Time Masters: Vanishing Point


By Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Rodney Ramos & various (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-4012-3047-0

After the cosmos-crunching Crisis on Infinite Earths re-sculpted the DC Universe in 1986, a host of characters got floor-up rebuilds for the tougher, no-nonsense, straight-shooting New American readership of the Reagan era. The decluttering exercise also made room for a few superheroes of types previously unknown at the company “Where Legends Live”.

Disgraced sports star Michael Carter came back from the 25th century to our era, tooled up with stolen technology, determined to recreate himself as a superhero. As Booster Gold he made a name for himself as a mid-level hero and supreme self-promoter and corporate shill.

Created, written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, the saga featured a brash, cockily mysterious apparently metahuman golden-boy jock setting up his stall as a superhero in Metropolis. Here he actively sought corporate sponsorships, sold endorsements and hired a management team to maximise the profit potential of his crusading celebrity.

He was accompanied everywhere by sentient, flying, football-shaped robot Skeets.

Their time came and went and Booster’s title folded, but he lived on as part of Justice League International where he became roughly half of comics’ funniest double-act, riffing with the equally light-hearted lightweight Blue Beetle.

Booster and Ted Kord (technically the second Blue Beetle) were the class clowns of billionaire Maxwell Lord’s League: a couple of obnoxiously charming frat-boys who could save the day but never get the girl or any respect.

When Lord murdered Beetle, precipitating an Infinite Crisis, Booster was shattered. Eventually, though, he recovered and redefined himself as a true hero through a succession of multiversal conflagrations. In landmark weekly maxi-series 52 and later Infinite Crisis, his intriguing take on Heroism diverged down strange avenues when Booster – traditionally only in it for fame and fortune – became a secret saviour, repairing the cracks in Reality caused by all the universe-warping shenanigans of myriad multiversal Crises and uncontrolled time-travel.

Working at the instruction of enigmatic and irascible mentor Rip Hunter: Time Master, Booster relinquished his dreams of glory to secretly save us all over and over and over again as the protector of the time-line, battling incredible odds to keep history on track and continuity in order.

This time-bending full-colour collection gathers 6-issue miniseries Time Masters: Vanishing Point (from September 2010-February 2011), detailing how Rip, Booster and Skeets steer a small posse of superheroes through the uncanny and lethally mutable corridors of time in search of a missing comrade vital to the existence of everything…

At the climax of a harrowing campaign of terror by The Black Hand and following Earth’s invasion by the New Gods of Apokolips, Batman was apparently killed at the conclusion of Infinite Crisis

The world at large was unaware of the loss, leaving the superhero community to mourn in secret whilst a dedicated army of assistants, protégés and allies – trained over years by the contingency-obsessed Dark Knight – formed the Network to police Gotham City in the days which followed: marking time until a successor could be found or the original restored…

Most of the Bat-schooled battalion refused to believe their inspirational mentor dead. On the understanding that he was merely lost, they eventually accepted Dick Grayson (the first Robin and latterly Nightwing) as a stand-in until Bruce Wayne could find his way back to them. The more cosmically endowed super-friends weren’t prepared to wait, however…

Batman, of course, is the most brilliant escape artist of all time and even whilst being struck down by the New God of Evil had devised an impossibly complex and grandly far-reaching scheme to beat the devil and save the world…

The chronally-fluctuating epic opens with elderly time guardian Booster sharing a few moments of educational bonding time with his son before Rip Hunter shakes off the happy memories and gets back to the immediate task at hand: reminding Superman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan and a blithely oblivious prime-of-life Booster of the dangers involved in interfering in historical events, no matter how tragic or cruel they might be…

Meanwhile, at the End of Time mystery hero Supernova is finding inviolate citadel Vanishing Point has been destroyed by incalculable forces and, after consulting with his unseen boss, grimly sets off in search of Rip…

