Archive for Blue Beetle

Friday Night Fights: Bullseye!

Alright, it’s time to start up another 12-round series of Friday Night Fights, for which I am once again woefully unprepared. There’s only a finite number of comic books out there, with only a finite number of fights — it’s only a matter of time before I’m posting panels of Garfield kicking Odie off the table. Nevertheless, we must forge ahead.

Tonight’s battle comes to us from June 1981’s Charlton Bullseye #1 by Benjamin Smith and Dan Reed, in which the Blue Beetle and the Question fight off a gang of thugs.





That’ll do it for tonight — y’all try to have a weekend so good, you won’t even mind the rest of the coming workweek.

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Stuff I Just Don’t Have Time to Do Long Reviews For

Batman #4

I liked it. The Court of Owls is nice and creepy. The background on young Bruce Wayne’s first detective case is maybe a bit odd, but still enjoyable.

Dark Horse Presents #7

I liked it. Lots of good stories in this one, including a new Hellboy story with art by Mike Mignola, Howard Chaykin’s always enjoyable “Marked Man,” a tale of Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai, and the amusing and unexpected story of the barbarian hero Skulltar by M.J. Butler and Mark Wheatley.

The Amazing Spider-Man #676

I didn’t like it. Spidey never appears. It’s all the Sinister Six vs. the Intelligencia. And Doctor Octopus’ new costume is just awful.

Blue Beetle #4

I didn’t like it. I really kinda hated it. Remember what made the old Blue Beetle so much fun? Namely, you know, the fun? All that fun, the light touch, the great interplay with the supporting cast? None of it’s there. It’s just another bombastic, stupid DC comic book now.

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Run Like Hell

Morning Glories #14

A story told concurrently with last issue, this time we focus on Zoe, Hunter, and Jun. After Hunter furiously tells off Zoe for being a shallow skank, Zoe decides to get her petty revenge by forcing him to pal around with her — because if she won’t, she’ll get her many male admirers to kick his butt. With the just-announced Woodrun, Zoe has decided she wants to win it, with the unwilling help of Hunter and Jun. But once the race actually begins, very, very strange things happen, and neither the students nor the teachers are prepared for what happens.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This felt like a very deeply unusual story. Lots of weird, moody teen angst, as you’d expect from this series, and lots of weird time travel stuff and just general weirdness — again, as you’d expect from this series, but they combine into something stranger than normal.

Blue Beetle #3

Jaime Reyes spends the whole issue trying to get his alien costume to let go of him so he can look human. La Dama slashes an injured minion’s throat so she can do some kind of blood magic. The Reach try to get a lock on where the Blue Beetle armor is. The Brotherhood of Evil get called on the carpet by a possibly new villain called Silverback. And I fail to be entertained by any of this.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This wholly unnecessary reboot of a character who wasn’t that old is just not hitting the cylinders like it should. I don’t understand why it’s important for us to understand what the armor is saying now. I don’t know why La Dama had to turn into a black magician instead of a somewhat sympathetic crimelord. I don’t know why there’s so little interaction between Jaime’s wonderful supporting cast. I want to see some improvement here fast.

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Clanking Chains

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Russia #2

Kate Corrigan and Johann Kraus meet the director of the Russian Occult Bureau, and he’s not what they expected. In fact, he’s a stitched-together corpse wearing a protective suit similar to Johann’s. But he’s intelligent, erudite, and not particularly sinister. In fact, he’s Iosif, the same walking corpse who Abe Sapien met in a state of extremely advanced decomposition on the ocean floor in last year’s “Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain.” Iosif is now smarter than he used to be and has managed to become director of the entire bureau. But Johann soon learns that Iosif may not be the most stable guy as he uses harsh methods to deal with a man he claims is possessed. And what’s going on in the mysterious city of Rampayedik?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A really interesting story with lots of intrigue and supernatural zing. Iosif’s return is amazingly welcome, as “Abyssal Plain” was a big favorite of mine.

Dark Horse Presents #5

Another bunch of great stories in this comics anthology — including new chapters for Filipe Melo and Juan Cavia’s “The Adventures of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy,” Robert Love and David Walker’s “Number 13,” Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s “Resident Alien,” Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten’s “Criminal Macabre,” Neal Adams’ “Blood,” Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder: Third World,” and Howard Chaykin’s “Marked Man,” along with new stories — Eric Powell’s “Isolation” and Andi Watson’s “Skeleton Key: Dead Can’t Dance.”

