Current Reviews


Blue Beetle #4

Posted: Monday, July 3, 2006
By: Kevin T. Brown

“Person of Interest”

Writers: Keith Giffen & John Rogers
Artist: Cully Hamner

Publisher: DC Comics

Every once in awhile there's a comic that sneaks up on you. Sometimes it's a good thing; sometimes it's a bad thing. In the case of Blue Beetle it's a very good thing. I really had no expectations when I figured on buying this series. I liked the Ted Kord Blue Beetle, but I wasn't fanatical about his death, and I had no opinion about the original Dan Garrett version beyond enjoying a few stories in reprints many years ago. So I went into this series with the attitude of nothing to lose and everything to gain. Well in a very short amount of time, they've gained a fan who's here for the long haul.

The main reason I was so willing to buy this new series was because of the art by Cully Hamner. He's one of those artists who is constantly ignored and looked past when it comes to naming “the best” or “the most favorite.” Perhaps it's because he's so damned good that people look past him. Or it's because he always provides great story-telling and dynamic action scenes. Or maybe it's because he can draw human emotion to the point that you're pulled into the story along with the characters. Or he's just so good, that we expect it all the time and become accustomed to it. Pick and choose. Either way, Cully Hamner is just damned good.

Oh. Wait. I said that already, didn't I? Heck with it. Go with what works.

Of course Hamner wouldn't have much of a story to draw if there were no script. In this case, a script written by two gentlemen by the names of Keith Giffen and John Rogers. Giffen and Rogers are slowly but surely building a mystery within this title. Not just A mystery, but many mysteries tied to one mystery. That mystery being the Blue Beetle suit and its origins. The reader and the characters are both in the dark as to what is going on. And when one page reveals one mystery, three more pop up. Normally I'd find this infuriating, but it's written with such flair you cannot help but get swept up in it.

I won't try to get into all the minute details of this particular issue, instead I'll just focus in on some of the highlights. We discover a “weakness” in the suit that hinders its ability to function or to protect the wearer. We discover more about what happened to Jaime's family and friends when he was gone for the year. We discover more about La Dama and her goals. And we also discover that Jaime is trying to find out more about the previous Blue Beetles, as well as how they're abilities are unlike his, and that attracts the attention of Oracle. In all of those situations, the dialogue just flows. Whether it's funny, serious, or has undertones of villainy, it's the dialogue that makes this book. I've read this issue four times already and with each reading, it gets better. There's one particular panel that shows an exchange between Barbara Gordon and Black Canary that still cracks me up.

As I said in the beginning, there are some comics that sneak up on you. Not only did this one seemingly “come out of nowhere,” but it's quickly become one of my favorites. If you're not already reading this title, you're missing out on something very special. DC has got a solid hit here.

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