Have your weekend plans been cancelled? Fret not, dear DC fans, let us handle your calendar! You could spend the weekend organizing your closet or finally putting together that cabinet, but you’ll probably have more fun binging a good comic. Considering it’s not Hispanic Heritage Month, might we suggest the ten-issue Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hamner run on Blue Beetle? It’s the perfect chance to get to know Jaime Reyes, one of DC’s most fascinating Latinx superheroes and its next big movie star.
Jaime Reyes is a Mexican-American teenager living in El Paso, Texas whose life is turned upside down when he finds a strange, blue Scarab buried in his neighborhood. However, it’s when the Scarab attaches itself to Jaime’s spine that things really start to get freaky. Now there’s another creature living inside him, communicating with him in ways he doesn’t always understand. When trouble arises, the Scarab encases Jaime’s body with armor, turning him into the new Blue Beetle. It’s soon clear that Jaime is in over his head. The Scarab won’t always listen to him and despite the best intentions, he has no idea what he’s doing.
Let’s Talk Talent
As mentioned at the top, Keith Giffen and John Rogers co-wrote the first ten issues of the title and their worldbuilding was top notch. Everything you need to know about Jaime and his world is beautifully set up during their time on the book. Giffen and Rogers blend multiple genres together, combining alien encounter tales with teen drama and superhero stories, creating the perfect comic book cocktail. The unique voice their collaboration brought to the then brand-new title set Blue Beetle apart from other comics DC was publishing at the time.
Cully Hamner penciled and inked a majority of these issues—with occasional chapters drawn by the likes of Duncan Rouleau, Cynthia Martin and Kevin West—bringing Rogers and Giffen’s characters to life and infusing them with vibrant personalities. (The redesign of Peacemaker is particularly awesome.) Jaime’s extreme emotional expressions are wonderfully rendered and the villains look great. Simply put, Hamner’s illustrations are a big part of what makes the book great.
A Few Reasons to Read
- The dynamic between Jaime and the Scarab is fun. Have you ever tried to tell Siri or your Echo Dot to do something, but they keep misunderstanding your commands? It’s kind of like that with Blue Beetle. Jaime tells the Scarab what to do, but really it has a mind of its own and doesn’t always listen to him. As you can imagine, that makes being a superhero complicated.
- You’ll not only fall in love with Jaime, but his friends and family as well. Part of the appeal of Blue Beetle is the strong supporting cast and their subplots. Jaime’s classmate Brenda is the daughter of a crimelord, but she doesn’t know it. Of course, Jaime finds out and has to choose whether to tell her or not. Jaime’s friend Paco has fallen in with a super-powered gang, which leads to some messy complications. Jaime’s family also has a lot going on and must come to terms with his life as a superhero.
- Every teenage superhero needs a good mentor. Unfortunately for Jaime, he’s stuck with Peacemaker. The violent vigilante tries to help Blue Beetle make sense of his powers, but his methods leave much to be desired. For starters, he’s afraid of Jaime’s Scarab and makes it clear that he’s willing to kill Blue Beetle if he becomes too dangerous. Peace at all costs, right?
- If you think this follows all the same tropes as your usual teenage superhero books, think again. There is no forced drama of Jaime trying to hide his identity from his family or friends. He immediately tells them who he is, but if you think that makes his life easier, you’re wrong. This title brings the teenage superhero story to some new and unexpected places.
Why It’s Worth Your Time
A Blue Beetle film featuring the Jaime Reyes version of the character is currently in production and is expected to hit theaters in August 2023. This makes it the perfect time to get to know Jaime Reyes and check out his first ongoing series. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re familiar with DC’s earlier Blue Beetles like Dan Garrett or Ted Kord—Jaime sure isn’t! As a new hero, you get to see the DC Universe in a fresh way through his eyes. The first ten issues make for a solid binge on their own, but if you do want to read more, Rogers continues to script for most of the book’s first twenty-five issues, even after Giffen departs, so you shouldn’t feel like you need to stop at ten if you don’t want to.
Take our advice and spend the weekend with Blue Beetle. Jaime makes for some great company and when his big screen adventure hits theaters next year, you’ll be able to impress your friends with your knowledge of his world.
Blue Beetle by Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hamner is available to read in full on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE. You can also look for collected editions in bookstores, comic shops, libraries and digital retailers.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.