The rescue mission for Bruce Wayne is Hunter’s idea. He tracked the hero to various time periods, where the Dark Knight briefly materialised before plunging back into the time stream again. Rip now hopes to extract him with the assistance of some of the Gotham Guardian’s oldest allies, before his random trajectory causes irreparable damage. He also fears enemy interference from enemies as yet unknown…

In Rip’s 21st century Arizona lab, Booster’s sister Michelle is confronted by two likely suspects as “Time Stealers” Per Degaton and Despero break in. The battle looks lost until Supernova arrives to turn the tables, but after driving off the villains the mystery man vanishes; still intent on finding the reason for Vanishing Point’s destruction and the time-stream’s increasing instability…

In the 15th century the rescue squad’s search ends in frustration, but as Rip prepares to bring them home a chronal disruption seizes them, propelling them all on an uncontrolled trip through time and also across dimensions…

On arrival Rip is confronted by a barbarian warrior with a demonic right hand (DC’s short-lived 1970s sword-&-sorcery star Claw the Unconquered), and Hunter’s thoughts go back to another salutary lesson delivered by his father on the crucial nature of his self-appointed mission. After a short battle he finally convinces the enraged swordsman that he is neither wizard nor foe.

As they join forces against a common threat, in another time and place Booster, Superman and Green Lantern have arrived in the middle of a war between humans and aliens. Unable to obey Hunter’s admonition not to get involved, the heroes engage the invading Mygorgs, unaware that in a distant time-pocket Degaton and Despero have met with their allies Ultra-Humanite and Black Beetle.

The consensus is that some outside force is destabilising time and it must be stopped if their own plans for domination are to succeed…

The superheroes’ resistance ends when Booster encounters a sword-wielding woman warrior named Starfire (another star of DC’s short 1970’s dalliance with sword-&-sorcery) and a tenuous alliance is formed just as a dragon-riding witch captures Superman and Green Lantern…

Although separated by dimensional walls, both Rip and Claw and Booster’s team are facing similar perils: held by unearthly wizard Serhattu and his accomplice sorceress Skyle whilst the mage attempts to control of time and escape his extra-dimensional realm using the out-worlders’ science…

And in the ruins of Vanishing Point, the Time Stealers find a cell and free Hunter’s greatest foes: former comrades and fellow Linear Men Matthew Rider and Liri Lee

As Serhattu and Skyle prepare their campaign of conquest and their captives struggle against mind-bending mystic shackles, at Vanishing Point Supernova attacks but is unable to stop the Linear Men and Time Stealers getting away.

In the other-dimensional realm, Hunter takes a huge chance and the heroes escape imprisonment but are sucked into a time vortex. The gamble succeeds and the liberated champions recover in time to chase Serhattu and Skyle to the site of the first Atomic Bomb test and stop their attempt to steal the awesome unknown power for themselves.

After returning Starfire, Claw and the mages to their rightful places, the heroes press on, unaware that the Black Beetle has betrayed the Time Stealers and Linear Men to steal the time-warping powers locked in remains of chronal-energy being Waverider

Hunter’s team are again diverted however by time-travelling psychopath Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash who wants the Omega energy causing Batman’s time-ricochets for his own…

As they battle the super-fast maniac, elsewhen Supernova attacks Black Beetle, and another player co-opts the Waverider power. With time in flux the battles bleed into one another and Hunter’s heroes meet the Time Stealers, Linear Man and Supernova for one final catastrophic clash…

Fast-paced, deviously compelling and extraordinarily convoluted, this is the kind of Fights ‘n’ Tights clash die-hard comic fans live for: a complex saga full of fights, inside jokes or references and impossible situations all surmounted by bold heroes in full saviour mode. It’s just a pure shame that such excellent work excludes so many readers who would certainly enjoy it if only they had the neceassry background history to hand.

