Review: Blue Beetle #32

by

Secret origins are fun

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I miss the days when comic books would spend an issue telling the back story of how the latest villain of the week became the villain of the week.  It was fun to discover how that person was wronged or what led him down the path to evil, and best of all it was all revealed in a single issue.  After reading Blue Beetle #32, those good ol’ days are back again.

bluebeetle32cover.jpgThe last time I reviewed Blue Beetle, I went on wondering who was the person behind the new Doctor Polaris?  Turns out he’s a guy that learned to use his magnetic powers to move up the company ladder, and when the time was right, picked up the mantle of Doctor Polaris when Neal Emerson (the previous Doctor Polaris) got blowed up real good.

I like Polaris’ justification for how he moved up through the company – lies, cheating, and killing; nobody seemed to care about background searches or follow ups on his resume, so they pretty much got what they deserved.  That’s a good commentary on today’s society that’s snuck in for those paying close attention.

The flashback is perfect; it’s confined to one issue, touches on all the key points, is believable enough, and doesn’t require six issues of build up.  Thank you Matthew Sturges for that one!

As far as Jaime goes, Polaris has set a trap with a bunch of amped up guys, much like those he put down a couple issues ago.  Good thing Traci 13 and his dad are along for the ride to kick ass and take names.

There’s also an interesting thread where Jaime’s dad attempts to convince his son that he should give up the job on the boarder patrol, as it would cause the Hispanic community (80%) to no longer trust him, and possibly turn against him.  This is the motivating plot point to get Jamie and his dad in the same place together, and it is a thread that will no doubt play a more important role as the series progresses. I like how Jaime is torn on the issue; on the one hand he wants to uphold the law by not allowing illegal immigrants to cross the border, but on the other, he has sympathy for his culture and its people.

Once again, Matthew Sturges is weaving a story that expands on what came before, while creating a more meaningful connection with all the characters in the Blue Beetle Universe.  I really like that Traci 13 keeps making guest appearances in the series too.  She’s a character I dig, and would like to see more of in Blue Beetle, and I don’t even mind her magic carrot powers. (You’ll have to buy the issue to find out what that’s about)  The only thing I would caution is to make sure her powers aren’t used as the god from the machine, or it negates everything the Blue Beetle is trying to do.

Andre Coehlo serves up another tasty treat in the art for the issue.   I love how he draws characters that have weight and are simply not pasted on the page flat with no dimension.  If I had one complaint, it’s that sometimes Doctor Polaris out of costume, looks like the polar opposite of Jaime’s dad.  They have the same beard style, same build, and even the same facial features.  Except for the color of the hair, they could be related. Foreshadowing?  I hope not.

This issue has all the ingredients for an excellent story; a villain without remorse, a huge rumble between the bad guys, and the outnumbered good, a moment for romance, social commentary, and a little bit of humor mixed in for good measure.  I’m going to say it again, and again, and again, I’m a big fan of the Blue Beetle.  This is a series that I hope continues for 30 more issues before I turn all bitter and hateful.  If Sturges and company continue to deliver the goods, I’m positive I’m going to be my jolly happy self for years to come.  I’m giving Blue Beetle #32 4 out of 5 Stars.

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20/20