Blue Beetle #2

#1 Posted by MattDemers (362 posts) - - Show Bio

The Good

This issue fixes on of my main complaints from issue one, in that we have some interaction between the Scarab and Jaime. This is great, and the scarab actually has a bit more of a personality this time; he/she/it seems very stern and unforgiving. Perhaps this will be one of the things that changes over time, showing an evolution of the character.

Brenda and Amparo's relationship has remained largely intact, which I can commend; the "villain" La Dama was definitely a highlight, and the dual identity (especially in an age of heroes!) was definitely the moral grey area the series needed.

The use of untranslated Spanish in the book is definitely a plus, as it was a defining characteristic of the previous series, and a part of the setting of the story. Having "<translated>" passages takes away from the reactions of characters, and hurts their identity.

The Bad

On the flip side of the Scarab speaking English, you lose the humor of trying to decipher what it was trying to say. In the original series, one had to look at the context of the environment and Jaime's answer: it was almost better than having the text in front of you because your mind could come up with much worse ways to gut a person than the writer could have intended.

On the topic of gutting people: since when is it okay to just stick a blade through two villains and then just leave them? Does anyone else think that's a tad extreme?

I've written about this before, but what makes Jaime a great character is his compassion: if he weren't blue already, he would make a great Indigo Lantern. One of my favourite pages in the original series was seeing him cry over the lives he couldn't save in a flood, and now the scarab just kind of gets a free pass when it impales two people on a blade? What's up with that?

The Verdict

While this book is stunningly average, I find it extremely disconcerting that Jaime can (likely) kill or maim two supervillains without as much as a thought. Yes, the Scarab has a mind of its own, but a hero's first kill is usually a big deal; there's a hearty amount of reflection that comes with taking someone's life.

Even in the confusion of learning about his new powers, it should be a defining trait of a hero to step up and say "no, the line is here, we do not cross it." From this issue, I've learned that Jaime really isn't in control of the Scarab, and isn't willing to put his foot down; that really casts my further interest in this series into doubt.

This is a similar situation to Birds of Prey: one more lackluster issue, and I'm out.

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