As someone that loves comics and everything that going with them, I have to say, Blue Beetle was never one that really piqued my interest much. That being said, I think that this issue for made Blue Beetle interesting and made me want to dive more into this character. There was a lot of plot but not one that is overly complicated.
Jumping in, I typically have started with Issue #0 since they give some needed back story to the volume. This one is meant to be looked back on later, but I thought that there was still some value at looking at it now. Jamie Reyes is the host to the Blue Beetle, and now he is getting the history lesson of the Scarab that is attached to his back.
Somewhere out in the far reaches of space there is an area called the Reachspace and they have discovered the scarab on another planet. It was then altered with the intention of attaching to a host, learning everything about the world it has landed on, weaken their defenses and prep it for conquering. The Scarab known as Khaji Da, then is sent out and the first planet it comes to it attempts to connect with a child. It was drawn to this particularly strong child who fights it off and then goes on to become what we now know her as, Lady Styx.
After that encounter it then crossed paths with a Green Lantern who zapped it which caused it to land on Earth where it connected with a Mayan name Sky Witness. However, Khaji Da was unable to control the host like it was supposed to and Sky Witness used the power that the scarab gave him to fight off his enemies and create the Aztec Empire.
Sky Witness then wore the scarab for a hundred years but upon his death he brought down a temple on himself to stop the scarab from connecting with another, potentially weaker person that it could then control to bring about the end of the world.
For hundreds of years the scarab stayed buried until a treasure hunter found it. It stayed dormant while it was passed from person to person. I am not going to get too much into the details in the middle here because that is basically volume 1. However, he explains to Jaime this because they are then attacked by other scarabs after being teleported into Reachspace by OMAC.
Issue #1 starts about 100 years prior to current events with other scarabs finding hosts and taking on planets. One by the name of Khaji-Kai then joins what is probably an officer to continue the mission of preparing more worlds. There is the replay of the encounter with the Green Lantern from Issue #0 but there is also the detection protocol put in place that will alert any Green Lantern that comes close to this beetle. (That’s going to be important in another volume)
On Earth in the present we meet Jamie Reyes who is getting bullied. His friend Paco, who is expelled from school shows and stops it. He was there though to get the invitation to the Quinceanera for Brenda, another friend of Jamie and Pacos. This party is being hosted by her Aunt Tia so an invitation is necessary to get in.
Tia though is not exactly an upstanding citizen and is better known as La Dama. She is looking to procure an ancient powerful relic and sends three metas out to get it. However, when these three metas Brutale, Coyote, and Rompe Huesus arrive there are already other metas there. These three Phobia, Warp and Plasmus were hired by an unknown boss.
Meanwhile, Jamie is forbidden to attend Brenda’s party because his parents know of La Dama’s reputation. However, he sneaks out with Paco anyway. On the ride there they encounter the fight taking place with all the metas. The metas move in to kill Jamie and Paco but Jamie takes off with the backpack containing the scarab luring them away. What he didn’t expect was that the scarab would come out of its dormant state and attach to him.
Issue #2 starts with Jamie trying to figure out what is happening. He doesn’t even understand that he is now in a suit, however, the suit is talking to him and is ready to kill anyone that crosses his path. Jamie instead grabs Paco and flies with him to Brenda’s party. Of course, seeing a large flying blue beetle is a little alarming and the people fear him. La Dama’s security fires at Jamie and he is forced to leave.
The reactivation of Khaji Da doesn’t go unnoticed by the other scarabs either as they pick up on his signal curious what would cause him to become dormant for so long. So now they are headed to Earth.
In issue #3 Jamie heads home and finds that his parents are in a state of panic that he is missing. In instructs the beetle to disconnect but that isn’t exactly how this works. Eventually Jaime is able to force the scarab to at least be less visible. This comes after his mother screams at La Dama and La Dama uses Coyote’s blood to track him.
Yet another threat has surfaced though when the metas that fought against La Dama’s metas return to their boss unsuccessful. They are sent back in the field to look for the scarab but this time the boss, Silverback, is going too.
Issue #4 has Paco taking time to relax after finding himself in the middle of a meta war only for Silverback and the others to arrive looking for Jamie, since he was last scene with the backpack. Paco gets away but barely. Meanwhile, Jamie is in a bit of trouble when his parents see the scarab tattoo on his back.
That day at school he is once again bullied by Joey and his gang. Khaki Da wants to come out and play but Jamie hides to conceal the blue beetle. Eventually Brenda comes in to break up the party. She tells Jamie about Paco at the party and Jaime realizes that Paco is probably still in danger so he takes off looking for him. He fights off both Silverback and Plasmus so well that Phobia and Warp just leave. The damage done to Silverback traps the mind that has been uploaded into his body, however, Jamie has bigger problems right now.
When he took off the mask to get air, Paco sees him in the suit. Khaji Da then stabs Paco through the hard since that compromised his mission. He then forces the scarab to heal Paco by using a piece of tech within the scarab. He then has Paco rushed to the hospital. La Dama is there and talks Jamie into coming back to her office to talk, Khaji Da warns Jamie that this is a trap but Jamie trusts her and he follows.
Meanwhile, the ship in space that has been monitoring Khaji Da gets called away after their army has discovered the home of the Blue Lanterns. I will be covering that issue of Green Lantern New Guardians Issue #10 but not for a while. When I do, I will be sure to add a link here. The do vow to return to Earth after the war with the Blue Lanterns.
This is probably good for Jamie since he finds himself trapped in a binding rug. La Dama has figured out that it was Jamie who has been wearing the scarab and she wants it back. However, the Blue Beetle uses a guard to take out La Dama. La Dama and her house end up getting sucked into the spell she was casting.
It couldn’t just end there though, at the hospital Paco wakes as the back up protocol that was in the scarab Blue Beetle used to cure Paco activates. The scarab recognizes that there is something wrong with Khaji Da and therefore must destroy it to stop the mission from being compromised.
Paco arrives at Jamie just as Brenda is telling Jamie about Paco missing. The fight is equal with Pacos scarab being designed for just this kind of instance. Jamie though tricks the scarab into thinking that Khaji Da has full control of Jamie by smacking Brenda. Jamie would never do that.
In the aftermath, Jamie comes to the realization that if he is connected to the Blue Beetle his friends and family are not safe so he decides to leave his home.
Like I said in the beginning, I am not typically a big Blue Beetle fan. However, I found this to be a well written volume with incredible art. It makes me excited to continue to read Blue Beetle and explore the adventures with Jamie Reyes.
Where To Buy:
Blue Beetle Vol. 1 Metamorphosis: https://amzn.to/2luKroN
Justice League International Vol. 1: The Signal Masters: https://amzn.to/2m946uI
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