Escarabajo Azul!


Blue Beetle #26

In this very special issue of “Blue Beetle,” Jaime attends a family reunion with his girlfriend, Traci Thirteen, discovers that his grandmother knows his secret identity, and fights the Parasite after the villain has absorbed the powers of all the members of the Posse, El Paso’s magic-powered street gang. So what’s so special about this? Well, nearly the entire story is in Spanish.

Aww, now you kids don’t panic. If you can’t read Spanish (I can’t), there’s the original English script in the back to help you out. You won’t miss out on a bit of the story or dialogue.

In fact, the script ends up pointing up some errors in the comic — there’s a scene where Traci appears to be in two different places at the same time — very jarring in the comic. But the script reveals that one of those appearances is actually her astral form. A clumsy error, but not a deal-breaker. Another error? While the story is in Spanish, it’s not actually the Spanish you’d hear in El Paso or Mexico — it’s Spanish from Spain, because the translator is Sergio Aragones, who’s from Spain. So if you know Spanish, it may come off sounding a lot less than conversational.

So how is it? Despite the errors, it’s pretty good. The visual storytelling by guest penciller Mike Norton is excellent, for us non-Spanish-speakers. And guest writer Jai Nitz has a wonderful grasp on Jaime and his supporting cast. There’s plenty of humor, most of it character-driven. For instance, this panel, after Jaime sasses his mom and grandmom:


Translation: “No sass!”

Verdict: Thumbs up. By now, y’all should know I’m in favor of anything that (A) helps bring in new, non-traditional comic book readers and (B) makes comics look like something other than a bunch of white guys in tights, and this story works at doing both of those. I particularly hope this helps bring in some new readers, both Hispanic and otherwise, because this comic is still one of the best DC is producing, and it still needs more readers! If you’re interested in jumping on this bandwagon, this is a great place to do it.


Birds of Prey #117

In the city of Platinum Flats, Oracle, Manhunter, and Misfit tangle with a crew of magical meta-crooks, including a lizard man, a guy who shoots bullets out of his third eye, a telepath, and a nerdy cyber-mage. Manhunter and Misfit get captured, but everyone makes it out okay, barely. With this new magical gang of magicians supplying mystical weaponry to the underworld, Barbara decides to move the team out of Metropolis and to Platinum Flats.

Verdict: Thumbs up. These new villains are pretty cool, and Misfit gets another bunch of awesome moments. We even get a few pages with Lady Blackhawk and her world’s-greatest dimples.


The Spirit #16

When an actor gets murdered on the set of a movie, the Spirit goes undercover as a stuntman so he can listen to set gossip and try to discover the killer.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A better mix of humor and mystery than the last issue had.

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