Well it was fun while it lasted
Has it really been three years?Â Three years since Infinite Crisis introduced readers to Jaime Reyes, a teenager who picked up a scarab and became the new Blue Beetle?Â In three years weâ€™ve seen Jaime learn to use his powers to fight crime, defeat an alien invasion, land a super hot girlfriend, and build an extended family of those willing to go the distance to help him in his battle against those that would do evil.Â Itâ€™s too bad everything comes crashing down on Jaimeâ€™s head in this final issue. Well, Ted Kord does make an appearance, so thatâ€™s a plus…
The emancipated Reach Infiltrators have arrived on Earth to seek guidance from their presumed leader, but Jaime doesnâ€™t want to be the leader of a crazed beetle army bent on wiping out everyone and everything in the five systems.Â This decision doesnâ€™t sit well with the Infiltrators who begin to do everything they can to kill Jaime and those around him.
The issue is one big battle, as page after page has Jaime getting his butt kicked in a most serious way, while his network of friends and family try to save everyone at the school prom to get out alive.Â At the end of the last issue, readers saw Jaime and Blue Beetle standing side by side, which had many wondering how that trick was being pulled off.Â Turns out itâ€™s a Ted Kord trick using holograms and surround sound to fool anyone nearby.Â Itâ€™s a pretty cool trick as Holo-Jaime tries to interact with those on the ground, while at the same time doing battle in the skies above the school.Â Itâ€™s an even nicer moment, when Jaimeâ€™s connection to his doppelganger is severed and we get to see Ted Kord one last time signing off from the Holo Thing Broadcasting System.Â As cool as the moment is, the standing around do nothing Holo-Jaime is good enough to fool even those close to him, so when someone dies, the other friend believes Jaime didnâ€™t do anything to save her.
And itâ€™s all because the Blue Beetle has taken the battle to the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where Jaime and his Kadji-Da decide to reboot the entire system, thus shutting down every suit being worn by the Infiltrators.Â That brilliant plan also shuts off Jaimeâ€™s scarab, which sends him and the Infiltrator heâ€™s been fighting in close combat, plumetting toward the Earth.
Apparently, the Kadji-Da protects the wearer even when going through a 24.7 day reboot, as Jaime is still able to breath, and doesnâ€™t burn up on re-entry.Â It also protects him enough that when he hits the ground, he only breaks most of the bones in his body, instead of becoming a splat on the windshield.
The reboot plan does work, and the Infiltrators are rounded up by the Green Lantern Corps.Â Jaime recovers from his injuries in a mere 16 days, but the team is broken.Â Peacemaker goes to seek new adventure, Hector disappears, and thereâ€™s a moment toward the end of the issue, that we discover Hector will probably return as a foil for Jaime as he has snagged himself a scarab from one of the fallen Infiltrators.
The death of one of the characters in this issue is downplayed quite a bit, but it is clear the death does affect Jaime, as he struggles to come to grips with becoming a man who needs to find his own way in the world.Â Fortunately, the issue ends on an upbeat note when Kadji-Da comes back online, and readers are left knowing weâ€™ll see Blue Beetle againÂ – not in his own book, but appearances in other titles through the DCU.
For those who have been reading my Blue Beetle reviews for the last couple of years, you know I constantly compare this series with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.Â I forget the title of the episode — I believe it is called Graduation Day — it is the season finale where Buffy and crew, battle principle dragon monster, and destroy the high school.Â When the episode concluded, there was a definite sense of, â€œWhat now?â€ going on, even though the rapid fans knew the series was coming back the following season Thatâ€™s kind of howÂ I felt about this issue.Â But unlike Buffy, Blue Beetle isnâ€™t coming back next month, which is sad, as Blue Beetle and Robin have been my two most favorite titles DC released that kept me entertained and engrossed from month to month.
For a final issue, that wraps up an entire book, Blue Beetle #36 could have been a lot worse.Â The dialogue wasnâ€™t as snappy as weâ€™ve seen in more recent issues, but thatâ€™s probably due to the intensity of the situation and the fact that most of the issue is Jaimeâ€™s inner monologue.Â Still there are a few light moments that work amid all the chaos, and the issue does leave the reader with hope that perhaps someday, DC will see the error of its ways and bring the series back – circulation numbers be damned.
Beyond the minor dialogue issues, Iâ€™m also slightly bothered by the fact that we donâ€™t learn what happens to some of the other characters that have become part of the Blue Beetle experience.Â Maybe weâ€™ll learn about them in Teen Titans or other guest appearance moments, but I seriously doubt it.Â Still, Blue Beetle #36 is a solid issue, and has a more fulfilling ending than Birds of Prey did from last week.Â Iâ€™d love to see DC collect this entire series in two or three omnibus editions for new readers to discover.Â Barring that, the quarter bin is going to be gold mine for some lucky comic book reader down the road, as Blue Beetle #36 goes out on a high note, earningÂ 4 out of 5 Stars.