest star of the month is Doctor Mid-Nite, then you know there’s no such thing going on.  And unlike other guest appearances, Doctor Mid-Nite fits into this issue perfectly.

Previously in Blue Beetle: While making his rounds, Jamie Reyes stumbled upon a van trying to sneak over the border into El Paso.  When the Blue Beetle stopped to investigate, the passengers injected themselves with a mysterious drug that gave them super powers.  Using his wits, Reyes was able to bring the baddies down, but not without some serious injury to his adversaries.  Taking them to the hospital made sense, and because these guys are now super-powered people, Doctor Mid-Nite is called in to help out.

I had completely forgotten that Jamie’s mother was a nurse at the hospital, and keeping the identity secret while getting updates makes for great moments in the story.  Doctor Mid-Nite is able to deduce the powers come from an engineered virus, and it is the clue that the virus has magnetic properties to it that is so brilliantly dropped by Sturges, I didn’t pick up on it until my second reading of the issue.
Yes, it is called foreshadowing, and like Rogers before him, Sturges is dropping subtle hints along the way, that if followed, make the big reveal at the end of the issue that much more impressive.  And if you’ve listened to the Matthew Sturges interview on the Major Spoilers Podcast, you already know who the Big Bad is.  It’s such a fun reveal…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Even though Jamie thought he had almost killed these amped up kids, he’s still being awarded a key to the city, and in a scene straight out of Spider-Man III, Jamie has his moment in the sun.  Although it’s funny how he also ends up getting enlisted by the D.A.’s office to be a member of the Border Patrol against his will, and since he’s in front of a large cheering crowd, he really can’t refuse.

The story does have the obligatory team up between Doctor Mid-Nite and Blue Beetle, as the villains attempt to escape from the hospital, but instead of chasing them to the ends of the Earth, Doctor Mid-Nite gives Jamie some sage advise on when it’s better to let the bad guys escape to fight a better fight another day.

Now back to that big reveal.

Intergang has been trying to make a play for El Paso, and the person heading up the attempt is one Mr. Nichol.  Problem is, he’s being rather difficult.  And that’s because Intergang doesn’t realize Nichol is none other than Doctor Polaris.  Or should I say, the New Doctor Polaris, because the other one got blowed up real good in Infinite Crisis.  And while Doctor Polaris has been seen in the pages of Justice League of America (#11, 17, and 21), it’s been unclear if Doc P was Neal Emerson or someone else.

Sturges leads us to believe this is a new guy, but if I were going to get back at a bunch of criminals who pretty much screwed me, and left me to “get blowed up real good”, I wouldn’t use my real name either.  This will be an interesting story to follow, as it now looks like Blue Beetle finally has a major villain to battle.  I’m not saying La Dama and the Reach don’t make for good foils, but it’s so much cooler when an even greater threat emerges to cause trouble.

And it’s also going to be interesting to see the Mariposa story line play out now that we know her “father” is Doctor Polaris.

That is if the series lasts that long.

I’m afraid if the sales slump any further, Blue Beetle is going to be on the short list of titles to be cancelled by the higher ups at DC.  And that would be a real shame.  Not only is Blue Beetle an excellent title, written by brilliant minds, with art that shines, Blue Beetle is one of the few titles that doesn’t take place in a large metropolis, and it features a cast of characters that are role models to the growing Hispanic and Latino American population.  I really don’t want to see a title that features strong role models get canceled just because it is selling 12,000 copies a month. Blue Beetle is title that really should be selling 50-100,000 copies each month.  It’s really that good.    In fact, I like Blue Beetle so much, I’m giving Blue Beetle #31 4.5 Stars out of 5, and asking each and every one of the Major Spoiler Legion to go out and buy a copy to keep the title alive.

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Seriously, save Blue Beetle.  If a couple of goof-balls can rally people to get DC to bring back Manhunter, then surely we can ensure Blue Beetle doesn’t get canceled.

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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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7 Comments

  1. Dr. Pants
    October 11, 2008 at 11:15 pm — Reply

    I’ll straight up cry if Blue Beetle gets axed. I wish more people would read those first 25 issues — what a great extended arc — and get into this amazing book. I tell people, if you like Spider-Man, you should be reading Blue Beetle and Invincible, the two modern heirs to Spidey’s crown.

  2. October 12, 2008 at 10:50 am — Reply

    I’ll have to dig in the long boxes but I thought Sra Reyes was a doctor…

  3. October 12, 2008 at 11:14 am — Reply

    shrug, maybe she is…

  4. October 12, 2008 at 6:18 pm — Reply

    No, I’m just saying I’m unclear. For all the great stuff having supportive parents means for Jaime, there’s never beem even a subplot about who they are as fully rounded individuals. My solution? An issue where Jaime has an important college placement test and where his parents take over crime fighting in El Paso without his knowledge for the day so he won’t have to blow the test off.

  5. Dr. Pants
    October 13, 2008 at 7:16 am — Reply

    I believe Jaime’s mom is a nurse, which makes more sense for her character, as nurses are a lot more “hands-on” than doctors and, therefore, more bossy.

  6. October 13, 2008 at 11:38 am — Reply

    Dr. Pants, you’ve met my wife…. (ba-dum-bum)

    In all seriousness, my wife is an excellent nurse, and Jamie’s mom acts a lot like her, so that is why I called her a nurse.

  7. Maria
    November 18, 2008 at 3:36 pm — Reply

    This is why I’ve made this survey, the results of which will be sent to DC Comics along with a letter and comments from readers in hopes of saving Jaime and his awesomeness.

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=jgxP_2fkugjzVxt9_2fa7FKrjA_3d_3d

    Spread this around!

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