Verdict: Thumbs up. Anthologies are always a mixed bag of brilliant and not-so-brilliant, but there were a lot more good stories here than bad ones. Definite high points would be Powell’s robot debauchery mini-epic “Isolation,” Chaykin’s always amazing “Marked Man,” and McNeil’s tribute to strange futures “Finder.”

Blue Beetle #2

Jaime Reyes has an alien super-weapon wrapped around him and screaming in his ear while he tries to avoid killing everyone around him. And the Reach has noticed that Earth’s scarab has just activated, so they start making plans to invade.

Verdict: Man, so not enthused about this right now. This is the problem with rebooting a new series like this — especially when you’re not really changing much of anything about Jaime and the scarab’s origins. We could’ve skipped all the repeat of Jaime’s origin in favor of telling some new Blue Beetle stories. Nevertheless, the writing and art are A-OK, and I’m still a big fan of the character, so I reckon I’ll be sticking with it.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Looks like Marvel’s recent layoffs were apparently done for the same reason most other layoffs happen — greedy managers who want to make themselves look like big profit-grabbers for their bosses.
  • What the 1% have but can never appreciate, and what they want but can never have. (By sci-fi/horror megastar author Charles Stross)

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Squishy Beetle

Blue Beetle #1

One of the best things about the DC Reboot has been the return of Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle. It’s a complete reboot for the character, with the alien conquerors the Reach still in business in the distant past, and in the present day, Jaime still just a normal El Paso High School student. Looks like his supporting cast is intact, including his family and his friends Paco and Brenda — though Paco has been changed into an irritating gangsta stereotype. Brenda’s aunt is still a crimelord, so Jaime’s parents won’t let him attend Brenda’s birthday party — so Jaime and Paco sneak out so they can make an appearance — just in time for the new Brotherhood of Evil and a bunch of La Dama’s metahuman enforcers to get into a fight over the legendary blue scarab — and that leads to Jaime getting a new blue addition to his spinal cord.

Verdict: Ehh, not sure yet. My major complaint is with the new cartoon-lowrider-gangster look they saddled Paco with. It looks stupid, it adds nothing to the character, and it gives DC another black eye when it comes to doing pointless racist crap. Combined with the awkward dialogue — and extremely obtrusive and gratuitous Spanish, dropped here mainly to remind everyone that HOLY COW, EVERYONE, WE’VE GOT A BROWN-SKINNED CHARACTER! — this title isn’t looking so good. I’ll probably stick with this one for a while, ’cause I do love this character, but it’s a far cry from the glory days of John Rogers’ run on this title.

Tiny Titans #44

Beast Boy is terrified of the crossing guard patrol — because they’re actually Elasti-Girl, Robotman, Negative Man, and Mento — the Doom Patrol! Well, they don’t seem so bad. Robin really likes Elasti-Girl, Robotman is really enthusiastic, Mento loves to think, and Negative Man is negative about everything. So what does Beast Boy really have against the Doom Patrol? What’s their fiendish secret origin?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, very cute and funny, and it’s great to see the Doom Patrol in this series. Any chance we can get Crazy Jane in here sometime?

Today’s Cool Links:

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Booster Shots

Booster Gold #29

Booster’s sister Michelle is stuck in the past, living in Coast City, and finally remembering that the entire place is about to be destroyed by Mongul and the Cyborg Superman. Meanwhile, Booster and Rip Hunter have figured out that the renegade time traveler who tried to kill Hank Henshaw last issue is going to try to stop him from blowing up Coast City, no matter what damage may occur to the timestream. Booster reluctantly goes to stop her — he’d prefer to save Coast City, too — but it may already be too late. And our backup story focuses on Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle. The Scarab armor has gone bad and taken Jaime over — it’s planning on doing whatever it can to destroy the world, and only Paco, Brenda, Traci Thirteen, and Peacemaker have a chance to stop him.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Booster story is fine, but I wanna talk about the Blue Beetle backup story. It ends well, of course — except that this is the final Blue Beetle backup story in the “Booster Gold” comic. This is rotten news — I’ve enjoyed most of the Booster stories, but the fact remains that the stories about Jaime, his friends, and family have generally been of higher quality. Jaime deserves a place in the DCU outside of occasional guest appearances or in the spectacularly awful “Teen Titans” comic. Hopefully, someone at DC will get smart and give him back a regular ongoing title again.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #20

It’s the current crop of Avengers — Captain America, the Vision, Iron Man, the Invisible Woman, Thor, Black Widow, and Nova — against Diablo, an immortal alchemist. Diablo beats Iron Man like a drum while the rest of the team is running around New York trying to locate them — and they’re being attacked by gigantic fire and stone elementals. Will the team be able to save Iron Man, stop Diablo, and discover who has been causing emotional freakouts all over the world?

