Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vaya con Dios, Blue Beetle

One of the books that I’m most disappointed about in that regard is a book like Blue Beetle, which we are cancelling. That’s a book that we started with very high expectations, but it lost its audience along the way. Recently, we felt that it was standing on firmer ground, and was getting a more positive response. The problem is that the firmer ground and positive response is not enough to keep the book afloat. So unfortunately, we had to cancel that series.

So sayeth Dan Didio in a recent interview with Newsarama.

I've been thinking a lot about the Blue Beetle for the past couple of days. While having lunch with a friend yesterday, I remember saying that I just didn't love it as much as I did when John Rogers was writing it but I couldn't really come up with a reason why. And it's not the first time I've had that opinion of the series... I initially dropped it after the sixth issue, learning that the Scarab was a piece of alien technology. I don't know if it was that conclusion specifically, but something in the book failed to grab me at that point, and it took me eight months to give it another chance.

Now, I haven't dropped the book. I thought about it after Will Pfeifer's two issues, but ultimately decided to hang in there to see if Matt Sturges could do anything. I thought about all this while I tried to pinpoint what it was that was missing, and after a day and a half or so, I think maybe what's gone missing is a sense of direction. When John Rogers introduced the Reach in issue #12, he started a story that essentially ran for 14 issues, and provided the Blue Beetle with a threat that only he could sense, much less stop. And the last four issues of his run were a thundering conclusion that cemented Jaime Reyes as a hero... and brought that story to a close.

The thing is... direction requires time and stability. Following Rogers, we got three issues that could essentially have been skipped. Jai Nitz' experiment in Spanish-language comics, and two stories by WIll Pfeifer did more to hurt the book, I think, than anything. Hindsight is 20/20, and it seems to me that following Rogers' run on the book, what it needed was someone who was going to stick with it, and take it somewhere. That's why I've stuck around, even though the book doesn't feel to me that it's 'as good'. I want to give Matt Sturges a chance to get his feet under him with the character, and try to go somewhere. Too bad it sounds like he won't get the chance.


Just Bill said...

You nailed my feelings on the book completely. I was really loving the book through "The Reach" storyline and had a lot of excitement for the character. The issues that followed however, fell completely flat. And I did drop the book. It was directionless, and there's too much good stuff out there to waste time waiting for a creative team to "find" themselves, or their characters.

Jovial1 said...

I'm not sure how much I agree with that. I know that the first six issues didn't completely wow me, and I think that at the time they came out, I was disappointed that it didn't feel more tightly connected to the rest of the DC Universe. I dropped the book at that point, and picked it up again a little later.

Maybe it's a matter of taking me longer to catch the book's direction, than for the writers to find it.

What I'm dead certain of is that the three issues before bringing in Matt Sturges killed all momentum on the book. There were some things being introduced in Sturges' first story arc that could've been interesting in a longer term.

It's a real shame. I love the character, but I refuse to read the mess they're calling Teen Titans to follow him. I jumped ship before it got really bad, but the Teen Titans haven't been really good since Geoff Johns wrote them.