The Scarab #1
The Year of the Villain is in full effect, but not everyone is on board with Lex Luthor and Perpetua’s vision of a world ruled by Doom. The Batman Who Laughs is lurking in the background of the DC Universe and while he’s currently under lock and key within the bowels of the Hall of Justice, his influence is still very much felt throughout Prime Earth. Jaime Reyes has always been afraid of using the full power of the Scarab on his back, but what happens when he’s forced to go all out?
Jaime Reyes is criminally underused.
Aside from his eighteen issue series in the beginning of Rebirth and most of his published career, he’s been a start-stop hero in that he’s never managed to attain long term success with solo ongoing series or even with team books like Teen Titans or Young Justice. So, what better way to feature him than as an underappreciated hero turned villain by The Batman Who Laughs?
The Scarab begins with Jaime having what he believes to be a nightmare in the form of him crawling away from The Batman Who Laughs after a presumably brutal fight. As he tries to get away, the Evil Batman stabs him in the neck with an Infected Batarang and he wakes up, feeling a bit of relief thinking that it was only a nightmare until either TBMWL or The Scarab itself starts talking to him in that evil red font made famous by The Infected.
These initial scenes are fantastically drawn by Freddie E. Williams II (Batman/TMNT, HeMan/ThunderCats), colored by Jeremy Colwell (Trekker, Batman/TMNT) and lettered by Tom Napolitano (many, many titles). Together they manage to make a nightmarish scene where Jamie’s eyes are full of fear, the atmosphere is terrifying and claustrophobic as The Batman Who Laughs closes in and the blood spills like he’s actually dying while Batman does what he does best, laughs.
The rest of the issue sees Jaime slowly lose his heroic inhibitions after missing the bus, nearly exposing his identity, stealing the Flying Beetle from Ted Kord and going overboard when fighting D-list villain, Ghostfire. Normally, Jaime would beat him easily and make a few quips, but not this time. Jaime savagely beats him, landing punch after punch and scaring his friends Brenda and Paco, who know his secret identity. When Ghostfire blasts him back, Jaime begins to transform into the terrifying Scarab on the cover of this book.
Jaime attempts to EAT Ghostfire in this new form, his jaw unhinges, his skin turns green and his eyes turn into that terrifying shade of black that most horrifying bugs have. Brenda and Paco do their best to run away as Jaime manages to regain a bit of control over himself, spitting out Ghostfire and revealing that the Scarab itself might be the one in control.
Williams II’s art here was amazing as it always is. His style is very distinct with his use of thick line art, amazing details and fantastic action scenes throughout. This is only made better by Jeremy Colwell’s awesome coloring. It’s almost like an airbrush/painted style that really gives the characters a ton of dimension and makes the actions scenes that much more dynamic.
I do love when I’m able to enjoy the adventures of Jaime Reyes in any form and showing off his capabilities in the form of evil only makes him that much cooler at the moment. I love the design of the Scarab and think the insect-like nature of it makes him far more intimidating. Dennis Hopeless also made this change feel far more dire in the fact that Jaime is fully aware of what’s going on and almost can’t do anything about it anymore. As far as Infected One-Shots go, this one was fantastic!
The Scarab #1: This Bug Will Squash You
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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