One difficulty in launching the New 52 reboot is trying to bring in and engage a broad new branch of readers with intriguing stories and easy-to-follow histories. Another difficulty is trying to safely retcon everything without pandering to new readers or cheapening the characters for veteran readers. The sophomore issue of Blue Beetle manages to have a decent storyline, but has a few problems along the way.
Jaime Reyes is supposed to be relatable. He’s the average whiny teenager that randomly stumbled into a cosmic symbiotic bug suit. What isn’t relatable is the gratuitous amounts of Spanish dialogue in issue #2. Sure, a lot of folks have taken at least Spanish 101, and most of the Spanish in Blue Beetle #2 is used as an exclamatory device, but the attempt at cultural authenticity ultimately lacks verisimilitude because I have no idea what anyone is saying. During the party scene alone, the unnecessary amount of Spanish makes a guest appearance with at least ten different phrases that are not easily understood.
Another complaint with this issue is consistency errors. “Plasmus,” otherwise known as the giant lava dude, is seemingly German in nature. But his dialogue goes back and forth from sounding German to not-German. It’s hard to get a peg on this guy.
Also, Lu-Kreeza, the head Blue Beetle recruitment officer, uses the term “two and a half centuries” but in reference to what? It wouldn’t be worth complaining about but the very next panel uses the term “237 Tacyears” and the first issue uses “Tactons”. If two and half centuries are equal to 237 Tacyears. When will the next Blue Beetle conversion chart be released?
Just like the other inconsistencies in this book, the art looks great in some scenes but weird in others. The character design of Blue Beetle, as well as his carry-over opponents from the last issue are great. They’re unique and well thought-out especially tying the whole “Dia de Los Muertos” vibe to “Rompe-Huesos”. Blue Beetle’s suit is one of the coolest costumes in the DC universe. From aesthetic alone, the reader can infer that it is a symbiotic suit. Also, Blue Beetle’s mask design allows for one of the most expressive masks in comics. The pencils are great except for Guara’s penchant to draw everyone’s teeth all the time, which comes across as looking really weird when non-powered people are baring their chompers. Doña Cardenas and Brenda look particularly dopey at the Quinceañera.
Issue #2 features little to no story and plot development. It feels like a filler issue that could have been summed up in a few sentences at the beginning of issue #3. Despite the downfalls of this issue, I’ll be giving Blue Beetle one more issue before I decide if I’m going to be inconsistent about picking up this book. But, right now, it’s not looking so good.
Paden Wyatt is a jerk. But, he’s not just any jerk! He taps into his latent journalism powers to write terrible things about your favorite comic books and video games. His strengths are making nerds cry, high fives, laughing too loudly and sometimes, but rarely, civilized argument. His weaknesses are human baby-sized burritos, ice cream, tattoos, Welsh Corgis and Doctor Who. He resides in North-Central West Virginia with his mom and dad and could totally leave if he wanted to. Sometimes Paden is not a jerk, and you can follow him on twitter at @padenw.