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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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, Doctor Shocker.
Early in the super-heroing career of Booster Gold, while the self-satisfied young hero was posing with beautiful actresses in perfume advertisements, the Director of the 1000 was plotting his downfall. The 1000 had many employees, from the brutish Blackguard to the assassin Chiller. However, none was as important to the Director's plot against Booster Gold as the man they called Doctor Shocker.
We first meet the bad doctor in Booster Gold #9 (1986), where he was using his high-tech Psi-Trap to "drain the knowledge" of Benjamin "Benny" Lindgren and Martin "Marty" Kramer, the comic book artists working on the Booster Gold comic book. In the next issue (Booster Gold #10), Shocker is remotely monitoring Booster Gold's energy signature. By Booster Gold #11, he's graduated to hacking Skeets, an advanced 25th-century artificial intelligence.
Doctor Shocker escaped the 1000's underground lair before Booster Gold destroyed it (Booster Gold #12), and hasn't been seen since. Who was this mysterious villain that dressed like a surgeon but acted like a computer programmer? Why did he dedicate himself to making life difficult for Booster Gold? And what school gave him his doctorate in mad science?
We can, in fact, answer most of these questions. Obviously, a silly name like "Doctor Shocker" is an alias for a more familiar face. To determine just who he really is, let's look at some clues he left behind.
1. It's ridiculous to think that a pair of comic book artists would have any unusual, inside information about the heroes they wrote for. Therefore, we can assume that any knowledge gained by the so-called Psi-Trap was worthless. This implies that Doctor Shocker had the information he needed the whole time.
2. The 1000's plan required manipulating Skeets, but how could any 20th-century computer scientist expect to be able to reprogram 25th-century technology in a matter of minutes? Only if that computer scientist had experience with future tech.
3. Booster's final battle with the Director of the 1000 would result in his need to return to the future? As a direct result of Doctor Shocker's actions, Booster Gold would go on to meet Rip Hunter and reunite with his sister, Michelle, both integral members of the eventual Time Masters team. Note also that a supposedly reprogrammed Skeets ended up playing a key role in the Director's eventual downfall. Did Skeets' reprogrammer make a mistake, or was this betrayal his intention all along?
There is only one white-haired old man who has the knowledge of Booster Gold's life, a working familiarity with technology across the centuries, and a demonstrated history of working behind the scenes to ensure that Booster Gold becomes the hero he was always destined to be: Booster Gold himself!
It's no accident that Doctor Shocker managed to avoid meeting Booster Gold face-to-face. That prevented any potential time paradoxes. He'll use that tactic again when he'll need to guide his younger self to the right path during the fall of Coast City in Booster Gold volume 2 #30 (2010).
Past? Present? Future? There's no difference to a real Time Master.
Interested in meeting other "People in his Neighborhood"? Get to know Trixie Collins, Daniel Carter, Jack Soo, Rani, Dirk Davis, Skeets, Mackenzie Garrison, Rip Hunter, Michelle Carter, Nurse Devlin, and Monica Lake.
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