- Booster Gold
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Monday, June 13, 2022
If you've seen any movie filmed in New York City during the 1970s and 80s, you know that town was an absolute cesspool overflowing with garbage and urban blight. Thankfully, one visionary man bucked the system, seized power, and began cleaning up the city in the mid 1990s.
Yes, Booster. That man was the dictator Monarch. And readers of Extreme Justice #7, released on this date in 1995, would have recognized him as a wolf in sheep's clothing. Therefore, the question at the heart of this story isn't whether or not the familiar Monarch had become a sheep, but just which wolf he was.
First, a bit of backstory. Debuting in Armageddon 2001 #1 (1991), Monarch was a corrupted hero who had grown so frustrated at how bad the world was being run, he was determined to take it over himself. The time-traveling would-be world dictator (co-created by former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Archie Goodwin with shades of Doctor Doom and Kang the Conqueror) had already had run-ins with almost every super hero on Earth.
What makes Monarch particularly unique in the DC Universe isn't the character's origins or motivations, but his very complicated relationship with Captain Atom. See, as originally planned, Monarch *was* Captain Atom. DC's writers and artists seeded clues to Monarch's true identity for months, but when news of the planned reveal leaked to the general public, editors made a last-minute change to his secret identity.
However, no one liked the change (perhaps because of all the strong clues already in print to the contrary), and thus would begin years of stories revising Monarch's identity and intentions. Stories like this one.
Those who remember Extreme Justice often remember the "extreme" art, which makes it easy to say that the strength of the series was writer Dan Vado's character-driven melodramas and morality plays. What is the cost of being a hero? What defines a villain? Who are we all, really? This issue doesn't answer those questions, but life is about the journey, not the destination.
Just remember to never, ever trust a tyrant like Monarch.
Especially not if your name is Booster Gold.
Friday, May 20, 2022
On Monday, I linked to a CBR interview with Dark Crisis writer Joshua Williamson. When I wrote that post, I didn't realize that Williamson had already tweeted Ethan Young's alternate cover for Dark Crisis #3 which features Blue and Gold:
That group is what CBR called the "Not Really" Justice League that Jon Kent will form in the wake of the Justice League's apparent death in Justice League #75. Williamson's tweet emphasizes "THERE IS NO JUSTICE LEAGUE." Given the League's history, that sounds especially ominous.
Longtime Booster boosters may recall that in the absence of a Justice League following the events of Infinite Crisis, Firehawk organized a new, self-proclaimed Justice League during the year-long 52. It lasted 18 pages before being defeated and disgraced... by Skeets.
See, a wormhole had opened in present-day Metropolis and a swarm of pirates had just descended on the city streets....
In hindsight, that probably should have been a job for Superman.
(Technically, that new League was thwarted by Skeets' corporeal body but not its consciousness, although that opens a whole 'nother can of unresolved worms about whether or not Skeets is truly sentient. But I digress.)
Of course, Firehawk's team didn't have a Booster Gold, much less two Blue Beetles. (And they presumably won't have to fight Skeets.) So maybe Superman Jr's team will have better luck against the all-consuming evil that effortlessly disintegrated Superman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter among others.
I wish the Not Really Justice League all the luck when Dark Crisis #3 drops this August. They're going to need it.
Monday, May 16, 2022
With the death of the Justice League, Dark Crisis is finally upon us, and over at CBR.com, D.R. Bickham has interviewed Dark Crisis's chief architect Joshua Williamson about what the DC Universe should expect in the months to come.
But all we really care about here at Boosterrific.com is how Dark Crisis will affect Booster Gold. Thankfully, Williamson had answers for that as well:
CBR: Who is your favorite member of the "Not Really" Justice League introduced in Dark Crisis #1?
Williamson: The "Not Really" Justice League? That's pretty funny. I really like Dr. Light and Frankenstein. Obviously, I like Damian Wayne a lot because of my history with that character, and I like getting to write him in this context. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are cool. I like all these characters, and that's a part of why they're here.
CBR: What kind of role will this unofficial Justice League play in Dark Crisis?
Williamson: Every character you see in Dark Crisis #1 plays an important role throughout the series. There are no throw-away characters. Dr. Light has some especially big moments. It is called Dark Crisis, after all.
CBR: I assume this means we can expect a big Booster Gold / Blue Beetle moment at some point in Dark Crisis as well?
Williamson: Yes, of course. I love Blue and Gold, and I'm happy that they are both a part of Dark Crisis. They have a couple of great moments, especially later in the series.
Hey, we could all do worse than "a couple of great moments." I look forward to them.
