- Booster Gold
Showing posts 0-5 of 228 matching: dan jurgens
Monday, March 23, 2020
The contrast between justice, vengeance, and redemption. Fate versus free will. Heroic self-sacrifice. All of those themes are factors in why I consider Booster Gold #18 among the twelve best Booster Gold comics.
The story, "Showdown," written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens, opens with a montage of Booster Gold in training. Though this is just a prologue to the main story, it sets the stage for what's coming. It lets us, the readers, see that Booster Gold is willing to put in some effort to be the best super hero that he can be. In other words, he's working at being good. If you've never read a Booster Gold story before, you now know where our hero stands.
Booster Gold is the hero in this story, but not the protagonist. That role belongs to Broderick, a federal agent who always gets his man. While Booster walks the path of the hero, Broderick's road has become considerably darker ever since he let his self-righteous hatred be his guide.
Broderick's obsession with Booster Gold is born from familiar circumstances. He had once been among Michael "Booster" Carter's biggest fans when the youngster was playing quarterback for Gotham University. As is so often the case, when Booster was caught cheating in a gambling scandal, Broderick took the news of his hero's transgression as a personal slight.
After "Booster" Carter stole a time machine, Broderick swore he would bring him to justice, no matter how far he had to go to do it. The former object of Broderick's affection became an object of disgust and hatred.
He chases Booster to the past, where he is driven to break the law to survive. He soon confirms that Booster has become a hero to the masses, a revelation that only stokes his hatred. How backwards this 20th century where thieves are the heroes and policemen are driven to steal!
Broderick's determination finally pays off when he ambushes Booster Gold outside of his own mansion. Booster is accompanied by a date, but Broderick doesn't care. It's a sign of how far he's let his obession drive him from the path of the righteous that his prey cares more about the lives of bystanders than the dutiful "officer of the law" does.
Booster leads Broderick on an excting chase through the back alleys of downtown Metropolis before the confrontation plays out exactly as the brilliant cover promised.
The law man has Booster dead to rights and is about to pull the trigger — becoming judge, jury, and executioner in one — when something unexpected happens. A second tragedy is unfolding nearby. Someone is robbing a liquor store. Booster uses the opportunity to remind Broderick just how far he's fallen.
The pair put aside their differences long enough to stop the robbery and save innocent lives, allowing Booster to demonstrate by action that he's not the the villain of Broderick's warped imagination.
Afterwards, Broderick is faced with a harsh choice: punish "Booster" Carter for crimes he admits he has committed and take a hero off the streets, or allow a guilty man to walk away from justice for the sake of the greater good.
His world shattered, Broderick fades into the shadows. Did he ever find a way out? I sure hope so.
This issue touches on a lot of great questions about what a hero is. Can someone steal for the right reasons? What is the boundaries between vengeance and justice? It's the asking of those questions that makes this, without a doubt, one of The Best Booster Gold Stories Ever.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Last week, Booster booster Ariel complained about Booster's short haircut worn at the end of his run in the 1980s. He doesn't care for it. To each their own.
Personally, I happen to find it fetching, in no small part because that's the style Booster wore on one of my favorite covers: Booster Gold #18 (1987)!
Maybe I'm just old school, but I love it when the image on the cover of a comic foretells what'll be happening inside its pages. Booster Gold lying defeated in the gutter? An unknown gunman with our hero in his sights? How will our hero ever get out of this? Open the book and find out!
Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway really know how to put together a cover, don't they? In Western culture, our eyes are trained to wander to the bottom right of a page. Jurgens is clearly aware of this visual scanning tendency and redirects our eyes back up through the body of the trenchcoated killer, down the barrel of the gun straight to Booster's heart. Powerful stuff!
(Who did that color? Was it issue colorist Gene D'Angelo? The warm red and gold really pop against that receding, cool green background. It's simple but effective use of complementary color theory.)
In addition to the beautiful artwork, I have to admit in the spirit of full disclosure that part of my admiration is likely due to the story within. It's one of my favorites. In fact, I recently declared it one of the 12 Best Booster Gold Stories Ever. I'll explain why on Monday.
See you next week!
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.)
Friday, February 28, 2020
I may have put Justice League #4 at the top of my list of the twelve best Booster Gold comics, but the second book on my list is considerably more important to the development of the character we all know and love.
