- Booster Gold
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
The fourth issue of the fourth DC Comics volume of Blue Beetle was released one week ago today. Since this issue finally got an origin story for the "Rebirth" versions of all three Blue Beetles, let's run a quick recap.
In 1966, Ted Kord inherited the mantle of the Blue Beetle from his predecessor, Dan Garret. Although Garret did not give Kord the magical scarab that gave Blue Beetle his powers, Kord made do with advanced technology making up for the lost abilities.
In 1986, it was revealed that Kord had found the scarab, but it never worked for him. The new hero Booster Gold would soon become Ted Kord's partner in crimefighting and his best friend.
In 2006, Jaime Reyes found the scarab after Ted Kord's death. He soon learns that the scarab wasn't actually magical but was instead a malfunctioning alien device. Booster Gold locates Reyes and introduces him to the super hero community.
In 2012, in the wake of the universe-changing Flashpoint, Dan Garret and Ted Kord are erased from history. Jaime Reyes becomes the first (and only) Blue Beetle when he comes into contact with an alien scarab following a heist by the Brotherhood of Evil. There is no connection between Booster Gold and Blue Beetle in the New 52 Universe.
In 2016, after yet another universe rebooting Rebirth, Jamie Reyes comes into contact with an alien scarab that was floating down a river. He is mentored by Ted Kord, a retired super hero who once called himself the Blue Beetle after a chance encounter with his neighbor, the previous possessor of Reyes' scarab. There appears to still be no connection between Booster Gold and Blue Beetle in the Rebirth Universe.
But note: for the first time, Booster Gold predates Blue Beetle. Kord name drops "Booster Gold" as a bad example for a name when trying to think up his own moniker on page 17 of Blue Beetle Volume 4 #4.
In the Rebirth Universe, Ted Kord has had time to develop his technology, become the Blue Beetle, and retire from heroics to mentor his successor. If Booster Gold has been around that whole time, what has he been doing? (It's been 519 days since we've last seen Booster Gold make any significant appearance within the DC Universe.) And why do they have to keep changing Jamie Reyes' origin story?
Despite my desire to see Blue Beetle and Booster Gold eventually reconciled, Blue Beetle volume 4 is not a series I can endorse. Keith Giffen's scripts are disjointed and meandering. Rather than resolve the confusion, Scott Kolins only muddies the water further with a loose art style that lacks any subtlety and makes comprehension a chore instead of a joy. (After four issues and a one-shot, I still don't know if the characters have freckles or bad acne. Perhaps the dots are fleas given how they relocate from panel to panel.)
For my money, Blue Beetle has been the biggest disappointment of Rebirth so far. So until Booster Gold is reintroduced to Ted Kord, I won't be paying much attention to the ever-changing origins of the Blue Beetles from now on.
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