Furious fun and thrills for those in the know, or anyone willing to trade comprehension for non-stop action…
© 2010, 2011 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

Booster Gold volume 3: Reality Lost


By Chuck Dixon, Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-4012-2249-9                  978-1-84856-250-9 (Titan Books UK edition)

After the cosmos-crunching Crisis on Infinite Earths re-sculpted the DC Universe in 1986, a host of characters got floor-up rebuilds for the tougher, no-nonsense, straight-shooting New American readership of the Reagan era.

Corporate buy-outs such as Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and The Question were assimilated into DC’s roster beside revamped versions of their own hotly hyped solo titles. There were even all-new launches for the altered sensibilities of the Decade of Excess: tradition-challenging concepts such as Suicide Squad and a shiny, happy, headline-hungry hero named Booster Gold.

The cobalt & yellow paladin debuted amidst plenty of hoopla in his own title (February 1986 – the first post-Crisis premiere of the freshly integrated superhero line) presenting wholly different approaches to DC’s army of old-school costumed boy-scouts.

Created, written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, the saga featured a brash, cockily mysterious metahuman golden-boy jock who had set up his stall as a superhero in Metropolis, actively seeking corporate sponsorships, selling endorsements and with a management team in place to maximise the profit potential of his crusading celebrity.

Accompanied everywhere by sentient, flying, football-shaped robot Skeets, the glitzy showboat soon encountered high-tech criminal gang The 1000 and a host of super-villains, earning the ire of many sinister masterminds and the shallow approbation of models, actresses, headline-hungry journalists, politicians and the ever fickle public…

His time came and went and Booster’s title folded, but he lived on as part of Justice League International where he became roughly half of comics’ funniest double-act riffing off the aforementioned Blue Beetle.

Booster and Ted Kord (technically the second Blue Beetle) were the class clowns of billionaire Maxwell Lord’s League: a couple of obnoxiously charming frat-boys who could save the day but never get the girl or any respect. When Lord murdered Beetle, precipitating an Infinite Crisis, Booster was shattered but eventually redefined himself as a true hero in the multiversal conflagrations of 52 and Countdown.

In landmark weekly maxi-series 52 and ultimately Infinite Crisis, the intriguing take on Heroism diverged down strange avenues when Booster – a hero traditionally only in it for fame and fortune – became a secret saviour, repairing the cracks in Reality caused by all the universe-warping shenanigans of myriad multiversal Crises and uncontrolled time-travel.

Working at the instruction of enigmatic and irascible mentor Rip Hunter: Time Master, Booster relinquished his dreams of fame and acclaim to save us all over and over and over again.

This third time-bending full-colour collection gathers issues #11, 12 and 15-19 of the Booster Gold comicbook (volume 2, spanning October 2008 to June 2009), revealing further progress in the time-guardians’ never-ending battle to keep history on track and mankind in existence.

The action opens with Jurgens & Norm Rapmund illustrating a sequence scripted by Batman scribe Chuck Dixon. ‘Vicious Cycle’ finds Rip, Booster and his freshly resurrected sister Michelle at a loss after a recent Gotham visit. After Batman, Robin and Batgirl rout B-list bad guy Killer Moth at Gotham Museum, a simultaneous robbery by meekly ineffectual Wiley Dalbert causes the dynamic trio to blink out of existence…

After experiencing the urban hell of Gotham without Batman, the team start trying to rectify the situation and learn Killer Moth’s score was planned by Dalbert as cover so that the little time traveller could swipe an ancient Egyptian knife.

Popping back further to sneakily replace the Moth, Booster clandestinely carries out the fateful robbery and stops Wiley too… but that only makes the restored reality infinitely worse…

Forced to try again – this time with Booster as Batman and Michelle impersonating Batgirl – events spiral into even crazier and more contorted convolutions (humiliating too!) before an approximate restoration of history is re-established…

Sadly the time-team’s ultra-secret efforts have brought them to the attention of stretchable sleuth Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man

Following a two-part battle against Chronos and Starro the Conqueror – not collected in this edition- the temporal turbulence resumes with ‘Reality Lost’ from #15-18 plus #19’s ‘Reality Lost: Epilogue’; written and pencilled by Jurgens with Rapmund again handling the inking chores.