The first six issues of Booster's original self-titled series dropped a lot of hints that its protagonist wasn't your father's hero. He was uncommonly brash, obsessed with fame and money, and completely clueless about the world around him. But who was he, really? Readers didn't even know his real name or the source of his powers.
That would change in Booster Gold #6 (1986), as knows anyone who's ever seen the cover (one of my favorites)!
Fittingly for an issue revealing the origin of a time traveler, the story's title, "To Cross the Rubicon," is a reference to Julius Caesar's marching his army across the Rubicon River north of Rome, an act that precipitated a previously unimaginable change to the world. Colloquially, the phrase has come to mean committing an act from which there can be no return. As you'll see, both of those meaning apply to this story and the characters within.
In addition to the title, "Creator-Writer-Artist" Dan Jurgens does something else clever on the first page, introducing a new character, the child Jason Redfern, who has witnessed the arrival of a genuine UFO in Metropolis' Centennial Park. Redfern was an outsider to the life of celebrity superhero Booster Gold, and thus the perfect vehicle to deliver readers to the unrevealed inner workings of the mysterious new hero.
Unlike other heroes of his era, the Corporate Crusader&trad; lives in a world of contracts, business managers, and press secretaries. Occasionally, that machinery can be leveraged to more than just profits or loses. In its way, this is another super power, demonstrated when Booster uses it to bring Jason's discovery to the attention of Metropolis' original hero:
This is the first appearance of DC's oldest hero, the Man of Steel, in the DC Universe established in the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Conversely, Booster Gold is the first new character created in that universe. Therefore, this is the first meeting between the "old" DC and the "new" A Rubicon has been crossed, and Booster Gold is as keenly aware of the significance of the meeting as longtime DC readers would have been.
To appease Superman, Booster's sidekick Skeets finally reveals their origin story in a series of flashbacks. This is another groundbreaking moment, as Skeets makes no attempt to sand the rough edges of Michael Jon "Booster" Carter's criminal past or selfish motivations as a disgraced former athlete looking for a second chance.
As we now know, Booster is a thief, having stolen a time machine to make a one-way trip to the past. Another Rubicon crossed! (Ironically, you'd think that a time machine would be the perfect vessel for un-crossing Rubicons, but that's not how time travel worked in the early days of the post-Crisis DC Universe.)
Superman reacts as most readers must have, with revulsion that someone who didn't share his own strict moral code would dare to call himself a hero. He has a point. Booster had more in common with the traditional DC Universe villain than any Justice League member. But this was the 1980s, a time for new heroes with feet of clay.
Who is right? The old timer or the up and comer? Unfortunately for the heroes, their philosophical argument ends abruptly with the arrival of another threat, and the issue ends on a cliffhanger.
I guess you'll find out next issue, Skeets!
Readers of the next issue will also discover that Jason's tiny alien crossed a Rubicon of his own. That title just keeps going, which is just one small part of why I consider this to be among The Best Booster Gold Stories Ever.
Friday, January 31, 2020
Thanks to the new, high quality printing of Booster Gold: The Big Fall, it looks like Thor isn't the only Avenger in Booster Gold's friendly neighborhood.
That photographer in Booster Gold #12 sure looks familiar. He doesn't happen to work for the Daily Bugle, does he? Is that you, Peter Parker?
Just how many Avengers did penciller Dan Jurgens hide in the backgrounds and crowd scenes of Booster Gold comics? Let the scavenger hunt begin!
There have been 2212 blog entries since January 2010.
FIND NEWS BY DATE
SPOILER WARNING: The content at Boosterrific.com may contain story spoilers for DC Comics publications.
Booster Gold, Skeets, and all related titles, characters, images, slogans, logos are trademark ™ and copyright © DC Comics unless otherwise noted and are used without expressed permission. This site is a reference to published information and is intended as a tribute to the artists and storytellers employed by DC Comics, both past and present. (We love you, DC.) Contents of this page and all text herein not reserved as intellectual property of DC Comics is copyright © 2007-2020 BOOSTERRIFIC.com. This page, analysis, commentary, and accompanying statistical data is designed for the private use of individuals and may not be duplicated or reproduced for profit without consent.