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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Coming Attractions

After last week's cornucopia of Booster Gold appearances, this week finds our hero only in a reprint of a reprint, the softcover edition of the first Injustice 2 trade collection.

That's not the last we'll see of Booster in Injustice 2, either. According to DC Comics July solicitations (which you can find on, Booster will be playing a significant part in the upcoming Injustice 2 #30 scheduled for a July 18 release. Since Injustice 2 issues are digital-first releases, that means we'll see Booster on somewhere near digital chapters 59 and 60 in about a month. (For reference, this week sees the release of chapter 56.)

In addition, we'll also be seeing Booster's entire recent run from Action Comics (issues #993 through #998) reprinted in the softcover trade Superman: Action Comics Vol. 5: Booster Shot on August 18. That trade is advertised to also contain "a story" from the upcoming Action Comics Special #1, so don't be too surprised if we see Booster in that issue due next week.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Meanwhile in the Funny Pages

While I was busy getting my pantaloons in a bunch last week over Batman #45, Booster Gold sneaked his way into 3 — count 'em, 3! — other comic books.

1. Booster was a small face in a crowd of well-wishers in Action Comics #1000, courtesy none other than Dan Jurgens. (SuperPat pointed this out in the comments last Wednesday.)

© DC Comics
Three cheers for Superman!

2. Booster had a slightly larger part alongside Blue Beetle in Injustice 2 #24. This one we knew was coming. I originally mentioned it when it was published digitally at the start of last month. Booster has been showing up quite a bit in the Injustice 2 as of late, with more appearances coming soon.

© DC Comics
Booster's mom should wash his mouth out with soap.

3. However, I had no idea bout Booster's appearance in Mister Miracle #8 until Shawn slipped notification into Friday's comments. Booster doesn't appear in person, but his face is on one of the many, many shuperhero t-shirts that Scott Free wears throughout the issue.

© DC Comics
Who knew Mister Miracle a fan club member?

Whew! Four issues in one week ties a record! (Can we go for five, DC?)

So no matter how Booster boosters feel about Batman #45, we can't be disappointed that it was the only place for us to find our hero last week. Booster Gold is everywhere in April 2018!

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Friday, April 20, 2018

It's A Horrible Life

© DC Comics

On Monday, I expressed my sincere apprehensions about what I was seeing in previews for Batman #45, released on Wednesday. Now that I've had the issue and read it multiple times, I am relieved to say that my worst fears weren't realized. Writer Tom King's version of Booster Gold isn't a monster. He's just an idiot.

It’s easy to see what King was trying to do with the issue. Clearly influenced by the best deconstructionist superhero tales of Alan Moore and Frank Miller, he seeks to show us A) how the world is worse off without a Batman, and more importantly, B) how Batman isn’t the same sort of hero as Superman. This comparison is overt, as Moore’s “For The Man Who Has Everything...” from the 1985 Superman Annual #11 is specifically mentioned as Booster’s motivation. (Is it mere coincidence that the issue was released the same day as Action Comics #1000?) Unfortunately, the clumsy execution of King’s plan leaves a lot to be desired.

The biggest problem here is that while King’s inspiration for the story might have been high art, his template for Booster Gold was a Saturday morning cartoon, specifically Diedrich Bader's performance in Justice League Action where the character has been stripped down into a two-dimensional jester. Sadly, what works in an 11 minute cartoon for kids doesn't translate into the traditional DC Universe, especially not in the heavy story King is attempting here. Booster’s irresponsible attitude about a world gone mad – a world he created! – isn’t fun. It’s downright villainous.

Poor characterization isn't limited to Booster Gold. Frankly, Booster and Skeets are the only characters in the story given anything resembling depth. One-note Dick Grayson murders heroes. Jason Todd sells weapons. Bruce Wayne is a selfish fop. These aren't characters; they're paper dolls. Why? How? It doesn't matter. Like the graphic violence, characterization exist herein only for shock value. King explains nothing.

In a story celebrating comic book continuity and superhero motivation, there's no need for Booster be so irritatingly incompetent. With a little more effort, King could use Booster to accomplish all of the goals necessary to drive the plot without ignoring years of character development. And if Booster wouldn't work for where the story needs to go, there are plenty of other established characters in the DC Universe who King could have used to achieve the same ends without libeling Booster Gold’s character. Anyone who has read Superman Annual #11 should be able to come up with a few. (Chronos, Per Degaton, Professor Zoom, Time Trapper, Doctor Destiny, and Bat-Mite come to mind off the top of my head.) Back in the day, writers were even known to create new characters when they needed them for specific tasks.

