Dustin Nguyen channels legendary movie graphic designer Saul Bass for this stark cover, which is certainly going to shift a few units. Another Blue Beetle dead at the hands of Max Lord? Say it ain’t so.
This issue’s opening flashback takes us back to Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes talking to pals Paco and Brenda about his alien suit, the result of a scarab he found while out with Paco one day. A very clever transition takes us to the present, with Beetle being tormented by Max as he tries to learn the suit’s secrets. Jaime’s fightback is impressive, with Max and lackey Professor Ivo soon on the run. He even manages to summon his Justice League colleagues, who arrive just as Max points a gun at his head …
… oh, you want still more spoilers? Well, yeah, Max shoots, the cover’s not lying, Jaime looks dead. But come on, he’s wearing an alien super-suit that specialises in rebooting when it’s broken down. More importantly, the suit’s wearing him via the scarab. Our boy will be just fine.
Before that, though, we’ve been reminded that Jaime is the best new hero DC has given us in years. He’s courageous, he has heart – he’ll never stop when there’s a bad guy on the loose.
The rest of the team also get a good showing, as they attack the fantastic new Checkmate base that rises from the sea of Japan. It’s taken a few issues, but this JLA is once again one of the toughest, most formidable fighting units on Earth. God help Max Lord next issue.
Writer Judd Winick maintains his current high standard, amping up the tension to unbearable levels, while penciller Fernando Dagnino and inker Raul Fernandez squeeze every inch of drama out of the script. There are some wonderful panels here and, more importantly, consistently good storytelling. Rounding off the core creative team are letterer Steve Wands and colour house Hi-Fi. Brian Cunningham and Rex Ogle edit but they’re far too busy to read this review; they’re prepping an ongoing JLA title with Winick at the helm. Aren’t they?