This is one fabulous cover:
C'mon, it's got Guy Gardner on the cover! You KNOW that I'm going to review it. Actually as usual, Kalinar beat me to it, her essay is excellent as usual.
So, things open rather quietly, Jaime is just sitting there doing some work, musing about some of the stuff that has been happening lately, when his favorite Green Lantern shows up. Jaime...understandably after the first time that they met...reacts by blasting him and changing into his armor.
Which leads to this.
Hee hee! The look on Guy's face is just priceless. The look of abject terror on Jaime's face is even better.
Meanwhile back at Jaime's house, his family is in the back yard grilling dinner and hanging out with Paco and Brenda. There is the usual amusing exchange of dialogue, when Jaime shows up in a panic. Then in walks a very calm Guy, with Jaime's mother, holding out his hand in friendship...when he gets blasted by Jaime AGAIN! At this point, Guy is getting just a leetle bit fed up:
Jaime's mother is just amazing. Like Kyle's late mom (sniff) she could even hold her own against the thundrous force that is Guy's mother.
Anyway, Guy retrieves the grill, opens himself a cold one, and proceeds to explain who he is, what he does, and why he needs to talk to the new Beetle. Heck, he even...kind of...apologizes for beating up Jaime the first time that they met. It is a typical Gardner type of apology, but hey, he's trying.
So...off they fly to the South Pole, while Guy explains the enmity between the Scarabs and the Green Lanterns a bit more. Turns out that the Guardians were having a throw-down with the Reach (who control the Scarab) about forty or fifty thousand years ago, which ended in a draw. As Guy points out, that MEANS something. The Guardians are certainly no pushovers. Anyway, they signed a treaty basically stating that if the Reach behave themselves and stop trying to take over worlds, the Guardians will more or less leave them alone. Except of course, that is EXACTLY what they are trying to do.
They land in Tierra Del Fuego, or almost, because Jaime has to have a bathroom break, and end up in a bar. Jaime's scarab is sensing power levels at the South Pole, so that's what they are investigating. Guy orders a beer (or so I assume) and ends up smacking the hot waitress on the butt, which was NOT a politically correct thing to do. She points him out to the great big enraged guy...
...and they jump to Antarctica, after the Really Cool Bar Fight! Arrgghhh! I wanted to SEE the Really Cool Bar Fight! However, in retrospect it is probably just as well, because one's own imagination is always FAR more graphic. Guy's not too sure this is the right place, but Jaime's powers let him see the Reach's installation, which is dimension-shifted, so it is intangible. Guy's not too sure,but he takes Jaime's word for it...and then they are attacked by Evil Flying Killer Penguins!
You heard me.
Guy whips up a shield while Jaime screams..."flightless and harmless? These are FLIGHTFUL! And HARMFUL! Full of Harm!" Oh Jaime, you get cuter by the minute.
Next, they are attacked by the Ultra-Humanite! Jaime requests a short version of who the heck this baddie is, and Guy replies with ..."Mind-hoppin' super-evolved genius with telepathic powers who gets his kicks bein' in the body of a giant white ape. Sometimes he's a chick."
The Ultra Humanite attacks obviously, and Guy does his best to shield their minds, but the Ultra-Humanite is actually working FOR the Reach, and is prepared for them, by invading their bodies, not necessarily their minds, and making them blind by hacking their central nervous sytems. So he mops the floor with them. Unfortunately for him, he forgot that there were "three" of them. The Ultra-Humanite threatens to kill Jaime, who quite calmly says to go ahead, but he'll be sorry, because he's the only thing that is able to control the scarab, and stopping it from..."turning you...into a fine red mist and a !@#$%
This breaks his concentration, and Guy proceeds to show us why he is indeed the DCU's resident Ass-Kicker, as he delivers a very nice beat-down on the bad guy.
Then the creepy guy from the Reach shows up. Boy is he smarmy! Guy of course just wants to punch his lights out, but of course the little weasel talks his way out of it, plus all the proof seems to disappear...which is very convenient. Guy is beginning to understand why the Guardians REALLY don't like the Reach.
Anyway, they head back to Jaime's house, and are sitting outside at the picnic table, when Guy hauls out a book that he had brought earlier, and left with Jaime's mom. He hands Jaime, "Strategy" by Liddell-Hart. Turns out it is one of the books that Ted Kord gave to Guy way back when.
"Ted gave it to me. There's a list of more books he wanted me to read, wirtten in the back cover. Tactics, Military Intelligence, Data Analysis. Stuff like that."
Jaime takes the book almost reverently, while Guy continues to reminisce about Ted.
"He was always trying to get me to think like him, but a man's gotta know his SWING, Jaime. I HIT things, and I'm GOOD at thinking about hitting things. Ted Kord had NO POWERS, kid. He was always 'overpowered.' But he always won. I saw him mop the floor with guys who ate STARS. Because he was smarter. He was smarter than Bats, although nobody ever noticed. You can BEAT these punks, but you gotta stop thinkin' like some scared kid with fancy power armor...and start thinkin' like the Blue Beetle."
*sniff, sniff* I'm starting to choke up here, feeling the love for Ted. Yeah, he and Guy used to bicker back in the old JLI. That's back in Guy's brain-dead thug stage, and Ted and Booster never knew when to quit, and always had to go and humiliate Guy. Humiliation being the one thing that Guy couldn't handle, Beetle usually took things just a bit too far. And then they had that boxing match arranged by General Glory. It started out with Guy teasing Ted, but Ted wasn't in the mood, and as usual things escalated, for which I blame Glory. Guy sucker-punched Ted, and really hurt him, but he was sorry immediately afterwards.
There were also times when they got along perfectly well togther. There was one scene in JLI, I don't remember which issue,but Ted and Guy are sitting up on the roof of the headquarters enjoying a drink and the sunset, no Booster in sight. Of course they got attacked, but it was a nice moment. Plus, Guy always went to Beetle when he had a problem, heck Ted even gave him his suit of armor when he lost the yellow ring. And there was that lovely moment when they all bonded after J'onn had filled Batmans' utility belt with the mashed potatoes.
This is a REALLY good book.