Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blue Beetle #1-8 RECAP

One of my favorite DC Comics New 52 titles is Green Lantern: New Guardians. Why mention that when I'm about to give you a recap of Blue Beetle #1-8? Because starting today (in Blue Beetle #9), there will be a Green Lantern: New Guardians/Blue Beetle crossover! Both titles are written by Tony Bedard who has been on fire in my opinion, so I think the crossover is going to offer us a fun and interesting story. I'm planning on giving in depth reviews of each comic book in the crossover starting next week with Blue Beetle #9. Here, I am going to give you a brief summary of what has happened so far in Blue Beetle to prepare for what's to come.

Jaime Reyes is a young man in El Paso, Texas. Jaime and his friend, Paco, are on their way to their friend Brenda's QuinceaƱera party. Jaime sees some hoodlums fighting over a backpack. They notice Jaime and chase after him. Jaime grabs the backpack, throws it on his back, and makes a run for it. The backpack contains a scarab that gets activated on Jaime's back. It digs into Jaime's spine and he becomes Blue Beetle.

The scarab's name is Khaji-da and it is trying to have complete control over Jaime. However, there is a struggle between Jaime and Khaji-da. Every time someone is about to find out Blue Beetle's identity or threaten Jaime, Khaji-da reacts and attempts to kill that person. Jaime's a good-hearted guy so he fights this as hard as he possibly can. He doesn't want to go around killing everyone like some kind of animal. The kid has class. Another negative aspect of the Blue Beetle suit is that transforming into Blue Beetle really hurts Jaime. Since the scarab is in his spine, when the suit gets released it causes Jaime a tremendous amount of pain. As a reader, this is great because it's not like he becomes the Blue Beetle and all is well. There's a real struggle here and it's interesting to see and read.

Not everything is a conflict for Blue Beetle. Here are some of Blue Beetle's powers when Jaime and Khaji-da are in sync:
  • Enhanced vision
  • Flight
  • Jaime can command Khaji-da telepathically
  • Protective metal suit
  • Automatically transforms when threatened (also a flaw)
  • Hacks electronics
The scarab belonged to Jaime's friend Brenda's Aunt. She purchased it and those thugs were on their way to delivering it to her when Jaime spotted them. She eventually confronts Jaime in her mansion and traps him. She tries to kill him to get the scarab but he escapes. When he does, the mansion mysteriously disappears. What happened? No clue. But I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

At one point, Khaji-da sees Jaime's friend Paco as a threat and forces Jaime, as Blue Beetle, to stab Paco in the chest. That was one of those out-of-sync moments between Jaime and Khaji-da. Jaime commands Khaji-da to heal Paco, so Khaji-da releases a transbiotic antitrauma unit (looks like a small blue bug) into Paco. The transbiotic antitrauma unit sensed that Khaji-da was not completely controlling Jaime (since he has been struggling to completely comply with his scarab), so it took control of Paco as backup. Now, the Paco beetle wants to destroy Khaji-da because a defective scarab must be destroyed. To defeat Paco’s scarab, Jaime completely surrenders to Khaji-da, even though it means smacking Brenda in the process. Paco’s scarab detects that he has surrendered completely and aborts the mission to destroy Khaji-da.

Thankfully, that threat is neutralized. However, the video of Blue Beetle smacking Brenda circulates and everyone sees him as a villain. Jaime, not being able to handle Khaji-da in his hometown, runs off to New York City to get away and try to find other superheroes to bond with.

We find out that there are other Blue Beetles. Khaji-kai is Blue Beetle of space sector 2809. Khaji-kai detects that Khaji-da is in space sector 2814 (earth) and wants to go after it. This is a bad guy. They allude to the fact that he killed all the superheroes on his planet. Khaji-kai and Lu-kreeza, another alien, get intel on the location of the Blue Lantern Corps. They want to take down the Corps for energy. As a side note, Blue Beetles and Green Lanterns do not get along. They take their attention away from finding the scarab (for now) and head for the Blue Lantern Corps on the planet Odym.

While in New York City, Jaime runs into this crazy scientist named Stopwatch. Years ago, Stopwatch was working on time travel. There was an explosion and shrapnel went through his body. Time stopped, but only in his body so it didn’t kill him, but the shrapnel remained imbedded in his body.

Jaime finds a shelter for runaways where Stopwatch just so happens to work his lab out of. Stopwatch uses the runaways to steal funds for his experiments. He wants to make the world's first functional time machine so that he can go back in time and stop his accident. Blue Beetle destroys his progress and Stopwatch escapes. 

The story leaves off with Khaji-da leading Jaime to an apartment with a Green Lantern power battery in it. Blue Beetle is confronted by Red Lantern Bleez, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, and Orange Lantern Glomulus! Here we go, it's crossover time!

I want to reiterate that this is a brief summation of what has happened so far. I highly recommend you read the issues. Stay tuned for my Green Lantern: New Guardians/Blue Beetle crossover reviews starting next week!

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