Verdict: I’ll give it a thumbs up. Nothing entirely outstanding, but there was nothing seriously wrong with it either. There are a few really nice character moments in here, and Diablo makes a very threatening villain.

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Gold, Black, and Blue


Booster Gold # 27

The Black Lantern Blue Beetle is running amok, threatening Booster, Skeets, the new Blue Beetle, Booster’s ancestor, Daniel Carter (wearing his always-spiffy Supernova costume), and Booster’s possible ancestor, Rose Levin. They’re not making much headway against him, since it’s almost impossible to harm the Black Lantern zombies, so Booster makes a strategic retreat through time to Rip Hunter’s hideout. Realizing they need something that emits a lot of light to break the connection between the black ring and its undead host, Booster, Skeets, and Jaime visits Ted Kord’s mothballed HQ in Kord Industries to get Ted’s old light gun. Will it be enough to stop the Zombie Beetle before anyone else dies?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nothing to earthshaking — just a nice story, with a bit of hitting, a bit of superhero angst, and a nice solution to the problem of the Black Lantern rings.


Detective Comics #859

The origin of Batwoman continues, as we join Kate during her time as a cadet at West Point. She’s at the top of her class, but the brass finds out she’s a lesbian. She’s given the chance to say it’s all a mistake, never to happen again, so she can stay in the Army, but she chooses to maintain her honor — she admits her sexual orientation and accepts her discharge. She breaks the news to her dad, who is proud of her for keeping her integrity. Directionless, Kate throws herself into a hedonistic lifestyle, meets up with and starts a doomed romance with Gotham cop Renee Montoya, and has her first run-in with the Batman after she fights off a mugger. In the backup story, Renee Montoya, as the Question, tracks the human smuggling ring, with the assistance of another superhero.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really powerful storytelling. Kate Kane and her dad are both really controlled people, emotionally, not given to outward displays of any kind — but this is a deeply emotional and fantastic story, beautifully emphasizing just how off-kilter the military’s Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policies are. Greg Rucka is doing a great job writing both of these stories. Lots of detail, outstanding characterization, and wonderful dialogue, helped out by J.H. Williams III’s heartstoppingly beautiful artwork in the main story and by Cully Hamner’s less spectacular but still great art in the Question backup.

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Dead Beetle


Booster Gold #26

While Booster goes back in time to watch himself fail to give Ted Kord, his best friend and the second Blue Beetle, a proper eulogy after he died, the Blackest Night is running wild in the rest of the DC Universe. And the latest Black Lantern zombie is Ted Kord himself. He ends up attacking Skeets, Jaime Reyes, Daniel Carter (Booster’s ancestor), and Daniel’s girlfriend Rose. By the time Booster makes it back to the present, Ted is thoroughly trashing everyone else. Does Booster stand a chance?

Verdict: Thumbs up. For a “Blackest Night” tie-in, most of the emphasis here was on character issues, particularly Booster’s continuing sorrow about Ted’s death and his ongoing resentment about the shabby treatment he and Ted received from most of the rest of the superhero community over the years.


Secret Six #15

It’s an all-Deadshot issue, and it’s written by John Ostrander, writer of the most acclaimed run of DC’s “Suicide Squad” ever. Floyd is feeling the urge to go on a thoroughly random killing spree, just for the fun of it. He has a long chat with a preacher buddy of his and tells at least part of his origin — spoiled rich kid of a couple of deeply dysfunctional parents, he attended a costume party at Wayne Manor with a plan to use hired thugs to rob the guests — instead, he ended up being the hero of the evening after shooting one of his own men. He roleplays as a hero for a while, all the while taking protection money from Gotham City’s gangs, but he eventually gets taken down by Batman. Does his past hold the key to let Deadshot get control of his homicidal urges?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good, murderous fun. Nice focus on Deadshot and all the weird quirks that make him tick. His origin is great, too, and it’s cool that Bruce Wayne is the only person at the party who catches onto the obscure film that Floyd based his costume on. Gee, they should let John Ostrander and Jim Calafiore make more comics, don’tcha think?