Having dragged Michelle from her surprise role as Da Vinci’s muse, Booster tries to return them to Rip’s secret lab only to find it no longer exists. Thanks to Skeets’ encyclopaedic history files and temporal processors, the stranded chrononauts discover the current crisis stems from unfinished business at the museum where they met Wiley Dalbert…

Booster sets his Wayback Machine for that apparently accursed night, and walks into a trap and is attacked by Dibny. A few years from then they would be best friends in Justice League International, but at that instant the blue and gold figure is nothing more than a bold bandit as far as the Ductile Detective is concerned…

Concealing the horrors which would soon destroy Dibny’s life, Booster nevertheless convinces Elongated Man of his bona fides before enlisting his aid in tracking down the time anomaly playing hob with reality. The root cause is the ancient knife, but the real problem is that it’s been taken by Booster’s villainous, time-bending dad Rex Hunter, precipitating a perilous odyssey through the ages to recover it…

Leaving Ralph and Michelle to search time for Rip Hunter, Gold starts to hunt for the accursed blade…

Poignant pit-stops in World War I, ancient Egypt and his personal time-line result in deadly encounters with Enemy Ace Hans von Hammer, pre-lightning bolt Barry Allen, time-bandit Chronos, and even his own earlier, surlier, self-absorbed self. Through it all Booster learns the true price and value of his secret career.

Preserving the way things are causes pain and humiliation, costs everything he ever cared about and promises nothing but frustration and early death. He even had a chance to save Ted Kord after meeting Max Lord’s father before the maniac was born but lacked the guts to do what he wanted to…

After the triumph and tragedy, a potent vignette by Jurgens & Rapmund wraps things up with a recap of Booster’s ‘Origins and Omens’ of his immediate future: first seen as a teaser produced during the lead-up to twinned publishing events Blackest Night and Brightest Day

Sadly, despite its dark and foreboding appeal, moments of sheer comedy gold and fast-paced action throughout, this engaging rollercoaster ride is ultimately a true fans’ story for die-hard Fights ‘n’ Tights devotees. That’s a great shame since this is also a fabulously well-crafted story that a wider audience would certainly appreciate if only they had sufficient back-grounding.

Perhaps DC’s current TV iterations will generate enough interest to get new readers picking up old stories and joining in the fun that’s still waiting to be had…
© 2008, 2009 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

Booster Gold volume 4: Day of Death


By Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund & various (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-4012-2643-5

After the cosmos-crunching Crisis on Infinite Earths re-sculpted the DC Universe in 1986, a host of characters got floor-up rebuilds for the tougher, no-nonsense, straight-shooting New American readership of the Reagan-era.

A number of corporate buy-outs such as Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and The Question were assimilated into DC’s roster with their own hotly hyped solo titles. There were even a couple of all-new big launches for the altered sensibilities of the Decade of Excess such as Suicide Squad and a shiny, happy, headline-hungry hero named Booster Gold.

The blue and yellow paladin debuted amidst plenty of hoopla in his own title (cover-dated February 1986 – the first post-Crisis premiere of the freshly integrated superhero line) and presented a wholly different approach to the traditional DC costumed boy-scout.

Created, written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, the saga featured a brash, cockily mysterious metahuman golden-boy jock who had set up his stall as a superhero in Metropolis, actively seeking corporate sponsorships, selling endorsements and with a management team in place to maximise the profit potential of his crusading celebrity.

Accompanied everywhere by sentient flying-football-shaped robot Skeets, the glitzy showboat soon encountered high-tech criminal gang The 1000 and a host of super-villains, earning the ire of many sinister masterminds and the shallow approbation of models, actresses, headline-hungry journalists, politicians and the ever fickle public…

His time came and went and Booster’s title folded, but he lived on as a Justice Leaguer International where he became part of comics’ funniest double-act riffing off the aforementioned Blue Beetle.

