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Friday, March 13, 2020
You may have heard that there's something of a global health crisis ongoing right now. As someone with older parents, I find it a little scary, which makes it a fitting topic for Friday the 13th. What would make me feel better is a super hero who could stop a spreading disease dead in its tracks.
Which brings me to that time that Booster Gold single-handedly prevented a disease outbreak (with a little help from Skeets).
Of course, when pandemics strike the DC Universe, there's usually some super villain at work. That was definitely the case in the story "Dream of Terror" published in Booster Gold #17 (1987).
Dr. Pete Babich is biologist and eugenicist obsessed with solving the problems of social inequality. Like so many bad guys, Babich considers himself a hero who believes that he alone has "the courage to do what must be done." Specifically, he means releasing a virulent, globe-spanning disease that will kill everyone he considers to be "undesirable," by which he means "poor."
To initiate his class warfare, he enlists the help of the Teen Titan Hawk. Babich has misled Hawk into thinking that the disease won't kill outright, but will instead sterilize the population. For some reason, Hawk still thinks this is a good idea.
Babich's initial target? Mexicans. He might have gotten away with it, too, if the Russians hadn't gotten involved via their agent, the mercenary Cheshire. (This is an American comic, remember? With us, it's always Mexicans and Russians.)
Because of the Russians' attempt to steal Babich's creation to use for their own purposes, the evil doctor is exposed to his own disease. It works as advertised, destroying a certain undesirable human in a scene delightfully dripping with dramatic irony.
It would be tragedy if Babich's engineered plague went on to kill hundreds or thousands worldwide, but this being a comic book, that's not going to happen. Especially not with Booster Gold on the scene.
Everyone lives happily ever after!
I certainly don't mean to suggest that COVID-19 is the work of a super villain (or the Russians). I just find reassurance in stories about good, powerful people putting their own lives on the line to save us. In the DC Universe, they're called super heroes. In the real world, we call them health care professionals.
Stay safe, everybody. (Personally, I'll be spending the foreseeable future indoors reading comics, so it's not all bad.)
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