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Comic Book Throwback Review – Blue Beetle #15 (DC Comics)

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Blue Beetle #15

Writer: Len Wein
Guest Plotter: RJM Lofficier
Pencils: Ross Andru
Inks: Dell Barras
Colors: Gene D’Angelo
Letterer: John Costanza
Publisher: DC Comics
Maturity Rating: Teen

As the Blue Beetle fights for his life on a secluded island, his company might be under attack. Either way, Ted Kord is in a rough spot.

 

“Island in the Sun” Blue Beetle #15

We are back with another edition of Comic Book Throwback Reviews. Today we are looking at Blue Beetle #15. It is the one and only Blue Beetle story I have ever read! Ted Kord has always been an interesting character to me but I have never known much about him besides a few other comic appearances and appearances in DC animated material. Well, Blue Beetle #15 looks cool (and it was the only issue of the original run available on comiXology Unlimited).

Blue Beetle #15 (DC Comics) cover by Ross Andru
Blue Beetle #15 (DC Comics) cover by Ross Andru

Right away, great cover here. Very simple, yet elegant. Gives us all will need to know for this issue. Plus I love the design of that robot. Our hero is obviously in trouble and things are not looking good.

Fight Island

The great Len Wein pens this issue (with plotting assist by RJM Lofficier). And let me tell you, there is a lot going on in Blue Beetle #15. We start off with Blue Beetle and a police detective named Max Fisher (fantastic name) fighting off the giant robot on the cover. Both Fisher and Ted Kord came to this island looking for answers. Fisher is looking into a murder, and apparently Kord’s uncle built this robot on this secluded island. 

Kord and Fisher were not the only ones to find the island. An archaeologist stumbled upon the lab, as well, and somehow got his mind transferred into the robot that now goes by his name: Carapax. I guess maybe being on the island so long or getting transferred into a robot body made him go insane? But he is trying to kill the Blue Beetle and Fisher now, so that’s all you really need to know. 

Beetle Mania

Wein and Lofficier make Blue Beetle #15 feel a lot longer than 23 pages in a very good way. Besides the main plot—the whole robot-murder-mystery island—there are like three other subplots being built up. In between the scenes of the battle between Kord and Carapax, Wein and Lofficier set up some interesting stories going forward.

We got an Executive at Kord’s company being kidnapped, with some nefarious plans. A guy who is looking for a job and mysteriously finds one. S.T.A.R. Labs in a bit of a conundrum. And a new villain about to attack Kord’s company. It is all packed into this issue superbly well.

I was also impressed, being a new reader, that even though I had no previous connection to these characters, it all still made sense and had me intrigued about what was going on and what was going to happen. It was all easy to follow, story- and plot-wise. Very impressive how much they packed in here.

Beetle Juice

Ross Andru pencils, with Dell Barras on inks and Gene D’Angelo on colors in Blue Beetle #15. The art was good in this issue. I really love Dell Barras’s inking. He has some strong ink lines and brought out some wonderful detail in the Blue Beetle’s costume. He also did a great job with the Carapax robot. His bold ink lines brought that character to life.

Again, I love the simple design for the robot. It has that delightful simplicity to it. It looks cool but is also not overcomplicated. Andru also lays out the fight and chase well. It plays out through the whole issue and it is a fun battle back and forth. The way they end up ending the fight is very creative as well.

Visually, Blue Beetle #15 just looks good. The character designs are fantastic. Each character has their own “feel” and look to them. The backgrounds are detailed well and there is a great sense of motion and action in the pages.

Don’t Step on the Beetle

For my first ever Blue Beetle comic book, I never felt lost or confused. Sure, there was stuff about characters I didn’t understand or plots from previous issues. But it never decreased my enjoyment of this issue. It is also jam-packed with story. The main plot is exciting and fun, but several other things are built up in the background to keep you interested in what is going to happen next.

Blue Beetle #15 also visually looks great as well. Really solid work all around from the art team. Nothing really to complain about in this issue. A great start to the character and it makes me want to read more! 4 beetles out of 5!


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