More Like Blue Bicker (Nailed it)

Keith Giffen (W), Scott Kolins (W & A), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (C)

Cover by Scott Kolins

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: $2.99

          I had intended to review the Rebirth issue of this comic book, but circumstances unfortunately prevented that. I did read it though, and, well, while it wasn’t bad, it made a couple of prominent sins that I was hoping would be worked out by the #1.

I’ve always liked both of DC’s main Blue Beetles (yes, I know there was one before Ted Kord, but DC didn’t really use him). They aren’t among my absolute favorites, but they’re both charming and likable characters. Ted Kord is a more fun Batman, and Jaime Reyes is like Venom mixed with Iron Man, which is pretty freaking cool. I was excited to see them come back again starring in their own book with DC’s Rebirth.

My dad is among the biggest Ted Kord fans there is, so he was especially excited for this book. He is a fan of the B-Listers too, and DC hasn’t been providing in that department too much lately with the exception of Legends of Tomorrow (which is hard to follow at a six-dollar price tag).

This issue continues to follow the partnership of Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes. It opens up with Jaime describing a dream to his friend, Brenda, in which he is observing Doctor Fate battling a large blue beetle. Jaime takes it metaphorically and assumes that this means he may come into conflict with Doctor Fate at some point. The two, along with Jaime’s other friend Paco, then go to a school assembly featuring a speech by Ted Kord.

Jaime subsequently meets up with Ted, and Jaime is sent to a house based upon a tip given by the metahuman gang, the Posse. Ted also mentions that he was visited by Doctor Fate (a conversation which was featured in Blue Beetle: Rebirth as well as DC Universe: Rebirth itself).

Upon reaching the scene, Jaime is attacked by a large metahuman capable of teleporting through darkness. Blue Beetle manages to overcome the rogue, whom continuously mentions that his family was taken by unknown kidnappers. The book ends with Jaime being ambushed by the aforementioned Posse.

The story is decent. It doesn’t do anything exciting or clever, but it’s fun enough and paces itself well. The fight scene, while not spectacular, is pretty cool.

The art is striking and unique, Kolins making Blue Beetle look awesome while Fajardo Jr. manages to make the colors popping and bright.

I discuss the parts of the comic I liked first, so I could focus on what this comic does very wrong and drags it down. While Ted Kord is a fairly charming character when he’s by himself, every person shown in this comic is absolutely insufferable. No two characters get along, and everyone snipes at each other with every sentence. It’s maddening, and it leaves Jaime, Brenda, Paco, and even Ted pretty damn unlikeable.

Jaime and Brenda take jabs at each other. Brenda and Paco take jabs at each other. Jaime and Ted take jabs at each other. Oh boy do Jaime and Ted take jabs at each other. All characters do this. Constantly. Throughout the entire comic.

It gave me some flashbacks to Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers in the first Marvel NOW! redux. I had high hopes for that comic too, as I liked the characters, the idea, and am a fan of Rick Remender. However, that comic shot itself in the foot by sucking all of the charm out of the characters. Everyone on the team acted like a miserable bastard, and they all seemed to hate each other.

That description is just as accurate when applied to this comic, and it’s pretty disappointing. Jaime Reyes should be charming, if a bit put-upon and paranoid. Ted Kord should be charming, if a little neurotic. I should be made to like these characters if I am going to continue to read their comic. That’s why it’s a bit baffling to make them all petty jag-offs.

Interpersonal conflict is a big part of team books. Captain America vs. Iron Man on the Avengers is a compelling conflict. The friction between Green Arrow and Batman in past iterations of the Justice League made the books more interesting. Heck, even Rick Remender’s own Uncanny X-Force was a great book in part due to the differing philosophies of Wolverine, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Deadpool (take a picture, I just said something remotely positive about Deadpool).

However, there needs to be some alleviation at some point. They either need to work the issues out or put them on the backburner while they deal with a more pressing problem. Otherwise, it’s just constantly rising tension with no real payoff. That can be fatal to the tone and pacing of a story, as the reader gets no resolution, ambiguous, complete, or otherwise. It’s also simply annoying and can turn a reader off to the characters.

This was the main problem with the Rebirth issue too. Jaime and Ted were frequently bickering, even while Jaime was locked in a deadly battle with Rack and Ruin. Hell, there were even hostages, but this wasn’t so pressing as to get the two heroes to work together for a brief second. Honestly, Rack and Ruin had infinitely more chemistry than the two heroes, and they were freaking androids.

If the bickering doesn’t bother you (more power to you if it doesn’t) then this comic could work for you. It’s a fast-paced super hero adventure with both sci-fi and mystical elements. It’s simple and straightforward. However, if constantly bickering characters drives you crazy like it does me, you should probably give it a pass.

Final Score: 6/10

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