New 52 Review – “Blue Beetle #1”

This is one of the New 52 titles that really does start from scratch. If you read the last Blue Beetle series, you’ll recognize a lot of what’s here, but Jaime has never been the Blue Beetle the first time we see him in this issue.

General Information

Title: Blue Beetle #1

Author: Tony Bedard

Illustrator(s): Ig Guara (pencils), Ruy Jose (inks) and Pete Pantazis (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Jaime Reyes is just an average high school geek, known to both friends and bullies. He soon encounters a valuable and dangerous relic that is bound to change his life.

High Point

The first run on this series was excellent, but couldn’t find an audience. Restarting Jaime’s story from scratch in so familiar a way should please his old fans, and hopefully help him obtain some new ones thanks to the “New 52” promotional visibility.

Low Point

The one down side to having read the original run is that it’s virtually impossible to surprise me this early in the retold origin. I’m betting surprises are not far away, but we haven’t reached them yet. It feels like the first issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, with a lot of potential, but it’s not all realized yet.

The Scores

This doesn’t feel original yet, as I did read the entirety of the previous run. If you didn’t read that, well, first of all, shame on you. Second, pick this up and expect a take on a teenage superhero that is distinct from that of Peter Parker and others. (For starters, his parents are both alive, healthy, and good parents. When was the last time that happened with a teen hero?) I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork is far more detailed than the previous run, and I really like that. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is a strong opening. We have a very good understanding of how dangerous the beetle can be before we even meet Jaime, so we have some sense of the challenges he’s about to face. I don’t think it’ll take long to reach the point the previous series ended with. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization is central to the story. Most of the issue is spent establishing characters and relationships, with the superhero origin aspect coming out as a secondary concern. We have an excellent grasp of Jaime, his friends, and his parents. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is dampened only by my familiarity with the first run, and thus the lack of surprises. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow is smooth and quick, pulling the reader along. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a promising first chapter in the relaunch of a great character. This one is restarting with his origin, making it entirely new reader friendly. If you’ve seen the ads for DC’s movies, but not seen the movies themselves or ever read a comic from any company, you can read and enjoy this. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Blue Beetle #1 receives 33 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

3 replies on “New 52 Review – “Blue Beetle #1””

  1. Did the previous Blue Beetles exist? Or any evidence that the new DC-verse had superheroes in the past?

    • As yet, there have been no sightings of Ted Kord or earlier Blue Beetles. Demon Knights takes place in the past, but that’s demons, wizards and such rather than traditional superheroes. StormWatch has been in operation for decades, but they’re the only indication of superhuman activity in history. Superman first appeared about “five years ago,” and that’s the first time any public learned about super powered individuals.

      • Aw, that’s sad. Jaime’s hero-worship of Ted Kord was such a great part of his character. WWTKD?

        It will be interesting to see whether any mentors appear as the series develops. I hope so. One of the things that set BB apart before was his support network (i.e. he had one!).

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