Thanks to Booster booster Rob Snow for making sure we saw this.
Monday, March 21, 2022
Longtime Booster booster Morgenstern recently asked me a very good question:
Did you ever write an article about this dropped idea of making Tim Drake Blue Beetle and the Death of Booster Gold by Scott Beatty & Chuck Dixon?
The answer is "no." And I'll correct that oversight right now.
Before I can explain, let me set the stage. The early 2000s were a lean time for Booster Gold. He made exactly two in-continuity, non-flashback appearances in 2001, both in very small parts (just a few panels) as set dressing for the "Our Worlds at War" and "Joker's Last Laugh" crossover events. Although Booster was still friends with Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle was finding much greater success as an associate of Oracle's Birds of Prey. That's where this story begins.
In Birds of Prey #39 (released in January 2002), Ted Kord is diagnosed with a heart condition that forces him to hang up his tights. However,Birds of Prey and Robin writer Chuck Dixon and his "Joker: Last Laugh" co-collaborator Scott Beatty didn't intend this to be the end of the Blue Beetle, just an opportunity for a passing of the mantle.
The plan, as Beatty revealed on his blog in a 2019 post titled "THE CLIP FILE: How Scott Beatty & Chuck Dixon *ALMOST* Turned Robin Into BLUE BEETLE!," was that "a gravely injured Ted Kord would find a replacement Blue Beetle while he convalesced... assuming that he would survive at all. It would be a *paid* position occupied by a cash-strapped Tim Drake (a.k.a. Robin III)." Christopher Irving's 2007 encyclopedic The Blue Beetle Companion confirms the plan, quoting Dixon as elaborating that eventually "an invalid Ted Kord would direct a half dozen Blue Beetles (all with different talents) to battle international crime."
What makes all of this relevant to Booster Gold fans is exactly how Beatty and Dixon intended to launch this enterprise in the pages of a proposed mini-series they called Blue Beetles. Quoting from the mini-series pitch proposal on Beatty's blog:
We throw down the gauntlet with the death of Booster Gold.
With ground-support from Ted, Danny and Star begin an investigation into the events surrounding Booster Gold's demise, a mystery which provides the backbone to the first few issues. Their trial-by-fire begins as Ted launches an ambitious campaign to reel in any Beetle foes still at-large, sending his apprentice Beetles to capture a string of rogues and offer them clemency if they swear to renounce villainy; otherwise it's a one-way ticket to the Slab. And now that it's tucked away in polar isolation at the bottom of the world, NOBODY wants to go to the Slab.
Meanwhile, Booster is celebrated on the evening news, showered in fifteen minutes of celebrity as unofficial biographies are published, how-to videos are hawked, and the promotional machine grinds dollars out of heroic sacrifice.
The kicker is this: Booster's death was faked by Maxwell Lord in order to capitalize on the cult of celebrity surrounding young stars dying young and leaving beautiful corpses. Lord plans on marketing the Booster Gold bio and telepic, then engineering a ballyhooed superhero resurrection.
Booster and Max are in cahoots, hoping to spike interest in the hero's eventual resurrection and subsequent product endorsement deals. What's worse, both Booster and Max were willing to silence Ted Kord in order to maintain the ruse.
That's... just.... Wow.
Although this particular pitch was denied by the Powers-That-Be at DC at the time for unspecified reasons — and I can't say I'm too saddened by that particular decision — it's amazing to see how many of these ideas presage what would actually unfold in the hands of other writers. Remember, this was 2002. Max's villain turn in Countdown to Infinite Crisis was still three years away, and Booster's death would be a key component of Infinite Crisis-follow up 52!
For more information on this particular footnote of DC history, I encourage you to read Beatty's full proposal for Blue Beetles on his blog, scottbeatty.blogspot.com.
Thanks for helping me correct my oversight, M.
Monday, March 14, 2022
That bad guy monologing about ruling the Multiverse while making life miserable for poor Jaime Reyes can't possibly be anyone other than his greatest enemy... the Black Beetle!
While he hasn't been M.I.A. for quite so long as Theresa Collins was, we still hadn't seen good ol' Black Beetle since the cancellation of Booster Gold volume 2 in 2011, and his true identity remains one of that series' biggest unsolved mysteries. Boosterrific.com considered the possibilities in depth in a 3-part series in 2014 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).
Is Dan Jurgens finally ready to pull off Black Beetle's mask and reveal the villain's true face? Will we believe it even if we see it? There's only one way to find out!
Buy this issue and make Skeets (and Buggles) happy!
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