Thursday, 4 May 2017
Blue Beetle, Volume 1: The More Things Change Review (Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins)
Hear that? That’s the sound of DC scraping the bottom of the Rebirth barrel with a title no-one was looking for: Blue Beetle! Just the name itself conjures up the lazy hackery that superhero comics can too often be. And, yes, Blue Beetle Rebirth is pure hack comics.
There’s no real story in this first (and probably penultimate!) volume. Some Latino kid in El Paso called Jaime Reyes is Blue Beetle because diversity and Ted Kord is his tech-savvy/super-rich Alfred. Together they fight probably the most obscure villains ever who’re only there to give Blue Beetle something to do. A gang of somehow even more forgettable nobodies called The Posse also join Blue Beetle on his tedious “adventures”. Also Doctor Fate is mysterious as usual for mystery’s sake.
Every issue struggles to make an impression on the reader and fails each time. The annoying characters’ dialogue reads like a sixty-something-year old trying hard to write dialogue for teens, which is exactly what it is. It’s the same critique I made with his Scooby Apocalypse series but it’s true: 64-year-old Keith Giffen cannot write convincing young people dialogue at all, it always comes off as forced and fake. And he was never a great writer to start with!
Giffen tosses off Blue Beetle’s origin in a handful of piss-poor pages towards the end: Jaime finds a blue scarab floating in some water, it fused to his back and now he’s Blue Beetle. Wow, ain’t that inspired… There’s no defined villain, what I’ll generously call a story was vague and meandering and Scott Kolins’ art was as ordinary as you can get with superhero comics.
Blue Beetle Rebirth felt like DC attempting their version of Power Rangers: bad high school drama/characters combined with superhero schlock to make something only dumb kids could possibly find entertaining (and I say that as a former dumb kid, now a dumb adult, who loved Power Rangers once upon a time!). Sheer boredom from start to finish, Blue Beetle, like Power Rangers, is terrible and fit only for the nearest landfill!