Booster and Ted Kord (technically the second Blue Beetle) were the class clowns of Maxwell Lord’s Justice League International: a couple of obnoxiously charming frat-boys who could save the day but never get the girl or any respect. When Lord murdered Beetle, precipitating an Infinite Crisis, Booster was shattered but redefined himself as a true hero in the multiversal conflagrations of 52 and Countdown.

In landmark weekly maxi-series 52 and ultimately Infinite Crisis, the intriguing take on Heroism diverged down strange avenues when Booster – a hero traditionally only in it for fame and fortune – became a secret saviour, repairing the cracks in Reality caused by all the universe-warping shenanigans of myriad universal, multiversal Crises and uncontrolled time-travel.

Working at the instruction of enigmatic and irascible mentor Rip Hunter: Time Master, Booster surrendered all his dreams of acclaim to save us all over and over and over again.

This fourth time-bending full-colour trade paperback collects Booster Gold volume 2 #20-25 and Brave and the Bold volume 3 #23 from July to December 2009, and continues reviewing catastrophic conflicts from the time-line guardian’s never-ending battle to keep history on track and mankind in existence.

The action opens with ‘Shadows of Tomorrow’ from Brave and the Bold volume 3 #23 July 2009, by Jurgens and inker Norm Rapmund as, in his citadel beyond chronology, Booster is shocked to see his mentor Rip rematerialise in a badly beaten state, muttering the name “Magog”. A little checking reveals the name belongs to a hulking horned metahuman: a hero – of sorts – and despite the recuperating Hunter’s pleas to leave well enough alone, Booster slips into the time-stream to confront the military-trained hardliner…

The trail leads to war-torn Kahndaq during the US occupation and a tenuous team-up with a colleague who is everything Booster despises: a self-righteous hero who thinks the ends justify the means, even with the lives of hostage children precariously in the balance…

Booster Gold #20 featured ‘1952 Pick Up’ (by Keith Giffen, Pat Oliffe & Rapmund) – a light-hearted homage to B-movie sci fi and the Fantastic Four as the time traveller fetches up in early 1950s Nevada on the site of a clandestine and forgotten American space shot…

Before long he’s captured by covert operatives Frank Rock and Karin Hughes from an invisible agency dubbed Task Force X and embroiled in a secret mission involving traitorous Russian rocket scientists… and if he’s not extremely careful Booster could erase the timeline of a close future-friend and colleague…

The major portion of this collection then moves on to cover some unexpected fallout of the murder of the Dark Knight.

The only non-Time Master to know Booster’s secret was Batman. His deductive skills were beyond par and after noticing recurring anomalies around the shooting of Barbara Gordon the Dark Detective intuited Booster had tried hundreds of times to prevent it. Batman held his tongue as well as many photographs which proved Booster was not just a flashy, sensation-seeking bumbler…

Now as ‘Day of Death’ begins Booster raids the Batcave to retrieve that evidence only to be jumped by the Gotham Guardian’s successor…

Before he can even attempt to explain, they are both ambushed by the mysterious chronal raider called Black Beetle continuing to carry out his campaign to unmake history. Pausing only to gloat for a second the Beetle vanishes, followed an instant later by the substitute Batman…

And in the background a second glass tube appears. They both contain the uniforms of Robins who died in battle…

As I’m sure you all recall: following an all-out invasion by the New Gods of Apokolips, the original Batman was apparently killed at the conclusion of Infinite Crisis. The world at large was unaware of the loss, leaving the superhero community to mourn in secret whilst a small, dedicated army of assistants, protégés and allies – trained over years by the contingency-obsessed Dark Knight – formed the Network to police Gotham City in the days which followed: marking time until a successor could be found or the original restored…

