Let’s get ready to alien rumble! It’s Blue Beetle vs some weird people in suits. Is this the end of the world, or just another Saturday morning cartoon? Put your Talking Heads cassette in your car’s stereo system as Road to Nowhere continues in Blue Beetle #15.
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artists: Scott Kolins, Tom Derenick
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Blue Beetle: Thanks to a big payday from Ted Kord, Jaime, his friends Paco and Brenda, and his girlfriend Naomi are on a road trip to wherever the road takes them. The groups ends up in Mooney, New Mexico, and then – Aliens! It’s all over, man!
IF IT WASN’T FOR THOSE MEDDLING KIDS
Naomi is the only person in the world who doesn’t know Jaime is Blue Beetle, and that makes things rather difficult when he needs to fight space aliens – or what appears to be space aliens. It also adds a bit more tension between the characters, as Paco and Brenda feel like they are dying to reveal the big secret.
As the issue progresses, the teens find themselves captives of a wild band of old people, and a similar wild band of young children. As they plot their escape (while trying to keep Naomi in the dark), the aliens appear once again, only this time, the hoods are pulled off and we discover the town folk are behind everything… or are they?
A mysterious boss keeps getting mentioned, but we have no idea who, or what the boss is. There’s also a lot of science mumbo-jumbo about tachyons aging and de-aging the citizens of the town, super suits that give them powers, and a nice kiss between Naomi and Jaime.
In the end, this issue feels a lot like a Dr. Seuss tale of the Star Bellied Sneetches. It also has a very weird Doctor Manhattan vibe to everything as the blue energy, and the closing page reveals the lead antagonist dissipating in a similar manner to what we read in The Watchmen. There’s also a weird Watchmen like clock in his eye. I’m probably reading too much into this, but you never know…
For a kid who is about to start his senior year in high school, and who also has the weight of the world on his shoulders, Jaime just wants to take the summer off. But, no matter where he goes, trouble finds him. It has become a running joke in the past two issues, and I’m beginning to think Christopher Sebela is going to continue this gag until the next arc begins. With the addition of Naomi, the secret identity trope comes up more than once, but Sebela keeps it feeling fresh.
SO IT’S COME TO THIS
A trend I’ve noticed over the last couple of years is artists who creates breakdowns of the entire issue, and then let another artist come in to clean it up and bring it to life. I’m not against this, because comics are a team effort, and if going the two team route (different from artist/inker) means comics come out on time and people are getting paid, then I’m all for it. Here the team of Scott Kolins (breakdowns) and Tom Derenick (finishes) bring an interesting look to Blue Beetle, that reminds me a lot of John Bryne (but with fewer thick black lines). I’m not a big fan of adding scratchy bits just to have scratchy bits on the characters, clothing, and surroundings, and to say they add depth to the character doesn’t fly with me. Mileage may vary, of course, but I’m not a fan.
On the coloring side of the issue, I like the use of blues and the digital glow for the aliens and their ships. Romulo Fajardo Jr. uses a lot of oranges to compliment all the blue hues on the page. Someone is definitely following the color wheel in this issue to make it look really nice.
BOTTOM LINE: I’M OKAY WITH THIS BOOK
I have a long love for Blue Beetle, and even in this Rebirth world where a lot – and I mean A LOT of Jaime’s previous stories are being retold almost note for note, Sebela brings us something new. I’m interested in seeing where this arc goes next, and if/how Doomsday Clock plays a role in this tale. If you are brand new to Blue Beetle comics and only know the character from Batman: Brave and the Bold, and Teen Titans, then Blue Beetle #14 and #15 are definitely new reader friendly. Overall, Blue Beetle #15 is a pretty solid read, hits all the character development and story notes, and the art is fine. Definitely worth picking up.[taq_review]