North 40 #5

I really thought this miniseries was over already? I’m a nut, that’s what I am. In this issue, a bunch of mutated EMS workers are trying to sacrifice some people to raise a malevolent god from the crater in the middle of town, but Amanda and some of the other local mystically-transformed folks are able to save them. The mayor is on a rampage because his son has been bitten by zombies, and he wants Sheriff Morgan and his new deputy, the indestructible Wyatt Hinkle to pay for it. Denny Pittman’s giant robot and his superpowered kids interfere, and Wyatt has a vision of the chubby nerd who helped cause all the trouble in Conover County — while his goth friend is trying to make things worse by creating more monsters, he’s trying to improve things by creating new heroes. But is there too much chaos going on for anyone to keep control of?

Verdict: Another thumbs up. I am so glad this series isn’t finished yet. Great dialogue, lots of wonderful and bizarre characters. And hey, Sheriff Morgan, the only normal guy in town, may not be so normal after all. One more issue to go…

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Friday Night Fights: Kick Beetle!

So we got another long work-week over with, and it’s time to start the weekend. You know what that means, right? It’s time for another session of FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes from April 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, as the Blue Beetle takes out a bunch of crooks:




Nothing too complicated, but it’s a nice way to get our weekend festivities started.

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Raiding the Booster Club


Booster Gold #23

The award for most eye-catching cover of the week goes to this issue of “Booster Gold.” When was the last time you saw DC or Marvel do a photo cover on one of their mainstream books? It don’t happen often. (And no, no idea who the cover model is. Might be Dan Jurgens’ wife, maybe? Or daughter… How old is Dan Jurgens anyway?) (UPDATE: Luke in comments informs us that the cover model is Blair Butler from G4TV’s “Attack of the Show.” Feh, you media-savvy youngsters! FEH!)

Aaaaanyway, Booster and Skeets have completely failed to save the Teen Titans, so they take the late-arriving Raven on a trip into the future (How’s that supposed to keep the Titans from getting killed? Quiet, you!) to see what the ultimate result is — the four-eyed interstellar demon Trigon the Terrible takes over the world and kills the JLA! It’s all part of a scheme by the evil time-traveling Black Beetle and his mysterious benefactor to do, um, something evil. Meanwhile, Booster, Skeets, Raven, and Rip Hunter meet up with the alternate-future versions of Zatanna and Kyle Rayner, who are part of the rebellion against Trigon. Booster sacrifices himself to keep the rebels’ base hidden, but ends up facing Trigon all by himself.

Our second feature, of course, stars the Blue Beetle, who is running around with his friends Paco and Brenda battling a robot disguised as a woman named Maria. She was built by your standard robot-building mad scientist, who considers her his masterpiece because he gave her the ability to feel emotions. But Maria hates having emotions, and she wants her “dad” to take them away. Can the Beetle stop Maria and her army of killer robots before it’s too late?

Verdict: It’s not that bad, all things considered, but the plot is a lot more illogical and random than seems to be normal, even for your stereotypical comic book. Running around in the future isn’t going to keep the Titans from getting killed in the past, so why even bother?

The Blue Beetle story, of course, is pure thumbs-up. Very funny dialogue and great action. The Beetle should have never been cancelled.


Secret Six #12

Wonder Woman shows up on Smyth’s slaver island, and she thinks the Secret Six have killed former fill-in Wonder Woman Artemis (She’s actually okay, but Wondy doesn’t realize that). While it initially looks like none of them can go toe-to-toe with Wondy, Jeanette eventually manages it, despite getting beat like a rented mule, when she fully activates her powers as a banshee, turning into a carbon-copy of the Silver Banshee, making Wondy relive Jeanette’s gory death-by-botched-decapitation, and reducing the Amazon to a drooling vegetable. And even that isn’t the scariest thing on the island — before long, we meet Smyth’s horrific patron.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, excellent dialogue and art, but the creepy factor really gets cranked up high in this one. Jeanette’s transformation and her memories of her death are pretty disturbing, and Smyth’s crucified but still scary friend is unnerving, just by his sudden appearance.


Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #2

Sir Edward is on the trail of the monster that attacked him and is murdering people around London. While investigating another murder, Grey finds himself invited to the rotten side of town to meet a man called the Captain, a low-rent, barely legal occult detective. The Captain has an inkling about what’s going on, and he takes Grey to meet a medium — the real deal, able to summon an ectoplasmic spirit guide, who offers a small lead in the case and gives Grey a warning about a mysterious spectral figure stalking him. But Grey has other mysterious stalkers to worry about — the demonic bloodsucking monster is still on the prowl.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very moody, spooky scenes on display throughout here. The medium and her spirit guide are simultaneously wholesome and creepy, and the suspense level gets turned up nice and high by the end.

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