Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blue Beetle #1

So part of the impetus behind this whole reboot was to de-clutter the complicated histories that many DC characters have. Superman's been around since 1938, Batman's only a year younger, and the DC Universe has only grown more complex in the decades since. However, there are plenty of characters who've only been around a few years and are in no need of rebooting. But that didn't stop Didio and company from working their magic (SARCASM DETECTED) on a relatively fresh character by the name of Blue Beetle.

Jamie Reyes, the third hero to call himself Blue Beetle, first appeared in a 2005 DC crossover by the name of Infinite Crisis, but don't hold that against him. This crossover wasn't the usual abortion that Marvel and DC tend to put out. In a pretty well done sequence, Jamie becomes Blue Beetle, gets introduced to Batman, recruited for a mission in space to shut down an evil sentient satellite (sometimes I really love comics) and helps the world's greatest heroes save the day. He segued into his own ongoing series, which lasted only a few years, but was generally beloved by its readers. It was credited with being clever, light-hearted, and presented a young Latino character in a very positive light. This is rare in any sort of media, much less the comic industry, where the vast majority of creators and a sizable percentage of the readers are a bunch of old white dudes.

But alas, DC decided to mess with a good thing, and here we are at Blue Beetle #1. It's a ground-zero approach, so NONE of Jamie's six years of stories are relevant. In their place, we have a Hispanic family speaking a laughably bad combination of English and Spanish, despite being Americans who live in Texas and give off no indications of being recent immigrants. "No way I'm letting you to la casa de amparo cardenas!" exclaims Jamie's mother. "Pero mami, porque? Did Brenda's tia do something to you?" Jesus. I've read more realistic portrayals of Hispanic people in Stormfront newsletters. But it gets mas malo, amigos. Jamie's best friend is Paco, a dropout gang member who wears a half-buttoned shirt and drives a car with lifts. Fucking hell, Tony Bedard. You're a better writer than this. You wrote REBELS like, two minutes ago, and that was one of the best sci-fi comics ever. Do you owe a favor to a racist GOP senator or something?

Buy again: No, but I wish I could, in good conscience.

New reader friendly: Assuming you're looking for readers that dress up as pointy ghosts, sure.

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