Most of the Bat-schooled battalion refused to believe their inspirational mentor dead. On the understanding that he was merely lost, they eventually accepted Dick Grayson (the first Robin and latterly Nightwing) as a stand-in until Bruce Wayne could find his way back to them…

Now however Grayson has clearly been excised by Black Beetle and Booster has to rectify the situation before time unravels even further…

A new chapter opens with the Beetle conferring with a cloaked superior even as Booster consults his infinitely upgraded cybernetic companion who is keyed into to the ever-changing intricacies of the time-stream. Skeets informs Booster that the landmark first battle between the Teen Titans and the Ravager now ended with the young heroes’ deaths and like an intricate line of dominoes led to the eradication of most of Earth’s adult defenders… and worse…

Inserting himself into the appropriate moment to rectify the glitch, Booster is shocked to see Ravager’s terrifying father Deathstroke the Terminator aligned with Black Beetle to ensure the Titans’ doom…

Overwhelmed and beaten, Booster awakes to discover he’s failed again. The Teen Titans are dead and Rip Hunter is screaming at him. Also on the scene is mystic mystery Raven. She originally caused the Titans to unite, hoping to use them to stop her demonic sire Trigon conquering Earth, but now…

Hunter quickly ferries Booster and the witch to 2020AD to see what becomes of humanity. His actual plan is to find Black Beetle and try to glean the reason for his insane acts…

In that particular future Trigon idly presides over the last remnants of mankind with the Beetle at his side, but as Booster finds himself battling the demon lord, Hunter and Raven have united with a few strangely familiar characters in one glorious, last-ditch attempt to banish Trigon and unmake this fractured reality.

Although they are triumphant, the real battle is lost elsewhere as the Beetle raids Trigon’s treasure vault and steals the artefact he’s been after all along. Despite his best efforts Hunter is too slow to stop the Machiavellian monster stealing a scarlet scarab which promises unlimited power to the one who knows its secret…

With the greater game lost and the Beetle off the field, Booster finally has the leeway needed to fix the most urgent section of time and correct history, but is it all too little too late?

Everything is wrapped up and the scene set for the next catastrophic crisis when ‘Day of Death Aftermath’ sees Booster return to the Batcave for those photos and get the shock of his utterly unconventional life…

Fantastically absorbing and entertaining, this riotous romp is tragically a true fans’ story for die-hard comics mavens, with in-jokes and shared historical moments adding to the unbridled enthusiasm and exuberance of a classy time-busting tale. That’s a great pity since this is also a fabulously well-crafted story that a wider audience would certainly appreciate if only they had sufficient back-grounding.

I’m in touch with the continuity and still struggled occasionally but I’d love to be proved wrong and see if a total innocent could follow this nuanced little gem and get the buzz it gave me…

Who’s game to give it a go?
© 2009, 2010 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

Blue Beetle: Black and Blue


By Matthew Sturges, Will Pfeifer, Mike Norton, David Baldeón, Carlo Barberi & various (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-85768-016-7

At the height of the Infinite Crisis El Paso teenager Jaime Reyes found a strange bug-shaped blue jewel. That night it attached itself to his spine, transforming him into a bizarre insectoid warrior. He was promptly swept up in the universe-rending chaos, aiding Batman and other heroes in a space battle. He was lost for a year…

Finally returned home, he revealed his secret to his family and tried to do some good in El Paso but had to rapidly adjust to some big changes. His best bud Paco had joined a gang of super-powered freaks, the local crime mastermind was the foster-mom of his other best bud Brenda and a really scary military dude named Peacemaker started hanging around, claiming the thing in Jaime’s back was malfunctioning alien tech not life-affirming Egyptian magic…

The Scarabs were designed to pave the way for a full invasion but fortunately the one attached to Jaime had been damaged over the centuries it was buried here and wasn’t working properly. With a little help from his friends and the newly rebellious gem itself Jaime thwarted the rapacious and infinitely patient invaders of The Reach and continued his unlikely mission as protector of El Paso and superhero in training.

