Blue Beetle #3 is published by DC Comics, written by Josh Trujillo, with art by Adrián Gutiérrez, colors by Wil Quintana, and letters by Lucas Gattoni. In this latest issue, Blue Beetle asks his magic ex for help in hunting down the Red Scarab.
This comic initially seems like something of an aside from the main plot. Jaime is plucked out of reality and taken to a bar filled with guest stars and surrealism. What seems to be a side quest turns into a fact-finding mission about the new scarab. It creates a link between the legacy of the Blue Beetles and the villain of the book, harking back to the origin of the Scarab itself. The mysticism of the devices on Jaime’s and the others’ backs creates a connection between all of them. The exposition is heavy, but the pacing of Blue Beetle #3 remains fantastic. With the help of Traci Thirteen, Jaime can jump across the globe in an instant, taking the book to various locations.
After the villain, given the name Blood Scarab, has been hunting the heroes, it is time for the fight to be reversed. The fight is phenomenal, full of energy and drama. We have seen the damage the Blood Scarab can do, meaning every encounter has enormous peril. Elsewhere, the consequences of the previous attack are felt, with the most important themes of the comics appearing once again. The aliens are treated with love and concern, but also trepidation and hostility. Beneath the main story are all these other anxieties and worries, creating both friction and tension.
The characters are sensational, energetic, and meaningful. The double-act of Jaime and Traci Thirteen, with the awkwardness of their breakup, is well done. There’s still chemistry between the duo, and for much of the book, Blue Beetle is following Traci’s lead through the world of magic. The Blood Scarab has a menacing aura and Jaime only matches the forcefulness with his own.
The dialogue elsewhere is very intelligent and measured, with a very powerful allegory beneath each word balloon. This is the first time the series has dipped into the well of guest stars, and there are several. But it is worth noting that the majority of those included serve a purpose to the story, actually there to help Blue Beetle or the supporting cast. Others are there for humor or just to flesh out the Oblivion Bar, but none of them are cheap or unneeded. The other Scarabs, brutally attacked in the last issue, are still feeling the effects, a sign of the consequences that come from every fight scene.
The art is terrific. This Blue Beetle has some of the most impressive fight scenes in current comics. The Scarab armors are gorgeous, and the transformation that evolves from. The fight in this scene is in close quarters, keeping the combatants in tight confines with each other. But the energy blasts are still huge and intense. The inclusion of magic users has led to a variety of powers.
The other Scarabs aren’t seen much in their armor due to the damage they suffered in the previous issue. The transformation of the suits leads to some comical and distinctive expressions from Jaime, with the eyes in particular changing shape from panel to panel. The guest stars are all fantastically illustrated. The Oblivion Bar has several cameos of magic users just hanging out, but there is still extraordinary detail and care given to each and every one of them.
The colors are stunning. Both Blue Beetle and Blood Scarab are super vibrant, offsetting each other. In the Oblivion Bar, the mixture of blue and violet creates a beautiful atmosphere, with the magic spells creating more radiant lights. The rest of the colors are also incredible, especially when the powers are used. They’re like thick brush strokes across the page. The lettering is great, although the font used for the voice of Blue Beetle’s scarab can be difficult to make out.
Blue Beetle #3 continues to build upon an extremely exciting series. Every part of this run is stunning. The art is gorgeous, the plot is enticing and the characters are extremely likable. A whole corner of the DC Universe is being explored whilst borrowing some figures from elsewhere to expand it. The dual stories are superbly laced together, individual whilst also having ramifications on each other. The small adventure out of Palmera City and into a temporary shelter of magic refreshes the story and propels it forward. And every single fight scene is better than the previous one, with a true sense of peril.
Blue Beetle #3
Blue Beetle #3 continues to build upon an extremely exciting series.