"Boundaries" is the beginning of a new storyline and the entry into an era with Blue Beetle's most newly-christened writer " Matt Sturges. Unfortunately, no one told the production department about this when the cover was assembled, as the cover indicates this issue is written by John Rogers.
From the get-go, Sturges displays an understanding of what has come before and wastes no time reintroducing readers to bit of Blue Beetle's supporting cast. The natural humor this book has provided from the start is also retained.
Blue Beetle stumbles upon a title fight wherein two villainous wannabes are battling for the right to dub themselves "Hellhound." His "mentor", Peacemaker, is helping with a border patrol and Sturges cliches both stories together. Being a fun-loving comic, though, the interrelationship of the two stories is acceptable. For a first issue, Sturges has been given big, fan-praised shoes to fill, so I do not envy him the task.
He does, however, slip up a time or two. Peacemaker's parting banter with the Vanguard employees is messy and muddled, and Jaime's decision to end the issue goes completely against the character and the guidelines Jaime set for himself as Blue Beetle, but those are truly the only negative points I could find to focus on with Sturges' maiden voyage at the helm of "Blue Beetle".
He doesn't just walk away from the history of the character to this point, but he is definitely trying to make a place for himself in Jaime's legacy, as any competent writer should do with his (or her) characters.
That said, the story doesn't carry the same weight it did with Rogers (and Giffen), but it also has a chance to start establishing the next phase of Jaime Reyes' heroic journey. Subplots are put in place here that will carry out over the long haul. Readers jumping in on this issue will be able to hit the ground running.
Albuquerque turns in another great issue, as he has truly become "the" artist on "Blue Beetle". I hope Sturges rewards Albuquerque's effort with some more exciting visuals in the issues to come, as he did in this issue. The book would not be the same without Guy Major, who, combined with Albuquerque, makes this book everything it is, visually.
The stage has been set, the first issue launched, and "Blue Beetle" seems well on its way into the next big adventure. The book has survived 29 issues and been solicited to nearly a complete third year. I strongly believe that with this creative team, the book could easily hit #50 and gain a larger following on the way.