The Hispanic Blue Beetle pluckily battled on as a back-up feature in Booster Gold and as a Teen Titan and this final volume (or perhaps not, since rumours of a Blue Beetle TV show still abound…) collects the previously-uncollected issues #27, 28, 35 and 36 of his own comicbook plus the Booster Gold back-ups from volume 2, issues #21-25 and 28-29 for your undoubted approval, courtesy of writers Matthew Sturges and Will Pfeifer and artist Mike Norton, David Baldeón, Carlo Barberi, Steve Bird, Jacob Eguren, Norm Rapmund & Sandra Hope.   J. Torres & Freddie Williams Jr. and battles one of the DC Universe’s gravest menaces in the startlingly powerful change of pace tale ‘Total Eclipso: the Heart’ by Rogers & Albuquerque.

The wonderment commences with ‘Black Magic Woman’ as Jaime and new girlfriend Traci Thirteen stumble onto an out-of-control supernatural vengeance plot instigated by a trio of slacker teens that looks likely to rip El Paso apart. Good thing then that our hero’s significant other is one of the most powerful witches on Earth…

Following that is a superb little yarn of generational evil, forgiveness and redemption guest-starring original Blue Beetle Dan Garrett which perfectly illustrates how much the kid hero had grown in the monstrous parable of ‘Brutus’, after which the continuity jumps to issue #35 (and if you’re a chronology-fiend here’s where Blue Beetle: Boundaries should go, so if you need to, read that before continuing…).

The solo comicbook concluded in a tense, life-changing two-parter ‘Only Change Endures’ which opened with a horde of the second Blue Beetle’s old foes attacking El Paso only to be soundly thrashed by his youthful successor. During the fray Jaime realised something was severely amiss with his scarab: it was becoming increasingly bloodthirsty and constantly urged him to use deadly force options from its vast weapons array…

At school romance was in the air, but when a battalion of other scarab-powered Blue Beetles calling themselves the “Khaji-Da Revolutionary Army” the situation went from hearts and flowers to def-con four …

Apparently when Jaime defeated the all-conquering alien Reach (Blue Beetle: Reach for the Stars) he inadvertently started a dissident movement amongst the interlinked insectoid warriors. Now they want Jaime to lead them in a bloody war of liberation across the galaxies and although the human was appalled by the thought his rebellious scarab was overwhelmingly in favour…

Of course it all ends in a devastating blockbuster battle, but before Jaime can regain control of his symbiotic scarab one of his closest friends pays the ultimate price and life just isn’t so much fun anymore…

After a brief sojourn in funnybook limbo Blue Beetle returned as a supporting strip in Booster Gold and those tales follow here, starting with a reintroduction and recap in ‘The Golden Child’ – part one of the thee-chapter ‘Armour-Plated’ wherein Jaime tackled a succession of robots with daddy-issues, resulting in excessive carnage and destruction in ‘Silver Spoon’ before ‘Thoroughly Modern Maria’ ended the drama on a cliffhanger when future villain Black Beetle turned up to instigate a centuries-long vendetta in the two-part ‘Black and Blue’ by attempting to murder the entire Reyes family…

The saga reached a climactic conclusion when old tutor Peacemaker helped heal the madly malfunctioning scarab in ‘The Beginning of the End’ after which a mission to the ancient Reach pyramid set everything to rights (for the moment at least) in the spectacular ‘The End of the End’.

Although long-gone as a comicbook series the latest incarnation of the undying Blue Beetle brand still survives and thrives in trade paperback collections where you can – and must – experience the frantic, fun, thrill-packed and startlingly moving exploits of a truly ordinary teenager catapulted into the terrifying world of high-level super-heroics.

Hopefully with the TV series apparently completed and awaiting scheduling, a new comicbook series can’t be too far away, so what better time can there be to finally tune in and catch up with all of these addictive super-teen triumphs?

© 2008, 2009 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.