- Booster Gold
Monday, August 9, 2021
The life of any comic book hero would be a lonely one if not for the many characters who have made up their supporting cast. Just as Superman has Lois Lane and Batman has Alfred, Booster Gold has also shared his adventures with quite a few people over the years. Today we look at one of those, Blackguard.
When you hear "Batman villain," you probably think of the Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor, and Wonder Woman has Cheetah. It's an old adage that all heroes are defined by their opponents. But before you can battle the king, you have to work your way up the hill.
Long before Joker, Batman started his career against Doctor Death. Superman originally matched wits with the Ulra-Humanite; Wonder Woman had Princess Maru. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Booster Gold started with Blackguard in the pages of Booster Gold #1.
Blackguard's technology was a gift of his sponsor, the criminal organization 1000, who had hired him to steal technology from Metropolis' S.T.A.R. Labs. A clumsy getaway resulted in his first, accidental encounter with rookie hero Booster Gold.
The inaugural confrontation between hero and villain took up most of the pages in Booster Gold #1 as the matched pair took turns showcasing their super powers and abilities. Both had scientifically advanced power suits. Booster was lithe; Blackguard was strong. Booster had energy lasers; Blackguard had an energy mace. Booster was smarter, and Blackguard was ultimately defeated.
Everyone's got to have a gimmick, and "being defeated" would soon become Blackguard's. Despite his considerable cybernetic strength and amazing, mentally-controlled energy constructs, Blackguard's general incompetence would lead to his defeat again...
Blackguard appeared on three of the first four covers of Booster Gold beginning in 1985, but unlike our hero, Blackguard's journey would be out of the public eye. While Booster was growing rich and/or famous, the forgotten villain spent most of the next few decades — except for a *very* brief stint as a henchman for the devil Neron — in maximum security prisons The Slab or Belle Reve. He gave himself the aspirational nickname, "The Human Killing Spree" (in Guy Gardner: Warrior #36) but given his track record, it's hard to believe he could ever successfully kill even a single person — unless it was by accident.
When he was finally paroled in 2005, Blackguard turned over a new leaf. Using his given name, Richard "Dick" Hertz, he partnered with experienced restaurateur Guy Gardner and opened a bar in the building next door to Booster Gold's Super Buddies team headquarters.
Like so many other would-be reformed villains, Blackguard was eventually given a second chance to do bad, and he still tried to make the best of it as an agent of Task Force X, better known as the Suicide Squad. In Blackguard's case, it lived up to its name.
Ironically, Blackguard has become more famous in death than he ever was in life. He made his live-action movie debut in last week's The Suicide Squad, where he is portrayed by Pete Davidson.
Meanwhile, glory-seeking Booster Gold is still waiting for his shot at movie stardom. Blackguard didn't win at much, but at least he's got that.
Are you interested in meeting other "People in his Neighborhood"? Follow these links to get to know Trixie Collins, Daniel Carter, Jack Soo, Rani, Dirk Davis, Skeets, Mackenzie Garrison, Rip Hunter, Michelle Carter, Nurse Devlin, Monica Lake, and Doctor Shocker.
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