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Blue Beetle #19

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2007
By: Bruce Logan



"Hard Truths"

Writers: John Rogers, Keith Giffen
Artists: David Baldeon, Steve Bird (i), Guy Major (colors)

Publisher: DC Comics


EXCLAMATION: ‘Oi! What gives?! Wasn’t this issue supposed to have Dani Garrett in it?’

EXPLANATION: After last month’s run with the Teen Titans this issue has Jaime facing a much bigger problem closer to home. I am not talking about Giganta. The problem is so big that it has everyone from De Lama to Jaime to his mom running for the hills. Well, running for Brenda after she finally finds out the truth about her aunt’s not-so-legal activities. As for Giganta, her part here is that of a hit-man, sorry, hit-woman for hire. Hey, even the Joker knocks off jewellery stores, how else is a hard-working and honest villain supposed to support herself? Sadly, for Giganta, thanks to Jaime’s newly acquired fighting skills (courtesy of the Peacemaker), she is unable to carry out Intergang’s hit on De Lama. Traci 13 and Detective Chimp make guest appearances, though not in the same place as Jaime and the others.

EXAMINATION: Well into its second year Blue Beetle is probably the (core) DC title that I look forward to most every month. Writer John Rogers, along with more-than-a-guest-writer Keith Giffen, has made this into a title that although not one of DC’s high sellers is easily among their Top-5 books in quality. What is even more appealing (at least for me) about this book and its characters is all this is done without falling into the angst-to-the-max crap-trap that seems to the pet of the DC’s bigwigs, both writers and editors.

Anyways, back to the issue at hand and the Peacemaker’s Batman to Jaime’s Robin. From providing some much needed veteran street-smart advice to the (sometimes) naïve Jaime, to giving him fighting lessons, to helping him learn more about the scarab, the Peacemaker is firmly in the semi-mentor seat, despite his claims to the contrary. Still, given the secret-scarab reveal from a few issues back, not all is safe ‘n’ settled with this dynamic.

Speaking of character dynamics, there is a whole list of such instances in this issue, starting with the humor of Brenda’s first meeting with Nadia and Hector, followed by the always strained (yet funny) interactions between Jaime and Brenda’s aunt, De Lama, so on and so forth. Even the Giganta-Jaime conversation is entertaining, in a totally, non-creepy non-ominous thoroughly enjoyable way. The veritable icing on the cake comes is the closing pages, first with Nadia and Hector’s pep-talk with an understandably P.O.’d Brenda and then with Jaime’s ‘secret weapon’.

As much as I have grown to enjoy Rafael Albuquerque’s work on this title, were he to leave, I would readily welcome David Baldeon as the regular penciller. A fan of semi-cartoon-ish art styles, Baldeon’s work (almost) by default scores points with me. Add to that Guy Major’s colors (bright, like the ones he does with Scott McDaniel, another artist with a similar style) and you’ve got yourself a homerun. Even though it would require crisp inking to go along with it I would very much like to see Guy use such bright colors with Albuquerque’s pencils.

PROCLAMATION: Not a particularly deep plot or for that matter, an expansive one. Yet, thanks to the writing and art, a fast paced and enjoyable read. As always.

You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net



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