Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3
Starfire arrives in Palmera City to give Jaime important information regarding the Reach! But can the Tamaranean warrior help Blue Beetle when another new beetle appears, ready to fight? The Green Beetle strikes!
Jaime Reyes needs a friend. More than that, he needs someone who will actually listen to him. Since before he graduated from high school he’s had people telling him what to do and not caring what he thinks. But with Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3 Jaime finally finds someone interested in what he wants.
Despite Starfire’s dire warning to Jaime at the end of the previous issue, Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3 opens with the two of them flying through Palmera City’s night sky. The two settle in for a little bit and talk, and Jaime expresses his worry that the Reach is going to attack Earth. Their conversation is short lived, though. A new scarab, this one green and named Nitida, attacks. With the aid of Starfire, Jaime is able to dispatch Nitida much easier than Dynastes. But in the process, Jaime and Starfire learn there is an enemy more dangerous than the Reach: the Horizon.
Thanks to Starfire’s presence, Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3 has a very different feel. For the first time in the series someone is actually listening to Jaime. His parents shipped him off to Palmera City, Superman grounded him, Ted wallpapered over Jaime’s problems by offering him an internship, and in this issue Batman tells Ted that if Jaime doesn’t do what he’s told he’ll get involved personally. All of these people who ostensibly care about Jaime haven’t shown any inclination to actually talk to and listen to the young man.
Starfire, on the other hand, spends some time with Jaime. She asks him how he’s feeling, asks him what’s bothering him. She listens to Jaime when he answers. She pushes against his self-doubt, telling him Superman and Batman are wrong and that she believes he’s more than capable.
This is a lovely conversation because it stands against the notion that Superman and Batman know best. It’s understandable given their experience that other heroes may defer to them. But this is a subtle refutation that the older heroes always know best. This Starfire scene is well done, especially in light of the series’ title.
The characters in Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3 are as visually expressive as in previous issues, but Gutiérrez has a particular skill when it comes to making Blue Beetle emote. With really nothing more than the mask’s eyes to work with he conveys a lot of feeling–especially in his talk with Starfire when he expresses self doubt.
The standout visual work in Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3 comes from Quintana’s coloring. His work has been impressive so far, but here the colors almost tell a story all on their own. Starfire is magnificent, with her hair like a raging inferno. The coloring for Nitida, the green beetle, is an excellent contrast to Jaime–even more so than Dynastes’ yellow.
The truly memorable moment is a two page spread with the revelation about the Horizon. Quintana sets a vibrant, multicolored swath of destruction against the dark void of space. Trujillo’s narration is effective, but Quintana’s work conveys the Horizon’s intensity and power better than anything Trujillo could write.
Gattoni’s lettering is even more a cohesive part of the visuals in this issue. Sound effects match the color of the beetle they’re in response to. And the speech bubbles and dialogue are highlighted the same way.
The creative team for the series has outdone themselves on Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3. It’s a visually stunning issue that will captivate through its art alone. And Trujillo’s story gives the series’ title new meaning with Starfire’s decision to mentor Jaime. It’s a fun, clever comic that you shouldn’t miss.
Blue Beetle Graduation Day #3: Jaime’s Mentor
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10