Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Blue Beetle #1

DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99

Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciler: Ig Guara
Inker: Ruy José
Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover artists: Tyler Kirkham, Sal Regla and Nathan Eyring

I’m not trying to be cruel with these books, but if you’re doing 52 new superhero titles and one of them is like Blue Beetle, then that’s as good a sign as any that maybe 51 would have done. It’s not so much that it’s a bad comic, or some great, abysmal failure. It’s more that, within the 20 pages of this book, there isn’t so much as a flicker of anything to suggest that the creators were aiming for anything but another competent, run-of-the-mill superhero book.

The protagonist is a Chicano, and that’s certainly something that’s at least nominally different from the other “New 52” protagonists. Once again, though, that’s where the creators stop in their ambition to make the character distinctive. Like Static Shock, what we got here is another soulless and thinly veiled Spider-Man rip-off. You’d think there were other ways of doing teenage superheroes, but apparently not.

You’d also think there were other ways of impressing the reader than to display genocide, excessive blood and gore and disfigured bodies. But, again, apparently not—you could make a drinking game out of the times another alien race is extinguished, another character disemboweled or tortured to death in DC’s “New 52” debut issues.

Finally, you’d think there were other ways of having characters with diverse nationalities than to have them blabber silly fragments in their native languages. But, you know. Why try to be creative when something worked in 1975.

You know, I quite like superheroes. It’s an awesome genre with a potential that can be literally limitless. At the end of the day, though, run-of-the-mill competent is as far as Blue Beetle gets. It’s completely unoriginal, unambitious and unimaginative, and its attempts to impress the audience with depictions of death and cruelty reek of creative desperation and helplessness.

Grade C-

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