I applaud King's intentions. I would always prefer for a writer to aim high and miss than not try at all. But in this case, in light of his clear misunderstanding about who Booster Gold is in the DCU and his disinterest in exploring the characters he is working with, the best I can say about Batman #45 is "it could have been worse." I'm not particularly eager for the follow up.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Release: Action Comics 1000

In case you haven't heard, you'll find the 1000th issue of Action Comics at your Local Comic Shop today. The issue is a celebration not just of Superman, but also all the very talented writers and artists who have toiled for the last 80 years to bring comic book fans joy and inspiration.

Booster Gold creator Dan Jurgens is one of those writer/artists. Jurgens not only drew the first appearance of Superman in the 1980s post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Universe (in Booster Gold #6!), he was instrumental in bringing us the death and return of Superman in the 1990s. As part of the celebration, he also pencilled one of the 11 different Action Comics #1000 covers!

As if that's not enough reason to celebrate, DC has also released a poster containing all 1000 Action Comics covers. That means it's also a Booster Gold poster! Decades before showing up on the cover of his recent team-up in Action Comics #993, Booster Gold got the better of Superman on the cover of Action Comics #594!

© DC Comics

Here's to 1000 more adventures of Superman to come.

UPDATE: SuperPat dropped by the comments to tell us that Booster does make an appearance in Action Comics #1000! Everybody is getting in on the celebration!

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Definitely NOT Awesome

© DC Comics

NO. Not even slightly awesome, you monster.

The above image was released late last week as part of the preview for this week's Batman #45. While I'm always reluctant to pre-judge a story before I've read it, I have to say that in all the years I've been tracking Booster Gold appearances, nothing has disappointed me more than what I've seen from this issue so far.

Before you read any further, know that I'm about to rant about what could be considered spoilers.




Still here? As we knew from last week's released previews, this story opens with Tony Daniel's drawing of Hal Jordan blowing out his brains with his ring. Very violently. Very graphically. Even putting aside the moral issues of suicide, that's not the sort of thing I want to see in my DC Comics.

But now we have the dialog that goes along with those pictures, and Jordan's death is nothing nearly so disgusting as the words coming out of Booster Gold's mouth in reaction.

Watching a man shoot himself in the head IS NOT AWESOME. Not a little bit. Not kind of. Never.

At no point in the published history of Booster Gold has the character ever expressed such an ugly sentiment. The character is a hero, yes a hero who has made many foolhardy decisions over the years, but never has he willfully allowed harm to come to someone else or glorified such violence or death in any way. To see those words coming out of the mouth of Michael Jon Carter literally turns my stomach.

It only makes matters worse knowing that this sort of shocking vulgarity isn't in a standalone Elseworlds book, but in Batman, DC's best selling ongoing title. I haven't purchased an issue of Batman in years, but I cringe at the thought that some parent might buy this to introduce Booster Gold to their kid. (As if shooting violence wasn't commonplace enough in schoolyards in 2018.)

If I sound like a sanctimonious prude, maybe I am. Maybe I'm overreacting because it's my hero espousing something I'd expect to hear from an ISIS recruit. But what would fans of Batman or Superman think if their idols said such things? In the DC Universe, Booster is a celebrity. In the real world, if a Kardashian reacted this way, how would their fans respond? I doubt there'd be much applause.

To be fair to issue writer Tom King, I haven't read the full story, and perhaps this is a trick. Maybe that's not Booster at all, but someone wearing his skin. Maybe it's an alternate evil timeline with a Booster Gold too immature or psychologically damaged to understand the callousness of his words. Maybe this takes place inside a simulation, and Booster's comment is a clumsy response to a well-crafted high-definition computer generated hologram. Maybe the Cosmic Cube has turned my hero into a Nazi. Weirder things have happened in comics. Still, I find it revolting that any DC Comics character should be implied to think such thoughts, much less give them voice.

Batman #45 gets the benefit of my doubt. But even if King and Daniel find some way to redeem the story, I doubt I'll be recommending anyone buy it. Personally, I don't think anyone needs a comic in their collection that shows Green Lantern's brains falling out of his skull while someone else laughs at it.

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