Blue Beetle: Road Trip

Blue Beetle: Road Trip is the second book in the series about the young superhero, and it’s where the stories really start clicking. Jaime Reyes has an alien scarab bonded to him, and it gives him the power to fly, to create armor, to fire blasts… and to get in over his head fighting intergalactic threats.

Blue Beetle: Road Trip cover
Blue Beetle: Road Trip
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Jaime’s got a background different from most teen superheroes: he lives in El Paso, and he’s Hispanic. The art (especially the colors by Guy Major) does a good job of capturing the flavor of the Southwest. The book’s stories are drawn by Cully Hamner, Duncan Rouleau, and Rafael Albuquerque with emphasis on open skies and wide vistas.

Jaime’s relationships are also unusual. For one thing, he doesn’t hide his abilities or responsibilities from his parents. Instead, he relies on their guidance and example. It’s refreshing to see a tight-knit, caring family that doesn’t lie to each other as part of the basic premise.

For another, his friends are great. There’s the strong, loyal Paco, and Brenda, a redhead whose attitude covers up for her hurt over losing her parents and living with her aunt, who turns out to be a crimelord. For superhero guidance, there’s a new Peacemaker, a tattooed former military type who has an unsuspected connection to Jaime’s scarab.

The book opens with Jaime recapping his recent adventures in space with many other superheroes, including Batman, Black Canary, and Green Arrow. This leads to writer John Rogers’ best bit of dialogue in the series:

Green Arrow (to Black Canary): “Blow it up” is your big tip for the rookie?
Black Canary: This from the guy who fights everything from robots to aliens by shooting them with tiny sticks.
Green Arrow: Very fast sticks. Fast and pointy!
Black Canary (to Blue Beetle): Don’t mind him. He’s just upset this fight won’t give him a chance to make a speech about poverty.

After the catch-up, which conveniently serves as a great starting point for the reader as well, Jaime, Brenda, and Peacemaker set off on a road trip to research the beetle with help from Danielle Garrett, granddaughter of the original Blue Beetle. There’s also the story of how the Peacemaker came to be and a trip to another planet with a barbarian fighter and a civilization of killer squirrel-like things.

Blue Beetle is a kid who didn’t ask to be given superpowers, but he’s trying to do his best to live up to a heroic tradition in a truly modern way. He’s not afraid to be honest about his emotions with his family and friends, and the result is an enjoyable superhero book that pays homage to tradition but updates the challenges to provide a fresh take on the history.

This book reprints issues #7-12 and follows Shellshocked. The series continues in Reach for the Stars and Endgame.

Similar Posts: My Subscription Standings, or Why I Don’t Read More Superheroes § Blue Beetle Information Sought § Men of the DCU Contest – All Entries § Locas § Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season One on Blu-ray


5 Responses to “Blue Beetle: Road Trip”

  1. Dan Grendell Says:

    This is easily my favorite new superhero book of the last five years, and it gives things like Runaways, Invincible, and Manhunter a run for their money. You’re right, Johanna, this second volume is where things really start to click; I think it’s where John Rogers really started to feel comfortable and we see him begin to step out of Keith Giffen’s shadow. I was really surprised by how much I ended up loving this book, and the supplementary cast is a big reason. Mrs. Reyes has my vote for Mother of the Year.

  2. John Rogers’ New Project: Leverage » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] enjoyed Blue Beetle largely because of John Rogers’ writing. He’s not writing it any more. (Matthew Sturges [...]

  3. My Subscription Standings, or Why I Don’t Read More Superheroes » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] On my end, it’s because the books I like keep getting cancelled. The latest victim is Blue Beetle, which Dan Didio confirmed has been cancelled. Since X-Men: First Class ended, that leaves me [...]

  4. 4thletter! » Blog Archive » “Why you feelin’ sorry for him? He asked for it…” Says:

    [...] to get into and it tied into three of their big events (Infinite Crisis, 52, and Countdown). It was fun and funny. They did their job. Why didn’t it work out and go on for 800 issues? (My question is [...]

  5. C2E2: Mark Waid, Comics Retailer vs. Mark Waid, Digital Publisher » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] explained, he launched Thrillbent.com, a digital comics site, in 2012 with John Rogers (Leverage, Blue Beetle). Digital comics were considered by some retailers to mean the death of print, the end of comics as […]

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