High school, dating, parents, acne, figuring out what you’re going to do with your life after graduation… Let’s face it, it’s stressful being a teenager. The urge to fit in and live a normal life free of embarrassment is overwhelming. So it’s a fair bet that being targeted by an alien artifact that resembles a big bug to become a superhero known as Blue Beetle probably wasn’t high on Jaime Reyes’ playlist.
Blue Beetle #4
Story by Keith Giffen & Scott Kolins
Script by Keith Giffen
Art by Scott Kollins
Colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr.
So here we finally get the Rebirth origin of Jaime Reyes, and it is perfect. Staying with the old school vibe this book has been putting out, the scene in question is a great example of a classic superhero scene. It’s mysterious, thrilling, and even a little creepy. Keith Giffen is invoking the classic Lee/Ditko Spider-Man, making a fun comic that is not without its moments of seriousness and even creepiness. There is even the beginning of a kind of Cronenberg “body horror” vibe going on with Jaime and the Beetle artifact that opens things up on a whole new level.
This issue also starts to dwell in the past of Ted Kord. We start to see what he was up to before he started mentoring Jaime. Ted was trying to become a superhero himself, and the brief scene with him brainstorming names is hysterical. It features great callbacks if you are a classic Blue Beetle fan. These are some great jokes (a Giffen trademark).
Scott Kolins panel pace is still great. He knows exactly when to go small and when to go big, and always saves the splash page moments for effectiveness. His layouts and design are also standouts. In particular, the patterns and designs found behind the panels and borders. It’s a beautiful superhero book to look at. More than ever on this book, he is channeling Jack Kirby in the action scenes and psychedelic atmosphere present. And also for my money he draws the best Dr. Fate in years. The opening scene alone with Fate is worth the price of the book alone.
But don’t let that fool you as Kolins is also adept at drawing quiet scenes too. All the high school moments and teenage downtime scenes are just as good as the action stuff. He’s great at bringing out “acting” in his characters.
Romulo Fajardo Jr. vibrant colors are a very integral part of this book. I can’t think of another book right now that buzzes with so much energy. As great as Scott Kolins is, it’s only when paired with the bright, pop-art pallet of Fajardo that the package is complete. These guys were made to be paired together. It’s the perfect example of artist complimenting each other and fusing to make something fantastic.
If you’re a fan of old-school superhero comics, then this is the book for you. I can’t think of another book on the stands right now that feels like this one (maybe Savage Dragon when it is at its best). With so many of DC’s Rebirth titles falling on the gloomier and darker side, it’s great to see the balance this comic brings. It’s most assuredly my favorite DCU title at the moment.